Being blessed with a healthy obsession for DVD's and a
generous girlfriend who gave me a Toshiba SD-2150 earlier this year I will be
paring off the Samsung DVD-P401 with this player. Keep in mind that since I don't have
a HDTV, I can't fully comment on the absolute difference in
picture qualities. However, the Philips television I will be testing the DVD players on
does support higher than typical resolutions so all is not lost. That being
said, I really couldn't detect any visible differences in the level of picture
quality between the two players other than where the progressive scan
feature would fit in.
Occasionally during DVD
playback I would notice odd pixelization on the DVD-P401. It would appear almost
as though one were getting a video feed from the Internet - just a small "pixel
wave" that would run through the screen sporadically.
My initial thoughts about this
distortion were that it was merely a defective DVD, and that was
it. However, when I 'rewound' the scene back, the "pixel wave" would not
appear again. I tested the same DVD at the same chapter on the Toshiba SD-2150
and didn't experience any of this picture distortion.
It's worth noting that I've
never experienced this odd and sporadic picture distortion when watching a DVD
movie on my Toshiba player. To add to the mystery, the picture distortion on
the Samsung unit only appeared during certain random times. I think it
happened about 40 or 50 minutes into the movie when it was played continuously
without pausing or stopping. My personal theory on this is that after a certain
point the unit begins to experience troubles processing the video
information fast enough and it overloads an internal buffer.
Could this be the cause of a
faulty MPEG decoder? Similarly, I wasn't able to play certain test VCD videos at
all on the Samsung DVD-P401. The Toshiba SD-2150 that I used in comparison had
no problem at all playing the same discs.
MP3 Playback: The
Any new DVD player entering the
market that doesn't support MP3 playback is really not worth considering. I mean
it is such an easy feature to add-on to the DVD players themselves, and the
added versatility of being able to drop in favorite mix-CD during a party is
like a god-send. Cause unless your company is super geeky, pulling out the old
computer and tinny computer speakers is not going to cut it. Now in the other
hand, piping those MP3's through a set-top DVD player hooked up to the stereo is
just so much better, both sonically, and for your persona.
The DVD-P401 can handle
both CD-RW's and CD-R's thanks to dual laser pickup, and read the files
stored in a one, or several directories. My only beef was that the player
did not appear to have any random play back function. On a side note: the P401 was capable of playing back DVD's in random
mode. A very useful feature if you want to drop in DVD music
videos when your friends come over.
Users who insist in encoding
their MP3's in VBR should be aware that the DVD-P401 may not play them back