Panasonic DVD-S97, a review cut short

November 24, 2004

DVD-S97The popularity of up-converting DVD players such as the Denon DVD-1910, Samsung HD-941, and Bravo D2 demonstrate the desire for DVD players that output 720p or 1080i. Owning one myself I have to say in the end, standard definition source material is just that, standard definition.

But until HD-DVD makes it to the shelves, ‘up converting’ DVD players may be the best we can get. I have to say I was a little surprised that, until recently, one such player flew under my radar, The Panasonic DVD-S97. At $499.95 (MSRP) it is quite a bit more than say the Denon DVD-1910 or any of the previously mentioned DVD players for that matter. What’s up?

The only features included with the S97, that aren’t present on some of the other players, are HDCD and WMA, neither of which are anything to get excited over. Unfortunately one thing it does have is macroblocking. I was able to get my hands on one recently for an install, I wish I hadn’t.


As soon as we finished the connections and fired up the Samsung HL-P6163W DLP it was to accompany, we quickly noticed macroblocking, to an almost annoying level. Given this we’re going to have to give the Panasonic DVD-S97 a ‘buyer beware’ notice at this time. This problem may not present it’s self on some displays, we however had bad luck our first shot.

Macroblocking rears its ugly head in several ways, as a blocky pixel artifact in poorly produced DVD’s or in some DVD players where ‘video noise’ or subtle shades of color next to one another, are over emphasized. Although this page is more about video conversion than software playback, it contains some excellent images of macroblocking (first image). Note don’t take this recommendation (or lack thereof) as any comment on Panasonic’s level of quality in general. To the contrary they make many excellent video products, specifically the Panasonic PT-AE200U which by all reports is an excellent projector.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under DVD Player Reviews, Reviews


Comments

  • jose4

    I tried the same player and sent it back. Its deficiencies were too many to remember, much less name, and its advantages were–none I can think of.

  • jose4

    I tried the same player and sent it back. Its deficiencies were too many to remember, much less name, and its advantages were–none I can think of.