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DVD Benchmark - Product Review - Pioneer DV-05 DVD Player - November, 2000

Staff

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Background

This is the second THX Ultra DVD player and the little brother to the DV-09.  In many ways we found this player to be superior to the DV-09.

Anyway, here are our test results:

Video

Like the DV-09, we are disappointed in the DV-05's overall performance.

The DV-05 improperly labels the CAV outputs Y’Cb’Cr’ and uses the inferior RCA connectors.

Black and White Levels

Format Black White Comments
CAV 6.5 99.5 The black level is about 1 IRE low, but the white level is very close to perfect.
YC 6.8 99.2 The YC levels closely matches the CAV levels.

Color Bars

CAV

The Y portion of the CAV signal is just below Betacam® and EIA 770.1 and just above MII.

The Pb portion of the CAV signal is just above SMPTE and EIA 770.1 on Yellow, Green, red, and blue.  It is dead on for cyan and magenta.  The Pr portion of the CAV signal equal MII on yellow.  It equals SMPTE and EIA 770.1 on red.  It is slightly higher than SMPTE and EIA 770.1 for cyan, green, and blue, and is slightly lower on magenta.

Component Analog Video Data

 

YC

The Y portion of the YC output is slightly lower than SMPTE 170M.

The Chroma level is higher than SMPTE 170M.  It's not as high as the Apex DVD player, but it is pretty high.  You will need to lower the color control on your TV if it (your TV) is properly decoding SMPTE 170M.  The Chroma phase is just slightly lower on cyan, green, and blue.  But the rest are dead on.

Composite/YC Data

 

Video Frequency Response

The video frequency response of this player contains a bit of peaking and induces noticeable ringing in the image.  The YC output is slightly higher than the CAV output.  The peak begins at 2 MHz and stays above 0 until just past 4.18 MHz.  The CAV output ends down –0.54 dB at 5 MHz.  The YC is down –0.36 dB at 5 MHz.

There is noticeable ringing when looking at the Avia sharpness pattern.  The DV-05 might first appear sharper than others, but it is false information.  If you are using a DV-05 and you notice a lot of edge enhancement on DVDs, it might be the player.

Video Frequency Response

 

Pixel Cropping

Location Pixels Comments
Top 0 Excellent
Bottom 0 Excellent
Left 0 Excellent
Right 5 Very Good

Signal-To-Noise Ratio

Format Output SNR (dB) Comments
CAV Y -63.1 OK
CAV Pb -77.6 Excellent - The SNR of the color difference channels are as good or better than the DV-09.
CAV Pr -78.9 Excellent
YC C-AM -65.7 Very Good - The YC SNR is better than the DV-09, but is still not as good as other players that we tested.
YC C-PM -53.4 Poor - But, it is better than the DV-09.

Component Channel Timing

Channel Timing (ns) Comments
'Pb' to Y 25.4 Below Average
'Pr' to Y 0.7 Excellent
'Pb' to 'Pr' 24.6 Below Average - Remember it takes about 10 ns of delay to show smearing, and the DV-05 is at about twice that.  It's not nearly as bad as the DV-09, but we can see a bit of color fringing on the edges, and the fine detail is being smeared.

Audio

Audio Frequency Response

The frequency response from the bass to the upper midrange was excellent, ruler flat down to 20 Hz.  The high frequency roll-off had a nice, smooth shape, but fell off the –1 dB limit of the chart before it hit 20 kHz.  That’s not to say that the player can’t output at 20 kHz. It’s probably, judging by the slope, -3 dB down by then, which would be considered reasonable for a loudspeaker.  For a modern piece of electronics, though, I think it a bit questionable.  If you had a player, a preamp, and an amplifier that were all –3 dB in response at 20 kHz, by the time the signal got to the loudspeaker, you’d be looking at –9 dB, which is completely unacceptable, in our opinion.

Audio Frequency Response

 

Harmonic Distortion + Noise FFT

If you’re willing to take the slightly rolled-off high frequency response, the tradeoff is that the harmonic distortion is not only low in absolute terms, but has a nice spectrum in that the higher order distortion is substantially lower than the lower order distortion.  The distortion products, all below –105 dB at full scale output, were primarily 2nd, 3rd, and 4th harmonics, with a little bit of content at the 6th and 8th harmonic, but by then, below –120 dB.  Not the absolute best distortion spectrum in terms of shape, but by all means, quite nice.

Distortion Spectrum

 

Wide-Band noise spectrum FFT (Wall AC)

The absolute level of noise was not high at all, but actually pretty low, with the highest peaks at about –105 dB, at 60 Hz, and in the left channel 22 kHz.  The majority of the noise within the 20 Hz – 20 kHz band was at 60 Hz, and at the AC power line harmonic of 180 Hz.  The noise floor was a little choppy, but at such low levels, it’s more interesting than something to really worry about.  What we did find interesting about the high frequency noise was that the left channel had a far higher level of ultra-sonic trash than the right channel, which would imply that its analog circuit was either closer to, or more poorly shielded from, the unit's digital electronics.

Noise Floor (Wall)

 

Wide-Band noise spectrum FFT (Lab grade AC)

When supplied with the regenerated AC power, the noise floor in the low frequencies dropped substantially, as shown below, indicating the value of having a good power line conditioner with this player.

Noise Floor (Lab)

 


Low-Level DAC Linearity

The low-level linearity of the D/A section was fair, but not outstanding.  Although the linearity stayed within ± 1 dB down to –97 dB, it seems to become uncertain of its own intentions at around 85 dB, and comes very close to –1 dB at –92 dB.  We wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s bad performance from the D/A converters, but only that it doesn’t seem that the tolerances would actually yield anything much greater than 16 bits of resolution, and certainly not 20 bit resolution.  Important with 16 bit CD’s? Another topic.

DAC Linearity

 

Dynamic Range

97.9 dB.  Measured well in that regard.

Inter-Modulation Distortion

-114.4 dB. Very nice.

Functionality

Note: A green check in the boxes below means that feature worked OK. A red X means it is unsatisfactory.

Avia

Test Results Comments
Subpicture

 
Slide Show

 

Video Essentials

Test Results Comments
Blacker-Than-Black

 
Stress Test

 

WHQL

Subpicture Palette (DCS)

Test Results Comments
Still

 
Bob

 
Weave

 

Default Palette Color Index

Test Results Comments
Still

 
Bob

 
Weave

 

Custom Palette Color Index

Test Results Comments
Still

 
Bob

 
Weave

 

Branching

Test Results Comments
Seamless Branching

This player goes beyond what is required and is able to branch in 1 clock sweep.
Multiple Angles

The angle change takes between 1.5 to 2 seconds.

Menu

Test Results Comments
Loops

 
Ends

 

Field/Frame Freeze

Test Results Comments
Weave

You get the best behavior if the player is set to auto mode.
Bob

You get the desired behavior if the player is set to field or auto mode.

16x9 Menu

Test Results Comments
Letterbox

 
Widescreen

 

Cropping

Test Results Comments
352x240

There is excessive flicker
720x480

 
704x480  
352x480  

Layer Break

This player is on the slower end taking between 2 – 2.5 seconds to change layers.

Test (DVD) Results Comments
"Cruel Intentions"

 
"Ghostbusters"

 
"Friend" VCD  
"Saving Private Ryan" (DTS)  
"The Abyss"  
Chesky Super Audio 96/24 You can select from the DVD players menu if you want 96 kHz or 48 kHz from the digital output.

Physical Response

We gave the player a 5 in overall response time.

Test Results Comments
Setup

 
Transcode

 
CD-R  

Error Correction/Concealment

Pierre Vareny

The DV-05 falls near the bottom of the bunch.  It is able to read up to and including chapter 30, which represents a 0.75mm gap.

Scratch the Dog

Image is pixilated at chapter 2 and dies around chapter 6.

Usability

The remote is a minor improvement over the remote for the DV-09.  That’s not saying much.  It’s like arguing who the prettiest stooge is, Larry or Curly.  Pioneer should know better than to design remotes like this.

This is one of the bottom dwellers of all the remotes we tested.  It illustrates how not to design a remote so that people can use it without error.  It also has a jog/shuttle control which is a waste of remote resources for the vast majority of DVD viewers. 

The Remote Score = 3 out of 11.  The image gives you an indication how the Pioneer designers have considered the usability of the remote.

We established our rating scheme in the usability article with the Eleven Tenets of Remote Design. Each one of those principles gets the player 1 point, so the maximum possible score would be 11.  See the comments for each of those design tenets.

Test Results Comments
Button Access

They placed the most used buttons in the same area of the remote and provided some space to improve access to them.  The arrow keys and the transport controls are in the same area and can be accessed without moving too much across the remote surface.

They have taken some serious liberty with the layout of the number pad.  We do not feel that these are incredibly important buttons, but still, you would like them to be laid out consistent with other number pad devices (i.e., calculators, computers, or telephones).

Minimal number of buttons

Just look at it.  This remote has every button you will never need at the expense of leaving room for the jog/shuttle.  If the jog/shuttle were not included, the controls could have been distributed a bit better on the control surface.
Distinctive buttons If it were possible to give a negative score here, we would.  These buttons are almost all identical.  The remote is impossible to use in the dark.  The navigation buttons are light gray in color and have light green letters on them.
Appropriately sized buttons The designers have not differentiated between the buttons, making it difficult to pick out the buttons that you will use most frequently.

Good tactile feedback

The buttons are low profile and too mushy for our tastes.

Fits well in a single hand

The remote is too wide to be held in a single hand.  It also has a very boxy shape, which makes it a bit uncomfortable to hold.  Haven’t the Pioneer designers ever used remotes in the past?  Do they have rectangular palms?  How can you finish with a remote like this and say to yourself, “There’s a job well-done?”
Right/Left Handed The controls are centered in the remote, but you will use this remote with both hands.
Backlighting Are you kidding?  Adding a backlight would have made this remote a bit easier to use.  Apparently, that’s just not in the cards.

Indication of control mode

 

Standard naming

Luckily, they did not take license with the standard control names.

Player feedback

 

The Bottom Line on Usability

We would never recommend a player whose designers felt this was an adequate remote.  The remote is the way you communicate with your player, and this one will leave you wanting for something more.

- Staff -

DVD Benchmark Explanatory Articles

Introduction

Part 1 - Video

Part 2 - Audio

Part 3 - Functionality Part 4 - Usability Part 5 - Progressive Scan

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