Index to This Issue

Home Page

 

 

DVD Benchmark - Product Review - Toshiba SD-6200 DVD Player - October, 2000

Staff

Divider

 

 

Toshiba SD-6200 DVD Player

Outputs: One Composite Video (RCA), One S-Video, One Set Component Video (RCA); One Set 5.1 Analog Audio (RCA), One Pair Two-Channel Analog Audio (RCA), One Coaxial Digital Audio (RCA), One Toslink Digital Audio; Will Output Progressive Scan Video

Audio Formats: Plays DD, DTS, HDCD, and has 96/24 DACs

Size:  4" H x 17" W x 12" D

Weight: 8 pounds

MSRP: $1,199 USA

 
Toshiba Corporation; Web http://www.toshiba.com/ 

Introduction (JEJ)

I have seen DVD players now, even at the Safeway grocery store, for incredibly low prices, and they all output DD and DTS. So, there really is no excuse not to have a DVD player if you rent movies. Blockbuster has them everywhere. Hollywood Video has them. The $0.99 DVD rentals are here to stay. When the technology was new, all the players were very similar in quality. But now that the decoding and DACs are on commonly available ICs, and are cheap, what differentiates the various players? In the case of the Toshiba SD-6200, it is having dual trays so you can exchange a disc without stopping the movie, but more importantly, it has component video output, progressive video output, and 10 bit - 54 MHz video DACs (cheaper units have 27 MHz).

As far as looks go, the 6200 is rather unimposing. All the mass market DVD players look pretty much the same, even the cheap ones at the grocery store. This is because, even at $1,199 MSRP (I've seen it for much less on the Internet), Toshiba can't afford to put a lot into the chassis appearance. All the bucks are in the electronics.

The video quality from the 6200, using the S-Video connection, is as good as I have ever seen in a mass market player. The bench tests (see below) indicate some ringing at object edges (Stacey Spears can view an 8 foot picture with his front projector), but with a 35" direct view TV, and sitting in my easy chair, I only saw a wonderful, crisp, sharp picture. Keep in mind that all DVD players give a good image, even the Apex that we reviewed recently, compared to VHS tapes that we have been used to over the years. Because the DVD image and sound are based on digital signals, all DVD players require some basic standards that have to be met, or they won't work at all. So, the image from the 6200 is not 10 times better than I have ever seen, but let's just say that the image is delightful.

I tried all my problem DVDs, including "Saving Private Ryan", and they played without a hitch. So, no EPROM upgrades are necessary, at least for now. Sound quality is very good, but as we all know, DD and DTS sound use compression, and this reduces the ultimate quality. There is no way around this, it is just a fact that cannot be escaped from. I obtained information in the past that the quality of DAC chips varied, and I don't know how much this has settled down, so that all DAC chips, including ones in mass market players, are considered "very good". In any case - notwithstanding the fact that DD and DTS are compressed formats - I was pleased with the sound quality. It was smoother than some of the older DVD players that I have listened to. It down-converts 96/24 sampling to 48/16, so you have to use the DAC in the player if you want to get the most out of any 96/24 audio discs such as the Chesky releases. We are going to have to wait until DVD-Audio (uncompressed, high sampling rate) is a routine feature in DVD players before we will really know how good the audio circuitry is.

The remote control is one of the better ones, in my opinion. The power on/off button is at the top right, and not near the commonly used other buttons. A joystick in the middle is for navigating menus such as audio setup when you first put in a DVD, a sliding yellow button on the right side toggles pause, fast forward, reverse, as well as play, and the slow, chapter skip, pause, stop, play, and zoom buttons are different sizes in three rows. One thing that I really liked is that an audible beep is emitted by the player when it receives a successful command from the remote. Stacey did not like this though, so he turned it off for his viewing.

The zoom control on the 6200 is so good, I suspect its use will satisfy consumers who like to watch movies in the Pan & Scan format rather than widescreen. Of course, zooming in with the 6200 results in the center of the frame always being seen, rather than the producer having panned over to the side if that is where someone is standing, but the beauty of this flexible zoom is that you have several levels of zoom in between complete widescreen and full screen. So, if 2.35:1 is just too wide, you can enlarge it just a bit, or a little more, or even more, until it is almost full screen, but not quite. Also, I tested a few old CinemaScope® films (2.35:1) with setting the zoom control so it was full screen, and it hardly ever came to a point where all the people active in a scene were completely out of the picture. Since there are still so many consumers who dislike widescreen viewing, having a good zoom feature may be the solution.

One other aspect of the zoom feature surprised me. I am a widescreen aficionado. I don't necessarily like the high aspect ratio, but I do want to see all the picture. So, when I was fiddling around with the zoom control, I found that I could make the image small enough that I could see the right and left edges of the film frame. Lo and behold, there were several inches (on my 35" screen) that had been hidden by a combination of overscan on my TV and whatever cropping the 6200 applies when it outputs the image. So, if you like widescreen movies, wait until you see how much you have been missing when watching widescreen versions on a TV and a player that does not have a flexible zoom control.

All in all, I found the Toshiba SD-6200 a complete pleasure to use, and it is now part of my home theater lab reference system.

- JEJ -

On The Bench

The SD-6200 is one of Toshiba's latest progressive scan DVD players.  The SD-5109 and SD-9100 were Toshiba's first progressive players.  The 6200 is superior to either one of those when it comes to de-interlacing.

Video

The 6200 is probably one of Toshiba's greatest achievements in DVD players.  Its video quality is good all around.

Anyway, here are our test results:

The CAV outputs are properly labeled Y’Pb’Pr’, and they use the inferior RCA Connectors.

Both the Interlaced and Progressive CAV outputs use the same output.  The mode is selectable from the remote control.  The button is hidden under the lid at the bottom of the remote.

Black and White Levels

Format Black White Comments
CAV 7.2 103.1 Black is almost perfect at 7.2 IRE.  White is like all other Toshiba's, i.e., slightly hot, but it's not as bad.  Still, if you are using this with the Dwin TS, you will lose the very top end (anything above 100 IRE).
YC 7.2 103.2 The YC levels closely match the CAV levels.

Color Bars

CAV

The Y out of the CAV channel is high except for black where it is dead on.

The Pb portion of the CAV output is just below SMPTE and EIA 770.1.  The Pr portion of the CAV output is just below SMPTE and EIA 770.1.

Component Analog Video Data

 

YC

The Y level of the YC output is higher than SMPTE 170M. 

The chroma level is higher than SMPTE 170M.  The Chroma phase of the YC output is perfect.

Composite/YC Data

 

Video Frequency Response

The video frequency response, with the detail option set to off is near perfect.  It is one of the flattest responses we have seen, down only –0.15 dB at 5 MHz.  The YC output is a little higher and peaks up until about 5 MHz where it is down –0.04 dB.

While we don't have exact numbers for the progressive output - the 1735HD is not as nice as the VM700 - it does appear to be more like the YC than the CAV output.  By that we mean there is a tiny peak between 3 and 4 MHz.

Even though the video frequency response is very good, there is some ringing in the image on the Avia sharpness pattern.  It is not as bad as previous Toshiba DVD players, but it is there.  The long horizontal line across the pattern has the most apparent ringing. Maybe feedback is used to flatten the video response (boost the high end), like it is with audio, and there is a price (ringing) for using the feedback.

Video Frequency Response

 

Pixel Cropping

Location Pixels Comments
Top 0 Excellent
Bottom 0 Excellent
Left 4 Very Good
Right 0 Excellent

Signal-To-Noise Ratio

Format Output SNR (dB) Comments
CAV Y -49.0 Poor for Y, but the overall SNR on the CAV outputs is very good.  It is even better than the S-9100.
CAV Pb -77.3 Excellent
CAV Pr -76.8 Excellent
YC C-AM -65.1 Excellent
YC C-PM -56.4 Poor - The PM SNR is a little on the low side, so you should be using the CAV, rather than the S-Video, to get the best quality.

Component Channel Timing

We don't have the numbers or even images of what the progressive component output looks like.  We did get a quick look at it on the 1735HD, and its timing looks very good, subjectively.  We would say equal to or better than the interlaced outputs.  This is a HUGE improvement over the SD-5109 and SD-9100, which had poor timing on the progressive outputs.

Channel Timing (ns) Comments
'Pb' to Y -11.3 Good - This is just at the point where we can begin to see smearing of the edges.
'Pr' to Y -11.7 Good
'Pb' to 'Pr' 0.4 Stellar

Audio

We received the SD-6200 after the DVD benchmark, so we were unable to test the audio portion, other than the subjective impression that it sounds very good. Also, remember that a DVD player's audio frequency response is in the stereo two-channel condition, using analog audio outputs. Since most consumers use the digital output jack, audio frequency response is dictated by the DAC in the receiver. Of course, that is just our best excuse for failing to provide you with an audio frequency response graph.

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

The menu highlights disappeared on Avia when we navigated in several layers deep.  We could get them back by turning on the player’s subtitles.
Slide Show

This player could not pause on slide show material.  We got no icon.

Video Essentials

Test Results Comments
Blacker-Than-Black

This player did allow us to view blacker-than-black.  The one part that bothered us was they made it a user selectable feature.  Why?!?  Just leave it on, enough said!
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 was slower than average and took 3 sweeps to branch.
Multiple Angles

This player took about 1 second to change angles.

Menu

Test Results Comments
Loops

 
Ends

 

Field/Frame Freeze

Test Results Comments
Weave

 
Bob

 

16x9 Menu

Test Results Comments
Letterbox

 
Widescreen

 

Cropping

Test Results Comments
352x240

 
720x480

 
704x480  
352x480  

Layer Break

This player was slow, it took about 1.5 to 2 seconds to change layers.

Test (DVD) Results Comments
"Cruel Intentions"

 
"Ghostbusters"

 
"Friend" VCD We had to used forced film mode. Otherwise there were severe feathering artifacts.
"Saving Private Ryan" (DTS)  
"The Abyss"  
Chesky Super Audio 96/24 This player down converts the 96 kHz audio to 48 kHz for digital output.

Physical Response

The overall response of this player was slower than the other Toshibas.  We gave it a 4.

Test Results Comments
Setup

This player does not offer the ability to turn on or off setup on the progressive output.  We were unable to find the option.
Transcode

 
CD-R This is one of the very first Toshiba DVD players that will play CD-Rs.

Error Correction/Concealment

Pierre Vareny

The audio error correction on CD is near the bottom end of player performance.  It was able to handle up to and including chapter 30, which represents a 0.75mm gap.

Scratch the Dog

Toshiba is very good about dealing with errors in that it just keeps on going.  The picture is pixilated at Chapter 2 and the player eventually stops around chapter 17.

Usability

We received the SD-6200 after the DVD benchmark so we were unable to perform a usability study.

Progressive

The SD-6200 is using the same Genesis de-interlacing chip as the Panasonic DVD-H1000, and their performance is identical in this area.  All tests were performed with the DVD player in auto mode.  (You can select auto, forced film, or forced video.)  We chose to leave it in auto mode because we felt that most users will set-it and forget-it.

Film

Test Comments
Basic OK
Alternate OK

Video

Comments
OK

Speed

Comments
OK

Discontinuity

Test Comments
Basic X Overall frequent dropping into Bob mode.  Right hand wedge had intermittent short scintillations.  As in the video port speed tests, left hand wedge tip was corrupted with scintillation and "dot crawl" moiré pattern, from the 475-line point.  Periodically showed feathering and shredding.
Alt Y Noticeably spastic, with jerks in overall motion and very brief shredding.
Alt 1 Worse than X, more displacement and shredding on the 3:3 hits.
Alt 2 Slightly better than alt 1 but still bad.

Mixed Mode

Test Comments
Basic Y Works very well.
Alt X Works very well, slight jerk forward on some bob to weave transitions.
Alt 2 OK
Alt 1 OK

Chapter Breaks

Test Comments
Alt 1 OK
Alt 2 Two hits out of four.

- Staff -

DVD Benchmark Explanatory Articles

Introduction

Part 1 - Video

Part 2 - Audio

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

Divider

© Copyright 2000 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
Return to Table of Contents for this Issue.