Pros: Excellent picture quality, connections, TV control on the remote, features, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3
Cons: Price could be lower, no WMA, no zoom, few scan speeds
The Sony DVP-NS715P is cheaper than its predecessor (NS700P) and features progressive scan with 2:3 pulldown. It continues Sony?s tradition of pricing their products higher than competition and is more expensive than Panasonic RP62.
The silver front panel features buttons for basic control functions as well as menu controls, ?Display? button, picture mode and surround control button. The menu is controlled by a joystick-type control that feels funny to the touch ? I prefer conventional buttons.
The rear panel has both optical and coaxial digital audio outs, a component video out with a switch that allows you select among three positions (progressive scan, interlaced and menu selectable). The player also has 2 sets of A/V outs (composite video, S-Video, analog stereo audio). The power cord is permanently attached to the back of the player.
Progressive Scan and 2:3 Pulldown
The 2:3 pulldown (also called 3:2 pulldown) is a process that ensures the proper transformation of the interlaced film-based DVD material recorded at 24 fps (frames per second) to your progressive-scan compatible TV?s 60 Hz (60 fps).
The movies are shot at 24 fps (unlike TV shows), which is not optimal when you want to show it on the TV screen at 60 fps (Hz). The consecutive frames of the 24fps movie are properly shown in the following manner: the first frame is shown twice, the second ? three times, then the sequence repeats. This way, the 12 original frames turn into 24 and other 12 ? to 36, 60 frames total.
The simple line doubling operates in a way where the third frame of the 2+3 sequence contains interlaced parts of the two original consecutive frames, so fast moving objects have two locations. The 2:3 pulldown processing allows to avoid it.
HDTV Needed For Progressive Scan
The HDTV or HDTV-Ready TV is needed if you want to use this player to its full potential. The progressive scan signal can be output only through the player?s component video out and the TV needs to be able to handle 480p signal (480 lines of horizontal resolution, progressive scan).
Keep in mind that if you don?t have a TV that supports 480p, there is no need to get a progressive scan player, unless you expect to get a compatible TV in the near future. There is absolutely no benefit in having a progressive scan DVD player over a ?standard? interlaced DVD player without an HDTV.
You can still use this player with a ?regular? standard definition TV, however, and it will work the same way as a non-progressive scan player.
Among the most important parts of the equation is the picture quality. The good news is that the 715P delivers excellent picture quality in both interlaced and progressive-scan modes. The picture is sharp and features high contrast.
The not-so-good news is the fact that there are several similarly-priced (or lower-priced) DVD players that produce similar (if not better) picture quality.
Just as its predecessor, the NS715P has 3 fast scan speeds and two slow scan speeds in either direction. Panasonic RP62 has 5 fast and 5 slow scan speeds.
MP3, CD-R and CD-RW
The NS715P plays finalized CD-R and CD-RW discs, including discs with MP3 files. The NS715P has a well-designed MP3 playback interface.
However, Sony is once again behind the competition ? Panasonic RP62 plays both MP3 and WMA (WMA sounds better at the same bit rate). The player also plays Video CD and XVCD.
There are some features that you might find useful: Strobe Play (similar to a feature present in JVC DVD players) displays 9 consecutive moving pictures on the screen. Is it useful? I don?t see how.
Multi-disc resume remember the position where you stopped for up to 40 discs and allows you continue watching from where you left off. As virtually all players, this model has virtual surround sound. I have never been a fan of VSS in any form ? I think the stereo sound is better than VSS if you don?t have a real surround sound system.
Title Viewer / Chapter Viewer / Track Viewer (similar to JVC DVD players) shows 9 ?thumbnails? of titles / chapters / tracks. There are also other features like shuffle play, angle select, soundtrack select, parental control, etc.
The remote control allows you control several brands of TVs and receivers. It is bulky and some buttons are too small. The menu control buttons are located in the bottom part of the remote, and I don?t find this arrangement very convenient. The ability to control TV/Video switching on your TV as well as TV power and volume is a very useful feature not present in Panasonic remotes.
The front panel of the player has menu control buttons, which may be useful if the remote is lost or damaged. The remote has ?Instant Replay? button, which replays several seconds of a movie at a push of a button. There is no backlight.
The player is more expensive than the aforementioned RP62. Of course, the Sony has a second set of A/V inputs, a coaxial digital audio out and TV control on its remote. But it has less scan speeds than Panasonic, no WMA playback and no shuttle control (that Panasonic has).
If you need a progressive scan DVD player that has double A/V outs and a TV control on its remote, the NS715P may be a good choice. If you want a cheaper progressive scan DVD player with more scan speeds, fast operation, zoom, shuttle control and patented DCDi that plays WMA, get Panasonic RP62.