"When I was a young lad, I was not one easily drawn in by full-framed features and fancy accessories. For there was always a bottom line to be found--when I knew who she was, and how she could integrate into my system, the bottom line was, did she output?
As more and more consumers enter the digital revolution, a metamorphosis occurs between the weekend watcher and the videophile. While entry-level DVD players boast a cast of features that deceptively mirror those features found on players at nearly five times their price, it doesn't exactly mean that you'll be getting an "intelligent" player.
In my opinion, companies need not bother to combat this. They simply need to create products for those market shares or forget them entirely and focus on driving technology.
Yamaha happens to be in the fortunate position to engineer products at any price point. Inevitably, those features included among their upper tier offerings today will make their way into the entry-level products of tomorrow. In theory, at least.
The recent release of the DVD-CX1 5-disc DVD carousel brings several quality features together while keeping pace with the type of user that will likely purchase it--those who are looking beyond just a DVD "changer" and more towards a component with "custom" intentions.
Unique Features - The Yamaha DVD-CX1 features progressive scan output, selectable via the remote control or thru a button on the faceplate of the unit. Direct access to the progressive scan feature is a godsend. Otherwise extra time (and sometimes frustration) must be taken to go into the menu of the player to select the scan mode. (Discs with a frame-rate higher than 24 frames per second often look terrible in progressive scan players due to compatibility issues.)
In addition to the progressive scan feature the DVD-CX1 also offers 3:2 pull-down conversion and a reinforced anti-vibration, copper shielded chassis.
Other performance and custom features include two 4:4:4 progressive component video outputs, two composite and two S-Video outputs. When the outputs are combined with the I/O remote ports and RD-232-C computer control ports, and extended I/R commands, the DVD-CX1 becomes the perfect candidate for multi-room operation.
While I don't categorize the following features as unique, they certainly offer convenience.
Dual-lasers offer compatibility with CD-R/W,
DVD-R/RW/+RW discs as well as MP3 decoding.
The PlayXchange carousel allows for up to four CDs or DVDs to be changed while the fifth is still playing. And the parental lock feature keeps your spouse from showing off your home theater to friends. (You didn't really think that the parental lock was developed for kids did you?)
Click to Page 2 for Installation, Evaluation, and the Final Take.
Like any full-featured DVD player, the Yamaha
DVD-CX1 will take some time to get familiar with. This is where I lodge
my first complaint.
Although the on-screen menu is easy to navigate and the supplied remote
control is well thought out, the owner's manual falls well short of
explaining the features and their applications to users.
Overall, the actual use of the Yamaha DVD-CX1 is comfortable. Both
the remote control and faceplate offer direct access to many commonly
Upon opening the packaging and lifting the Yamaha DVD-CX1, my first
impression of the component was a positive one. The chassis is
overbuilt. A double layer top and bottom plate, copper shielding and
other anti-vibration enhancements yield a player of 23 pounds. I'm a
sucker for weighty components and it is here that the Yamaha scores big
Where it begins to lose points, however, is in the way the unit is
finished off. This hefty player with all the lovely aforementioned
characteristics then rounds the corner by taking a simple, slick, black
anodized aluminum face plate and accenting it with, err, em, plastic
buttons. So she opened the door and it was like, barn, bang, blow, and
gad-zoiks! What in the hell happened here?!
I wasn't going to let shoddy grille work get in the way of a
perfectly good date. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a person who is easily
captivated by F.F.L. technology (Funky Flashing Lights) but I do expect
more out of a top tier product than I do out of an entry-level model.
The internal make-up of the Yamaha is where the date has promise.
DCDi by Faroudja Processing, Full 10-bit Pipeline, Burr-Brown 192kHz,
24-bit Audio D/A converter and Dual Laser Pickup make for interesting
conversation. So the date continued.
I broke away from my traditional "reference" DVD collection to enjoy
Black Hawk Down. I figured any film that won Academy Awards in both
Audio and Visual Categories had to be worth a look. I connected the
player to my Zenith D56W25 56-inch, 16:9 HD rear projection monitor
using Revelation Trinity II component video cables. Sound was connected
to a Marantz SR8200 receiver via Revelation Lighting digital optical
Where do I begin? I did several A/B comparisons with the various DVD
players we had in the lab. (I will not disclose the players because this
is not a head-to-head comparison.) There are a couple of scenes in
Black Hawk Down where, when using the Yamaha DVD-CX1, I was able to
clearly see particles of dirt on the film. There are also several cuts
in the film where, through the use of filters, various colors are
somehow enhanced. Only one out of the other two units I had on-hand was
able to achieve this detail. However, the black levels appeared much
more pronounced on the DVD-CX1. I then refined my efforts even further
through various audio selections.
This is where the Yamaha really stood alone. The audio selections
through the DVD-CX1 were concise and presented a unique openness. Such
revelations allowed it to better its video performance through
"enhanced" perception. What I mean to say is that because of the detail
and clarity in the audio segment of the Yamaha, it made the overall
experience more revealing. Dare I use the term, psycho perceptive
Final Take - The Yamaha DVD-CX1 appears to be a player targeted
towards the masses with its all-inclusive features, simple look, and
5-disc carousel design. But with its custom install oriented features
and interface capabilities, and at nearly $1,300 retail, it is more than
a stone's throw away from the mainstream.
The DVD-CX1 is clearly built to last and, in my opinion, geared more towards those with an ear for sight and an eye for sound.
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