Without this publication. as a reference, it's easy to see how the public can be confused when buying new consumer electronic gear. There are plenty of new products on store shelves with only a salesperson or printed description to show the way to a good buy. That's why so many people become brand loyal when they find a good product; or at least they seek out a name they know.
One of the most recognizable names in the electronics industry is Yamaha. Since building their first Hi-Fi player in 1954, Yamaha has earned an excellent reputation as one of the world's leading manufacturers of audio and home cinema systems, not to mention everything else they produce--like musical instruments, motorcycles and even bathtubs.
Unique Features - The Yamaha DVD-S530 comes in an attractive silver finish case that is very stylish. A black finish is available in some areas if silver isn't to your liking or doesn't match other equipment. The design of the front panel is both handsome and functional, with a power button to the left and five functional controls to the right of a center mounted disc tray. An orange colored LED display is located below the disc tray and is brightly lit for easy reading up close. From across the room, however, the thin orange numbers are often tough to view even when using eyeglasses or the proverbial squint method. The display has a three mode presentation of CD text for showing a CD title, the artist's name and title of the track.
This player has the versatility to play a multitude of discs. People longing to burn their own music or video discs can use a computer to make 12 hour long CDs with MP3 music files or home wedding videos on DVD+R discs to view from the comforts of a sofa. Video and audio playback is enhanced by a number of technologies not always included in DVD players in this price range. For instance, the DVD-S530 reads a disc using a 10-bit video D/A converter and a 96 kHz, 24-bit audio D/A converter for improved quality picture and sound. Another technology Yamaha included in the DVD-S530 is Chroma Upsampling Error Correction. Simply stated, when a DVD player decodes an MPEG bitstream, often horizontal streaks or jagged edges appear in the video output from an affliction known as the chroma bug. Yamaha has greatly reduced this undesirable characteristic that affects brightly colored objects. The end result is a clean looking picture, thanks to a better process of decoding MPEG information. The casual movie viewer may not recognize a chroma error but, once pointed out, it's an annoyance better eliminated.
The video quality from a disc is affected by many variables. Production standards, the manufacturing process and even room lighting can turn a theatrical affair into a boring feature. The DVD-S530's Picture Fine Tuning can compensate for levels of saturation, brightness and contrast for optimal viewing. What's more, a screen saver is built into the player that is activated when in pause mode. Once paused, the screen dims by 75% to protect the display.
An onscreen menu bar using a graphical user interface (GUI) helps control the operations using icons for adjustments. From the onscreen menu button on the remote, a menu bar overlay appears on the screen with a teal blue background. Three separate menu bars can be toggled to control general operations. The first menu bar controls preferences, subtitle settings and color & sound modes. A second menu manages video playback such as slow motion, frame advance and camera angles. The final menu bar displays title, track and time search roles. The result of the Yamaha version of on-screen menus is a quick and user-friendly system of tackling convenience features with a pleasant looking, easy to read display.
Click to Page 2 for Installation, Evaluation, and the Final Take.
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use - The setup is simple and easy. I
attached a new "Ultra" interconnect from Monster Cable that is THX
certified to the composite video output terminals of the Yamaha. This
was followed by connection to a Zenith L30W26 LCD widescreen HDTV
monitor for a first rate picture. Finally, coaxial and digital optical
connections were made from the coaxial and optical output terminals of
the DVD player to a Yamaha RX-V430 audio/video receiver playing through a
Mirage Omnisat 6 speaker ensemble. Audio and video cables of lesser
quality are supplied for those needing to attach the DVD-S530 to a
television or TV and two channel stereo system. Outputs on the rear of
the Yamaha player include S-Video, composite and component video
terminals with the aforementioned optical and coaxial digital audio
terminals and dual mixed 2-channel audio outputs.
Final Take - The timing of this test was nearly perfect. I'm dating
this review by mentioning that I had just received a bunch of new DVD
movies for Christmas as most home theater nuts probably did. Testing the
picture quality with titles such as Ice Age, Attack of the Clones and
Black Hawk Down proved impressive. I couldn't detect the dreaded chroma
bug after repeated attempts. I have an older Apex DVD player that is
notorious for this and even newer expensive players often are troubled
by rough-edged images. Dual optical laser pick-ups focus independently
to help improve video quality. My findings of the imagery were above
average overall. This may have been in part to mating the DVD-S530 to
the Zenith LCD display, but real world use with a more modest television
shouldn't suffer much. The picture was slightly grainy but very
tolerable. After making some minor adjustments, I found a good blend of
brightness with fairly sharp and detailed video.
Having burned a few CD-R discs with MP3s previously, I opted to check
out the audio attributes. I was disappointed that one of my favorite
compilation discs could not be read by the Yamaha. I have never had an
error reading the disc in other players, but Yamaha makes it clear that
there is not 100% compatibility with all discs it accepts. My assessment
of the audio operations was adequate and sufficient for a player in
this price range and category. But most owners of the DVD-S530 will
probably exploit the unit with DVD movies. DVD soundtracks through the
TruSurround 3D analog output produces lifelike sound images with deep
bass, richer dialogue and a wide soundstage through two channels.
The included remote control is small and compact. Buttons are fairly
well placed, but I couldn't help feeling the controller was more of a
toy than an input device for a sophisticated electronic device. Using
all but the most basic functions required looking at the remote which
could stand to gain more weight and backlit buttons.
The DVD-S530 has a potent video performance and notable features to
rival players much more expensive. My hat is off to Yamaha for building
on their long standing reputation--offering a useful player that is full
of features and positive qualities without packing excessive bells and
whistles to wow amateurs and annoy enthusiasts.
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