V, Inc. Bravo D2 DVD player Test & Comments

Test & Comments

Tests: The Bravo D2 had impressively low overscan overall in 480p component mode, at about 3% left and right and 2% top and bottom, and about the same from the DVI output, as viewed on a BenQ 8700+ DLP projector (1280x720 resolution, HD2+ chip).

I saw no evidence of chroma upsampling error (the "chroma bug") from the D2. There was about a three-frame delay (100 milliseconds) between the audio and video, caused by inevitable video-processing delays and typical of the players we've tested recently. The layer change was a fast 0.8 second. And as with the D1, you have to use the Zoom control with the DVI output to expand a non-anamorphic, letterboxed DVD to fill the width of a 16:9 screen. But if you then use the chapter skip button, the player drops out of Zoom and must be reset. Fortunately, the Zoom button on the remote is large and easy to find.

The D2's performance was poor to fair on the Faroudja test DVD in both DVI (all modes) and progressive component. It showed some jagged edges on several patterns, particularly the waving flag. The D2 did not capture unflagged 3:2 pulldown. It also failed to respond properly to 3:2 on the Snell & Wilcox test pattern on Digital Video Essentials. But it did well on the film-over-video and video-over-film tests. According to V, Inc., the D2 is a flag-reader—that is, it depends on a flag in the digital data-stream to indicate film-based material and switch to 3:2 pulldown mode. Most DVDs are properly flagged, but some are not.

The progressive component response was –1.5dB at 5MHz and –2.38dB at 5.5MHz. A 6.75MHz luma pattern was still clearly visible on the component and DVI outputs, as were the red and blue chroma at 3.38MHz, though both the chroma and luminance responses clearly held up better at the highest frequencies in DVI than in component.

The D2 did have an unfortunate tendency to respond unpredictably to Pioneer remotes. When I tried to make a picture adjustment on a Pioneer plasma, the player stopped. Keep this in mind if you have Pioneer products in your system.

Comments: The 3:2 pulldown limitations noted above were little in evidence on real video material. Apart from a few jaggies on Video Essentials' "Montage of Images," primarily on the waving flag and fast-moving road stripes, the picture was clean. Nevertheless, the evidence from test patterns suggests that, with sufficiently challenging program material, you should expect to see artifacts at least occasionally.

But keep in mind that the V, Inc. Bravo D2 costs $250, not $2500. The real-world performance it offers—particularly via DVI, which it can almost claim as its own at this price—is as remarkable as Fred reports.—Thomas J. Norton