Thanks to Sascha for the pictures.
The archive site has a copy of the Operation Manual for the CLD-2850. Please see the manuals page.
big beef about Pioneer's two previous models of play-both-side combis (the CLD-2600
& CLD-2700 has been
that they were PAL only and while positioned as upgrade machines proved
impossible for anyone with even just one NTSC disc in their collection to
upgrade to. Well, Pioneer has fixed that with the 2850 (photo above) which
offers PAL/NTSC duality but again messed it up rather by leaving off the
analogue sound replay for PAL. The price of the new machine is £699.95.
double-side play function works with just the one laser assembly. In a standard
player there is a track running beneath the disc - from the centre spindle
towards the back - on which the laser runs. On the 2850 there is another track
mirroring this above the disc. This accounts for the slightly increased height
of the casing. The laser starts off under≠neath, playing the disc from the
centre, and when it reaches the end of the side it continues onto a little
cradle which rotates through 180 degrees. When aligned with the upper track the
laser then travels back into the centre of the disc but from above. While this
is going on, the disc has to stop and begin to rotate in the opposite direction.
All this takes about 13 to 15 seconds and apart from a few audible clunks, does
so fairly smoothly. Pioneer has been making double-side players for several
years now so the idea should be relatively fault free.
certainly a great improvement not having to get up and change a disc over each
time and there is also the other little ways it improves convenience. For exam≠ple,
it doesn't matter if you accidentally put the disc in the wrong way up. Rather
than have to change it over, you just need to tell the laser to read it from the
other side. Also, if you've ever reached the end credits of a movie and seen
someone mentioned in the cast list you didn't notice in the movie itself, it's
no trouble to switch hack to the start of side one and scan back through the
whole thing. This is real couch potato stuff.
you don't have any old PAL discs, and are pretty sure you won't ever get any,
then the 2850 might be worth considering except for the fact that picture
performance was again disappointing. Pic≠ture detail was much less than the 1850,
to the extent that discs were visibly 'soft', even without needing to do a
direct player-to-player comparison. With the same title synched up in each, on
an NTSC cartoon disc, for example the colour boundaries looked quite smudgy
compared with what one is used to. Subsequent tests of resolution gratings told
quite a different story, however. For both the 1850 and the 2850 these looked
perfectly respectable and actually an im≠provement on the 1750. So how come
this doesn't translate into more detailed pic≠tures in a real world situation?
The logical conclusion is that the weakness is some≠thing to do with the colour
portion of the signal or at least how it is mixed with the luminance/black &
white. All these resolu≠tion gratings ignore the colour aspect of the signal by
being carried out on a black & white monitor. Doing resolution tests on a
colour TV can be problematical because there are bound to be corruptions of the
combined colour/black and white signal around the relative sub-carrier
frequencies (3.58MHz for NTSC, 4.43MHz for PAL). The TV will be doing this in
order to suppress various blending effects so it is not therefore possible to
allot a picture characteristic to either the source (the LD player) or the
replay system (the TV).
resolution is essentially a lumi≠nance characteristic anyway the colour signal
does have a resolution of its own but it is not significant in PAL and NTSC.
The answer to the quandary came a few days later when discussing with Videotec the possibility of restoring the analogue sound feature. Videotecís engineers were of the opinion that Pioneer had economised on the video signal processing, employing cheap "lump' filters this time round to the detriment of the final colour picture. So while both the 1850 and 2850 are basically capable of resolving a proper amount of detail, subsequent econo≠mies in the design have negated this asset.
has developed a modification for both the new Pioneer players to restore the
analogue sound, which it is claimed does the job better than the usual quality
of sound circuits in production players too. Audio improve≠ments are often very
difficult to pin down but it has become apparent that recent players do often
have trouble with sibi≠lance on analogue discs. This is one quantifiable
problem that Videotec claims to improve by increasing the number of components
it employs in its analogue soundboard.
can also fix the video side of the new Pioneer players by installing its S-Video
board (which needs to be used with an S-capable TV, of course) and, though the
finished product has not been tried as part of this review, one could well
believe the result to be closer to the normal expectation of LD quality.
aside, as far as off-the-shelf machines are concerned, neither of these new
Pioneer models has impressed in respect of laser's most important feature -the
detail and clarity of the picture.
promotes the 16:9 button -
both the new players Pioneer has put the 16:9 button for those as yet
non-existent 'squeezed' wide-screen discs into a very prominent position on the
remote. Why should it be doing this when there is so far no suggestion of such
software being introduced. Pioneer UK says it will only release such discs when
wide-screen TV takes off, which it consid≠ers to be some time away Pioneer
itself is not pinning to introduce any widescreen TVís yet.
that makes a certain amount of sense but is there actually any need for
widescreen TVs to justify the release of squeezed widescreen. The principle
behind these discs is that the unused scanning lines above and below the image
(the black strips) could be used for picture information. In manufacture the
image is stretched vertically and spread over all the normally unused black.
When played back the image is compressed back down to the correct height. The
consequence is that maybe up to 100 previously redundant scanning lines are
brought into use to generate the image, thereby increasing the vertical
resolution. (You must have noticed bow vertical detail is sacrificed in
if this is bow the squeezed laserdisc can be made to work there is, in fact, no
reason to delay introduction to coincide with wide-screen TVs. Providing some
black can be generated by other means to fill the top and bottom of the screen.
the picture resolution advantages could be equally enjoyed on a standard 4:3 TV.
Squeezed LDís don't need widescreen TVs to be viable. What is needed to make
them viable is to avoid any requirement for double inventory - to make both
standard and squeezed versions of the same title. This is not economic and
retailers would throw up their bands at such a prospect here in the UK where the
product is hardly established as it is. However, if Pioneer fits the 16:9 button
on all its players or TV manufacturers achieve the same result by putting the
function on TVs for example, many new Sony TVís do this), then it might be
possible to introduce such a format without undertaking two-version release. The
only consumers who would be inconvenienced by the new type disc would he those
without either a switch on their player or their TV.