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Discussion Starter #1
I hope nobody minds I'm starting a new thread with this specific subject... I read this as-branded player is supposedly of limited distribution, time-wise and country-wise (I got mine at Walmart in Canada), so best to get the little I know out while it's meaningful to those who may be interested. The distinguishing feature of this player is that it can play DVD and BD from all regions, via a not-so-secret manufacturer's menu (select Setup without a disc loaded, then press 8,5,2,0).

Please bear in mind I just opened and turned this thing on tonight. So this is just some pertinent info, not details. I also have a PS3 and OPPO BDP-83, fairly reasonable standards to form an initial contextual opinion. $88 +$2.75 Eco fee (not a tax! :)) in Ontario at WM...a little over $100 overall with HST.

Absolutely first: especially important to those who are like me and are dubious of cheap stuff they might want to return: the remote will probably not work with "regular" North American AAA batteries, like Duracell and Energizer. Yeah, you used those, didn't you, so that if the player was a dud you could return the whole package in relatively pristine condition? (OT mostly, but apparently WM uses a service to make sure some returned goods are "correct". IOW they don't seem to care...but thanks for being thoughtful anyway!) Compare NA/Japanese standard AAA cells with the ones Seiki includes...notice the subtle physical diffs. The included batteries have a longer + "prong", and the protruding plastic at those ends of the battery compartment will not allow most of our regular AAA batteries' + terminals to touch the contacts. Result: dead remote, almost useless player. Now the remote has a prominent QC sticker on it, so naturally I was pissed. I do have proper tools to open stuff like this without leaving a mark, but in this case a credit card or two would work if you're curious re guts (it's kinda slick really). Six mostly passive electronic components inside, how could it work if they really did QC? Answer: they used batteries like they supply LOL. Solution: with a small screwdriver/needle-nose or something similar, pull out both + contact springs a tiny bit. After all, those supplied C-Zn batteries won't last for long and you'll need to use normal ones... Numerous people complained they had a dead remote right out of the box, probably people who do like me.

Next thing: the bottom right side (as viewed from front) of this player gets incredibly hot. It is the only BDP (of four) I've ever had without a fan. One way they keep the price down. It's the quietest BDP I've ever owned! :) I would try to elevate the player by an inch; the shape of the bottom makes this a bit awkward, but not too bad if you can put something only under the existing feet.

Odd stuff: The tray requires two hands to take a disc out (for me)...you can't grab the disc by the edges and lift it out anyways, have to poke it up from underneath first. No front panel display...no problem for me, and I've never seen a BDP you could actually set up and totally use normally without a TV/display (like for playing music only).

More important stuff: This player is VERY fast and responsive to commands. Nice. FF speeds are similar to the Oppo, up to 32X only ("5") which pales compared to the PS3 (120X). Remote is very usable...let's just say it's a lot more usable (to me) than some remotes from certain companies who sell stuff at 20X+ the price (cough Denon/Anthem). Cheap but not unpleasant, buttons have shape differentiation and decent spacing (unlike Sony's PS3 BT remote e.g.). The differing button shapes/spacing help considering there's no backlight. Also decent IR output level and sensor sensitivity. (I expect most people will use another remote if they keep the player, as I will, but JIC.) There is a player-specific control menu (unusual IME) that you can pop up at any time, unlike the player Setup menu which you can't. You can view and change quite a few parameters from there, but some you can't change (typically separate buttons for those). Displays separate audio and video bitrates which are occasionally interesting (Oppo can't, PS3 can).

I only used HDMI audio and video. It sends ALL forms of audio bitstreamed via HDMI just fine, and I tried uncommon types like 6.1 TrueHD and 6.1 DTS-HD MA with no problem. The common 5.1 and 7.1 HD formats are fine, as are all PCM. Likewise with DD 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1-ES (both discrete and matrixed) from DVDs. Short: no limitations when bitstreaming current DVD and BD audio formats; totally as expected, but you never know...

1080p/24 BD looks very good. It's hard to screw this up, and they don't. If there's any diff between what the Seiki puts out, compared to the Oppo and PS3, I can't tell at this point.

I only tried specifically-selected VERY good DVDs, so this wasn't a torture test. (The Oppo excels at upscaling crappier ones, but not really crappy ones like for some TV shows. The PS3 is quite poor at upscaling many DVDs *in comparison* to the Oppo.) Let's talk the (PJ remake) King Kong DVD, which IMO is among the very best PQ ever put out on that medium. With the Seiki I bet somebody would have to (casually/unknowingly) watch this for quite a while to tell it isn't the BD (which also has VERY good PQ BTW, but not quite as "impressive" considering the medium). I also tried the R2 Narnia: Prince Caspian DVD, and it also looked very fine, no worse than I remembered it from an Oppo 2 weeks ago. So, we know the other region feature works, and still looks very good when outputting in *PAL* (sorry, did not check the PAL->NTSC conversion yet, it is not something I would ever normally use with my Pio display). I do not have any non-region-A BDs now. That was my main intention for getting this player. I have some on order from my long want-list of BDs not available in our region (Canadian films even!) so can report on that aspect in about a week.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, engineer with not much to do LOL. I went into details about the remote because quite a few people said it didn't work right out of the box, as mine didn't. I think one guy said he had to buy 3 before he got a working remote; a nuisance, having to pack the whole thing up and trek back to WM each time just for the remote. (WM does NOT like customers plugging in stuff in their stores. :)) So, when something simple doesn't work, the next step is to neatly take it apart and find out why (as it turned out, that was unnecessary). I bet even the included batteries don't work lots of the time, the spacing is that critical as supplied, people will see the problem right away once they know what to look at.

Most people seem interested about the MKV/Divx capabilities, something I don't ever use and know nothing about...others say they are quite good if using standard/properly formatted files.

There is a USB port (rear only) and an Ethernet port. I didn't try either port yet, maybe tonight. The Ethernet port is ONLY for BD-Live and FW updates, not streaming. There is also S/PDIF digital audio output, both coaxial and optical...untested.

I should have mentioned I only tested 1080p HDMI video output for BD and DVD, I wanted to see the best it could do. The system the BDP will often be used in is CRT-based and will use 1080i via component, so that is my next test. But another forum member may be taking that TV soon, so it may be moot for me but it seems a lot of people do use 1080i with this player so worth me having a look anyways. Also, this Sony TV doesn't do PAL so I can check the PAL->NTSC conversion at 480p.

No S-video output, a common situation for BDPs. I actually would have used that for something if there was one LOL. There is a composite output though. Just mentioning, somebody may want one of these to sometimes use with an old cottage TV etc., cheap players often get used with older stuff. In that vein there are stereo (only) analog outputs.

I did test but forgot to mention that the HD audio formats could be converted to LPCM via HDMI if that's what you need. However, like the Oppo BDP-83 (and unlike the PS3), 6.1 formats are NOT converted properly (why I specifically tested them, d'oh), you lose the back channel in the conversion. The much more common 5.1 and (on BD) 7.1 are converted fine though. So in the first post I should have actually said it correctly HDMI bitstreams all forms of BD/DVD audio in their *native* format (which is all I normally use, but I understand LPCM is used by quite a few people).

I may have glossed over the player's "hot uneven bottom" aspect, but that is actually a problem for me with that 1080i TV and how/where I was going to place the BDP...the TV's top is plastic, and you don't want the bottom surface anywhere near plastic. My placement of the previous DVDP there was crap/stupid anyway, so now I'm spurred to find a better way...

In case people lost track of the reason this player is "interesting" throughout my verbosity, it is *only* because it can play all regions of DVD and BD (well, theoretically, I do not have discs from all regions). I am not at all suggesting it should be selected instead of one of the other name-brand BDPs in the $100-150 range, for the typical R1/A user. But if you want a BDP that steps outside of the fuzzy legal box, as stock, you pretty much need to go off-brand guts these days in North America.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
After I hooked up the Ethernet there still wasn't an option to do an FW update via the net, contrary to what I said before. Disc/USB only. Not that I expect any FW updates, ever. Less critically important than if this was a year or two ago, but still a notable drawback (edit: presumption that there'll be no new FW).

Though the bottom of the player seems to get very hot, I guess it's not as hot as I thought. I measured it after 3+ hours of continuous BD playing (RotK) and it was 41.5C at the hottest spot. My Denon 3808 AVR, which I only use as a pre-pro, measured 42.5C on the top...and I didn't even look for the very hottest spot. It has adequate ventilation, and has been running this way for >2 years (except for an ~3 month stint), often for >18 hours a day and rarely less than 16 (I recently started turning it off more often, to get in the "spirit" of the eventual TOU rates). The BD wasn't even very warm when I took it out of the player; they are often hottish when I remove them from the Oppo. Just saying...doesn't mean much except the heat is not necessarily a panic thing and the drive itself isn't hot.

Dumb stuff: The way it's displayed it looks like you can set up to 12 bookmarks for a disc, but there's no way to ever access these player-specific bookmarks once set. As far as I can find, for video discs. Would be an OK feature if it was fully implemented.

Dumber stuff: OK, this probably only bothers me (a lot) since nobody else has mentioned it. When Paused, the player goes into screen-saver mode (if enabled) after 3 minutes, at which point it also shuts down the drive. That's good, some players don't stop the drive. But the player shuts down to Standby after being in Pause mode for 9 minutes, no way to disable that. Never heard of any other player doing that... This would be a fine feature, especially since this player starts up so quickly, but it's an absolute pain with Java BDs. If it wasn't such a pain, I'd stop/standby the player instead of Pause in the first place. I am pretty sure not ALL Java BDs allow bookmarks too. I *know* this will be a problem for me as I have poor viewing habits and the attention span of a gnat. The player has already shut down several times (from Pause) for me and I've only used it for two evenings. For me to get distracted for even 10 minutes barely counts as an interruption...it starts out as only going away for a minute usually... :)

Obscure stuff: The player works with 100-240VAC, 50/60Hz. This, combined with the all region capability, makes this one of the only world-wide-usable DVD(/BD) players (less plug) we've ever been able to easily buy here. I already know of one acquaintance who bought one to send overseas as they can't easily get BDPs in his native country (though amazon will ship the discs).

Very obscure stuff: this player can work with a balanced power AC supply. My BP itself definitely does NOT seem to like the Oppo BDP-83, it makes funny noises. Now I have seen BP make a good DVD pic look noticeably better, but this is my first BDP I've been able to use with BP. I'm not saying the BD 1080p/24 pic looks *better* than that from the Oppo, but I'm not saying it doesn't either (it does look that good from the Seiki now...if I had two copies of the same BD would be easier to compare [edit: found some exact duplicate BDs in the "trade" pile, can try this later]). BP usually drastically improves digital sources, that's why I like to use it...largely because of the line isolation for a start. I used to think BP wouldn't "do anything" with gear without a 3-prong plug, but it does.
 

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biggest question: where can you find the replacement battery for the remote?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
^ Not even the dollar store it seems, the ones around here have Panasonics, but maybe... I'm using Duracells. Just pull the + contact springs out a mm. (They use the same conical springs for + as you normally use just for -, except in this case the + springs are totally [over-]compressed by protruding plastic until they are flat and no longer springs.)

Re the heat again, since that seems to bother some people. Last night I measured some spots on the front of the plasma screen. Hottest spot was 38.8C (probably has a PS in back of there)...compared to the "hot" spot of the Seiki at 41.5C. I did not adjust the emissivity of the IR thermo for the plasma screen as I had no clue what it should be, but just saying a lot of this modern stuff runs pretty warm. I can certainly notice the heat off this plasma the last few weeks... :) I have moved the Seiki to the RPTV (runs very cool in comparison) for the 1080i component tests, "B" BDs should arrive in a couple days too I expect.
 

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come to think of it, I think you can get those batteries from Deal Extreme website. The service of that site is super sucks, though.
 

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BTW, I went to Bayview-MajorMackenzie (Richmond Hill) Wally World and Stoufville Wally World Supercentre this past weekend, I didn't see that BD player.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
^ Well, as far as looks go, you didn't miss seeing *anything*. :)

I've had it for a week. They had a stack of them locally back then, and apparently they've been selling them for almost 2 months and they were promoted as limited availability (whatever that means). WM can move incredible quantities of merchandise in a short time. They also may sell something every day for a year (or ten...) then suddenly one day never again... That is why I bought the player: easier to have and not want (i.e. return), than to want and no longer find. They move one helluva lot of cheap disc players in the TO area. Frankly I'm amazed people in general want this stuff, why I can never be rich. Well, one of the reasons... I have no sense for what the mass-market wants.

I know you have an eye for the better stuff, so again you'd probably only want this player for its region capability. Other than for that in the main system, its "home system" for me will be a 1080i/480p 51" TV that I only use while on the treadmill. So hardly requires excellence, but I was pointing out the player is a lot better than that for the times that I *will* care...

Hmmm, the Wallyworlds you checked out are not exactly in the ghettos (can I say that??), could have something to do with their not having it LOL. (Those are possibly the two richest-neighbourhood WMs in Canada.) But then neither is the one here. I have noticed that the income level of a neighbourhood has little to do with their purchasing habits. Just try selling *legitimate* discs around here, everybody wants to pay Pacific Mall prices, *used* PM prices even for still-shrinked new stuff...
 

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I'm interested in this player because there are so many music videos from UK, AU and DE that I want to buy none of which are playable in our region (A). Hopefully I can find it and buy one near my area.

I'll check it out again next week! Thanks!
 

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There are tons of the Seikis in the WMs here in the suburbs of Montreal, the central location WMs are all out to 1 or 2 units left. I have seen them being sold from late May 2010.

Can anyone confirm if they will play DivX files ?, I heard that it can even though it does not mention that in their manual or website.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I can't confirm the DivX thing from actually playing them, I really don't know much about them. But I have read elsewhere it plays many types (whatever that means LOL) quite well, partly depending on what sort of memory device they're on (like USB stick/drive).

I guess it must play *some* types at least to some extent because there is a DivX registration code provided in one of the menus (it is mentioned in the manual, but not with the playable disc types as it's really a file format).

There are other things the player does that are not mentioned in the manual or on the box. It certainly *recognizes* DTS HD-MA just fine, even if it doesn't convert it to LPCM (I forget if it actually does, it's not something I use, probably mentioned what I found well above). Not to mention the region thing.

A hint to David that I just remembered: the stack of Seikis was not displayed in the same aisle with all the other BDPs/DVDPs at the local WM. I wouldn't have found them either if I wasn't looking really hard...
 

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thanks for the info, cfraser. I'll look harder when I go to my local WM this weekend.

Another question, what does your instinct say regarding possible FW update from this unknown company. I'm a bit wary should this company doesn't issue any FW update to the point I can't play new BD movies (well, in my case, music videos)
 

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Any idea if this player is the Harmony Remote database?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Another question, what does your instinct say regarding possible FW update from this unknown company. I'm a bit wary should this company doesn't issue any FW update to the point I can't play new BD movies (well, in my case, music videos)
I wouldn't hold my breath for an FW update. I think you'd have to go in assuming there won't be any.

There have been plenty of BDPs for multiple times the $100 cost that never had any meaningful/timely FW updates, and I'm talking the big name-brands here. And eventually some of those names just say we're not supporting this machine anymore, maybe it's only a year or two old, and there are lots of BDs they have trouble with. They could update the FW, but instead put out a new model with the fixes. I really don't expect Seiki to treat me any better than Samsung/Pioneer/LG/etc. That's my answer LOL. Now a justification:

But that was then. Firstly, things are a lot more stable now than a year or two ago. Lots less problems. BD-Live is pretty well-established on BD (even if you didn't use it, it could affect playback), not nearly as many surprises.

Secondly, it is usually (not always!) the latest Hollywood blockbuster BD that "breaks" a BDP. The types of BDs you and I mainly want this player for are typically NOT those sorts from the big HW studios with lots of fancy push-the-BD-envelope features. If they were, they'd be released here and we could buy the "A" version (to play on our "other" players, the ones that *do* get FW updates). It's my policy to NOT buy non-R1/A discs if R1/A is available, unless there is a massive price difference or it's reportedly very superior (superiority is common enough). If this was going to be somebody's *only* BDP, I would probably look elsewhere because I do think FW updates are very important. But as mentioned, there's just no guarantee that *any* manufacturer will do one, you basically buy players as-is with no particular (future) performance guaranteed etc. etc.
 

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Just wanted to say that the Pal->NTSC conversion looked pretty good on my Ashes to Ashes DVD's definitely no worse than my Toshiba SD7200
 

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Discussion Starter #19
^ Good to know. For sure I would have forgotten to test that, even though I said I would. :)

I have had a chance to briefly check out a couple of the "B" BDs I just got (tried Elite Squad and Touching the Void so far). You really only need to check one to make sure the B-thing works, and it does, everything else is the same as playing an "A" BD, no conversion etc. (like with R2 DVDs for many displays). I doubt I'll ever check a "C" BD...

[That UK amazon has been so reliable the last few months. If I order in-stock BDs and keep it under ~$20 per package I'll have them in 7 days guaranteed. Maybe sooner, but I only check the mailbox after 7 days (I get *so* much other important mail!) and they're always there. Pretty good service from all concerned IMO.]
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I have completed my tests. I only play commercial discs. I mostly don't bother to even make my own discs or transfer stuff to other storage media (except for backup, which means it doesn't get used "normally"). So others will have to test that stuff.

Also, though I have an HDMI 720p display too, I never use it for actually viewing program...testing that would add nothing to the discussion of the player's general features or ultimate PQ capability.

The final thing I did was make sure everything worked on an older 1080i display via component; it did, looked good too. Not quite as good as the PS3 component IMO, and I've never tested the Oppo; I was using very good and short component cables that were great with other players before but you never know, the PS3 has dedicated ones. I did notice the very top edge of what the Seiki puts out gets cut off on my display, most obvious because the "not allowed" circular logo has a slightly flat top. I would presume there is overscan too, normal for a CRT-based display, but how much may be adjustable and will vary by model and settings i.e. this is mostly a function of the display, not the player.

Like many other players, but not all, the Seiki is very convenient to move back and forth from an HDMI display to a component one. No fear of getting a totally blank display to adjust the Setup menu: it detects and adjusts to the highest res possible it seems i.e. it selected 1080i for the non-HDMI display (from 1080p via HDMI that I had set it to). I don't know what it would do in ALL cases, but you should get something, it isn't stuck on the last setting when it detects a connection change. I didn't have to change ANY player settings at all, moving from a digital (HDMI) to an analog system, and back. The only thing that would make it easier to move around for me was if it didn't have a captive AC cord, which is pretty trivial compared to disconnecting the analog A/V cables vs one HDMI cable (some of my AC receptacles are awkward to get at, whereas the player back never is).

Analog audio was fine, but this was just into the TV, so... No player volume control, which are best not to use anyway if possible.

The only thing I wouldn't mind verifying but haven't is if there *might* be some limit on how many times you can change the region settings. (How can you verify there is "no limit" by testing?) It has already been reported that 10 times was fine. I didn't see any warning message that there were only "so many" changes left...usually you see that if it's limited IME.
 
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