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 Post subject: Tom Levin compares Pioneer CLD-D701 and Panasonic LX-900
PostPosted: 11 Apr 2022, 04:23 
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Source: https://groups.google.com/g/rec.video/c/ELIzn5Fochg

The following is a comparison of two laser disc players: the Panasonic
LX-900 and the Pioneer CLD-D701. The tests were not done scientifically
and are only the opinions of myself and my friend Joe (rab...@pacesetter.com).
Readers are encouraged to audition the two players and make their own decisions.
Review Date: March 21, 1993
Location: "The Good Guys", Northridge, CA
Time: 10:30 AM
Units Tested: Panasonic LX-900, Pioneer CLD-D701
Test TV: Panasonic direct-view tv. size was about 27".
Model unknown (I told you this wasn't scientific).

Armed with "LD-101 A Video Standard" and 2 CLV discs which have known
problems playing on an older Sony LD player, we fearlessly entered
the high-pressure world of consumer electronics.

Joe and I went straight for the LD section, distracted only briefly by the
"Demo equipment" for sale. We were instantly attacked by a salesman. He
stuck around for a while, then got bored and left us alone (thank god).
We then spent the next hour comparing the two machines.


Test 1: Bad Disc test.
We tried playing problem spots on two different discs on each machine.
Both machines played the discs perfectly.
Winner:
Tie


Test 2: Unload Disc Time
We timed how long it took for the disc drawer to completely open after
"Open" was pressed while a disc was playing. Each machine took about
8.5 seconds.
Winner:
Tie


Test 3: Side Change
We timed how long it took to change sides. The pioneer took 18 seconds.
The panasonic took 11 seconds. This is significant (IMO)! Also, the
Panasonic showed the last frame on the disc while the side was changing.
The Pioneer showed a random frame from earlier in the disc (about 1
minute back)!
Winner:
Panasonic


Test 4: Time Seek to a Certain Frame.
We did a long "seek" to a specific frame using a CAV disc. The pioneer
took 18 seconds. The panasonic took 10 seconds. This is significant (IMO)!
Winner:
Panasonic


Test 5: All Red Test
We froze the "All Red" screen on LD-101 to view the color pureness.
Both machines looked equally bad on this test.
Winner:
Tie


Test 6: All Pink Test
We froze the "All Pink" screen on LD-101 to view the color pureness.
The Pioneer had very bad color pureness with many different color bands
running horizontally across the screen. The Panasonic also had bands, but
they were not nearly as bad as the Pioneer. This was very obvious.
Winner:
Panasonic


Test 7: Horizontal Color Bars
We froze the "Horizontal Color Bars" screen on LD-101 to view the color
pureness. Pink and Blue were the worst on both machines.
Winner:
Tie


Test 8: Chroma Test
We froze the "Chroma Test Screen" on LD-101. Blue and Pink were equally
bad on both machines.
Winner:
Tie


Test 9: SMPTE
We froze the "SMPTE Resolution Screen" on LD-101. The machines were
indistinguishable in this test.
Winner:
Tie


Test 10: Scan a CLV disc
We compared the smoothness of the scanning on CLV discs. The Panasonic
seemed smoother. Also, the Pioneer seemed to skip some frames. I've heard
that the Panasonic has more field memory and can display every frame where
the Pioneer has problems towards the end of the disc. Don't know the validity
of this, though. An interesting side note: When going from freeze to play
on CLV discs, the Pioneer picture would always get a big glitch in it (a
large white streak in the middle and a quick jitter in the picture). The
Panasonic was absolutely smooth in this respect. Another plus for the
Panasonic was that on CLV discs in freeze mode, it shows the minutes,
seconds, and frame number (30 frames/sec). The Pioneer only showed minutes
and seconds. BTW, we counted the frames on the pioneer and it only showed
13 frames before incrementing the "seconds" counter. This implies that
it skips 2 or 3 frames!
Winner:
Panasonic


Test 11: Remote Controls
This is a subjective look at the remotes. Each were similar, but there
were a few notable differences. The Panasonic "Jog" dial has nice clicks
when you turn it. The Pioneer just spins freely. The Pioneer has a side
button which lights-up common used keys on the remote. The Pioneer lacks
a "Stop" button, but I believe we found a differently labeled button which
starts the disc from the beginning.
Winner:
Panasonic (IMO)


Test 12: Front Panel Ergonomics (subjective)
I don't know about Joe, but to me the Panasonic front panel was laid
out much better than the Pioneer. The Pioneer has button labels on an
area which looks like buttons. I kept pressing this area expecting
something to happen, when the real button was beneath the area I was
pressing. Bad user interface!
Winner:
Panasonic


Test 13: Misc. Comments/Problems
Two times the Panasonic refused to play a disc after loading it. We had
to re-open the drawer and close it to get the disc to load properly.
The Pioneer had no such problems. This may be a problem with this
particular demo unit. Has any LX-900 owners out there had this problem?
Winner:
Pioneer


Conclusions:
If the disc-load problem is a fluke, then the clear winner (IMO) is
the Panasonic. Note that we did not test audio at all (the viewing area
was not set-up for it). I've read in "Video" that the Panasonic is smoother,
but I expect either would be great in this respect.

There was also a new Denon player which the salesman said was really a
Pioneer combined with Denon's audio chips. This unit, he claimed, was much
better sounding than either of the two we were looking at (I doubt it).
Anyways, the Denon's front panel was better laid out than the Pioneers.
It's remote was almost identical to the Pioneer's with a few exceptions
(like the back light for the buttons was red, not green). We tried
freezing a frame on the Denon, then starting it up...yep, it's a Pioneer!
Same glitch!


-Tom Levin
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 Post subject: Re: Tom Levin compares Pioneer CLD-D701 and Panasonic LX-900
PostPosted: 11 Apr 2022, 04:26 
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jesuslovesgood wrote:
Source: https://groups.google.com/g/rec.video/c/ELIzn5Fochg

Test 13: Misc. Comments/Problems
Two times the Panasonic refused to play a disc after loading it. We had
to re-open the drawer and close it to get the disc to load properly.
The Pioneer had no such problems. This may be a problem with this
particular demo unit. Has any LX-900 owners out there had this problem?
Winner:
Pioneer


Some of you may remember I mentioned issues with my LX-900 revision 1995 where sometimes when I put a disc inside it that it wouldn't read it unless I opened the tray and put the disc back in. It doesn't do this often and I don't remember the last time it did that but Tom talked about it here. I think it's when the player is brand new or barely used that it starts having that weird issue. The LX-900 I own was either barely used or LIKE New when I bought it. It came with the original box and I believe the original manual unless it's a reprint. Looks like the original manual because it has some weird cartoon strip on it explaining how not to use the player. I should probably take a picture of that and post it on here.
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 Post subject: Re: Tom Levin compares Pioneer CLD-D701 and Panasonic LX-900
PostPosted: 12 Apr 2022, 14:21 
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jesuslovesgood wrote:
We did a long "seek" to a specific frame using a CAV disc. The pioneer
took 18 seconds.

It should not take 18 seconds. If it does, something was wrong with the CLD-D701.


jesuslovesgood wrote:
We froze the "All Pink" screen on LD-101 to view the color pureness.
The Pioneer had very bad color pureness with many different color bands
running horizontally across the screen.

This is an electrical adjustment on the CLD-D701, so it is hard to tell if it was optimally set.

I'm not trying to sound like a Pioneer fanboy: if I had the choice between the two for the same price, I'd go with the LX-900.
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 Post subject: Re: Tom Levin compares Pioneer CLD-D701 and Panasonic LX-900
PostPosted: 12 Apr 2022, 16:27 
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I'm sure I posted this before but will post again.

I remember talking to Grasshopper and he was saying that a lot of these CLD-Dxxx players, I think especially the 7xx series were not calibrated
properly at the factory and that all 3 of the techs at the time, Duncan, Grasshopper and Kurtis would always do these adjustments on those player.

Unknown as to why, if this was a QC issue or just poor instructions at the time before they let the players out to the general public.
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 Post subject: Re: Tom Levin compares Pioneer CLD-D701 and Panasonic LX-900
PostPosted: 13 Apr 2022, 13:31 
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Could be either. CLD-D703 is significantly easier to fully adjust than the prior models.
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 Post subject: Re: Tom Levin compares Pioneer CLD-D701 and Panasonic LX-900
PostPosted: 18 Apr 2022, 09:17 
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I planned to reply to this sooner but needed more time to research the points I wanted to make (actually learned a few things along the way). Also, trying to juggle a full time job & a newborn and you know what I am going through right now. :yawn:


Quote:
Source: https://groups.google.com/g/rec.video/c/ELIzn5Fochg

The following is a comparison of two laser disc players: the Panasonic
LX-900 and the Pioneer CLD-D701. The tests were not done scientifically
and are only the opinions of myself and my friend Joe (rab...@pacesetter.com).
Readers are encouraged to audition the two players and make their own decisions.
Review Date: March 21, 1993
Location: "The Good Guys", Northridge, CA
Time: 10:30 AM
Units Tested: Panasonic LX-900, Pioneer CLD-D701
Test TV: Panasonic direct-view tv. size was about 27".
Model unknown (I told you this wasn't scientific).


What I highlighted above pretty much tells me all I need to know. As for the rest of this unscientific review, I'll nit pick every one of their assertions.....


Quote:
Armed with "LD-101 A Video Standard" and 2 CLV discs which have known
problems playing on an older Sony LD player, we fearlessly entered
the high-pressure world of consumer electronics.

Joe and I went straight for the LD section, distracted only briefly by the
"Demo equipment" for sale. We were instantly attacked by a salesman. He
stuck around for a while, then got bored and left us alone (thank god).


I worked at The Good Guys! around this period and we were paid on commission w/ a low base salary. Thus, our job was to simply make a living (and really barely enough to live on) and not attack a customer. This is the kind of disrespect from customers that really turned me off on top of the pathetic attitude some had that "the customer is always right" which is crock (a customer has the right to voice a concern and then you work to resolve it).

Anyway, it's sad when I hear the occasional complaint that there are no knowledgeable sales people around anymore. Well, no one wants to do a job like that if you treat salespeople like crap. Although there are definitely some really bad sales people, there are good one's too.



Quote:
We then spent the next hour comparing the two machines.


Test 1: Bad Disc test.
We tried playing problem spots on two different discs on each machine.
Both machines played the discs perfectly.
Winner:
Tie


Hmmm.... sounds more like the Sony LD player they owned had an issue playing the disc was the real problem. I own a lot of used discs in various conditions and they all play fine. This test only proved they don't recognize they own an LD player in need of servicing.

Quote:
Test 2: Unload Disc Time
We timed how long it took for the disc drawer to completely open after
"Open" was pressed while a disc was playing. Each machine took about
8.5 seconds.
Winner:
Tie



Why is this even relevant? You can't wait a second longer to load or unload a disc? Seems like an odd thing to consider.


Quote:
Test 3: Side Change
We timed how long it took to change sides. The pioneer took 18 seconds.
The panasonic took 11 seconds. This is significant (IMO)! Also, the
Panasonic showed the last frame on the disc while the side was changing.
The Pioneer showed a random frame from earlier in the disc (about 1
minute back)!
Winner:
Panasonic


Not going to question this. Alpha Turns are slower since the mechanism was designed to flip the pick-up in a manner to keep the laser facing the same direction for Side A & B (U-turn on the Panasonic as well as Epsilon Turn on later Pioneer players reverses the direction of the laser that supposedly could cause picture quality differences even though I never noticed it myself).

Also, the random frame grab on the Pioneer is annoying to me as well so that is why I engage "film mode" on my 701 to just show a black screen during side change. It also speeds up the side change as the player doesn’t look for a random image before making the flip. Thus, if our amateur reviewers tested it that way, maybe this test might have ended closer to a tie but the Panasonic would probably still win.



Quote:
Test 4: Time Seek to a Certain Frame.
We did a long "seek" to a specific frame using a CAV disc. The pioneer
took 18 seconds. The panasonic took 10 seconds. This is significant (IMO)!
Winner:
Panasonic


I have seen this before on some of my discs. Not sure if it's a pressing flaw on certain titles but it definitely is not a consistent thing I experience. I can use another CAV disc on the same player and would be fine. So I'll give it to Panasonic as it probably has more advanced tracking circuitry since the 701 is an older model (702 should have been compared but they aren't that much different).


Quote:
Test 5: All Red Test
We froze the "All Red" screen on LD-101 to view the color pureness.
Both machines looked equally bad on this test.
Winner:
Tie


Test 6: All Pink Test
We froze the "All Pink" screen on LD-101 to view the color pureness.
The Pioneer had very bad color pureness with many different color bands
running horizontally across the screen. The Panasonic also had bands, but
they were not nearly as bad as the Pioneer. This was very obvious.
Winner:
Panasonic




Test 7: Horizontal Color Bars
We froze the "Horizontal Color Bars" screen on LD-101 to view the color
pureness. Pink and Blue were the worst on both machines.
Winner:
Tie



Test 8: Chroma Test
We froze the "Chroma Test Screen" on LD-101. Blue and Pink were equally
bad on both machines.
Winner:
Tie


Test 9: SMPTE
We froze the "SMPTE Resolution Screen" on LD-101. The machines were
indistinguishable in this test.
Winner:
Tie



I'm no expert on test patterns so I can't say anything one way or another. Also, in the year 2022, I don't think we would be too picky acquiring a less than desirable performing player seeing we really can't be too picky with what is available out there to acquire. We take what we can get even if it sucks.


Quote:
Test 10: Scan a CLV disc
We compared the smoothness of the scanning on CLV discs. The Panasonic
seemed smoother. Also, the Pioneer seemed to skip some frames. I've heard
that the Panasonic has more field memory and can display every frame where
the Pioneer has problems towards the end of the disc. Don't know the validity
of this, though.


The LX-900 probably would have more memory since it deploys a full time field memory buffer (that's why the player has a more digital looking picture). I am not sure what the reviewer means by the Pioneer unit displaying fewer frames toward the end of a CLV disc. The fact is, field memory is "approximating" frames for CLV discs so I don't expect a whole lot of accuracy here especially when viewing LD's shot from film sources that have to be converted from 24fps to NTSC 30fps.


Quote:
.....An interesting side note: When going from freeze to play
on CLV discs, the Pioneer picture would always get a big glitch in it (a
large white streak in the middle and a quick jitter in the picture). The
Panasonic was absolutely smooth in this respect.



This is an aspect of the test I really wanted to nit pick as this is a great example why these guys are not very knowledgeable about how a Digital Field Memory Buffer works.

Yes.... the Pioneer CLD-D701 will have those glitches when engaging special effects playback on a CLV disc because the player does not deploy a full time field memory buffer like the LX-900. This was a design choice by Pioneer (as well as Panasonic on their LX-1000) since I believe the particular field memory they used was not that great from a picture quality perspective for normal playback (I did test my 701 recently w/ field memory forced on for playback and honestly speaking it looks the same to me with it off so maybe I am wrong about the circuit causing a softer picture; I know my CLD-3030 definitely looks better w/ field memory left off). The odd thing is that Pioneer did have the technology to deploy (what I believe) is a higher resolution field memory circuit as they implemented one in the Elite CLD-95 which came out the same year as the 701 (possibly it was too expensive at the time so that is why it took them two more years to make it more affordable in the CLD-D703). Also, it should be noted that the full time field memory on the LX-900 & CLD-D703 do look more "digital" and some people don't always like that especially if there is an interest of running these players into a video processor / scaler to improve image quality (it basically double processes the signal & introduces artifacts). For the Elite CLD-95 & CLD-97 with their full time field memory, people claim they still have a more "analog" looking picture that in turn works well w/ the extra processing (I have a 703 & 97 but have yet to confirm this).

Maybe Kurtis can tells us the pros and cons of all the ways field memory was implemented for different models from 1988 to the last generation players. I could use more education on this. :think:


Quote:
Another plus for the
Panasonic was that on CLV discs in freeze mode, it shows the minutes,
seconds, and frame number (30 frames/sec). The Pioneer only showed minutes
and seconds. BTW, we counted the frames on the pioneer and it only showed
13 frames before incrementing the "seconds" counter. This implies that
it skips 2 or 3 frames!
Winner:
Panasonic


I don't recall if I ever saw the LX-900 being able to show frame numbers. This would be a unique feature. Maybe jesuslovesgood can confirm this? I also texted a friend of mine to confirm on his LX-900 but have yet to hear back.

Anyway, I already mentioned earlier that frame counting for a CLV disc is probably an "approximation" made by the field memory circuit and further affected by whether the disc played back is film (24fps) or video (30fps) based. I tested a CLV movie on my 701 just recently and counted anywhere from 20 or 27 frames within a second. I also tested my VCR and got exactly 30 frames in a second (which makes sense since helical scan video is designed that way). I planned to test a DVD but ran out of time but I assume it would be similar or worse than LD depending on the player. So what does it all mean; maybe not much to the casual viewer. If one really has to study a movie on LD, just get a CAV version of it.



Quote:
Test 11: Remote Controls
This is a subjective look at the remotes. Each were similar, but there
were a few notable differences. The Panasonic "Jog" dial has nice clicks
when you turn it. The Pioneer just spins freely. The Pioneer has a side
button which lights-up common used keys on the remote. The Pioneer lacks
a "Stop" button, but I believe we found a differently labeled button which
starts the disc from the beginning.
Winner:
Panasonic (IMO)


Yeah.... Pioneer's "Stop" button is actually "Stop/Eject" on the remote. And although I know this is about "remotes", I have to wonder why he didn't notice the "Play" button on the 701 front panel is "Play/Pause". C'mon....if one has to diss dual function buttons, be more thorough.


Quote:
Test 12: Front Panel Ergonomics (subjective)
I don't know about Joe, but to me the Panasonic front panel was laid
out much better than the Pioneer. The Pioneer has button labels on an
area which looks like buttons. I kept pressing this area expecting
something to happen, when the real button was beneath the area I was
pressing. Bad user interface!
Winner:
Panasonic



Really? I'd like to ask Joe if he could tell us what Tom's eyesight was like during this trip (although it could be poor lighting as Good Guys! stores were particularly dark). He probably would love the remote that comes w/ a CLD-V2800 :thumbup:

Image


Also, the jog wheel on the LX-900 front panel doesn't have that "clickity" feel like it has on the remote; shouldn't that be a demerit?



Quote:
Test 13: Misc. Comments/Problems
Two times the Panasonic refused to play a disc after loading it. We had
to re-open the drawer and close it to get the disc to load properly.
The Pioneer had no such problems. This may be a problem with this
particular demo unit. Has any LX-900 owners out there had this problem?
Winner:
Pioneer


jesuslovesgood has this issue. :lolno:

But really. I think everyone has this issue every so often. Most of the time it is clamping issue possibly caused by a stretched loading belt (although this shouldn't be an issue back in 1993). Right now my ProScan (Pioneer clone) has been sporadically spitting out CD's so I'll need to look into it at some point.



Quote:
Conclusions:
If the disc-load problem is a fluke, then the clear winner (IMO) is
the Panasonic. Note that we did not test audio at all (the viewing area
was not set-up for it). I've read in "Video" that the Panasonic is smoother,
but I expect either would be great in this respect.


Good Guys! store always set-up their LD players on the same shelving as the VCRs' which means no connection to an audio system. This was the reviewers big mistake. They should have went to a store that specialized in LD and had players set-up w/ a high end home theater system. I bet they didn't even try to adjust the monitors used w/ the LD players which makes this test even more flawed (which now calls into question all their test pattern tests mentioned above). :roll:


Quote:
There was also a new Denon player which the salesman said was really a
Pioneer combined with Denon's audio chips. This unit, he claimed, was much
better sounding than either of the two we were looking at (I doubt it).


Yeah... Tom is right about that. I'm assuming it was probably a Denon, LA-3100 which is a clone of the CLD-D701 (but with a more CLD-3090 front face)


Quote:
Anyways, the Denon's front panel was better laid out than the Pioneers.


Anyways.... I guess I can admit the LA3100 (assuming this is the player) has a more appealing look. Regardless, Pioneer still designed the Denon front facade so it's still a win for Pioneer.


Quote:
It's remote was almost identical to the Pioneer's with a few exceptions
(like the back light for the buttons was red, not green).


Yeah..... Remember I mentioned a moment ago about questioning Tom's eyesight? The back light on the Pioneer remote is yellow; not green


Quote:
We tried freezing a frame on the Denon, then starting it up...yep, it's a Pioneer!
Same glitch!


Once again; not a glitch.


Quote:
-Tom Levin


Thank you Tom for your incredibly subjective review based mostly on personal preferences.
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 Post subject: Re: Tom Levin compares Pioneer CLD-D701 and Panasonic LX-900
PostPosted: 18 Apr 2022, 14:38 
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ldfan wrote:
So I'll give it to Panasonic as it probably has more advanced tracking circuitry since the 701 is an older model (702 should have been compared but they aren't that much different).

I think the CLD-D701 was roughly manufactured same time, but a fair chunk of the CLD-D701 was carried forward from the older CLD-3090. CLD-D701 tracking is adjusted manually, but LX-900 tracking is adjusted automatically. The LX-900's tech makes the CLD-D701 look dated. Pioneer did have a sort of similar digital tracking before the LX-900 on the LD-V8000.

ldfan wrote:
The fact is, field memory is "approximating" frames for CLV discs so I don't expect a whole lot of accuracy here especially when viewing LD's shot from film sources that have to be converted from 24fps to NTSC 30fps.

LD-V8000 shows frames when you hit the display button. I've never really experimented with it though. CLV discs can carry frame numbers, but in a different format than CAV.
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 Post subject: Re: Tom Levin compares Pioneer CLD-D701 and Panasonic LX-900
PostPosted: 18 Apr 2022, 18:32 
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cplusplus wrote:
LD-V8000 shows frames when you hit the display button. I've never really experimented with it though. CLV discs can carry frame numbers, but in a different format than CAV.


I would definitely like to learn more about this. My gut feeling is that frames on CLV wouldn’t exist in a normal manner as you say like on CAV or video tape since we obviously can’t still frame a picture on a non-digital player. Thus, digital memory must be creating the frames on the fly but maybe not.
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 Post subject: Re: Tom Levin compares Pioneer CLD-D701 and Panasonic LX-900
PostPosted: 19 Apr 2022, 00:04 
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ldfan wrote:
Thus, digital memory must be creating the frames on the fly but maybe not.

I think it has to, but I'm missing some understanding on this.

IEC 60857 covers what I mentioned in section 10.1.10
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 Post subject: Re: Tom Levin compares Pioneer CLD-D701 and Panasonic LX-900
PostPosted: 20 Apr 2022, 01:32 
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ldfan wrote:
Quote:
Another plus for the
Panasonic was that on CLV discs in freeze mode, it shows the minutes,
seconds, and frame number (30 frames/sec). The Pioneer only showed minutes
and seconds. BTW, we counted the frames on the pioneer and it only showed
13 frames before incrementing the "seconds" counter. This implies that
it skips 2 or 3 frames!
Winner:
Panasonic


I don't recall if I ever saw the LX-900 being able to show frame numbers. This would be a unique feature. Maybe jesuslovesgood can confirm this? I also texted a friend of mine to confirm on his LX-900 but have yet to hear back.



My friend did get back to me and confirmed his Quasar, LD-700 (Clone of the LX-900) has no frame counting display on CLV discs. So now I believe Tom was mistaken and confused by "ABS Time" on TOC encoded CAV discs. This is a feature that Pioneer introduced in 1989 so it should be a standard feature on all players by 1993.

Pro-Scan, PSLD43 (Pioneer, CLD-2090 clone) showing ABS time
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