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Review: Victor HD-9300 3D VHD Player

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REVIEW OF THE HD-9300

The HD-9300 VHD Video Disc player was one of Victors last 'standard' VHD players before they went completely to Karaoke based units. The HD-9500 is a step up model from the 9300 and has features such as built-in karaoke and a Dolby Surround decoder. Since we didn't need (or want) either of those features, we chose the 9300.
The HD-9300 is a full-featured disc player compatible with VHDpc devices and has the added bonus of built-in 3D playback capability. A switch to turn 3D on or off is located on the front panel as well as a mini-jack for connecting a pair of 3D LCD shutter glasses. If you need to connect more than one pair, a Y-splitter can be used with good results. If the 3D button is not engaged, then a 3D disc plays back as standard 2D and the glasses are disabled. When in the 3D mode, the disc will play in 3D and the glasses are enabled as needed. The player can sense when the glasses need to be on or off, and will enable or disable them as appropriate. For example, when doing visual search or pausing the disc, the 3D effect and the glasses are disabled - also, when playing the opening logos on the disc, which are not in 3D, the glasses are disabled, turning on when a 3D portion of the disc is reached. 3D playback is very, very good. The stylus tracks the groove kicks with no problems and no artifacts, such as field-skips, are seen. The HD-9300 also seems to be just an overall 'better' player than the HD-7900. It's picture is a tiny bit sharper and clearer, and the sound quality has a bit more 'punch' to it. Our player did not come with a remote control, but the remote we have for the HD-7900 controls all the functions of the 9300. When in the 3D mode, pressing the play button on the remote will put the player back to 2D reproduction; pressing it again returns to 3D. When switching between the two playback modes, no audio or picture distortion is seen, which is quite impressive considering the stylus has to skip to different tracks depending on the playback mode. Search times are a bit faster than the 7900, but not dramatically so, and like the 7900, all special effects are clear and clean with no distortion or noise.
Unlike the HD-7900, which had manual disc loading, the 9300 has fully automatic loading. Simply insert the caddy and the player grabs it, loads the disc and quickly returns the empty caddy. Loading time is no more than 3 seconds, complete, and is much faster than RCA's auto-loading players. Belts are used for loading in the player, but they are not the cheap rubber type but strong, toothed belts that should be very reliable and show no inclination towards "rotting" like the loading belt in RCA's players. The whole unit is very well built and like the 7900, very heavy - Victor built these things like a tank. The stylus is easy to replace and has a lock-down screw to prevent damage to the mechanism during transport. This player does not do digital sound from VHD discs, but I still haven't determined if digital sound discs were ever released - I have a good number of VHD discs that state "Digital Process" on the label, but I don't know if that means they have digital sound or not, and I haven't seen any VHD player that indicates it has digital capability - perhaps digital was available, but as a VHDpc add-on?
If you are looking for a good 3D VHD player but don't want Karaoke or the non-logic surround decoder, the HD-9300 may be the unit for you.

HDS-1100 VHD Stylus and Cartridge