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Is the format war about to resurface? Does Toshiba have the Blu-ray killer?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Premium
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    I do not see any format war resurfacing IMHO.

    I see one of two things happening:

    1. It actually makes a difference in improving SD-DVD viewing and they will sell players with that technology. For consumers that are happy with DVD's and are not looking into getting into Blu-ray any time soon. The technology could very well make them some money.

    2. Or Toshiba might end up sideling it if it is not well received by other consumer equipment manufacturers.

    But IMHO the format war ended and I do not see it coming back around for round 2. [​IMG] I think that Toshiba would exsperience some seriously backlash if they actually tried to revive the format war somehow.
     
  2. Bud Huey

    Bud Huey Stunt Coordinator

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    Being "Clark Howard" cheap, I personally would welcome any technology that will upconvert my existing DVD collection to better quality - even if it is NOT a "Blu-Ray Killer". I will buy a Blu-Ray player some day, but I will only buy "special" movies - like my favorite concerts or great action flicks in Blu-Ray to take advantage of the higher definition video and audio tracks.
     
  3. David Deeb

    David Deeb Supporting Actor

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    A month after its release....

    Insert "crickets" sound here.
     
  4. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Screenwriter

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    Actually, I purchased one of these and am fairly pleased with it.

    The 1080p 24hz output mode alone is worth the price of the player if you own a front projection system. (My current front projector is a 720p Optoma HD-65.) This mode vastly reduces "judder" on film-based DVDs. (PLEASE NOTE that I had to put the player in 1080p 24 Hz mode and let my projector downscale that to 720p in order to get the maximum benefit from the player. The "SHARP+COLOR" XDE enhancement modes work best at this setting as well.)

    For me, good quality transfer film-based DVDs look *much better* than basic 1080i upscalers on my system. I think it's due to the combination of the judder reduction and the XDE circuitry. Also, CGI films ("Cars", "Madagascar") really look close to hi-def quality.

    I'm still purchasing a Blu-ray deck after the format matures a little (and I'm already purchasing select Blu-ray titles); but this deck really does make my DVDs look better than they ever have before. So I'm pretty happy with the thing.
     
  5. troy evans

    troy evans Screenwriter

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    Joseph, I purchased one as well. I bought this with the intent to take it right back if it didn't deliver on it's promises. My Samsung BDP-1500 was already blowing me away with it's upconversion. I was trying to trim down my equipment rack not add to it. Well, added this player and put my Oppo in the bedroom. Needless to say, I kept the Toshiba and have been impressed by it. It met all my needs. It is NTSC/PAL, can be made region free and has the best upconversion I've personally seen. I really thought more people here were going to buy one and at least try it for their sd dvd libraries. Guess I was way off the mark.
     
  6. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Screenwriter

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    There *is* some "weirdness" associated with the player, but it's all minor from my perspective, and may be fixed via a future firmware update:

    1. When in any of the XDE modes ("Sharp","Color",Contrast") still frames presented by the player appear "edgy". So FBI Warnings and even static DVD Menus look awful compared to a regular player. As soon as the movie starts, though, everything is fine. The speculation is that the player requires at least two frames off the disc in order to output one in the requested upscaled format.

    2. Very occasionally I have experienced some "macroblocking" for a brief moment around "bad" layer changes. (I consider a "bad" layer change as one that is inserted in the middle of a scene.) One time the audio even went out of sync for a few seconds. In every instance that this occurred -- and it's only happened to me twice so far -- I have been unable to reproduce the error. The player would probably be better served by pausing for a brief second during a layer change. *** EDIT *** I probably should mention that the two times I experienced this problem the player was set to output 1080p 60 Hz. I haven't experienced this problem at all at 1080p 24 Hz.

    As far as I'm concerned those are very minor annoyances to have to put up with in order to obtain the incredibly satisfying upscaled picture from my old DVDs.
     
  7. troy evans

    troy evans Screenwriter

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    I've experienced the edgy effect as well. Your explanation was one I hadn't considered so thank you for that. Toshiba has hit onto something here. This technology is incredible. If Toshiba ever does put out a Blu-ray player it needs to incorporate this XDE for sd dvds. I've thrown every kind of crap transfer or lackluster sd dvd I have at it and it does wonders every time. What I notice most is that it adds a depth to the picture. It enhances backgrounds and seems to increase resolution in the foreground as well. Some would say it's edge enhancement, but, there appears to be much more involved then merely that. I do think that edge enhancement plays a part in it. The best way I can describe it is to imagine an out of focus shot being brought into focus. Sd dvds are brought into focus with this player.
     
  8. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Screenwriter

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    I agree. I fed it some 9 year old DVDs (the oldest in my collection). These DVDs' -- while anamorphically enhanced -- still suffered badly from background mosquito noise and EE "ringing". The mosquito noise was greatly diminished by the player. The "ringing" was still there; in fact it was a smidgen worse. But the overall balance of the picture (black level, contrast, color) was so much better than the resulting picture was still somewhat satisfying. One transfer that the player could *not* help much was the non-anamorphic "True Lies". This transfer was below standard when it was initially released and seems like a complete joke now. But I can't really fault the player for failing to rescue that mess!
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Interesting findings.
    You guys should post about this in the SD area. Here most members will own a BD- (and/or HD DVD) player already and they may be less interested in an additional upconverting SD DVD player.


    Cees
     
  10. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I wonder if the XDE is doing something akind to "local contrast enhancement" instead of simply standard EE. Sure sounds like it might be doing something like that (besides whatever else):

    Tutorials - Local Contrast Enhancement

    Still wonder if we might eventually see this show up in a firmware update for the PS3. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    For myself, I can't really see buying another DVD player just for this. Maybe if my Denon (non-BD) uni-player dies, but even then, I'd need something that plays SACD well -- that's more important to me than moderately better DVD upconversion/enhancements.

    _Man_
     
  11. frankie108

    frankie108 Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for posting your impressions of this SD DVD player, Joseph. I'm going to treat myself to this player over the holidays where I expect some heavy discounting.
     
  12. frankie108

    frankie108 Stunt Coordinator

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    Best Buy now has this player for $99.99.
     
  13. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    NO! Nada.
     

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