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A few words about....Blu-Ray

A Few Words About

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#41 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 02 2004 - 01:17 AM

Ryan,

have you been reading this thread? One of the major issues is the two proposed *competing* high-def disc formats: HD-DVD versus BluRay. They are *not* the same...being pushed by different companies and various studios may put out movies on one format and not the other.

Since Sony is behind BluRay, you can bet your bottom dollar that Sony will make "BluRay" players that have nothing to do with HD-DVD.

Toshiba, similarly will be selling "HD-DVD" players that don't do a thing for BluRay discs.

just like with SACD and DVD-audio, most players by major manufacturers will probably not play both formats...but cater to one or the other, though all players ought to play today's standard DVDs. However, I'm sure we will see some "universal" players offered by companies not affiliated with the two camps, and that's of course what most of us would want to buy.

Yes, you'll see all three movie "disc" formats for sale...regular DVDs, BlueRay titles (not offically "DVDs" by the way...they are literally "bluRay" discs), and HD-DVDs...
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#42 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 02 2004 - 01:35 AM

"I want my MLP..." (sung to the "I want my MTV" tune)

Agreed that it's a bit unfair at present to try to judge the final sound quality of whatever DTS-HD has to offer. But in any case I know where Dan is coming from...and it's a good place...a desire for the best-sounding high-def movie format the consumer could obtain! After years of the compromised audio on DVD...which can't hardly compete with the "old fashioned" 2.0 PCM of laserdisc, it sure would be nice to finally get some movie-audio to make us tube-loving LP-spinning audiophile grin from ear to ear...
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#43 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 02 2004 - 08:54 AM

Not even an issue...all HD hardware had the capability to downconvert to any given resolution down to NTSC. They'll also run on 60Hz wall current for those sold in the U.S.--not something you need to see printed to be sure of either.

There is no reason why an HD/BluRay player wouldn't do the same thing. Not even a worry...don't lose sleep. If any player happened to *not* do this, it would be the exception to the rule.

Good news, because you'll see an improvement in PQ over standard DVD even with a 480I NTSC TV when watching dowconverted HD software due to the increase in chroma resolution! Even before you get your HD set, you can start to build a library of HD software and begin to enjoy a PQ improvement right off the bat with your legacy display.

-dave Posted Image
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#44 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 03 2004 - 06:55 AM

His point was that the "raw" HD master won't just be dumped onto HD-dvd or blueray...the studios have just as much of a chance of mucking up a gorgous film-tape transfer with bad filtering, edge-enhancement, and compression (all applied when that master is being "processed" for home-media) as they do now with current DVD.

The same film-tape transfer (ie, source HD master) can look *very* different depending on the subsequent care it receives before hitting the shelf in a consumer-purchasable form. The problems we see on the Cold Mountain DVD have nothing to do with the film-tape transfer...they were all generated during electronic processing of the digital image during DVD production. The former and newer My Fair Lady DVDs were both sourced from the same digital (standard def) master...but the newer one is much cleaner, less video-noise, more detail, less edge-ringing and general a more natural image. All due to less mucking-up through better mastering care. HD masters coming to a hi-def format will encounter the same set of issues we have today with standard-def software...just one more reason why I think it's so important for the studios to "learn" how to properly master films with standard-def DVD...hopefully they'll make their mistakes now, figure them out...and HD media will look all the better for their experience...

-dave
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#45 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 03 2004 - 07:50 AM

Or I might have mis-read...in any case...the time it takes to prep a DVD even when a film-tape transfer already exists still take quite a bit time just for the usual produciton issues (usually several months if not longer...even when an HD/SD master already exists!).

Quote:
Do you think they'll actually start mastering these things on large displays or will they stick to small albeit high-resolution monitors?

If they use actual large-screen HDTV's to view the material (as George Lucas uses ON-SET when filming) maybe the studios would realize what works and what looks absolutely terrible.

That's my hope too. Even up close, the eye just doens't "get" picture quality the same way on a small monitor that it does on a large-screen (and most small CRT monitors have shadow-mask artifacts that obscure fine-detail when viewed from a 1.5 screen-width...this includes HD displays!!!)

You gotta see it big...
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#46 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 04 2004 - 02:08 AM

Troy,

OF COURSE! A 1920 x 1080 signal downresed to 1280 x 720 will look vastly better than a 720 x 480 signal up-converted to the same resolution.

On way to think about it is that decimating down from a higher resolution still means that the 1280 x 720 sample points represent "real" picture information (ignoring the math needed to convert since there's no 1:1 factor relationship between the two high-res resolutions), but upconverting the DVD means that the new sample points are being interpolated...basically it's a "smoothing" algorithm that takes the "rough edges" of the 720 x 480 blocks and smooths them out to make the picture more analog. It's analagous to oversampling digital audio prior to d/a conversion...interpolating more sample points between those in the source signal to "smooth out" the waveform so it's not stair-steppy. Sounds (looks) better than the "raw" low-res image...but not as good as a signal that was recorded with a higher sampling rate. An audio signal that was recorded at 24/192 will still sound better downresed to 20/96 than a 16/44.1 signal upconverted to 20/96 for the same reason.

Did I confuse you more or help explain?

BTW, I have a momitsu DVD player that upconverts everything to 1280 x 720P also...and I run this digitally via DVI to my DLP projector. The image with a good DVD is *stunning*...it's hi-def "like" even if not quite hi-def in quality. You've got a CRT projector? What DVD player are you using? The Momitsu provides astonishing detail and PQ with 720P/1080I via both DVI and the analog component output whereas some other players (Bravo) only do their best via DVI and have a relatively soft picture via analog component.

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#47 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 08 2004 - 08:12 AM

John,

officially, you aren't able to do what you do right now (play DVDs of regions outside your own where you live)...so manufacturers have clearly found a way to market DVD-players to you that accomplish what you want despite it not being offically sanctioned.

I'm sure those same manufacturers will have the same interest to sell you hi-definition DVD players that accomplish the same thing. Be patient...

BTW, I've got a region-free DVD player that passes full-resolution via DVI...and I love it! I'm there with you...I have to at *least* be able to do all that I do now with whatever future HD product I buy...

or at least I'll hold on to my current player for my SD product while I wait for the perfect "does everything" player...

-dave Posted Image
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#48 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 08 2004 - 03:50 PM

Just think how clear all that edge-enhancement will look in hi-definition!

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#49 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 14 2004 - 02:08 AM

Rob exactly.

These hybrid discs...while a great idea in theory...in practice will offer poorer-quality Standard-def images than "regular" DVD and also poorer-quality HD image than regular HD-DVD and certainly BluRay.

With a hybrid disc all you'll be getting is a single layer for each type of content...when is the last time that a 2 1/2-hour feature-length film was released on a single layer DVD? It's been a *while* people because almost all movies are released dual-layer these days to ease compression and improve PQ.

We'll be back in "early Warner" days, for those of you who can remember...with hybrid discs.

And who wants to cram the HD image into a single-layer too? Isn't the HD viewer going to want his image to look good on his projection system with no visible artifacts (which includes filtering, by the way)?

The only titles that could go hybrid without visible compromise would be short easy-to-compress films...which is not the norm.

If they had managed to have a 4-layer HD-DVD with 2 layers for standard-def and 2 for hi-def now *that* would have been a REAL solution...but it's not the case.
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#50 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 15 2004 - 03:50 AM

BluRay is doing their best...can't think of anything they've done other than give us a new format with a vast increase in storage capacity and even gone out of their way since the format's first specs to include new wavelet codecs like WM9 and hi-res LPCM/DTS-HD compression for lossless multi-channel sound.

I want to see BluRay make it. I think that HD-DVD is a long-term compromise (storage space) for a short-term solution (lower produciton costs). Eventually, BluRay will cost the same/less to manufacture *and* can be increased far beyond the curreng 50 gig specs with added layers...something that HD-DVD will never do.

-dave
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#51 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 16 2004 - 02:11 AM

Eric,

in A/B testing, high-bit-rate MPEG2 still has some high-frequency roll-off that's an inevitable artifact of even "perfect" MPEG2 compression while even at 1/2 the same bit-rate WM9 looked nearly transpartent to the source D1 master.

Not that MPEG2 is "bad"...but newer compression algorithms have surpassed it in transparency so let's make use of them (and they can achieve this at less than 1/2 the bit-rate MPEG2 uses on D-VHS!)
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#52 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 16 2004 - 04:50 AM

I'll preach and spout off all kinds of rhetoric and really think that I mean it.

But once LOTR comes out on high-definition disc...or Cinderella...or Finding Nemo...or Blade Runner...I'll have a much harder time giving in.

Hopefully a universal player will be made available before too long...
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#53 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted December 27 2004 - 01:55 AM

Folks,

don't ignore this line:

Quote:
JVC will forward a proposal to the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) to have the technology accepted as a specification for future commercialization. The company is also working on a Blu-ray/ DVD combo ROM disc with an even larger 58.5GB storage capacity. The proposed disc will be comprised of a 50GB Blu-ray dual layer and 8.5GB DVD dual layer structure.

JVC is also working on the best-of-both-worlds, a hybrid bluray/DVD that uses *dual* layers for both formats...a four-layer disc! That's the ultimate solution...a 2-layer blu-ray and DVD-9 on the same side of the same disc. Win-win.

Let's hope Sony does adopt JVC's proposal into their format spec. Sounds like an incredible potential for all consumers groups.
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#54 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 03 2005 - 02:28 AM

As much as I love DSD (SACD's audio codec) for its sound quality, it's not really suited for a "video" format or "home theater" system where bass management and other environment-processing needs are present. DSD is designed for "direct" playback with no processing. Any DSP of any kind would require conversion to PCM which reduces sound quality and makes the DSD advantage moot...might as well have gone with PCM/MLP/DTS-HD from the start in such a case.

-dave
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#55 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 03 2005 - 06:07 AM

Quote:
Don't you think SACD's been a dismal failure due to it's poor sound, and
not marketing? Let's face it, good quality redbook CD's (such as
Telarc, etc.) sound better. In fact, the few SACD's that I also have
redbook copies of, I listen to only the redbook versions. And THAT's
why SACD is a failure.

Hugh? That is *very* bizzare. What type of SCAD player do you have? What type of system? What exactly sounds "better" about red-book CDs in comparison to SACD counterparts to your ears?
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#56 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 10 2005 - 07:26 AM

yes but you're missing *his* point that obviously our main interest is in the high-definition capability...but being able to have an entire series (or several series) of a favorite television series that is "hard coded" on SD-professional BETA tape on a single disc without having to change discs to locate programs or keep them in chronological order...is also a positive.

Many, MANY TV shows starting with programs from the late 1970's were recorded onto video and do not have film-source elements from which to derive an HD transfer. While MASH and Star Trek will look stunning in HD transfers...the Muppet Show is natively Standard-Definition. If it were upconverted by the studio...and recorded as "fake" HD on BluRay, the risk would be that the studio's processing might be inferior to your own equipment's capability (more likely than you'd imagine).

Personally...I'd love to have the whole Muppet Show series on a single BluRay disc. Not as much as I'd love to have Moulin Rouge or Lord of the Rings in real 1080P...but both functions take the best advantage of the format's potential *that they can* given their source-limitations. While I might not be willing to puchase a BluRay player just to get SD TV shows conveniently placed on a single disc, I certainly would be willing to buy those programs on BluRay once I own a player and replace my former SD-DVD multi-disc versions.
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#57 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 11 2005 - 02:03 AM

Quote:
Doesn't the HD format boast a better color sampling ratio? That's one benefit of getting everything in blu-ray or HD-DVD again, even if the source is NTSC. I can definitely see a difference in the punchiness of colors between watching a DVD vs. watching HD.

Yes.

Watching Moulin Rouge on D-VHS makes the DVD look like a cartoon in comparison.

Same is true even for a more subdued film like Master and Commander. Once you see the color rendition of the HD counterpart, the DVD version becomes a digital, artificial-looking facsimile by comparison.

-dave
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#58 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 11 2005 - 08:26 AM

Quote:
Yes, but those are films. I believe the original question referred to material whose masters are NTSC-quality (i.e., stuff shot on video, or edited on video).

Thanks for clarifying.

"NTSC" is a really broad...and almost meaningless term the way we usually apply it today...because the most accurate definition of NTSC would be an analog composite video stream...like over the air broadcasting or laserdisc. The limitations of color sampling in that paradigm is limited by the limits of matrixing color information into the NTSC format...

However, in modern studio recording...people call things "NTSC" that really aren't. A component-digital 720 x 480 digital tape is *NOT* NTSC...it's "Standard Definition" and vastly superior to NTSC. Now, if it were converted to analog and matrixed into a composite video stream...it would be NTSC. By the way...DVDs aren't "NTSC" either...they are component digital video in nature...they are "standard definition".

So does HD have better color that NTSC? yes....because of the natural limitations of bandwidth when you matrix color information into a composite video signal.

Does HD have better color than *standard definition*???

That depends...if the source component Standard-Def digital master used 4:4:4 sampling (my technical understanding in this area is weak so be forgiving) and 12-bit processing...then maybe not. Does the HD media have better color fidelity than DVD? Yes...because the DVD spec involves a more limited color resolution and bit-depth per sample than what could be theoretically captured by a digital camera or telecine transfer.

Now, realistically, most Standard-Def TV material really *is* NTSC because it was down-mastered to composite video tape. However, some more modern Standard-Def programs mastered in component digital could potentially have better-than-DVD color information.
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#59 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 12 2005 - 06:53 AM

Also, keep in mind folks that when we say "35mm" we're not really considering the 35mm release-print that the studio sent to your local cineplex to be the benchmark of quality.

We're talking about the resoluton that a well-photographed 35mm film negative can obtain. It's MUCH higher than what you're used to seeing projected from mass-produced film prints...and it's the source (the negative or early-stage print) that can be used for digital transfers.

If you want to know how much detail a 35mm film frame could potentially hold...go and dig out your old slide projector and some (good) 35mm slides and shine them on a sheet or wall next to your HDTV image. Your "great" high-def image will suddenly look like it's missing some serious detail in comparison!
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#60 of 1148 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 12 2005 - 12:43 PM

Neil,

you're right on the money. That "continuous" nature of film is the same reason why analog-recording also sounds better than the CD medium in many ways...in essence it has "infinite" resolution if we think of resolution as the ability to place a point of information at any location (unlike the "graph" nature of digital capture which can only plot information at sample and quantization intersections). what does get in the way of good analog mediums is when noise (film grain, distortion etc.) begin to compete with low-level detail and obscure it. But digital noise behaves differently...so one can't just compare the "noise floor" of an analog and digital recording medium and expect them to sound the same...generally analog wins-out given the same noise-floor of a digital medium because the continueous nature of analog still allows for more information to be perceived inspite of the "overlay" of noise (or a euphonizing of the signal...as the case with some even-ordered harmonic distortion of analog media or the "bloom" of the film medium)...whereas in digital recordings...noise (quanitization error) is actually defined as the *absence* of information...

In any case...

the reason that images look "sharper" on your HDTV is for several reasons:

1. viewing angle. Image "size" isn't the best way to think of it because sitting farther away from a larger image looks "the same" as sitting closer to a smaller one...the real question is what's the ratio of image-width to distance that you sit? Most folks sit less than 1.5 screen-widths away from the image in the theater...whereas they usually sit 2-4 times the image width away from their HDTV at home...so right there the "viewing angle" (how "wide" the image looks in your field of vision) is much smaller at home...which makes the image look sharper because the visual information is compressed into a smaller area on your retina.

2. Images look 'sharper' on HD because despite having more actual resolution, the noise characteristics of the film medium (grain and what I call the "bloom" of film in how certain film mediums handle light and color saturation) tend to soften the appearance of the image...real detail can still be seen as the grain changes from frame to frame revealing in one frame a spec of detail that was obscured in the frame before...so your eye still can see the detial...but the fog of grain adds to a softened perception. This effect can vary however, and grain-free (mostly) film can look astonishingly sharp...razor sharp infact, though most films at the theater are duped to prints that have enough grain to soften the image noticably.

3. Electronic noise can be used insuch a way to enhance the apparent sharpness of the image even though it's technically noise! This is one reason why the same image projected on a DLP projector can look "sharper" than the same image projected on a LCOS projector...the gaps between the pixels on the DLP machine add a pixeling effect ("screen door") that your brain sees as "sharper"...where as the more fluid/analog looking image on the LCOS...with the same resolution and less "noise"...looks "less sharp" to your eye. This is the same perception effect that is behind the whole "edge enhancement" issue...adding some ringing (noise) around edges in the image can make your brain think "sharper" if you're sitting far enough away.

However...if you moved as close to your monitor in your home to produce the same 1.3-1.5 viewing distance you see in the theater...this same electronic noise (visible pixel structure of the DLP projector...edge-halos from electronic processing) would look unbearably awful and quickly reveal themselves as the "noise" that they really are...and the same image projected "clean" next to it would reveal more detail to your eye. This issue is relevent to all home-theater enthusiasts because you can always add noise in (EE) but you can't so easily take it out...so it's time we start to help the industry shift into a "big picture" (wide viewing angle) mentality with their mastering so our home-video images will look as good as they can projected at "theater" proportions...then let viewers with smaller screens opt to add whatever electronic processing they desire to "sharpen" the image to their tastes.


BTW, the same way that electronis noise can add a perceived "sharpness" is also true with audio. CD's often sound "crisp" though they lack much audible mid-range musical information when compared A/B to the source live-mic-feed or analog master. Spinning a good LP or an SACD or DVD-A often sounds less "crisp" to your ears because the sound is *smoother*...but your ear can also start to discern lots of subtle low-level information that previously was inaudible on the red-book CD...

Ok some long answers...but hope that helps!
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