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Blu-ray and HD-DVD: ** From My Perspective **

CEDIA 2005-2007

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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted September 18 2006 - 11:10 AM

I'm going to let the other attendees handle most of this one as there are a lot of threads involving both formats. Let me add a couple of my own thoughts based on what I saw at CEDIA.

For the record, both HD-DVD and Blu-ray look great and once everything is 1080p (both from the players and into the displays) a lot of this will die down. Right now there are a lot of differences between what the formats currently offer and, a bit surprisingly, in what is planned for the near future. In the first place, it has generally been acknowledged that one of the real advances of the HD formats (besides better pictures, of course) is a whole new generation of interactive menus and the like. This includes the ability to modify the disc content with updates, corrections, additional features, etc. much like those of us with XBox 360s see when XBox Live tells us that there is an update or an enhancement to a game and, once the new or revised content is downloaded into the player's memory (or the XBox's HD) then each time you play the game or the disc the new content becomes seamlessly integrated with the original material. We talked extensively with a Toshiba representative about this as we watched the incredible Tokyo Drift disc (street date 09/26/06). You may not like the movie, but the "extras" are amazing. The most important thing to remember is that you need a connection to the Internet (either wired or wireless as is done with both the Toshibas and the XBox 360) to take advantage of this update feature. But the potential is staggering. If a title is released with some content that has an error - everything from spelling mistakes to misinformation and even some visual aspects of the disc - there is a good possibility (depending on the nature of the problem) that the issue can be resolved with a download rather than a disc recall. This really makes it easier for the industry and for the consumer.

While the Toshiba HD-DVD players already incorporate "internet ready ethernet" I was a bit surprised that the $1500 Pioneer Blu-ray player did not. Yes, it has an ethernet connector but we were specifically told that it was not internet-ready but just useful for some other purposes. Mention was even made of a version of Blu-ray termed "Blu-ray link" (or something like that) whereby future players would have the two-way capability needed to allow content update. And the thing that jumped out at me was the statement that the first Pioneer Blu-ray player would not be upgradable to this interactivity. That is some food for thought. The time frame for Blu-ray "1.1" (my term) was a bit vague but sometime next year.

However, the Blu-ray pictures looked excellent (in fact I thought that they looked better than HD-DVD by a small margin) and that was probably due to the fact that the source was 1080p into 1080p sets. More importantly the source was film material transferred at 1080p/24fps into a display that accepted 1080p/24fps at the Pioneer demo. The "frames per second" specification is important when viewing film sources because it matches the frame rate of film and avoids telecine "pull down." To be completely accurate, the Pioneer presentation was dealing with 1080p/72fps, not 24fps. Once you have a 24fps rate it is an easy matter to deal with an exact multiple (24, 48, 72, etc.) by just doubling or tripling the frames with no loss or gain of material. Doubling or tripling the frame rate reduces "judder". For more on "judder" look HERE.

The problems arise when the source (or the display) has to deal with 60 fps - the video standard and can't natively hadle film frame rates. And the choice of 72fps is based on some work whereby plasmas seem to look best at 72fps. Front projectors, if you're curious, look best at 48fps - according to people like Joe Kane and other experts in the field. In any event, the majority of the Blu-ray players (but not all!) offer 1080p/24 so they can really shine with film sources. Someone mentioned elsewhere that the Panasonic Blu-ray does not provide 1080p/24 but 1080p/60. And, as will be (or has been) stated elsewhere, it's important to have a display that handles 1080p/24 input to maximize the picture performance. Right now HD-DVD doesn't offer 1080p/24 but there's no reason why it can't in the future, just as Blu-ray can offer ethernet Internet connectivity.

So, in my opinion, it's currently a draw. HD-DVD offers better interactive control of content and updating it, while Blu-ray offers, at the moment, a possibly better picture with film source materials thanks to 24fps support. There are so many other variables at play here (displays, the quality of the source materials, etc. etc.) that it's hard to say definitively that one technology is better than the other. They both produce a better picture than most of us have seen in the past (with the exception of some 1080p HTPC source materials which are not considered to be mainstream) and the consumer is gradually getting higher quality visual content than in the past.

O.K. Your turn.
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#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted September 18 2006 - 03:38 PM

RAH, when you say that Blu Ray can offer 1080p/24fps....what does the current HD-DVD player do? And isn't the 2nd generation Toshibas that are due out in October have this capability?

I wish Pioneer would have let you demo HD-DVD on their display. That would have been a fantastic way to truly compare.

Thanks!

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted September 18 2006 - 04:52 PM

The current HD-DVD players only output 1080i/60 although the information on the HD-DVD disc is stored in 1080p/24 format so that when the 2nd generation players arrive this information can be passed through. The new Toshibas will output 1080p but I'm not sure if they will output 1080p/24. Maybe Adam knows? As I recall, he took notes on this.
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#4 of 14 OFFLINE   PeterTHX

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Posted September 18 2006 - 05:10 PM

AFAIK the next gen Toshiba adds 1080p using the same method the Samsung does: takes the 1080p/24 material, converts it to 1080i/60, and then deinterlaces it for 1080p/60.

There's a thread on the AVS about the HD DVD spec not providing 1080p/24 in Europe but BD spec does.

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted September 18 2006 - 05:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterTHX
AFAIK the next gen Toshiba adds 1080p using the same method the Samsung does: takes the 1080p/24 material, converts it to 1080i/60, and then deinterlaces it for 1080p/60.

There's a thread on the AVS about the HD DVD spec not providing 1080p/24 in Europe but BD spec does.

Thank you for the clarification on this, Peter. I was pretty sure that the 2nd generation HD-DVD plalyers did not offer 1080p/24 output but I didn't want to state this without confirmation by others.
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#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted September 18 2006 - 07:09 PM

So by doing this conversion like Samsung does, it puts one more "step" in getting the image to the screen?

Certainly don't want to wage a war (we had one and probably still do on a few HD/BR threads Posted Image ) but that conversion has not affected picture quality on HD-DVDs yet. At least the early comparisons haven't highlighted this as a concern or even an issue.

Still, it's something that the HD group will have to address if indeed Blu-Ray (even if just on paper) can potentially improve the image. Posted Image

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   mfabien

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Posted September 18 2006 - 10:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Glover
So by doing this conversion like Samsung does, it puts one more "step" in getting the image to the screen?

Certainly don't want to wage a war (we had one and probably still do on a few HD/BR threads Posted Image ) but that conversion has not affected picture quality on HD-DVDs yet. At least the early comparisons haven't highlighted this as a concern or even an issue.

Still, it's something that the HD group will have to address if indeed Blu-Ray (even if just on paper) can potentially improve the image. Posted Image

Actually no one in America knows if the process from 1080p/24 to 1080p/60 goes through interlacing. The Toshiba executives don't know and that question to Japan has yet to be answered. The prototype HD-XA2 at CEDIA was not opened to see what's in the belly of the unit. And there could be changes before the production unit gets finalized.
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#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted September 18 2006 - 11:34 PM

I really question how much of that conversion really hurts the picture quality enough for most of us to take notice of it?




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#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted September 19 2006 - 05:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
I really question how much of that conversion really hurts the picture quality enough for most of us to take notice of it?




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My guess is probably doesn't hurt the image at all. You know how most of us self proclaimed Posted Image HT guys get all caught up in the specs/bits/whatever else....and sometimes that already discriminates our view of what we're supposed to see.

Posted Image

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Chris S

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Posted September 19 2006 - 06:08 AM

I bet that on a player by player and display by display basis you can tell a difference... with test patterns. Posted Image Any conversion of the framerate from 24 fps probably won't be noticable in everyday viewing.
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#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted September 19 2006 - 07:54 AM

Quote:
I really question how much of that conversion really hurts the picture quality enough for most of us to take notice of it?

It all depends on the quality of the scaler in the display and the display itself. 99% of people won't know the difference because their displays will convert it to 1080P/60 anyway. Only some of the newer displays will accept 1080P/24.

Quote:
My guess is probably doesn't hurt the image at all. You know how most of us self proclaimed Posted Image HT guys get all caught up in the specs/bits/whatever else....and sometimes that already discriminates our view of what we're supposed to see.

Too true. If you can get lost in the "Home Theater Experience" while you are watching a movie then your gear is good enough for you.

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   PeterTHX

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Posted September 19 2006 - 08:06 AM

All I know is that my 480i mastered DVDs look better when output at 480p by my progressive scan DVD player.

So converting it to 1080i/60 and the outputting 1080p is pretty similar IMO. Is it the native signal? No. Is it still great looking? YES.

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted September 19 2006 - 10:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterTHX
All I know is that my 480i mastered DVDs look better when output at 480p by my progressive scan DVD player.

So converting it to 1080i/60 and the outputting 1080p is pretty similar IMO. Is it the native signal? No. Is it still great looking? YES.


Whats up Peter?! Posted Image True indeed.

This is probably not related to this thread and not sure where to put it Posted Image but over the weekend I watched some hi-def college football. Watched A&M barely beat Army (whew!) on espn2 HD. My brother has an ISF calibrated Sony 34 widescreen monitor. He just purchased a new HDMI to DVI adapter...

Ok, I actually preferred the HD image with component over HDMI even though he told me that all the inputs were calibrated. The component input had better color saturation and more contrast.

Thoughts? and where should this post go? Posted Image. It's somewhat related since I am using component hookup for my HD-A1.

Thanks for the patience. Posted Image

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   RAF

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Posted September 20 2006 - 04:18 PM

Some very nice discussion here. I've noticed that a lot of it revolves around the use of HDMI and the various video processing options (scaling/deinterlacing.) You will always get some people favoring one camp over the other (HD/BR) and others claiming that they can't see any great difference between SD and HD DVDs. There are too many variables in play here to make definitive statements about any of this. It all depends on the source material, the player, the video processing used, where it occurs (in the player, outboard, in the set), the display used and several other things.

I've been discussing a bit of this over in the Outboard Processor Thread and it is pertinent to some of the stuff being discussed here. Plugging a player into a TV won't yield the same results for everybody because of the wide variety of setups. If I make the satement that my SD-DVDs look just about as good (and sometimes better) than my HD-DVDs I'd better mention that I'm running the SD signals through a DVDO iScan VP30 video processor into a native 1080p display or it seems like a ludicrous statement. Another person might have an SD player connected to one input of a TV and an HD-DVD player connected to a second input of the TV. That person would think that my statement was just plain crazy based on what he or she was seeing. And that's just one small example of what we are up against.

Yes, sources are getting better. Displays are getting better. But that doesn't mean that all the pictures out there are going to look better because of all the ways that these things can be interconnected and interpreted. Heck, there are still some people out there who think that they are looking at HD when they connect a standard DVD player to their new HD set. Sure it's going to look better than on their old set (most of the time) but you get my point.

As long as you can compare a good HD source to a good SD source by showing each on the same HD capable display without any major video processing (so that you are looking at the native resolution of each format) then you should at least see what each format can do. But some of the video processing that is available out there can do some remarkable things with good SD content. And some of this discussion about frame rates (initiated by me) might also be one of those things that, while theoretically better, may not be discernable by the average viewer. As I mentioned somewhere else - we watch movies, not test patterns.

Posted Image
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