A Second and Third look at Blu-ray yields a surprise

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Paul_Scott, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    I was able to hit a BB in New Jersey earlier this week (rt 17, Garden State Plaza) and saw that they had the Samsung hooked up to different display other than the Samsungs I have been seeing them on at CCs.
    much smaller, though I can't remember what exactly it was (maybe a Westinghouse LCD?).
    They were also playing a demo disc that I hadn't seen before (the watchmaker, Chicken Little, POTC clips, etc).
    Everything in general looked much better than the actual features I'd seen on the Samsungs the first week, and in the case of POTC, the image was very clear, and crisp, though not exceptionally dimensional.
    the split screen demos were a joke (as much if not more so than the ones on the HD DVD demo disc) and I did see banding and macroblocking at times - though not on the better clips (except for some color banding on Chicken Little...I think).

    now here is were it gets interesting for me.
    Yesterday I got a chance to see that same demo disc on one of the huge Samsung DLPs that I had earlier caught TFE and Flying Daggers on- and guess what- The disc and assorted clips looked like absolute shit.
    The POTC clip in particlular looked very nasty with tons of digital grain (mosiquito noise) and a very flat over contrasted appearence.

    Now, this doesn't mitigate what were clearly problems to me with both of the feature software I saw (TFE, HOFD)- in particular the macroblocking that was not an added feature of the display (as you can see when you step or slo mo thru the offending passage on the disc)- however it does tell me that Bd is being even more poorly served by its association/1st impressions forged with Samsung in some form or fashion for the next few months.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    What's so surprising about this development? Most of the observations I've read on this forum and others is the same as yours, but I haven't seen those same problems on my HT setup, at least to that extreme.

    The key bit of information missing is how are these displays hooked up and how well are their settings calibrated?






    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    next time I'm in there I'll take note of the cabling and maybe even try to calibrate the display.

    Glad to hear your happy with your player Robert.
     
  4. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    I saw a BD demo for the first time the other day at BB.

    First off, I put zero stock in any display at BB, 99.999999% of the time they are set-up wrong, not calibrated (even the basic tv's user settings) and the aspect ratio is usually wrong. Add to that the overly lit store and it all adds up to a bad demo. So, this is by no means my final thoughts on BD, just this experience I had with it.

    The Samsung was wired up to a 46" Samsung LCD via HDMI. There were no BD movies to play, just the demo loop they had running so I sat and watched. Playing were:

    Chicken Little
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    XXX
    Ultraviolet
    50 First Dates
    Also, a side-by-side demo of video based BD to SD-DVD

    The best way to sum it up, it looked like upscaled 480p material, very, very good upscaled material mind you but nothing beyond that. I think this has to do with the softness of the image, it is soft. It does not jump out at you and there is no fine details in any of the movie clips.

    With the Samsung already being powered up, I ejected the disk and then reinserted it. From when the door closed to get an image on the screen was 41 seconds, again this does not include power up, quite a long time.

    The BD video demo looked more like what my HD-DVDs look like, great detail, soild colors, deep blacks (for a brightly lit store) and a very 3D image. The SD-DVD they showed looked as if they'd thrown a filter on to make the image look nothing like SD-DVD does. Even the SD-DVD on the next isle endcap over looked so much better, like SD-DVD should. An obvious ploy on Sony's part to distort the truth. I heard Toshiba did the same but I've never seen it.

    I bought into HD-DVD completely blind, no demos were running when I got my machine. I would have done the same for BD if the cost was not so high. The high cost held me back and from what I saw and am reading I'm glad I did not jump right in.

    Both HD-DVD and BD had an entire section on their dvd isle for the movies, no small isle endcaps anymore but big displays. That was cool to see.

    It was exciting to see BD in action even if the PQ was not up to par, hopefully this will change over time.
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Interesting. 41 seconds from closing tray to onscreen activity is exactly how long my HD-A1 takes.
     
  6. Roger Mathus

    Roger Mathus Supporting Actor

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    At a local Best Buy, the Samsung player was hooked up to a 40 inch 1080p Samsung LCD TV. I think a new model. They were using HDMI.

    In this case, much of the demo material did pop and looked better than anything I have seen and equal to the bust MUSE broadcasts in Japan. On the other hand, some of the clips were very soft and I did detect edge artifacts in one clip. This observation leads me to believe that the BD system is quite capable and that other factors are at play. For example....proper connection, good quality HDMI cable, proper system set-up. From another posting on HTF, it sounds as if this is same demo disc that Sony is using in their New York showroom. I think that the demo disc has some poor choices.

    My experience with my own home set-up is posted in another thread on HTF. You can easily find with HTF search utility. I have found no Blu-ray titles that consistently "pop" for the entire film but there seems to be enought superb material there to lead one to believe that the future is better. HD-DVD seems to have more titles of newer material that would tend to better demo HD quality. It will be interesting to see Warner, Fox and Disney titles on Blu-ray.

    In my system I am using component connection and Blu-ray only for the Samsung so I can use the HDMI for a Marantz 9500 player for standard DVD as it seems to up convert well. For Blu-ray in the Samsung, I saw little difference between HDMI and component. Some HTF members are reporting differences in favor of component which I am at a loss to explain except for maybe cable quality, set-up or other transmission factors.
     
  7. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    -Pirates of the Caribbean
    -Chicken Little
    -Ultraviolet

    All these are very new titles and should look much better then what I saw. The HD-DVD of Unforgiven (a much older film) far out shines anything I saw on the BD demo. You cannot put the blame on the films.
     
  8. Nick

    Nick Second Unit

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    I saw the Demo disc today @ BB and I thought the picture looked pretty good. Especially the watch making part. The resolution was breath taking.
    I agree with the split screen between DVD and Blu-ray is a joke. They made the DVD picture quality look like it's taken from VHS tape. Come on we're not that stupid. I played "Lost" on my Pioneer DVD with Component output to my Sharp Aquos. The picture look almost as good as HD picture.
    I looked in the back of the TV and they had it hooked up to the Samsung LCD monitor via HDMI I don't remember what model number it was.
    I'll wait for the recorder to come out and let the price drop below $300.00 then I'll get one. Right now I just see no need for it. I just don't need another player when knowing that I'll be buying a recorder again.
    For now my Sony DHG-HDD500 is working flawlessly recording all my Hidef programs.
     
  9. RomanSohor

    RomanSohor Second Unit

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    I work at a BB Part Time and everyone that comes in is highly impressed by the demo material. I thought I Was the only one that was disappointed by how bad the color banding was on the sky in the Chicken Little clip. I thought the Pirates clip looked very film like, and obviously the split screen was a good laugh.

    I read on The Digital Bits that according to some tests the Samsung player looks better over component than HDMI and in my store it is connected over HDMI. Don't know if that has anything to do with it.

    What I Do find laughable is how little most employees in the company know about either format. We have an employee talk back forum and it is laughable to hear what people say about them on there.
     
  10. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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  11. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    I had quite a surprise when I went to the local Best Buy to see their BD demo the other night.

    There wasn't one. There was a big display for HD DVD (I thought they had been ordered to dismantle all those?) that looked great, but no mention of Blu-Ray anywhere, and no discs visible. WTF?
     

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