Are today's HD sets better off with interlaced DVD players ?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by anthony_b, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    I have an HDTV set that upscales everything to 1080i, and I have yet to test a progresive scan player that gives me a better picture than my old interlaced player. I've used the Denon 1600,Panasonic xp30, and cheap players from Toshiba,JVC and Onkyo....I've also noticed this with other family members who have purchased new HD sets recently....Something tells me that with the TV doing it's own conversion, plus the DVD player doing it's own thing, something is not right. In every instance blacks are washed out with no detail....Who else prefers there sets with an interlaced signal ?
     
  2. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    What set you have will make a big difference in how well it handles an interlaced signal. Lower end sets will probably look better with a progressive scan source or one that can scale to 1080i. Higher end sets (Pioneer Elite, Mitsubishi Diamond, Lowe, etc) may look better with an interlaced signal since their internal deinterlacers are most likely better than the player's. Also sets that scale EVERYTHING to 1080i anyway may look better with an interlaced signal or having a player that can scale to 1080i.

    That said, the two main players you mentioned should offer some of the best mpeg decoding and deinterlacing available and would most likely look best in progressive mode on any set. I'm not sure if you're perhaps using cables that can't handle the bandwidth of a progressive signal (doubtful) or if perhaps your set is well calibrated in interlaced mode but not in progressive (most service menus have different settings for interlaced, progressive, and HD).

    Regardless, if it looks better in interlaced, then watch it that way. It still makes me think something else is going on though...
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Are any of these setups calibrated? Can make a big difference...

    For DVD signal, my set looks better with the player in progressive (Denon 2200, Sony KV-34HS510)
     
  4. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    The progressive DVD player is losing its advantage over the regular interlaced player.

    There are three processes taking place when DVD is shown on an HDTV:

    1. MPEG decoding from the disk always yields interlaced video.
    2. 480p is de-interlaced to 480p
    3. 480p is scaled to 540p (goes on the picture tube the same as 1080i)

    The advantage of the progressive player is a digital connection between 1 and 2 while for the interlaced player going to the HDTV that connection is analog. Both stages 2 and 3 are digital.

    The fewer analog to digital conversions the better,
    But the progressive player needs an analog connection from its stage 2 to the TV's stage 3 (if you are using component video and not DVI) while the HDTV has a digital connection between its own stage 2 and stage 3.

    Meanwhile the stage 2 in TV's is getting better and better over the years on average.

    As far as washed out blacks are concerned, see if there are brightness and contrast adjustments (possibley just one adjustment called enhanced black) on your DVD player. This adjustments(s) is used to match the DVD player to the TV and you may need trial and error with the TV's own brightness and contrast.

    A gray scale step test pattern such as found on Video Essentials or AVIA DVD's is immensely helpful. This way you can aim for seeing all the steps distinctly with the darkest step black, versus seeing all the steps with the darkest step not quite black, or not seeing all of the steps with the darkest three steps all the same black.

    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/blacker.htm

    "When you reach someone's voice mail are you often guilty of sending an empty envelope?"
     
  5. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    Allan I agree totally. I admit that I have a player (progressive) that doesn't pass pluge, but speaking in general terms I don't think it's essential anymore to go progressive due to the points you made above. With these newer HD sets, there's some sort of double processing going on that is affecting the final image displayed on the set. Some may say that once Your tv sences a progressive signal that it would shut off the tv's internal line doubler, but I don't think that is happening with my TV.
     
  6. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    Good hints at your link, Allan. Nice to see someone from the old home town.
     
  7. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Double processing the de-interlacing (doing stage 2 twice) is not the problem. If you did that the picture would be unintelligible.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Doesn't double processing occurs when the display upconverts everything to it's native resolution, regardless of signal? My set detects progressive on it's HD inputs and shuts off it't internal PS processing, but it doesn't upconvert any signals either (CRT).
     
  9. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    How do we know for sure if our sets will disable there own internal line doubler when a progresive signal is present ?

    I own a JVC48WP74 CRT which states that everything is brought up to 1080i so I guess this is what's happening:

    DVD PLAYER 480I => 480P
    THEN
    HDTV 480P => 480P (again) => 1080I ?
     
  10. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    From what I've read about the Faroudja chip in my X1 I have no desire to replace my excellent Technics DVD-A10 DVD player with a progressive model.

    Here is a link to a long article about deinterlacing on one of the magazines.

    Basically most all DVD Video is encoded interlaced as part of the real spec. The problem arises in deinterlacing. There are two ways to do it, one by reading the flags that are set on the DVD when it is produced, and one by analyzing each frame of video. Most in-player deinterlacers read the flags. Problem is, the flags are routinely wrong. It's better to have the interlacing work by analyzing the video. The deinterlacing and dcdi in my X1 is amazing, I would not want to bypass it for DVD.
     
  11. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    There is a noticably sharper picture on my Toshiba 46H83 when my DVD player is outputting an interlaced signal and I've had it set that way forever. BUT, during a scene in the movie Hidalgo, where there were sweeping sand dunes (uh, like most of the movie!), I noticed jagged edges. I reversed the video and watched it again to confirm...still very visible. So I put the DVD player in progressive mode and...perfect!

    So now it's a tough choice...progressive scan and always a jaggie-free image, or interlace scan with a sharper image and MAYBE some jaggies? I've only ever noticed this one scene, but then I haven't gone looking, either.

    Incidentally, I'm a calibrator so my set is fully calibrated.
     
  12. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    JohnnyG, I'd go with the sharper image. That's the route I took with my TV and DVD player.
     
  13. John S

    John S Producer

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    Yeah, Johnny G, the real issue is a little more than Line doubling / de-interlacing (Progressive scan) on this one. It really takes what is called 3:2 pull down to get rid of the jaggies. This comes about because Video and Film are run at different frame rates, 3:2 sort of fixes this on the fly for film based sources.

    HDTV's that provide this, are the ones that really shine on component video 480i input.
     
  14. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    If the picture is sharper with interlaced out of the DVD player, think about upgrading the cables. Progressive scan needs a higher grade cable (14 MHz bandwidth vs. 7 for interlaced).
     
  15. Fredster

    Fredster Stunt Coordinator

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    The upconverting DVD players are worth a look if you have an HD display. We just got a Zenith DVB318 and it is quite a difference over the older interlaced model (Pioneer DV-333) when you upconvert to 720p or 1080i. Display is Samsung HLP6163W. Not quite water into wine but pretty darn close...
     
  16. SvenS

    SvenS Second Unit

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    I have yet to see a upconverting DVD player look all that good. If you have a HDTV then the best way to watch DVD's upconverted to HD is without-a-doubt a HTPC (Home Theater PC). Not only do you have unmatched flexibility but vastly better electronics to upscale the DVD's output.
     
  17. John S

    John S Producer

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    $160 for a Zenith DVB-318 -vs- whatever for the HTPC. Owners of both experiences tell us, the zenith more than hangs in there. I'm not sure why your experiences have been so different with it than many of us Zenith DVB-318 owners.
     
  18. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I think a lot of this "interlaced is better" stuff is because there are fewer and fewer sets capable of displaying 480p natively, and more and more fixed pixel digital displays. If you're gonna convert 480i to 480p in the player, then convert again to 540p, 720p, or 1080i in the tv, you're not gonna get as good a picture as if you just convert 480i to 480p and feed via analog cables to an analog display capable of native 480p.

    The JVCs, Hitachis, Toshibas, and all dlp and lcd sets have to convert incoming 480p to something else.

    My Sony will display 480p natively, and with it a good progressive scan player feeding it 480p looks better than when feeding it 480i. I have a Panny CP-72 with Faroudja chip and it looks better outputing 480p than 480i.

    I also have the Zenith which upconverts to 1080i (my set's other native scanrate) over component and it beats the Panny in either 480i or 480p.

    I think for those with analog (crt based) displays capable of native 480p, a progressive input from a decent player is still superior.
     
  19. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    Steve, I think you hit the nail right on the head...Makes a lot of sense.
     
  20. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    With the Toshiba, you have a choice of 1080i or 540p display when feeding the set a 480p signal. The only difference here is that in 1080i mode, it line doubles the 540p signal (looks more 'solid' to me). When feeding the set a 480i signal, it automatically goes to 1080i, so like John S pointed out, there's no 2:3 pulldown reversal going on. Due to the higher vertical resolution, it usually looks great this way, but jaggies can still rear their ugly head.
     

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