Does non-anamorphic DVD look as good as anamorphic on HDTVs?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Doug Shapiro, Jan 20, 2001.

  1. Doug Shapiro

    Doug Shapiro Auditioning

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    Hello. Something I have been wondering about for quite some time. I have been going out of my way over the last couple of years to build my DVD collection with anamorphic movies for play on my 6 year old (has it really been that long) analogue 16:9 Toshiba TW56D90 TV. With a purchase of a new HDTV starting to loom on the horizon for me, I was wondering if any of this really matters anymore and if non-anamorphic movies would look just as good given the line-doubled and progressive scan resolution upconversion (480p) (if I also replace my player with a progressive scan version).
    So...Does the extra resolution provided by anamorphic DVDs really matter all that much once non-anamorphic letterboxed DVDs are played on a new HDTV via its built in line-doubler? Further, does the extra resolution of anamorphic DVDs matter when non-anamorphic DVDs are played on a progressive scan DVD player to a HDTV via the progressive scan input? Another way to ask this is, if I had the same DVD movie in anamorphic and non-anamorphic versions and played each of them on two HDTVs of the same model (each similarly ISF calibrated) at the same time, would I notice any resolution difference (lack of or reduction of line structure) between each one given these scenarios:
    1. Each TV playing the anamorphic and non-anamorphic disc via line doubler only (non-progressive).
    2. Each TV playing the anamorphic and non-anamorphic disc from a progressive scan player's progressive out into the TV's progressive input.
    I have to admit that I am not sure if line-doubling circuit is always active in an HDTV regradless of progressive or non-progressive input. I am assuming that it is always active.
    I have not come across this discussion here and I would very much like to hear your informed feedback. Looking forward to hearing from anyone who would be interested in helping. Thanks in advance!
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    Regards,
    Doug
     
  2. Paul W

    Paul W Second Unit

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    I don't know if you are confusing line-doubler and anamorphic, so let me state - the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other.
    In short, yes. Anamorphic DVDs will always look better than non anamorphic DVD because the anamorphic image uses more lines of resolution. Non-anamorphic DVDs throw away the top and bottom third of the image for the black bars, so you get less resolution, regardless of how you display it.
    AFAIK, the only thing a line doubler does, is create a progressive image from an interlaced source (the same thing as using the 480p inputs if your DVD player is progressive). It doesn't change your resolution at all.
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    [​IMG] Paul Warren
    I have a wonderful proof of this theorem but, with the 1536 kb/s bitrate DTS soundtrack, there is no room on the DVD to write it.
    -Fermat
     
  3. Doug Shapiro

    Doug Shapiro Auditioning

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    quote:
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    I don't know if you are confusing line-doubler and anamorphic, so let me state - the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other.
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    Thanks for your reply Paul. No, I am not confused about a line-doubler and anamorphic DVDs. The first is a feature of a some TVs or outboard hardware and the later speaks to the the format of some DVDs where the image is squeezed to yield a higher resolution image when played back on a 16:9 TV in the proper widescreen mode (called "Full" mode on Toshiba and some other brands) to restore the proper proportions by stretching the image out horizontally. Since the image is not also stretched vertically (where most resolution is lost) as it is when zooming into a letterboxed image to fill a widescreen TV (called "Theater Wide" on the Toshiba), additional line structure is minimized and the picture can still fill or mostly fill (in the case of 2.35:1) a widescreen TV. So, I know they have nothing to do with one another. Thanks again for your input.
     
  4. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Wow, Doug, you've been a member almost as long as I, and look at your post count vs. mine!!! Man, I talk too much... [​IMG]
    Anyway, the anamorphic discs DO make a significant difference. On my Pioneer Elite Pro-510HD, non anamorphic discs look blurry/out-of-focus, compared to anamorphic ones. The line doubler still helps to minimize the line structure, but the lack of resolution is quite noticeable.
    I've actually checked this out with Bug's Life. I stole my old copy back from a friend (that had the non-anamorphic 2.35x1 image) and compared it to the Collector's Edition. No contest- the anamorphic is CLEARLY superior (pun intended). I can see things that aren't visible on the non-anamorphic original (skin textures, grass blades, background details, etc.)
    For reference, I have the Denon DVD-2500 interlaced player connected to the 510 via component video. The line doubler in the 510 is remarkable. I won't be getting a Progressive Scan DVD player any time soon.
    Todd
     
  5. Doug Shapiro

    Doug Shapiro Auditioning

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    Todd,
    You're right, long time member, mostly reading. Only one other post asking a question about my 6 year old analogue 16:9 Toshiba TV and that has probably been archived.
    The information you provided is right on target! This personal experience is exactly the feedback I needed to know. I also recently saw what must have been the older non-anamorphic version of "A Bug's Life" at an audio/video store being played on a Pioneer Elite HDTV. I was able to clearly see line structure.
    Thanks again for your reply - I will certainly continue to collect anamorphic DVDs, in fact they are almost exclusively what I own in my 120 disc collection. I am leaving today for a business trip to Sweden so it may be a week or so before I can reply but I will try to check the board so long as my internet connection works well.
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    Regards,
    Doug
     
  6. RudolphT

    RudolphT Agent

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    1. Each TV playing the anamorphic and non-anamorphic disc via line doubler only (non-progressive).
    There will be a significant difference on a widescreen HD (and a small minority of 4:3 sets that can change scan rate at different parts of picture) set that properly shows anamorphic.
    I don't think Paul was being condascending, I had the same conclusion probably based on the Thread topic. Note FULL for anamorphic is a different scan rate and display function than HD, though many folks confuse that HD display is full, but you probably knew that too.
    2. Each TV playing the anamorphic and non-anamorphic disc from a progressive scan player's progressive out into the TV's progressive input.
    Same difference will apply. Note that a progressive player will beat all but very high end sets which have line doublers AND 3:2 pull down for film, e.g., the $500 5109 DVD beats the $4K Toshiba theater wide set doubler.
     
  7. Doug Shapiro

    Doug Shapiro Auditioning

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    Quote:
    Same difference will apply. Note that a progressive player will beat all but very high end sets which have line doublers AND 3:2 pull down for film, e.g., the $500 5109 DVD beats the $4K Toshiba theater wide set doubler.
    End Quote
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    Thanks for you helpful comments Rudolph. I just went shopping with my friend yesterday who purchased the Pioneer Elite Pro-710HD. It seems to do an excellent job at line doubling and it has the 3:2 pull down feature. The salesperson echoed what you said above, that it does a better job than most progressive players (with the exception of the Pioneer Elite progressive DVD player) so he recommends just using a normal player with it. Thanks again.
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    Regards,
    Doug
     

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