DVD-ROM video STILL driving me nuts. Am I gonna have to go the hw decoder route?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ricardo C, Apr 4, 2002.

  1. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    I've been comparing the picture I get on my PC through a software decoder with the picture I get on a TV set via a standalone player. While the PC picture seems to show more detail than what I see on my TV, I also see A LOT more artifacting, the picture seems fuzzier, and don't even get me started on the constantly shifting pixels [​IMG] Given that I'm dancing around the idea of jumping into front projection, this bothers me to no end, since I would very much like to have an HTPC as the hub of my HT, as I'm told it's a less expensive and highly efficient way of running a dedicated HT.
    Lately, I've seen some absolutely stunning vid caps: Sharp as a tack, far more detailed than anything I've seen on a TV OR computer, no artifacting to speak of, etc. Is this the work of a hardware-based decoder?
    Let me give you an idea of what I mean.
    This is a capture from The Phantom Menace running on my system (A Pentium III 500, 256MB of RAM, a GeForce 2 MX card, a no-name DVD-ROM drive, and Power DVD 2.5 for playback):
    http://us.f1.yahoofs.com/users/e1550...YrU_8AaaX6AZ6e
    See the grain/artifacting behind Obi-Wan? Imagine that in near-constant shifting and you'll have a pretty good idea of what I suffer through with my setup.
    This is a cap from "Blame it on Rio" which I found in the net somewhere (don't ask [​IMG]). That's most certainly not a VHS or TV cap, which makes me think DVD is the only possible source for it:
    http://us.f1.yahoofs.com/users/e1550...YrU_8AFfAAzhOd
    (Please copy and paste the links. Yahoo won't let me link directly to the images. Both are JPGs saved with no additional compression)
    In all fairness, I have not seen this image in motion, so I could not tell you what kind of artifacts lurk beneath the surface, but look at the quality of the picture, the colors, etc. Can this type of PQ be obtained with a software decoder, or do I need to start looking into hw decoders to get more quality out of my DVDs on my PC?
    I'm sorry to revive this issue, but it's really bugging me.
     
  2. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    I was just over at the AVS forum, and read something about GF cards only being able to use an 8-bit overlay. Could this be the reason video on my system looks so crummy, and the colors so poor? Couyld it be that I'm not seeing compression artifacts, but rather really strong dithering?

    Though I must say, Queen's "We Will Rock You" disc looks light years better than TPM. Artifacting/dithering is still visible, but nowhere near as much as on other discs.
     
  3. Marc Rochkind

    Marc Rochkind Second Unit

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    I'm not an expert in this stuff, but DVDs ALWAYS have to be scaled when displaying on fixed-pixel devices like a PC screen. The quality of the scaler matters a lot. There are cheap software packages for PCs and more expensive ones, good ones and bad ones, etc. I don't know if the scaling is every done in hardware, but, if it is, that's another source of potential quality problems.
     
  4. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    Ricardo,

    Unfortunately, I think you need to upgrade.

    However, you don't mention what resolution you're running at. You might try resolutions that are exact multiples of DVD resolution: 720x480.

    You're running an ancient version of PowerDVD. It's up to v4 now. The newer version should be able produce better images.

    Another thing to consider is that you're using a slow CPU. Software DVD players need a lot of computing power. 500MHz really isn't enough anymore: the decoder may not be able to keep up.

    As you've found, the AVS HTPC forum is probably the best place to ask your questions. More of the computer experts hang out there.

    I hope this helps a little.
     
  5. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Thanks for the tips, guys [​IMG]
    Yes, I see a major PC upgrade in my future. Ah, it'll be worth it [​IMG]
     

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