Help me explain the concept of uspcaling DVD players and how it does 1080i.

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Jerome Grate, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 23, 1999
    Messages:
    2,978
    Likes Received:
    6
    My brother in law has a new Akai t.v. and I've been raving about upscaling players especially the one I have. I explain to them that it upscales DVDs to 1080i which is the same format as High Definition. I also explain the great detail shown and giving examples like Fifth Element, Star Wars Empire Strikes Back, Attack of the Clones etc., and point out the great detail shown from the sweat on Chris Tucker to the facial imperfection of Luke Skywalker. Anyway the question was raised by a guy in the Store who was asking about it. How can you get 1080i from and DVD that's in 480 lines of resolution. I was lost for words and of course no longer want to be especially next weekend. Help me out guys and gals.
     
  2. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2001
    Messages:
    1,085
    Likes Received:
    0
    The analogy of how this works is similar to if you were to take a small JPEG or BMP file on your computer and set it as your background desktop in stretch mode. The computer just takes what it can, and adds extra information in between the existing pixels to increase the size of the image.

    The same thing happens in an upscaling player. The 480 horizontal lines of resolution are stretched to 720, 1080, or whatever resolution your display can handle.

    An upscaling player cannot add information that is not there, so the overall quality of the picture isn't really improved. What is improved is the smoothness of the picture. Scan lines are less evident, and the overall picture looks a bit more like how a film is projected onto a larger screen.

    Not all displays and not all upscaling DVD players are created equal, however. In some instances, the image may even be degraded and look too soft.

    I, too, was excited about upscaling DVD players, but when you get down to the core of what it is, all it really is, is an elaborate way of stretching an existing image. You are not making it look any better than if you were watching it on a regular 480p display.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    Excellent answer, Mike.
     
  4. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 23, 1999
    Messages:
    2,978
    Likes Received:
    6
    Wow, that's the shortest and to the point answer I got. Thanks, I got the answer on AVS, and I book marked it for future reference, but Mike your answer is exactly how I will explain it. Short, sweet and right on point.
     
  5. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    2,693
    Likes Received:
    93
    Location:
    St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
    Real Name:
    Paul


    But will J6P care, so long as it "looks better" than the non-upscaled DVD? He's the same guy who subscribes to HDTV service but watches the analogue station. Do we really think hi-def DVD will take off with this kind of prevalent attitude? (Look at hi-res audio).
     
  6. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    0
    My experience with upscaling players is that they make a (positive) difference. I do have a display that benefits from this however.

    Mike's answer is pretty good, but there is IMO a benefit to an upscaling player: (which some are marketing as "HD DVD players" [​IMG] )

    1) the scaler in the DVDP may be superior to the scaler in your TV
    2) scaling in the DVDP prevents another set of A/D conversions on some, perhaps most, displays
    3) if you're scaling over a digital connection, the image data remains in the digital domain as long as possible - more applicable for digital displays such as plasma, lcd, dlp.

    Paul: I think true HDDVD will be a success as long as the format war doesn't suck the life out of it. This is mainly because the differences between SD and HD are dramatic and instantly and dramatically visible on any HD set. Perhaps more importanly, HD-DVD will not require a setup different than what people have with their current DVD players aside from a HDTV.

    The necessity for 5.1 speakers, 6 extra cables, format war, and the music industry's paranoia about copy protection have hurt hi-res greatly. Furthermore, the typical consumer is turning away from fidelity and towards convenience...
     
  7. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    2,693
    Likes Received:
    93
    Location:
    St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada
    Real Name:
    Paul
    I agree that if things remain constant, hi-def video should win out over "upscaled" standard DVD. I'm just curious if the "upscaling" players can be improved significantly over those that exist today, and if such improvement might then threaten the widespread acceptance of hi-def DVDs. Just a technical curiousity. I have no stake in this either way.
     
  8. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 23, 1999
    Messages:
    2,978
    Likes Received:
    6
    I saw U-571 in HD via D-Theater and I compared the scene I saw with my Zenith, and the detail was good but D-Theater was true HD. Maybe upscaling players will be the next generation of players once HD-DVD is finally on the market.
     
  9. Tyson Wetzel

    Tyson Wetzel Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you have a HDTV of any kind the picture from a DVD player will be upscaled at some point. If not in the source, then in the video processor within the TV. The primary advantage that I see in a upscaling player is that if you have an older TV with an early scaler, or a new set with a piss-poor scaler you could get a DVD player with the scaler that you want and bypass the scaler in the old/lame tv. Upconverting DVD players are, of course, worthless for SDTV's and not necessary with a high-end set with excellent video processors/scalers.
     
  10. EricRWem

    EricRWem Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2004
    Messages:
    1,097
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Adrik
    Mike's answer has just been saved in a Word Document along with several other posts in this thread. GREAT definitons, examples, and run-downs. Now I'll have a "Worksheet" ready to go all over the place, since we see threads like this in forums on average of at least once a week. [​IMG]

    For everyone's benefit, I'd like to link to corresponding AVS thread and post the amazing piece of work Bob Pariseau wrote from there. Bob's a walking encyclopedia of information and one of the best forumers on AVS as a whole, so this is worth reading, imho. [​IMG]


    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/post4753330

     
  11. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1

    Again, all upscaling DVD players are doing is including some on-board video processing (usually not of the highest quality). Video processing positively *DOES* lead to a higher quality image than is available with native 480.

    However, do note that a source that is true HD will beat out one scaled up to it, because of the added capability for fine detail that can be maintained better than processing algorithms can extract when processing SD video up. HD video processed up even higher, of course, would look the best.
     
  12. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 23, 1999
    Messages:
    2,978
    Likes Received:
    6
    EricRWem, that's the same page I booked marked. Some great reading.
     
  13. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2001
    Messages:
    1,085
    Likes Received:
    0
    Chris, no disrespect intended, but I disagree with your response. Furthermore, I think its information like what you provide that makes this type of information more and more confusing to J6P's/beginning home theater enthusiasts.

    Here is your text I am referring to:


    These are all valid points. Video, like any format benefits from the least amount of conversion possible. The longer that signal stays digital, the better (in theory) the signal will be.

    However, all three of your statements fall into what I personally call "The 90% rule". All these things you are discussing, internal vs external scalers, minimizing interference due to distortion, digital/analog pathways, are all things that are subject to the equipment and ability of the end user to see. Most people (the 90%) of the people who buy this stuff either can't see something, don't know what they're seeing, or don't have the equipment to see these differences.

    I am not saying that these facts should be ignored, but we are talking about a very minimal difference here. It is worth noting the equipment and level of knowledge in the subject area to the consumer in question before discussing these things.

    Most of us understand these technical terms, but how many J6Ps out there know this stuff. I believe in selling something to someone that is right for them. In my opinion, just because something is better with the right setup (the 10%), it is not right for everyone.
     
  14. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Mike: I apologize, I spent about an hour hunting for a particular long discussion that will explain the benefits of scaling. My main reaction, however, is against the VERY common statement that: "you can't create detail that isn't there" hence the conclusion that "there's no real resolution or perceptual benefit to upscaling the video" which is NOT correct.

    This is a superb Quote from Bjoern Ray that describes what I'm getting at:

     
  15. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    As long as you were sourcing information posted on AVS Above, I'd like to include the opportunity for those interested to view an excellent explanation with pictures to hammer home the benefits of scaling the picture to higher resolutions. The best representation of ANY video or picture material is thus infinite resolution, *regardless* of the limitations of the original source resolution. Of course, there are points of diminishing return, but clearly if you upscale the picture in a high-end video environment to say, 1080p, this is *DRASTICALLY* and VERY obviously superior in all ways to that video displayed in it's native 480 with a display of that precise resolution.

    http://archive.avsforum.com/avs-vb/s...922#post691922

    Edit: oops I'm a dummy and forgot the link!
     
  16. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1
    Oh,also understand that my statements, and those of Bjoern assume a fairly normal viewing distance. IF you view from ridiculously small viewing angles (i.e. VERY VERY far away), such that your screen is a postage stamp and there is absolutely no pixel structure (I'm talking like 10x away, very far), then you're not going to see the masking effects of the pixels, so scaling up will be of very little benefit. But of course, even with 1080p LCOS projectors, pixel structure can still be apparent at normal/close viewing distances.

    So to the theoretical question of whether it scaling up the video to a higher resolution display, even though it's not "adding any information," it still is *ABSOLUTELY* is beneficial to the viewing of that material. And to put it bluntly: anyone who thinks that the native resolution of the source is the best, i.e leaving DVD at 480, is GROSSLY mistaken, and any actual viewing of DVD at higher resolutions will *immediately* and very obviously prove this wrong, again assuming normal viewing distances, because nobody watches movies 20 feet away from a 15inch monitor.
     
  17. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mike, I agree with you, especially the 90% rule.

    However I also think that most of the people that post in a HT-related hardware forum fall within the other 10%.

    The thing that bothers me most about all this business is marketers pimping this stuff out as HD-DVD when it isn't, but I've already had my kick at the can for that.
     
  18. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,791
    Likes Received:
    1

    Agree, the only high definition material out on DVD is WMV HD stuff, and I don't know if there are standalone players out yet in the states that play it. There was one out in asia I believe, you could probably order it. Most at this point, like myself, use PCs to play back WMV HD DVDs.

    Of course, material whose native format is HD will contain more detail than a DVD can, but watching the DVD and HD versions of identical films, like T2, etc, the difference is mainly just in detail. Upscaling DVD can look absolutely incredible if you push it up to 960p or 1080p, it's just softer than the HD versions of the same.
     
  19. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2001
    Messages:
    1,085
    Likes Received:
    0

    I agree. We all need to take our knowledge and experience and fight the good fight against corporate ad campaign mis-information.

    There is a lot of good information in this thread and I think its a shame that youre regular average Joe that goes to Circuit City or Best Buy doesn't take the time to educate him/herself before purchasing a new piece of technoology.

    I, for one, am glad to have resources like this board and AVS to fill my greedy desire for information. In the words of Johnny 5, "Input, need INPUT!" [​IMG]
     

Share This Page