How hard will it be to find a DVD player that scales 4:3 to 16x9 in the future?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Frank@N, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    I used to avoid purchasing any LBX DVDs, but as time goes by and prices drop, I'm starting to cave in.

    Seems like only the biggest titles (Planet of the Apes) are getting re-done these days and attention may soon start to shift to the next format.

    I recently picked up Good Morning Vietnam ($5), What About Bob? ($5), Presumed Innocent ($5), Rising Sun ($5), Distinguished Gentleman ($5), First Wives Club ($5) Snake Eyes ($5), Grosse point Blank ($7.50), The Mask ($8), The Abyss ($10).

    I still figure that LBX transfers are only about 5% of my collection, but I'm starting to worry about how these transfers will fare on a true/larger 16x9 TV (currently using a smaller CRT with 16x9 mode).

    So...how hard will it be to find a DVD player that scales 4:3 to 16x9 in the future?

    Seems almost ironic that all DVD players can scale 16x9 to 4:3, but so few can scale 4:3 to 16x9.

    Too bad the same hardware can't be used for both tasks.
     
  2. Chester II

    Chester II Stunt Coordinator

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    Dude,

    Follow Nancy Reagan's advice; JUST SAY NO

    Dude,

    Chester II
     
  3. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    I assume you mean to LBX transfers...

    With the possible exception of The Abyss, I don't foresee these and many other LBX titles being re-done on DVD.

    These versions are all we have, so I'm just trying to make the best of it and shore up the video quality of weaker releases.
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

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    Just say no huh??? lol

    I have a native 4:3 set, and a vast LD library, I don't object to it all to much if the price is right, and the prices he posted were way right!!! lol


    I would rather have that than Pan&Scan any day. Although with a 60" 4:3 set, I actually don't mide Pan&Scan that darn much either. lol My preference is OAR so don't shoot me down to much for the statement.
     
  5. Gene S

    Gene S Agent

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    There are players that do that now if the dvd is flagged correctly. I have a JVC player that scales letterboxed films to 16:9. If they aren't flagged right I have to use my tv's zoom mode. You lose a little bit of info off of the sides, but its better than using a stretch mode.
     
  6. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I have one of those older scaling JVCs and a bunch of nonamamorphic letterbox dvds. The scaling works on only 2 of my N/A dvds, but pillarboxing works on all of them and all 1:33 discs, like Citizen Kane. When I zoom my tv for the improperly flagged discs the pq suffers because the raster is expanded. I still own it but replaced it in my system with a Panasonic CP-72 with Faroudja de-interlacer over a year ago. PQ on the Panny is good but it's a pain having to switch my set's aspect ratio to "normal" and watch old classic movies with gray bars on the sides.

    I was about to pull the trigger to the tune of $400+ for an RP91, still available if you hunt around the net. The Panny RP91 has the scaling feature and it can be activated manually for improperly flagged discs.

    I then read a thread about the new JVC XV=NA70Bk and 77SL players. These don't have the scaling feature but do have pillaboxing and a 1.8 zoom.

    I purchased one from a local store with a good return policy, took it home and popped in Titanic--a notorious non-anamorphic improperly flagged disc. On the 1.8 zoom the pq is excellent--looks better than some anamorphics I have, and the "Zoom" onscreen Icon goes away by itself after about 10 seconds. The zoom is a tiny bit too much, I lose just a sliver off each side, but pq is very far superior to the zoom mode on my tv.

    This player will intermittently stutter on horizontal pans if you use the ff or fr features, but as long as you leave those alone it's ok.

    I can live with this minor deficiency on a player that totally solves the nonanamorphic widescreen on a 16/9 set problem for a third the price of the scarce RP-91.

    de-interlacing of video material is not as good as on my Panny CP-72 with Faroudja chip, but isn't totally unwatchable as it only shows up during special features on my discs. I still use the Panny for video based tv show dvds.

    The JVC also offers some really cool picture adjustment features, allowing you to calibrate contrast, brightness, gamma, color, tint, sharpness, and Y-delay independent of the set. There are 2 sets of user adjustments.

    I'm really looking forward to re-watching my many nonanamorphic widescreen dvds that I've not run since I got my widescreen set a coupla years ago--Dusk Til Dawn, Restoration, Some Like it Hot, etc.
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Steve, beware that Some Like It Hot is a 1:66.1 non-anamorphic transfer, so using the zoom feature of your new player will also chop off some of the top/bottom of the frame.

    I own a Panny RP-91 and love it's scaling feature. Unfortunately, the player has only one zoom setting, which works great for 1.85:1 and wider films, but crops the image on 1.66:1 non-anamorphic titles. I really hate 1.66:1 non-anamorphic transfers. [​IMG]
     
  8. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    How does the new JVC unit manage to do this well without a scaler?
     
  9. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    I did a Google on 'jvc 1.8 zoom' and found this info:

    "There is a very handy x1.8 zoom which is excellent. Some players start their zoom level at x4 which means that you get an extremely pixelly grainy result. 1.8 zoom during playback means that you can zoom into an area of the screen and still watch footage to a decent level of quality. Some players only offer zoom on a still freeze-frame - by this unit will zoom during video playback. Another neat feature is that you can pan around with the zoom on, so that you are not resticted to zooming the centre of the screen."
     
  10. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    Here's some more info from another user review of a cheaper JVC unit:

    "I really like the 1.8x zoom...also has 4,8,16,32&64x zooms, but the higher ones are almost useless due to poor quality."

    Seems like JVC uses variable zoom to give the user more control over image expansion vs. picture quality loss.

    Think I'd still rather have a built-in scaler, but it seems like that kind of thing is getting rarer and rarer.
     
  11. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Scott,

    I knew SLIH was 1:66. I'm pretty sure Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Elmer Gantry, Mrs. Brown, and Madness of King George are too.

    One option I tried was a new Panasonic with infinitely variable zoom, but the thing doesn't do pillarboxing so although one can zoom to exactly fit vertically, solving the overscan of 1:66 movies, the picture is geometrically distorted--everything is short and fat.

    I also own a number of dvds of foreign films with English subtitles that are non-anamorphic, Queen Margot being one. When zoomed with the tv, the subtitles would often go off screen. With the JVC the pic zooms but subtitles stay where they would be if the pic were not zoomed.

    I'm not saying the JVC is the perfect solution in all cases, just that it is a pretty viable one and cheaper than the RP-91.

    I sat thru Titanic on the new player in 1.8 zoom and it looked as good as Abyss (a dvd properly flagged for auto-scaling) did on the older JVC with auto scaling. It also looked about as good as anamorphic Gladiator does on my Panny CP-72. The 1.8 zoom on this player is really that good. I've had several players with zoom and it always either softened the picture or added digital junk, the new JVC at 1.8 still looks very nice. Next zoom up is 4x and at that zoom you do start to see some softness/artifacting. I'm watching on a Sony KP57HW40, 57 inch widescreen rptv. Results may not be as good if one is using a 100 inch screen with an FP setup, of course, but on a direct view set or rptv up to maybe 65" it looks quite nice.

    I also ran Kubrick's The Shining (1:33 open matte, I think)
    at 1.8 zoom to try to get closer to how it was projected in theaters and it also looked very good.
     
  12. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    I'm also wondering how players that upscale to 1080i handle 4:3 encoded material.

    Since these player are upscaling to reduce visible scanlines, I wonder if this would essentially 'kill two birds' by sweetening 16x9 and 4:3 encoded transfers.

    Anybody try LBX DVDs on an upscale player?
     
  13. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    How do you quote?
    >>> I always figured that Zoom must be the worst (yet most commonly available) option for watching LBX transfers on a 16x9 set.

    Actually raster expansion, or optical zoom, is still native mode. You still have a one to one "pixel match" horizontally and because no scaling was done, still a "one to one pixel match" horizontally. It is true that upscaling what is essentially "360p" to 480p for non-anamorphic letterbox programs will if done well give a smoother picture with no loss of resolution.

    If I click Quote I still have to type the stuff in even though I highlighted it with the mouse up avove.
    >>> I'm also wondering how players that upscale to 1080i handle 4:3 encoded material.

    I haven't seen one but I suspect all they do is upconvert 480p to 540p and the TV can't tell the difference between incoming 540p and 1080i. The only problem is, if your TV locks into 16:9 mode (horrible lousy thing to do).

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

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