Is there a non progressive DVD player with automatic aspect ratio?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by JonDG, Jul 18, 2003.

  1. JonDG

    JonDG Auditioning

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    This is probably going to sound like a strange question, but I seriously need help. By the way, this is my first post in this forum.

    I recently bought a 42" Toshiba widescreen TV and the salesperson suggested I also buy a progressive scan DVD player in order to take full advantage of the HDTV. I bought the JVC XV-N50. After I tested several of my DVDs on it, I was rather annoyed at the "jerkiness" of certain titles. After reading about progressive scan, 3-2 pulldown, and the inherent problem with titles that are shot on film and edited on video, I see now what the problem is. Overall, I'm not pleased with progressive scan. Sure, it works great on theatrical releases, but many of my DVDs are documentaries, television programs, and titles that combine sources from film AND video. It's annoying to the point that I can't enjoy any of my DVDs because I find myself looking for the noticable "combing" effects or "jerky" motion that I occasionally see. The one great thing about the JVC though is that it automatically adjusts the aspect ratio for you. In the set-up, it allows you to choose "16:9 Auto" or "16:9 Normal." With "Normal", the DVD player adjusts the aspect ratio for video source material. When I'm watching a DVD that is video source or a TV show, it puts black bars on the sides (where the grey bars would normally be). Personally, I hate the grey bars so this is preferable to me.

    My solution to the progressive problem was to buy an additional DVD player, a non-progressive player with component outputs. The Sony DVP-NS325. Basically, I alternate between the two players depending on the source material of the title. However, the non-progressive player DOES NOT have the feature that automatically adjusts the aspect ration for video source material. I have to adjust that on the TV. I set the TV to normal mode and have to deal with the grey bars on the side (which I hate).

    So here's my question:

    Is there a non-progessive DVD player out there which will adjust the aspect ratio automatically? I hate the grey bars! They're too bright! I want to leave my TV in full mode and let the DVD player size the image properly for TV source material so that it sticks BLACK bars on the side. Like I said, I love watching theatrical releases in their original aspect ratio, but I also prefer TV or video titles in their original aspect ratio as well. I've tried several DVD players out there and none of them would do it so I had to return them.

    Does this make sense? Am I the only one out there who is this picky?

    Thanks for any help you can offer!
     
  2. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Generally problems with progressive scan from a DVD player have to do with a poor progressive scan maker (de-interlacer) inside the player. A good progressive player has a de-interlacer with different layers of processing, first the 3-2 pulldown sensing and optimizing for movies with that. For non-film video, it falls back on motion adaptiveness, or picking out the best parts of the picture (stationary subject) to weave in material from the next interlaced field and picking out the best parts of the picture to interpolate the intervening scan lines (moving subject). If the second layer does weave exclusively, you get lots of combing.

    Another reason for jerkiness is a slight incompatibility between your specific DVD player and your specific TV. The TV might have service mode adjustments to correct this.

    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/viddoubl.htm
     
  3. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    Have you tried disabling the progressive scan? I have this unit as well, and the progessive scan is not so good. So I leave it off and let my TV do the de-interlacing.
     
  4. JonDG

    JonDG Auditioning

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    I thought it might be a TV/DVD player compatibility issue so I bought a Toshiba progressive scan player (same brand as the TV) and had the same results. In fact, I picked up several DVD players and ended up taking them all back except for the two I mentioned above.

    My TV has a film/video option. I understand that in film mode, it is supposed to do the de-interlacing. I've tried both options as well as setting my DVD player to 480p vs 480i. I've tried every possible combination between TV and DVD player and can't get it to work. I'm considering taking everything back.
     
  5. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    With selectable video and film mode, the de-interlacer is used for both.

    But the best de-interlacers do not need a film/video mode selector. This selection should occur automatically. It is difficult to find out whether the de-interlacer is a good one with one all purpose mode and the other for specialty situations versus a mediocre de-interlacer where you need to make the choice.
     
  6. Don Munsil

    Don Munsil Stunt Coordinator

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    The JVC has an annoying issue that it derives the interlaced image from the progressive image, so even if you use it in interlaced mode you still will get deinterlacing issues because the image will be deinterlaced and then re-interlaced before being sent out the back.

    As far as I know, there are no interlaced-only players that will resize the image. It's a very difficult problem, as you really can't scale an interlaced image cleanly without deinterlacing it.

    Some options:

    - Wait for a player with good deinterlacing, good scaling, and good aspect ratio controls. So far none exists, to the best of my knowledge. The Panasonic RP91 has good scaling and aspect controls, but so-so deinterlacing. The Toshibas have good scaling and decent aspect ratio controls, but so-so deinterlacing. The JVCs have good scaling, but so-so aspect ratio control and bad deinterlacing. The new Samsung 931 has excellent scaling and deinterlacing, but doesn't have the correct aspect ratio controls.

    - Build masks for your TV. Wrap some black velvet around stiff carboard or plywood, and attach them to the TV with velcro strips. It's mildly annoying to put them on and take them off as you switch from one aspect ratio to another, but I'd advise living with the gray bars for most casual watching, and only attaching the masks for long-term viewing of, say, a movie. YMMV.

    - Live with the bars. I know they're distracting, but they're helping protect against burn-in, and in the grand scheme of things they aren't that bad. Buy a DVD player with an excellent deinterlacer (or a good interlaced player if you're OK with the deinterlacer in the TV), and use your TV's aspect controls to do the size adjustments.

    For what it's worth, you should always leave your TV's deinterlacing mode on "film." In that mode, it will automatically switch between film mode and video mode as needed. Only switch it back to "video" if you notice excessive combing on a particular disc or show. Also, that setting does not have any effect when you feed in a progressive signal, as a progressive signal cannot by definition be deinterlaced.

    Don
     
  7. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    Jon,

    "They're too bright!"

    You might want to fix this before, or instead of, using masking or various DVD players.

    By using a DVD player with adjustable contrast and black level and a display with the same you should be able to find a tweak combination between the 4 parameters that makes your upper/lower and right/left black bars very dark so as to at least match, or be darker than, black levels in your images.

    This goes a long way towards helping to not notice black bars and it also makes widescreen outer space scenes look larger because their blackness of outer space then blends right into the blackness of the bars! [​IMG]
     
  8. JonDG

    JonDG Auditioning

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    Thanks for all the good suggestions. I actually did try masking a few weeks ago. I glued a few pieces of black foamcore together to hang on the sides of the TV. I even custom-cut a few pieces and mitered the edges with sandpaper so that they fit into the frame of the TV. That didn't work so well because some noticeable light from the grey bars still bled into the image. I moved the foamcore in closer to obscure the light, but then the image was noticeably cropped. I played with the contrast as well (DVD player and TV) and just couldn't seem to find a happy medium.

    I went back to the store where I bought the TV and noticed they have a Mitsubishi 50" 4:3 Monitor with 1080i. I'm considering exchanging my TV for this one. Do you have any opinions on this? Ultimately, the widescreen titles would be comparable in size to the way they looked on the 42" widescreen. When I'm watching 4:3 titles, I wouldn't need to worry about the grey bars. When watching widescreen titles, I'd have the BLACK bars on top and bottom which I would gladly accept.

    Maybe I'll try the Samsung 931 DVD player with this TV since aspect ratio would no longer be an issue.
     

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