Laserdiscs, the PT-47WX49, and the TW50H81

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ian Bernard, Aug 16, 2001.

  1. Ian Bernard

    Ian Bernard Auditioning

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    Hi guys,
    I own about 70 LDs. I'm considering purchasing one of the above RPTVs. According to a few of Matt Stevens' posts, the 47WX49 looks like trash with LDs. Is he just heavily exaggerating?
    Also, 50H81 owners: how do LDs look on your set?
    True LDs are recorded in composite, non-anamorphic, and have 55 less lines of horizontal resolution than DVDs. But are they as drastically bad as Mr. Stevens has described?
    It would seem to me that a lousy, poorly transferred 80s LD would indeed look like garbage. But most discs pressed in the 90s, especially the mid-late 90s have color purity, black levels, and resolution that in some cases rival DVD. How bad could a nicely transferred LD look?
    Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences,
    Ian
     
  2. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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  3. Mike Mallory

    Mike Mallory Agent

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    Looking forward to seeing your pics, Matt. I complained mightily last winter about the poor performance of LD's after being upconverted to a progressive signal. My thought at the time was that without 3:2 pulldown, LD's will never look good on the new TV's. You might be talking about a different problem, but I'm still interested.
    - Mike
     
  4. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Got the pics back. They are not nice enough to clearly show my problems, but they are good enough to see things are not correct. I'll have a post up in a bit.
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  5. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    I have a lot of laser disks and they play nicely through an iScan doubler into a progressive scan TV.
    If you do not have to zoom the picture, you should not have any problems.
    Some problems that might occur:
    1. Usually zoom is accomplished by expanding the raster, the scan lines are now farther apart and gaps may show in between.
    2. A less than superb scaler used instead of expanding the raster during zoom -- may soften the picture or introduce some artifacts due to some lines being redoubled and others not.
    3. A scaler or doubler with too few pixels across (all scalers and doublers digitize the video).
    Other video hints: http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
    [Edited last by Allan Jayne on August 16, 2001 at 09:29 PM]
     
  6. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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  7. Michael St. Clair

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    The best bet for laserdiscs on a 480p/540p/1080i widescreen set is to build a HTPC. This will allow you to capture the image via s-video then use dScaler/YXY to scale and stretch it to an upconverted anamorphic image, allowing your set to use it's regular 16:9 480p mode.
    You can do this for the same price as an iScan Pro if you buy the parts carefully (even including the rgb/component transcoder), and the image will destroy an iScan Pro. You will eliminate all the nasty scaling artifacts that the cheap zooming scaler inside the set generates.
    Frankly, if you aren't willing to go this route, and letterboxed laserdiscs matter to you, you should get a 4:3 set with a properly-implemented 16:9 mode.
     
  8. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    I went the HTPC route and found it to be a nightmare. There were times where I wanted to throw the PC over a bridge.
    I think I need to try and force Panasonic to shut my SVM off. It's clear to me that much of my troubles are due to that POS, useless feature. It exaggerates edges and adds noise. F'n sucks.
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  9. Ian Bernard

    Ian Bernard Auditioning

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    Yikes! Just found all your pics on another post..they're frightening.
    I can't believe cable could possibly look better than LD.
    Mike, thanks for the suggestion, but when I upgrade there's no way I'd pick 4x3.
    I'd still like to hear opinions from anyone else who has run LDs on the Tosh or Pan..
    Thanks,
    Ian
    [Edited last by Ian Bernard on August 19, 2001 at 07:21 AM]
     
  10. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Ian, Yikes is right. LD looks terrible in Zoom mode. I can always watch the material window boxed, as LD's lok fine that way, but then I have black bars on all four side and will burn my CRT's in no time. Plus the image will be very small. [​IMG]
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  11. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hmmm... This issue adds to my changed feeling that maybe 4x3 w/ proper 16x9 mode is the way to go now. A widescreen set may look cooler, but I don't mind the extra letterboxing on a 4x3 set as long as the actual picture size AND resolution is not compromised.
    However, I really wonder if other widescreen sets exhibit the same bad zooming/scaling of the Panny. I recently saw the new Hitachi 43" widescreen set at a local Circuit City, and it looked surprising good playing the non-anamorphic Top Gun DVD in both full-width and full-screen zoomed modes. Scaling artifacts were hardly noticeable. I can't imagine a good LD looking much worse than that on this set.
    OTOH, I also saw the Panny showing some generic demo program that was also shown on numerous other 4x3 sets, and it looked awful in zoomed mode w/ the kind of problems mentioned here. Meanwhile, the numerous other 4x3 sets looked fine. Of course, this could just be a badly set-up case. Too bad they didn't have the Panny receiving the Top Gun feed for comparison although they did actually have the Hitachi 43" 4x3 set(!) doing so.
    FWIW, I wasn't planning to buy an HDTV anytime soon, but the picture quality and price tag of the Hitachi has made me rethink things.
    _Man_
     
  12. Michael St. Clair

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  13. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    ANother problem with some scalers used for zooming (upconversion) (I don't know which models of scalers are affcted) is the same problem that is found with some anamorphic downconversion.
    The best way is to convert it to progressive scan first and then upconvert the full frame.
    If it is upconverted one field at a time, what we sometimes end up with is a progresssive scan frame with two lines in a row redoubled and then a bunch of lines not, then two lines in a row redoubled and then a bunch of lines not, etc. Alternatively we may sometimes end up with scan lines out of order.
    More: http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/vidscale.htm
    [Edited last by Allan Jayne on August 19, 2001 at 04:24 PM]
    [Edited last by Allan Jayne on August 19, 2001 at 04:25 PM]
     
  14. Ian Bernard

    Ian Bernard Auditioning

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    Ok, we've got an negative opinion on the PT-47WX49, now how about you TW50H81 owners? Anyone got an LD player hooked up?
    Thanks,
    Ian
     
  15. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    My 47WX49 was replaced yesterday with another and IT does NOT have the serious Zoom problems of artifacts, digital pizalization (that's what it looked like) and color bleeding. I am convinced that the first set was defective. This one, right out the box, had vastly improved LD playback. BLADE RUNNER and HIGHLANDER looked so much better and TRUE LIES looked somewhat better.
    I posted about this here...
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/.../008097.html#5
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  16. Mike_Skill

    Mike_Skill Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the TOSH 56H80, and LDs look pretty horrible. Sometimes I'm almost fooled into thinking they look good, as certain outdoor scenes on titles like "ID4" and "The Rock" look great, but they're few and far between. The 'zoom' mode (THEATER WIDE 2) works great with non-anamorphic dvd's, but LDs are very soft by comparison. The internal line doubler has everything to do with it, as the lack of noticable scan lines make us beleive there's a lack of detail. Internal line doublers in sets are usually very cheap to keep costs down. That's why as mentioned earlier an outboard scaler can fix the problem. I've heard people talk about outboard scalers making the LDs look as good on their 16X9 sets as they did on their 4X3s.
     
  17. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Supporting Actor

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    I watch LDs on my TW40X81 all the time. I have it paired with an Iscan. It looks quite good, especially on 4x3 and 1:85 discs.
    There are problems with a lack of color resolution at times, but it's not very often, and really only noticable on animation.
    Stuff like Star Wars Spec: Ed looks (and sounds!) fantastic. I just watched Empire last weekend and was really impressed.
    I have 'With Honors' on LD, which isn't a great looking disc or anything, but is availible the only way to get it widescreen is LD. It looks better through my current setup with a 27" TV than it did on a my old LD player (CLD-505 vs CLD-704).
    Is the Panasonic really that bad? Or am I just not picky enough? [​IMG]
     
  18. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    The first Panny must have been defective, because it was BAD! [​IMG] But the replacement is an improvement. However, LD's still look like VHS now. Yuck. I wish I could try one of those Iscan's out on my setup to see what it would do. They ain't cheap.
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  19. Ian Bernard

    Ian Bernard Auditioning

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    Matt,
    Good to hear you're pleased with your new set. (Any chance of posting comparison pics?)
    To say that LD looks like VHS is nearly blasphemous to LD. Yes, it's true that on a 2.35:1 LD the amount of lines making up the picture will about equal a P&S'd VHS, but you musn't forget you're getting twice the picture! Imagine taking a 2.35:1 WS VHS and blowing that up! What would you even compare that to? The res of the atari 2600?
    Not to mention you'll always have a nice crisp picture from your LD, and you're guaranteed to get bleeding colors and all the other time and format related perks to VHS.
    LD is still the next best thing to Anamorphic DVD, treat it right. It knows where you live.
    Ian
     
  20. Larry Schneider

    Larry Schneider Second Unit

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    I've got a TW40X81 Toshiba, and a Pioneer 704 - a very good player - and I was disappointed with the LD picture until I tried using the composite (RCA plug) input instead of the SVHS input. This utilizes the comb filter in the Toshiba, which is excellent, better than the one in the player, and makes a huge difference. Laserdiscs look fine on my set.
    You also need to adjust the TV properly, turning the contrast and brightness way down with the guidance of Video Essentials or AVIA. That's another huge improvement.
     

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