New member has stupid questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andy Stocker, Nov 25, 2001.

  1. Andy Stocker

    Andy Stocker Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi everybody, this is my first post on the Home Theater Forum! After seeing what some of you all have as your home theater I don't know if I qualify anymore!! Anyway, on with the stupid questions. I have a 32 inch Toshiba with componet input and 3-line dig.comb filter (non-digital) a DD,Dts sony "all in one" home theater, and a Playstation 2 as DVD (don't laugh). Since I am new to the DVD game (only had my Ps2 5 months) I am confused about DVD technology. I've been thinking about buying an additional DVD player to leave my PS2 for strictly gaming...and to enjoy better DVD quality (maybe?)

    1) I've seen a lot of posts stating that progressive scan DVD players will only show improvement in digital quality TV's, is this true? Like I mentioned, I do have componet inputs so does that help, or do I need a digital TV to see ANY improvement??

    2)What, if any, comparisons to other DVD players or experiences have you very educated people had with the Playstation as a DVD player??

    3)My PS2 has 3 screen settings; 16:9, 4:3 letterbox, and 4:3 pan and scan (which I guess could be standard for all DVD players, I don;t know). What I am having a hard time figuring out is which DVD's to rent or buy to fit my screen the best. I hate the black bars on the top and bottom (like I'm sure most do) but it seems like different DVD's produce different size ratio;s, then I started looking...

    I found 1.33:1 (which is 4:3) 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 (anamorphic?) Which is supposed to look best on my 4:3 Toshiba, I can't figure it out?

    What I have been doing, with most ALL of my DVD's is switching the Playstations screen size to 16:9, creating the "tall, skinny, squashed head" look. Is this how most of you watch your DVD's when you don't have a 16:9 TV?? It looks a little more realistic at 4:3, but at DVD;s with a ratio of 2.35:1 the black bars take up at least HALF of the screen!!

    I guess maybe I'm asking an opinion on what you think is best on 4:3 screen, filling the screen or acurate film representation. And are us non-widescreen people supposed to AVOID widescreen DVD's (like the anamorphic 2.35:1) ???

    I know this whole post maybe confusing but I'm learning and I've become frustrated after spending $1500 on all of this and still not even knowing how to watch my DVD's RIGHT!!

    Thank you for any answers, insight and/or help (medication, haha)

    Andy Stocker
     
  2. Derek Duncan

    Derek Duncan Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi, welcome to the forum. We at the Home Theater Forum only watch widescreen DVDs. I know it takes up half the screen, but it's better than losing half the picture,and we do not watch them in 16:9 mode on 4:3 tvs. We are very protective of widescreen, some will let you know that, so duck and cover.

    Derek
     
  3. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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  4. Matty B

    Matty B Stunt Coordinator

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  5. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    Andy;
    Welcome to the Home Theater Forum. Let me try to answer your questions.
    1) The improvement you get with progressive scan varies from person to person. Some say that it helps the image quality a lot while others claim that it does little good. I myself have a progressive scan player hooked up to an HDTV ready set, and I believe it looks better in PS mode.
    2) Those who have compared the quality of the PS2's DVD player to dedicated players typically agree that the PS2 does not look or sound as good.
    3) The correct screen setting for your TV is either one of the 4:3 modes. It really doesn't matter.
    Now, as for your comments concerning widescreen movies and your disliking of the black bars, let me just say that the vast majority of members, as well as home theater enthusiast demand that their movies be presented in widescreen. The reasons why are covered in the Widescreen FAQ I wrote up a while back. It's a tad bit long, but it will deal with all of the questions you have concerning this matter.
    I do ask though that you try and keep an open mind about widescreen. Don't reject it just because you "hate the black bars on the top and bottom" of the screen. Try it out and give it a shot. I believe that once you do, you will not only grow to accept it, but you will find that watching movies in this format is far more satisfying than it would be otherwise.
     
  6. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    Andy, set the PS2 so it know you have a 4:3 ratio television. This basically tells the PS2 to fit the image into that 4:3 screen. Depending on the DVD's content, the PS2 will do what is needed (downconvert anamorphic or not) to the picture to make the entire picture on the DVD fit in your screen. If the film is a widescreen film, the PS2 will fit the entire picture, but as you know making an entire wide rectangle fit inside a narrower one means you have some of the top and bottom of the rectangle empty (the black bars above the below the picture). Some DVD's also carry the film in an alternate format (on the other side of the disc or accessed on the disc as "full screen." This Pan and Scanned version of the film is what one usually sees on television. Basically, the P&S version manages to fill the entire screen by chopping off the sides of the picture. A jovial debate occassionally appears about which is a better presentation between widescreen (the entire picture in the film) vs fullscreen (the entire 4:3 screen filled but up to half the picture cropped off). The lines usually get drawn betweeen those who have larger or 16:9 displays vs those with smaller screens for whom letterboxing makes for too small an image.

    At any rate, your TV is a 4:3 ratio display and you should tell your PS2 that so it will properly shape the picture and stop giving you geometrically stretched images.

    As you learn more, you will also find out about "anamorphic" aka "widescreen enhanced" DVD's which add an additional 33% more vertical resolution for widescreen films. In order to take advantage of anammorphic DVD's, you need a TV which has a 16:9 screen or at least a newer 4:3 unit (still pretty rare) which knows how to do vertical squeeze of the picture.

    Progressive scan output DVD players need to be paired with a television which can accept the double rate component signal. Most often those sets which can use that type of signal will be one of the newer HD ready displays. You can also get that ability in a standard definition "digital" display, but be very careful to verify that ability amongst other parameters before purchase.

    Will a new DVD player improve your image? Possibly, yes, but I'd take a pause and learn a lot more about DVD players, televisions, and video in general before moving on. This forum's archives and regular topics are good starting points. You can also learn a great deal from our calibration DVD, AVIA's tutorial, the new (Jan release) Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-Up, or the older, now discontinued Video Essentials.
     
  7. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Guy,

     
  8. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    "Hi, welcome to the forum. We at the Home Theater Forum only watch widescreen DVDs. I know it takes up half the screen, but it's better than losing half the picture,and we do not watch them in 16:9 mode on 4:3 tvs. We are very protective of widescreen, some will let you know that, so duck and cover."
    Derek - Official Member of the OAR Police!
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    LOL Derek that was TOO funny! I especialy love watching
    16:9 OAR on my 61" 4:3 which actualy has a larger image
    than a 54" Widescreen [​IMG] heh...
    Andy,
    Welcome to the forum! I will let the other's explain it
    all, as they seem to be doing a good job so far [​IMG]
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  10. Andy Stocker

    Andy Stocker Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, thanks for all the info everybody!! And I understand ALOT more already. STAY AWAY FROM THE 1.33 : 1 DVD's!! And it makes sense in a lot of different ways. Mainly why spend $15-$20 to see cropped off movies, or a misrepresentation of what the movie was supposed to be. At least I now know that I am not alone in the "black bar" world, but I am working on putting up some poster board (like I read here of course!) to use as blanking bars! Sounds like it has worked for a bunch of people, and doesn't cost much!! Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for all the help...I was beginning to think that I made a BIG mistake not buying a digital widescreen, but my budget didn't allow for that. Now I will probably buy a HDTV in a couple of years, oh yeah! ONE MORE QUESTION, I heard that in 2007 production on analog TV's will stop!?! Is this correct? If so, does that mean all cable and satellite will be genuine digital broadcast? Just curious, because I'm sure that if I am right that HDTV will be alot less expensive in years to come...Any-who

    THANKS AGAIN A MILLION

    Andy Stocker
     
  11. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Guy already mentioned the Progressive thing, but let me emphasize something that might not be clear to a newbie regarding progressive, digital sets, and HDTV for that matter. Progressive output can not be used by almost all standard sets. It's not just a case of not being able to see the difference, it's a case of not being able to even use the progressive output.

    A TV scans lines across the screen. For STANDARD TVs (NTSC in America) it will scan 480 lines of video (with 525 total, the other 45 can carry data and stuff for V-chip, etc).

    BUT, these sets scan 240 even lines THEN the 240 odd lines...this is called INTERLACING. It takes 1/60th of a second to scan the screen with one of these FIELDS (even or odd lines) or 1/30th to do both fields (= to 1 FRAME or complete image). This gives you 30 frames per second (fps).

    PROGRESSIVE means that all 480 lines get scanned in order and done in the same time it normally takes to scan just 1 field. That means you are scanning twice as fast. Here you would get 60 fps (each frame twice).

    And that means that the deflection circuit (the electronics that scan the electron beam across the set) must go twice as fast. This involves power consumption changes and other nasty electronic stuff which makes it HARDER to make sets that do BOTH 480i and 480p (many sets still upconvert interlaced to progressive and only can scan at 480p on the newer sets).

    HDTV is 1080 lines being scanned in an interlace fashion (plus those non-video lines making a total over 1100). Doing the math gives you 540 lines every 1/60th of a second instead of 480 in NTSC progressive. That's even faster scanning and more power (plus filtering, etc. to keep that bugger smooth and accurate).

    What you do find is that the new HDTV capable sets will also sync (lock onto the signal) on the 480p (besides the 1080i), but your older standard sets simply CANNOT sync on nor scan the 480p signal.

    And that is why you need a HDTV to take advantage of progressive scan.

    To be clear, its not a matter of being able to use it on any set but only HDTVs showing a difference. It's a matter of not being able to have progressive on regular sets, period.

    However, if you DO have an HDTV you DO NOT have to use progressive into it. The set will simply upconvert the 480i to 480p. The "see a difference" problem here is that upconversion done by the set still involves sampling the analog signal sent from the DVD player to your TV and then upconverting it with whatever methods it uses.

    Depending on how well that goes it might not look too bad.

    But why do that when you can get the even and odd lines together while they are still in digital sample form as read off of the DVD. That's what helps make a progressive player worth it, the fact that it can put the samples all back together before sending them out analog in the first place. Then your TV just scans them as normal without doing it's own mucking about.

    The effect of going to progressive tends to be a smoother, deeper, filmlike picture. On some sets it's VERY noticible.

    And on a set like the RCA 36101 series that did both interlace or progressive scan (a rare case) you can see a monsterous improvement because the set will auto jump into interlace or progressive mode on the fly rather than upconverting 480i to 480p. With that set you can quite literally see how the scan line gaps seem to disappear by doubling the scan rate and scanning the whole frame every 60th of a second.
     
  12. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Andy, video can and will be converted between different formats. Already we convert between PAL (Europe standard) and NTSC (US standard). PAL runs at 25 fps while NTSC is at 30 fps.

    Converters are not always cheap, it mostly depends on what you are converting (scan rates vs number of lines, etc).

    DIGITAL TV is already here, it's called DIRECTV or digital cable. That's mostly what the ATSC digital standard is. It's a METHOD for getting video to your house. They piggy-back the digital bits on an analog broadcast carrier wave, just like they do right now with an analog signal, and just like DirecTV does.

    It just so happens that this transition also makes room for other standards changes, one of which is Hi Def video. This involves more scan lines of video, more video info basically. DirecTV already sends HBO in HD using the same technology (although from a 2nd satellite and thus an oval dish to point to 2 sats at the same time) it already was using for SD (standard def) that people are already watching on their regular sets.

    The new "digital" sets are basically just sets capable of doing HD, the only new digital aspect of ATSC is the BROADCAST method. You do need a tuner capable of decoding the digital signal on the carrier frequency rather than an analog signal, but that's it. That's the only key.

    So in the future you could buy a HDTV tuner/reciever/whatever that tunes and decodes these digital broadcasts and then downconverts them (if necessary) to 480i to use in your old TV (via component -YPbPr, S-Vid, or composite inputs, even RF coax like your cable or VCR with the video piggy backed on channel 3).

    What you WON'T be getting is the HD or even progressive scan QUALITY, but you would still be able to watch the shows with digital clarity (no noise on the video). HD is really awesome and quite the improvement, but you have no reason to fear that your current TV will be rendered totally obsolete, maybe just your antenna tuner if you even use that now.

    Again, what the future holds for your Over The Air (OTA) local antenna broadcasts is that you will need a new device that can tune and decode these, just like you might already have a DirecTV or digital cable box in your house now. Other than that you will face very little in terms of change.
     
  13. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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