No need for HD-DVD?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Adam Portrais, Sep 19, 2003.

  1. Adam Portrais

    Adam Portrais Stunt Coordinator

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    Now I'm no expert (but if anyone asks you, you think I am) but I came across this and wondered if anyone knew anything positive or negative.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....uct&cmp=%20%20

    Has anyone seen this in action? Does it do what it says and if so, how well? Is this just something for the wanna-be tech-heads that have to have anything new? If this truely does what it says could there be no use for HD-DVD?

    Again, I'm not an expert. I'm just throwing out questions to start discussion (hopefully not an arument, just disscussion). And hey, it would be cool if our fearless leaders at HTF could hook us up with a review of this new "marvel". But hey, whatever.
     
  2. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    The BEST video processors in the world (the Teranex machines and Snell&Willcox's Interpolator) are not powerful enough to make DVD look like HD (they come close, though. Sweet, sweet Teranex... *Homer Simpson drool*), and their prices start at $20k. Trust me, a $300 DVD player is not gonna top them.

    Players such as this Samsung model and the Bravo D1 can greatly improve a DVD's picture (the Bravo's amazing), but they're by no means a substitue for true HD. They're simply upconverting the picture, not creating new detail. They ARE worth the money, but keep your expectations in check if you do buy one [​IMG]
     
  3. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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  4. Cris K

    Cris K Agent

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    Here's a silly question: Doesn't my TV already do this?

    -cris
     
  5. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Yes, but a 720p/1080i signal delivered via DVI is a sight to behold. Not all devices have the same quality when it comes to upscaling.

    Of course, if you're already feeding your TV via DVI, then I guess you don't have much to gain with these players.
     
  6. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    i picked this player up 2 days ago, and plan to take it back either today or tomorrow.
    i can't see much difference between 480p, 720p and 1080i- and whats more, i can't see much difference between this player in general and a signal from my rp56 via an rgb breakout cable to an NEC HT1000.

    did the picture look good from the samsung via dvi?
    absolutely. save for the ee this player adds, its a pretty impressive picture.
    but then again, so is the picture i get from my panasonic...and my malata.
    this projector makes everything look impressive.

    even if there was a dramatic difference in the image, i would have been hard pressed to want to keep this player as it has an extremely annoying display light, and an annoying remote.

    i'm not sold on the overwhelming superiority of dvi just yet.
     
  7. Kami

    Kami Screenwriter

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    Yes there is a need for HD.

    345k pixels (480p DVD) vs. 920k (720p) or 2 million (1080p)...

    It might upscale that image but it doesn't magically add information that wasn't there in the first place. It's still 720x480.
     
  8. Phil L

    Phil L Supporting Actor

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    Paul,

    Just curious, did you use a digital or CRT projector?
     
  9. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this exactly what a HTPC does with the help of a FP? I've heard so much about "upscaling" and all that. If we had this DVD player, than we wouldn't need a FP to upscale the image is that correct? Everyone say that a FP gives a much more detailed and realistic picture than a RP, does that mean that if you hook up this DVD player to a RP, you would get the same quality as a FP?
     
  10. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    How much will a HDTV cost?

    How much will a HD-DVD cost?

    That's all I want to know! [​IMG]


    Gordy
     
  11. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Phil,
    the HT1000 is a DLP fp.
    other people have commented that they can see a diffference with the dvi over a regular component connection, but i really couldn't.
    whatever differences were there were easily accounted for by changes in the picture settings (using dvi also apparantly disables general picture controls like brightness, contrast, color, hue).

    when better dvi players come out i will probably give them another shot, but this one i would not recommend at the present.
     
  12. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Mitch, yes, that's what an HTPC does. These players are meant to offer HTPC-level PQ with the ease of use of a standalone unit. I'd rather use a well-equipped HTPC and take advantage of ffdshow's sharpening and noise reduction filters, but I'm sure there's plenty of people who couldn't be bothered to fiddle with a PC for DVD playback.
     
  13. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    This could be a great player, but the fact that my TV does not have DVI inputs, I could not use it. Does the Bravo D1 also have ONLY DVI? How much does it sell for? This player is right in my budget.
     
  14. Sean Bryan

    Sean Bryan Sean Bryan

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    The Bravo has other outputs, including component. But you should NOT buy this for ANY OTHER PURPOSE than using the DVI output.

    It doesn't matter if the "upscaled" resolutions are available over the component outputs. It has been made clear by many with this player that the component outputs are crap, and you'd be much better off with a better standard progressive player if you can't use the DVI.

    Be careful and don't waste your money if you can't use the DVI. But, if you can use DVI, most would say it is an increadible bargan.
     
  15. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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  16. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Also important is that the DVI-scaling DVD player be able to modify the aspect ratio of the DVD for the display.

    Many DVI-equipped displays "lock" onto the DVI signal at 720P or 1080I and won't allow you to adjust aspect ratio bcs they think they're getting an HD signal which would always be 16x9 no matter what.

    While this works great with "anamorphic" DVDs (which are native 16x9 images and so look correct), 4x3 full-frame and 4x3 lbxed DVDs will look stretched "fat". I read a review in WSR of the Samsung DVD player and they suggested running analog for 4x3 DVDs and only using DVI for 16x9 DVDs. How lame is that?! [​IMG]

    The Bravo has scaling/aspect-ratio options to properly fit 4x3 material into the 16x9 window for both full-frame and letterboxed movies (now if only they'd add a special zoom for 1.66:1 4x3 lbxed material [​IMG] )...the Samsung does *not* have any such adjustment.

    Denon also has a new DVI player...curious to find out it if scales to 720P/1080I and if it offers aspect-ratio adjustment like the Bravo.

    -dave
     
  17. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I have a Panasonic RP-82, with the Faroudja DCDi chip, which I use with component cables into my Fujitsu PDS-5001, 50" plasma (last year's model). The Fujitsu has a DVI input port, but this is an older model with older DVI specifications, not HDCP compliant.

    Remember that plasmas have fixed pixels, and the best picture is generally going to be found by one-to-one pixel mapping, without scaling.

    I also have a Bravo D1, with DVI output into the Fujitsu. The Bravo has been a source of some annoyance. When I first bought it, I couldn't get it to scale the picture properly, regardless of what method I tried. 4:3 pictures were stretched the full width of the screen. 16:9 pictures looked better, but were too far to the right, cutting off about 15% of the picture (and I couldn't change this). In addition, I could not use the "upscaling" feature on the Bravo, only 480p. I returned the first unit.

    6 months later, it was advertised that there was a firmware upgrade, a "custom" settings menu. All I would need were the timings from Fujitsu, which I could program into the custom menu, and I would get an appropriate picture. So, I repurchased the machine, installed the firmware, and then (with some difficulty) got the secret timings from Fujitsu, which I programmed in, and now I can use this machine like a normal player. When it works...! Which is not 100% of the time. The disks stick in the drawer; they often turn and turn without reading; there seem to be myriad problems with the unit, which is very cheaply built.

    Ultimately though, when it is working, the picture is very good. Although it isn't "upscaled" to 720p or 1080i, it is one-to-one pixel mapping, and there isn't any digital to analog conversion, and there doesn't seem to be any added edge enhancement. For most movies, it is a slight, slight improvement over the picture produced on the RP-82.

    I do have a high-def decoder box from Time Warner Cable here in NY, and I can say without equivocation that 1080i produces a finer quality picture than DVD. For many things, like older movies, it isn't necessary to see it at high definition. It might be less preferable for some things, notably, older movies where the extra definition reveals things better left hidden, like Gene Kelly's makeup in Singin' in the Rain, and the wires holding up the magic carpet in The Thief of Bagdad.

    But the quality picture of HD-HBO for recent movies surpasses their DVD counterpart, on either of my DVD players.
     
  18. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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  19. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    I'd be very interested, as talk of HD-DVD players downconverting HD-DVDs for NTSC/PAL playback emerges, to see or read of a specific comparison between readily evident differences in a 1080i (or, for anyone with the dough, 1080p) upscaled DVD on a moderate screen size (say 80", 65", something like that, not 240" [​IMG]) and an over-the-air HD broadcast (which I believe would be ... what, 1080i?). The human eye is a tricky beast, and I'm curious just how much apparent difference there is, at a relatively small screen size, between "true" 1080p and a sophisticated upscale to 1080p, or 1080i and upscaled 1080i, and also just how the margin of those differences narrows with older film material (I saw Casablanca in a nicely-sized theatrical projection a few years ago, and so far as memory serves, I'd have to say the new DVD is the equal, at adjusted screen sizes, of that experience, with issues of digital "cleaning" notwithstanding; I was not aware of the fine detail in faces or backgrounds appearing any more life-like on screen than it does on the DVD, but of course I haven't actually A/B'd them, and I'm sure under A/B comparisons differences would emerge -- dramatically at equal projection size, though perhaps less so at adjusted screen sizes ... say a projection of film to 65" and DVD at 65"; film has dramatically more "real" resolution that DVD even at high quality 16mm, much less 35mm, but lighting conditions and processing are going to affect just how much true detail makes it into a print, and I remain very curious just how well apparent -- i.e. readily perceivable at full motion -- detail in a 35mm projection to smaller screen sizes compares with upscaled DVD; the larger the projection, the more clearly and soundly film projection is necessarily going to win, and on 1920 x 1080p displays, which are around the corner or perhaps already here, the differences between HD and SD are going to be dramatic ... but just how dramatic when you introduce sophisticated manipulation technology into the bitstream that upscales the resolution of the one until it's the equal of the other? Robert Harris has mentioned elsewhere that, despite his earlier concerns about 2K in, 2K out digital restoration, such as that often used by LDI -- whom I understand is moving up to 4K as per their last chat, which was also mentioned earlier in this thread -- not working ideally for actual on-film restoration of 35mm, new 2K processes/manipulations are looking more and more film-like* ... at least when actual film of the same material isn't playing alongside it; if 2K can be made to look better and better with the right technology behind it, just how good can 480 be made to look? How much detail can be "apparently" produced when "real" resolution drops but digital precision remains? I think there's a correlation here with the now-antiquated "analogue laserdisc is better because it doesn't compress the image" DVD criticism -- it isn't how much info is actually on the disc, but rather how well the technology that reads and processes it can recreate detail. There's more "real" detail on a laserdisc at ... whatever it was, 420 or something, than compressed DVD at 480, but DVD recreates far greater, and far more precise, detail than laserdisc with its sophisticated digital codec and component nature. This also gets back to an earlier question of mine: does 2K refer to the number of horizontal lines of resolution, or a pixel number, or ... just what? It couldn't be total pixels, which should be in the millions I believe, but perhaps pixels per scan line of resolution? Or total scan lines? And once that's determined, just how does this compare with screen resolutions such as 1920 x 1080p? Does 2K correlate to the horizontal figure, 1080, or the vertical figure, 1920, or neither? This will help many determine just what 2K film restoration might yet have to offer that even HD-DVD doesn't capture).

    I presume sophisticated processors aren't just mirroring pixels, but extrapolating information along advanced algorithms to deepen apparent resolution (perhaps per scan line, rather than per pixel, depending on the price range of the scaler? Just guessing). Because DVD is both component and digital (as will be HD-DVD), it is magnificently "tweakable" with the right technology, unlike analogue sources, such as laserdisc, where problems with precision are going to creep up and become all the more irksome at large screen sizes (or so it would seem).

    HD-DVD is very exciting -- but I'm wondering, at sub-theatrical screen sizes (as I mentioned, 80" and below), just how much gain one will note at normal viewing distances between upscaled DVD and unscaled HD-DVD. HD video is going to show the greatest gain (Attack of the Clones), but a standard 35mm film transfer is going to be something less dramatic (as others have pointed out elsewhere). A difference? You bet. But just how much of a difference? The better your scaler, the better your result, but for those who have big $$$ invested in DVD discs, buying a quality scaler (not a Teranex! Aye ...) might be a more cost effective option, with a new HD-DVD rear projection set or a front projector on a small screen, than repurchasing all of their DVDs (all of those that are reissued as HD-DVDs, which as laser fans know might be only a small fraction of certain extensive, but eclectic, collections). If the jump is readily evident on most film-based material, that's another story. But comparing 480p and 1080i isn't quite right ... an upscaled 1080i and a native 1080i might yield the best comparative results, and then the quality of the scaler is still an issue. Even in comparing, side by side, 480p DVD and 1080i HD broadcast, Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits mentioned, in one of his updates, that differences, while certainly present, often had to be "pointed out" to casual viewers for whom he was demonstrating those differences.

    Screen caps showing the difference between T2 Extreme Edition and the Windows Media 9 HD version (both in Artisan's new DVD release) demonstrate a dramatic difference, but I imagine the SD-DVD caps are native resolution 480p; I'd love to see just what a mid-range stand-alone scaling product could do to that image as it would appear on a screen.

    On another tack, DeeF, I've found something very interesting in comparing digital HBO (SD) with DVD -- HBO looks far more colorful and deeply saturated, in some cases, than the same films appear on DVD, but as pleasing as this is, the DVD nevertheless feels more "true" to the color scheme I see in the theatre. HBO films such as Hollywood Ending absolutely explode with color (I haven't seen the DVD of that title), and my cable company broadcasts from digital conversion on all upper analogue channels, so those HBOs just look dynamite ... I have to wonder if they're sourced from HD-DVD broadcast masters, downconverted to SD and then converted to analogue, and if, in this process, color information remains at the higher HD spec -- the codec for DVD compresses color information at a much lower level than contrast/chrominance info, as the human eye cannot perceive color detail as minutely as it can chrominance, according to an extensive examination of this aspect of DVD I've read on a now-misplaced website; it has something to do with the "cones" in the retina that process this information. I see greater fine detail on DVD than I do digital-to-analogue HBO, but those colors ... they'd do Willy Wonka proud.

    Dave Boulet mentioned on another thread that HD-DVD downconversion to SD-DVD should maintain this higher color info encoding, thus producing an image superior to current DVD, but practical screen shots of this effect won't be possible until HD-DVD arrives, of course.

    At any rate, these matters will continue to occupy the attention of home theatre enthusiasts as the debut of HD-DVD (late 2005?) looms.

    * I believe this is what he has indicated across multiple threads concerning LDI and now HD-DVD, but if I've misunderstood, I certainly don't wish to mischaracterize his statements, and I invite correction.
     
  20. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Bill,

    you take the award for managing to write more comprehensively than even *me*. And I thought *my* posts were long and enduring! [​IMG] Not complaining one bit but a few more paragraph breaks would make it easier to follow [​IMG]

     

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