Please help me improve my PC playback quality...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg Robinson, Jan 18, 2002.

  1. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi everyone. I recently purchased a new Dell 1.4GHz Dimension desktop with 256MB RAM and I installed a GeForce2 MX400 64MB video card. I'm using a 19" Sony Trinitor flat CRT. I'm using a 10x DVD-ROM drive from Acer (which i believe is actually a pioneer).

    I am not happy with the playback at all. It seems fuzzy and almost stuttery sometimes and I would THINK with this hardware that it should be rock solid and GORGEOUS, no?

    Are there "common tricks" or settings that people often forget to adjust/tweak that will help me here. Everything from the video card to my newly downloaded PowerDVD 4.0 XP software is running on default settings. Is there some type of acceleration that needs to be enabled? I checked the "use hardware acceleration" box in PowerDVD options, but i could not tell a difference.

    Please tell me: what screen resolution should i be using? what can i do to help playback quality? THANK YOU!!!
     
  2. Frank - frbie

    Frank - frbie Auditioning

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    Hello,

    there are two big chances for a problem. The OS (like Win98, 2000 or VP or the graphic driver.

    Which system and driver are you using?

    CU

    Frank
     
  3. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    running Windows XP and Cyberlink 4.0 XP full version - thanks
     
  4. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    graphics driver is 2.1.8.3 from nVidia - dated 9-14-01
     
  5. peter_anderson

    peter_anderson Stunt Coordinator

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    try some different playback software before you do anything else.
     
  6. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    i reseached the various decoders for a few days and PowerDVD seemed to be the most popular and well regarded. I spent $50 on it last night, so i'd rather HOPE that it's not the player, it's that i don't have my rig tweaked appropriately. (i hope!) [​IMG]
     
  7. Jesse Leonard

    Jesse Leonard Second Unit

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    Hey Greg!

    One thing to check: Make sure that DMA is enabled for the DVD-Rom. (In your Device Manager--->IDE controller)
     
  8. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    hey jesse! long time no speak. thanks for the DMA thing - but i did already make sure that was checked. In XP - it's "DMA if available" and that's what it's set to.
    I guess my over-riding question is this - considering my hardware (above), should DVD playback look worse, equal, or better than the same disc on my Sony 550 and Sony 32" TV? I'm using Fifth Element Superbit as my sample (a reference disc if ever there was one) and it still screams "this is a computer MPG file" when i play it on the PC. walls are slightly grainy and you can always detect a little motion in the entire image aside from what is actually SUPPOSED to be moving. it just has a slightt "digitized" feel to it and i was expecting rock solid perfect playback (equal or better to my TV). was i wrong? What is the mimum "x" speed for a DVD-ROM drive to look amazing? mine is 10x i think.
    Maybe I'm just seeing the best it can be. I downloaded the DetonatorXp driver from nVidia.com - but can't really tell if anything has changed much. There are so many settings in the nVidia properties, i just feel like one of those would make it shine if i only knew what the hell they did! [​IMG]
     
  9. peter_anderson

    peter_anderson Stunt Coordinator

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    DVD playback on any computer with a recent video card and around 500MHz should be rock-solid.
     
  10. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    ok so what could be causing this? from start to finish, can someone outline the steps of setting up your pc for smooth playback? i just have a nagging feeling that i missed something! thanks.
     
  11. Frank - frbie

    Frank - frbie Auditioning

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    Hello, sorry to disappoint you, but normally it's easy.
    Install the OS, prove DMA, install Software Player - that's all.
    But I will second the advice from above. Please try another software player first. In the last time I saw often similar problems which where coused by the player. Ther are free trial versions on the sites of the players.
    Have a lok at www.intervideo.com
    CU
    Frank
     
  12. TyC

    TyC Stunt Coordinator

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    I add that it is definitely not the drive speed. DVD video is played at 1x, regardless of drive.
     
  13. Michael Silla

    Michael Silla Second Unit

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    When I had my old 600 mhz PIII, I noticed the same "choppy" and overly-pixelated type of playback. I had a 12X panasonic player and a Geoforce 2 GTS. I tried Power DVD and most all other players, all giving similar dissappointing results. It wasn't until I bought my hardware decoder (Hollywood plus) that I was able to enjoy set top-like image quality.

    That said, I would think that your CPU should do better. Problem is, I'm not really sure what "Better" means. Most reviews I've read report that after about 900 MHZ or so, playback should be "indistinguishable" from hardware-based decoding. I don't have a DVD player on my current rig (a 1.2 MHZ TBird with Geoforce 2 GTS) so I can't really provide a "fresh" comparison. It sounds like you have done all the important tweaks.

    It might be worthwhile to try to play movies with the sound turned off to see if that improves the framerate. A conflict with the soundcard may be part of the problem.

    My two cents,

    Michael.

    P.S. As far as screen resolutions go, I think you should be fine as long as your using 800 X 600 or above (a near certainty, no?)
     
  14. Hugh M

    Hugh M Second Unit

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    have you tried adjusting the colors?
     
  15. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    thanks for the feedback everyone. i guess there is no "one thing" that i am missing. i had already demo'ed WinDVD on my PC and I don't recally much difference. i have not tried adjusting colors yet. how about viewing distance? maybe my eyes being 24" from the monitor are akin to sitting to close to RPTV and seeing scan lines?

    My resolution is at 1280x1024x32 bit. Maybe I'll go grab my Video Essentials DVD and calibrate my monitor using it. Worth a shot, right? I can try adjusting colors if need be.

    what is antialiasing and what should i set it at? defualt is "allow apps to control" but you can also choose "manual - 2x 4x or off" - would this change anything?

    thanks again for all the feedback!
     
  16. peter_anderson

    peter_anderson Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh geez; i should have guessed this before.

    Greg: try changing your color bit depth to 16 instead of 32. does that help? if not, try a different player.
     
  17. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    no change there - changed it to 16 and i could not tell a difference. why would lowering the color depth help? just curious. oh well, i guess that's it. thanks to everyone for ideas. like i said, it's not bad - just not as good as my TV, which is dissappointing.
     
  18. Hugh M

    Hugh M Second Unit

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    you shouldn't see any scan lines at all. you should try a lower resolution. try 1024x768. keep the color depth at 32bit...anti-aliasing doesn't apply I believe. I think that is for a 3D application.

    anyways, DVD playback isn't completely easy for a system to spit out, and running at a high resolution like you are could be causing some degradation. The radeons for instance have a "limitation" in that they cause problems at very high resolutions when playing DVDs.

    you definitely should be adjusting the colors as well. Powerdvd XP has this in the video tab, under advanced. Maybe not all of these work for your nvidia card, but I think so.

    basically with most quality video cards and a decent system DVD playback should be better than anything else. The only thing that I see HTPC's lagging on right now is ease of setup, and smooth-pans. There is something the developers of the softwares are forgetting to do to provide smooth-pans, and I believe that will be fixed shortly. The thing I hope for is some dvd software that will utilize some of the faster CPUs if you want it to. If I don't use hardware acceleration on my 1.4CPU with a radeon card, I use 25% during playback. If I do use HW accel it is 10%..

    hardware accel also increases the playback quality so go into the information tab in powerdvd and make sure you are using it.

    my guess is that you're not using the overlay for some reason...if you look under power dvd xp's "configuration" tab, then look under "information" under "surface type" you should see either "overlay" or something about "hardware acceleration". when there is a problem with the driver or something the overlay gets dumped sometimes. if you are using hardware accel then that is what you will see, which is preferrable, if not you will see overlay.

    as far as what you should see? probably "the best you can possibly see on that monitor at the same resolution" is a good description.
     
  19. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    when i click on Information - the surface type says hardware accelerator - nVidia. it appears to be all ok there, just not as good as i'd like. WELP, i think it has to be either my DVDROM drive or the powerdvd. i guess i will try WIN DVD again and if that doesn't work just try a new drive. Argh! [​IMG] thanks!
     
  20. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Are you sure that a; the graphics card gets an IRQ assigned in the BIOS and b; nothing else is messing with that same IRQ?

    You'd think a Geforce card should be able to play video passably at least. My laptop has an ATI Mobility chipset which is far less powerful and I get silky smooth DVD playback at 1400x1050x32...
     

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