What is the highest quality I can view a dvd movie in?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Adams, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    I am sorry if this question has been asked before but I am a little confused about this. I think the highest quality dvd right now is 480P. But I also heard that you can get something that upconverts 480P to say 1080i or even 720p. Is this true? I also heard something about an HTPC that does this. What is that?
     
  2. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    I just bought a Hitachi 57SWX20B and it upconverts 480i and 480p to 1080i. Great set for $2600

    HTPC = Home Theater Personal Computer
     
  3. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

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    Upscaling to 1080i may improve picture quality but at the cost of interlace artifacts being introduced. Scaling to 720p is better as long as the display can natively display 720p.
    Samsung has just introduced a DVD player @ CES that'll upscale to 720p or 1080i. Cost is only $300. Buzz here.
     
  4. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    Okay, here is another question. Tom, you say that your Hitatchi will upscale the dvd image. And Brajesh, you say that the Samsung dvd player will upscale the image. How do you select which source does the upscalling? Does it do it automatically? Do you have to select something on the dvd player or tv? And your tv can only display what it is capable of right?
     
  5. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    Your tv can only display what it is capable of, correct. My Hitachi will do 480i, 480p, 780p and 1080i. The Hitachi detect's the input. When I play a dvd, the tv knows its 480P (or 480i via xbox and composite) and I can upscale to 1080i. If the DVD player upscaled the signal, the tv would recognize that. There is a button called "Virtual HD" that switches the signal from 480p to 1080i
     
  6. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Tom,
    Your Hitachi upconverts 480i/p to 540p, not exactly 1080i, although 540p uses the same scan rate as 1080i. If it handles 720p, it's probably also converted that to 1080i. Basically, your TV can only actually display a single scan rate that's used by 540p and 1080i.
    The purpose of a DVD player outputing a 720p upconverted image (or any other upconverted image) is to best match the optimal native resolution of the display device. In the case of your Hitachi RPTV, you'd want a player that can output a 540p upconverted image for best results. 720p might be ideal for various fixed-pixel displays like plasma, LCD and DLP-based displays that actually handle it natively.
    Whether handling of these various resolution formats is done manually or automagically will depend on the devices themselves. The most important thing about this issue is probably making sure that the devices don't automatically lock you into some unexpectedly incompatible/mismatched modes. We saw that problem w/ some HDTVs that locked into FULL/16x9 mode on 480p signals based on the incorrect assumption that if it's better than SD, then it's gotta be 16x9.
    Finally, don't assume higher output resolution equals higher quality. It does not. If the original signal does not have any extra info encoded that can be extracted to a higher resolution, then there's nothing to gain, except upconversion artifacts. The reason 480i->480p conversion is a good thing is because the 480i signal does have extra info encoded that can be extracted (via 3:2 pulldown) or represented in a more pleasing way to the human eye (via good motion-compensation linedoubling of video source to get rid of scan lines and flicker). A simple, straightforward scaling of an image, OTOH, doesn't gain you anything unless the display device requires it. If you take a 640x480 image and use Photoshop to scale it to 1024x768, is the new image really any better than the original? Nope.
    _Man_
     
  7. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    Man-Fai Wong, You gave a pretty good explanation about this subject. So let me make sure I understand this correct. If I buy an HDTV, say a dlp or even better an LCOS hdtv with a native display of 720p, then I would benefit from some kind of upconversion from 480P? So if I bought that Samsung dvd player it would be worth the investment? Sorry for all the questions but I am soon going to upgrade my hdtv and want to make a wise decision. I want the absolute best picture quality I can get and want to know how to get it. I am also concerned with hd-dvd on the horizon so I want to purchase an hdtv that will take full advantage of that.
     
  8. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    Oh, another question that I have. Is my current hdtv is the Sharp 64 LHP 4000 which has a native 1080i display. But it is one of the early models that as you said, if you use the progressive scan mode on your dvd player it will lock it into 480 progressive scan mode and displays the dvd in the exact aspect ratio the dvd is in. Does this mean that a dvd player that upconverts to 1080i won't work on this tv? On the dvd player, would I use the interlaced or progressive mode?
     
  9. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    Okay, another issue. I just read about that Samsun dvd player. If a copy protective dvd is unable to be upconverted to 720p or 1080i, what is the point? Aren't all movie dvd's copy protective?
     
  10. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Actually, I should qualify what I said in the last post about upconversion. While the upconversion may not gain any real resolution from the interpolation, the final result can still be more pleasing to the eyes on a large enough display. By large enough, I mean at the point where "pixels are visible" making geometric shapes look jagged and such. Good upconversion/interpolation would then have the effect of smoothing out such jaggedness while the higher resolution will make "pixels" appear less visible. So this would certainly apply in front projection systems and the largest RPTV sizes.
    Jeff, it depends on how good the player's upconversion really is. Assuming it's good, then yes, you may want it on the player. OTOH, the TV you buy might actually have a good upconvertor already, and if you will use DVI between the player and the TV, then it's simply a matter of which upconvertor is better. It may turn out that you don't need the upconversion on the player. For example, there was some announcement a while back of one of these fixed-pixel TVs that uses a Faroudja FLI2300 chip for linedoubling and the scaling/upconversion--forget which TV. There's good likelihood that TV's upconversion will be as good as any player coming out right now. So it really depends.
    RE: the copy protection issue, well, I guess that sorta simplifies the issue for you, doesn't it? [​IMG] Well, we have been wondering how the player makers were gonna be able to release these players that output HD resolution w/out getting into deep waters w/ the MPAA and Hollywood. I guess that answers the question.
    Anyway, you're probably better off just shopping for a TV that does good upconversion itself and use the DVI interface when possible to avoid the extra A->D, D->A conversions.
    _Man_
     
  11. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    I'm of the "don't muck with it" camp.

    A DVD is displayed in its most true form at 480p. Meaning the TV should not do anything with a 480p signal other than display it. Hitachi's and others convert this for cost saving reasons to 540p/1080i.

    You're really not gaining anything by converting and actually "guessing" to fill in the missing pixels. For purists, this is a bad thing because you do introduce artifacts. Some very high powered scalers (external) do a good job at it, but it is still artificial enhancement.

    So really only the viewer can decide what they want.
     
  12. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    John, I kind of agree with what you are saying. I would like to consider myself a purists also. Thats why when I bought my hdtv and the guy told me that it locks in the progressive scan image and you cant manipulate it at all or stretch the image, I told him "good, I don't want to mess with the image." But it now sounds that the upscaling converting in the newer hdtv sets is alot better than what it used to be. But like you said, only the viewer's eye can decide if it is better or not. I actually find that normal 480p from my dvd player is really nice. No shapes look jagged and the picture is very smooth and filmlike. But of course I just want to get the best possible picture quality that is achievable. And if there is something out there that can do it than I am all for it. What reall drives me nuts as far as the picture quality goes is images from my satellite tv. Man, I can barely stand watching movies or sports on satellite. Do these new hdtv's upscale those images to 480p,720p or 1080i? That is where I see jagged edges and an all around horrible picture. What can I do with that?
     
  13. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    I have been reading alot about all this upconversion stuff and it seems to not be all it is supposed to be. Like John said, it just seems to artificially try to enhance a picture but actually ends up bringing more artifacts into it. Maybe that is why I am so happy with the picture quality of my dvd and hdtv set. It passes 480p pure and looks great. Maybe I will just hold off and wait until hd-dvd comes out. I'll just look for a real good progressive scan player that does sacd and dvd audio with no conversion.
     
  14. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Yes, just about all HDTVs nowadays seem to force linedoubling to 480p (or further upconversion to 540p), which can be good and bad. Linedoubling can certainly make compression artifacts look worse for the most part although maybe a good linedoubler can minimize the effect. I see horrible artifacts all the time in various store displays although I have to admit that my new Time Warner Cable digital service doesn't look as bad as I expected on my Panny 53", which forces linedoubling to 480p. Still, the pixelation and jaggies are evident.
    FWIW, a couple other NYers have recently posted that their TWC digital cable feed is better than their sat feed. And actually, I've seen DVDs that can look as bad as (or maybe even worse than) the TWC feed.
    Anyway, the CRT-based TVs from Toshiba and Hitachi will upconvert your non-HD sat feed to 540p, and soon enough, other TV makers will follow to cut costs as John said. Fixed-pixel displays will do their upconversion also just because of their nature. This is why lots of people try using HTPCs.
    FWIW, I'm more or less a purist also although I don't want to rule out the possibility that scaling can look good too. [​IMG]
    _Man_
     
  15. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    And don't forget that there are some REALLY good scalers out there. Just depends on how critical your eye is.
     

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