Your Home Theater

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Corribus
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Postby Corribus » Jan 22 2009, 13:40

Having now seen movies in both formats, I can say that there is a noticeable difference between DVD and Blu-Ray, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's worth it.

Why?

(1) Expense. Blu-Ray is still way more expensive than DVD. At the moment, the gain in visual detail doesn't justify the gain in price, IMO.

(2) TV size matters. The smaller your screen, the less important an ultra high resolution is. So, unless you're watching your movies on a really big TV (say, 50" or larger), you're not really that likely to see much of a difference between DVD and Blu-Ray. You can definitely see the difference between the formats on my dad's 60" LCD. On a 42" plasma, it's not going to knock your socks off.

@Kalah

A regular DVD plays at 420p. An upconverting DVD player and some TVs will upscale this playback to 720p, although I don't beli eve it's as good as a true HD (720p) signal, say, from your cable box. If you don't have a TV capable of showing a 1080p signal, then (as I understand it), a Blu-Ray will play at the resolution supported by your TV. So, if you have a 720p set, a Blu-Ray disc will play at 720p. It's possible you will notice some improvement over an upconverted 420p DVD signal, and moving to a 1080p set of equivalent size will probably also give you a noticeable improvement. It really all depends on the size (and quality) of your TV.

To my mind, if you don't have a very large, high quality TV capable of 1080p output, Blu-Ray is certainly not worth the expense because you just aren't going to see that much of a difference. On the other hand, since Blu-Ray players are capable of playing DVDs as well, if you find a Blu-Ray player at a good price, it's not going to hurt to upgrade it. It's unclear how long Blu-Ray will stick around, because obviously the next great thing will be HD downloads, but until Bandwidth issues are improved upon (at least a few years in the future), ultra-HD downloads just won't be competitive with traditional hardware formats.
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Postby Angelspit » Jan 22 2009, 14:58

There is a noticeable difference between 720p TV shows and upscaled DVD on a 46" (when looking at water, grass or skin textures among others), so I would expect Blu-ray to be day and night compared to DVD.

1) Blu-ray is now twice the price of a good upscaling DVD player, so it would be a good purchase for anyone with an old player from several years ago. But the price of the movies is still too high.

2) You can stand much closer to a small screen than a large one, so I guess that someone can appreciate Blu-ray even on a 40", but I have yet to try my first BD movie.
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Postby Borsuc » Jan 22 2009, 15:05

Upscaling DVD players?
If you have a Quad Core CPU you can try and download for free some post-processing filters (ffdshow is an example -- although I'm not sure if it works with MPEG2, the DVD format, it sure does work with MPEG4, DivX, XVid, etc), and set your own quality (I said Quad Core cause the "resizing" post-processing is ultra slow with Lanczos and you'll probably need a Quad, my current P4 lags like hell when I use that method -- of course you can use faster resizing algorithms but they also look worse).

And you'll still use that processor on your computer so you don't waste money just for movies. ;)

Heck even some video cards may support extra options like that. If you are more technically inclined you could make a hybrid mix between the Quad Core processor algorithms used (like I said above) and some GPU jobs... (beware: you might need to know about AviSynth in general).

Also: don't forget to add deblocking first! Otherwise, 'sharpening' and improving the image quality (upscaling) will also make the blocks visible.

For audio, try some DSPs, such as DFX or SRS Audio Sandbox -- they are excellent for low-quality .mp3 music, make the 'flanging' unnoticeable, and are even able to make some kind of stereo-expansion (and even surround from stereo). However, those aren't free unfortunately.

(I'm not sure how to configure DFX to work with Windows Media Player (if that's what you use) but SRS Audio Sandbox doesn't need any configuration, it is interpreted as an "audio device" by Windows, it is like a layer above the soundcard and ANY sound going in to the soundcard is processed by it first :D).


@Corribus: I'm not sure if having a bigger screen is also noticeable, since specialists recommend a given distance from the TV depending on how big it is -- so likely you'll see it from further away (at least, if you want to stay healthy) and that means less precise :P
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Postby Angelspit » Jan 22 2009, 16:34

A tiny little DVD player is more convenient if you ask me. :)
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Postby Borsuc » Jan 22 2009, 17:35

Yeah, but you will need a PC anyway for other stuff...? :P
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Postby Angelspit » Jan 22 2009, 17:42

Yes, but it's on the other side of the room, and my old Radeon 9800 only has a VGA output (which is fine for my TV, but with a cost in video quality). Until I buy a new PC, my upscaling DVD recorder will be just fine for movies.
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Postby Kalah » Jan 22 2009, 18:29

Our current TV sends at 768, alternating between two images at 50Hz. Certainly having a full-HD TV which shows the whole image all the time would be better. But the HD TV is only one side of the issue; the blu-ray is the other. I agree with Corribus that it's probably still too early to upgrade your collection to blu-ray because of the difference in prices, but also because many movies nowadays contain lots of CGI, which won't look much better on blu-ray than on DVD. Where you really notice the difference is in nature shots and "live" scenes of bustling cities, people and moving things. That's why I chose Master and Commander; it has both of these types of scenes. If you go with a movie like Star Wars, where most of the pictures are computer-generated, I predict the effects will be negligible.
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Postby Corribus » Jan 22 2009, 18:54

Agreed. In the Blu-Ray movies I've seen, the technology shines most in panoramic nature scenes, as well as (for some reason) facial close-ups..
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Postby Kalah » Jan 22 2009, 20:06

If you're watching full-HD, Corribus, then I can explain the facial-closeup thing. A full-HD screen shows the whole image all the time, getting rid of noise in movement - and such movement is particularly visible when rendering facial features (for some reason). Whenever I watch my dad's HD ready screen, movement in facial closeups are not properly rendered because the image flicks back and forth between two images at 50Hz...
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Postby Borsuc » Jan 22 2009, 20:52

Kalah wrote:because the image flicks back and forth between two images at 50Hz...
deinterlacing?

It seems to me like you use some kind of interlacing display instead of progressive? Not sure if your player can deinterlace it (or if your TV works with progressive, my big CRT with 100Hz does :P).
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Postby PhoenixReborn » Jan 22 2009, 23:27

Where did AngelSpit's post go? :-D

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Borsuc
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Postby Borsuc » Jan 23 2009, 0:55

What post?
All humans do is to go to a place, bountiful of nature, and live there. Then the human multiplies and sucks all the wonders there. They move to the next. There is one thing that works the same way as that: a virus.

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Postby Kalah » Jan 23 2009, 15:40

Borsuc wrote:deinterlacing?


No thanks, I already ate.
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Postby Borsuc » Jan 23 2009, 20:47

huh?

also in that article it says that this thing doesn't happen in movies and plasma or LCD displays (unless you use some footage filmed with your digital camcorder which is interlaced -- but movies are filmed on actual film, so they are progressive), so I have no idea why you are experiencing it. 8|
All humans do is to go to a place, bountiful of nature, and live there. Then the human multiplies and sucks all the wonders there. They move to the next. There is one thing that works the same way as that: a virus.

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Postby Kalah » Jan 23 2009, 21:04

But the signal is still digital, isn't it?
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Postby Borsuc » Jan 24 2009, 1:03

Yeah so?

wikipedia wrote:All mainstream analog television systems and many digital systems arrange scan lines of one frame into two fields. One field contains all even lines, another field contains all odd lines. The fields are then displayed in succession with a rate twice faster than the nominal frame rate.
Now, the issue is that almost all camcorders record with interlacing mode -- but movies on the other hand, are usually filmed on actual film, so they are progressive. Although I'm not exactly sure how the respective company transmits your signal or whatever.

Then, like I said, if you're watching from disc there shouldn't be this interlacing stuff :|

Again, I doubt yours doesn't work in progressive mode -- maybe it's not properly configured? I can't figure out...
All humans do is to go to a place, bountiful of nature, and live there. Then the human multiplies and sucks all the wonders there. They move to the next. There is one thing that works the same way as that: a virus.

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Postby Yurian Stonebow » Feb 4 2009, 21:36

My home theatre consists of a DVD player my father bought me some years ago (and he'd later forget ever doing so) and a combined TV-video set belonging to my wife. The TV is of good ol' early to mid 1990's style with a 14inch screen to go with. Guess what? It's a clour TV!!

I may take a photo of the home theatre thing if people find this interesting.




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Postby darknessfood » Feb 4 2009, 22:42

My home theater is a simple old tv, stereo with sound amplifier, and my PC linked to tv :)!
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Postby Kalah » Aug 14 2009, 23:31

I hooked up my gear in the new flat, but it's not quite complete yet. The small TV was here already, and I'm replacing that with a bigger one, of course. The fiber box (fiber, not cable) on the right gives me about 50 channels, including 4 cartoon channels, 7 local news channels and something called "God channel" for all the evangelists out there.. but the porn is nowhere to be found... ;)

Image

My dad stuck the speakers to the bench using double-sided tape. The sound from his personally-designed amp is staggering; I tested the levels the other day just to see how loudly I could play before bothering the landords. The volume was only at about 70% when it got uncomfortable being in the room... and only then did they hear something upstairs.
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Postby Kalah » Jan 5 2011, 0:37

New bench! Big TV! :D

Image

Brought in my ginormous 125 lbs. TV. Finally I can watch [s]porn[/s] cartoon without squinting! :-D

Just watched some Flying Circus to celebrate. :)
In War: Resolution, In Defeat: Defiance, In Victory: Magnanimity, In Peace: Goodwill.


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