filters & converters to record high-def video to DVD - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 65 Old 02-21-2010, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I want to be able to record high-def programs from my STB to DVD in anamorphic format (not letterbox). But I can't do this natively with the equipment I have. I've read about the different converters and filters that are available, but I have questions I hope someone can answer.

Mystery #1
My DVDR is a Panasonic DMR-ES20 with component video output, but only s-video and composite inputs. My STB is a Scientific American Explorer 8300HD. Both the s-video and composite outputs on the 8300HD produce shrunken, low-res 4:3 images on the DMR-ES20. I've read that the the composite out on the 8300HD produces a high quality 4:3 image and the s-video out produces letterbox, but neither is what I see, even when the DMR-ES20 is outputting to the TV using component video. I've checked my settings, but everything seems to be set up right. So that's one mystery.

Mystery #2
As I understand it, to get widescreen output from my STB to my DVDR I need a down converter that takes the STB's high-def component video as input and outputs composite or s-video. The Panasonic DVDR will create 16:9 recordings if the media is DVD-RAM, and I can use software on my PC to convert that to DVD-R. I found two converters that can go from 1080 to 480 with overscan for anamorphic output:

1. The Chinese-made Lenkeng LKV7611 with a wildly divergent price range from $60 to $160, depending on where you buy it. Reviews are mixed.

http://www.ipmart.com/main/product/L...hp?prod=130401

2. The American-made down converter from Ambrey, which has many more features, consistently good reviews from users, and a firm price of $209 just about everywhere I've seen it.

http://www.ambery.com/covitocovisc.html

I'm hoping someone will tell me that the far cheaper Lenkeng LKV7611 can do the job and I don't need to spend more money. Anyone have experience with this device?

Mystery #3
My third point of confusion... I've read a lot of discussion about filters that can take high-def component video as source and output the same (with widescreen preserved) but with the copy protection removed. For example, there is the Logic Design filter, made by a senior member of this site and recommended by many:

http://home.roadrunner.com/~filter/

I'm missing something fundamental here. What is the value of stripping out copy protection from component video if the output is also component video and almost no DVDRs have component video input? You can't record to DVD in high-def, and as far as I can tell from looking at the specs, this is not a converter - it's a straight filter. So what am I missing? How are people using this?

If anyone can enlighten me on any of these mysteries, I would be very grateful.
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post #2 of 65 Old 02-21-2010, 05:14 PM
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Contrary to what the confusing manual says, your ES-20 will indeed(like all DVDRs) record 16:9 to any type disc, what your Panasonic won't do is to set the WS bit on any discs except RAM. What this means is if you play those non RAM discs back to a standard 4:3 TV the picture will look vertically stretched. If you play them back on a 16:9 TV with it's setting set WIDE the picture will look fine and in wide screen.
As you've found out you need a component to S-video(or composite) converter to be able to get non-letterboxed wide screen out of your DVR. AFAIK any component converter has the added benefit of removing CP. Some may advertise this and some may not. If they don't I think it's because they don't want to get into the legality of removing CP, but is still should do it.
The more expensive Video Filter brand filter you linked has the added benefit of setting the WS bit for non RAM discs. AFAIK no other filter does this and if you cared you'd need to set the bit on your computer. I don't think any of the component to S-video converters have a option to set the bit.

To actually change color and tint on your source(VHS) you'd need something like a Proc amp not a video filter. Radio Shack used to sell a cheap proc amp but I don't think they do anymore since VHS is pretty much dead and DVDs generally have correct color/tint or they can be changed with many better players. Even though filters mention correction of color/tint etc. it's somewhat deceiving since I think they're more talking about macrovision color/tint problems, which they may be able to correct but they can't adjust other problems your tapes may have not related to MV.
It looks like the most expensive filter in your other VHS thread has adjustments for color and tint but it's quite a bit more expensive too.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...aper+component Here's a couple threads talking about various filters/converters.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...aper+component

Here's a example of a Proc amp http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/ele/1596499976.html I've used one like this and it's quite nice but Proc amps won't remove CP, ones like this just change color, tint, brightness, contrast etc.
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post #3 of 65 Old 02-21-2010, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks very much for explaining this. There are a lot of subtleties in this.

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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

The more expensive Video Filter brand filter you linked has the added benefit of setting the WS bit for non RAM discs. AFAIK no other filter does this and if you cared you'd need to set the bit on your computer. I don't think any of the component to S-video converters have a option to set the bit.

I'm not sure which device you're referring to - the down converter from Ambrey, or the filter from Logic Design. I'm going to guess you mean the Logic Design filter? I'm still very confused about this device.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but it looks like to me that the Logic Design is a straight filter - composite-in to composite-out, svideo-in to svideo-out, component-in to component-out. You can't, for example, have composite input and svideo output, right? So if the only input type that can be widescreen is composite, then the filter is only outputting this as composite video, and my DVDR does not have composite inputs. So how could this filter help in creating DVDs? Or is it meant for some other purpose? I feel like there's something I'm not understanding here.

The down converter from Ambrey supports anamorphic output through its overscan option. I'm not sure how a WS bit would be involved in that (or if it is). I've since found that this same device is sold under another brand name:

http://www.atlona.com/Atlona-Compone...r-p-17818.html

Thanks for explaining about the color. Oh well. I can't afford to buy another device. I should have converted the tapes long ago. I'll just have to live with it.
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post #4 of 65 Old 02-21-2010, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by permutations View Post

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but it looks like to me that the Logic Design is a straight filter - composite-in to composite-out, svideo-in to svideo-out, component-in to component-out. You can't, for example, have composite input and svideo output, right? So if the only input type that can be widescreen is composite, then the filter is only outputting this as composite video, and my DVDR does not have composite inputs. So how could this filter help in creating DVDs? Or is it meant for some other purpose? I feel like there's something I'm not understanding here.

The input/output select on Logic Design Video Filter is composed of 2 dip switches, Perhaps changing them will allow input on one type and output on the other. I can't do any tests tonight, so I'll report back tomorrow if no one responds.

This filter is strictly for removal/changing of the CGMS-A bit, which then allows you to copy "copy protected" material such as pay-per-view, premium channels and the like. Though as discussed here, some content providers don't set this bit and such programs can already be recorded freely. For me, my provider sometimes inserts the protected bits onto programs that should NOT have them (broadcast newtorks, basic cable), so it's a blessing with that. And though not advertised, it also removes macrovision from VHS tapes. It works perfectly for this use.

I haven't really had any success with setting the 16x9 flag for my recordings. As jjeff reported, most DVD recorders will record 16x9 material, but will burn them only in 4x3. So you get the full resolution, just vertically compressed/horizontally stretched. If you select the "WIDE" display option on a widescreen TV, it will display normally at 16x9. Alternatively, you could copy the disc to your computer, use IFO editor to properly set the 16x9 flag in the DVD fileset and re-burn. When I have tried recording via the Video Filter with the 16x9 switch set, it horziontally squashes the image, with black bars on the top and bottom (think a 2.35:1 image displayed on a 16x9 TV). I can't account for why it does it, but since I can just use the simple fix above, I haven't messed with it all that much.

So, if you're not recording this kind of material, you do not need a Logic Design Video Filter. You may be better served by a TBC/Proc Amp.
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post #5 of 65 Old 02-21-2010, 07:52 PM
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Permutations, I have been using the Lenkeng between my Moto HD STB and my Pio 640 DVDR for several months now, and I am happy with it. I still have not run it between a DVD player and my DVDR, to see if it strips copy protection. But, I have made some nice anamorphic DVDs, from HD channels.

I started a thread about this, and using a Comcast Moto HDSTB as a tuner for my DVDR. It has more info. I'll bump it up, so you can read it.
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post #6 of 65 Old 02-21-2010, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i86time View Post

The input/output select on Logic Design Video Filter is composed of 2 dip switches, Perhaps changing them will allow input on one type and output on the other. I can't do any tests tonight, so I'll report back tomorrow if no one responds.

I'm very interested to hear your results with this. If it can convert to different formats, it's my dream machine.

That said, as I've been thinking about this, I realized I was confused about something else. I've been playing with the connections on my setup and I realized that the s-video output is letterbox - I thought before it was 4:3. It's mini - bars all the way around. But you'd expect that because my HDTV screen resolution is 1080p, and the DVDR resolution is 480i. It was 480p but I switched to composite because my component cable is too short and I figured it couldn't help that much anyway when the resolution going in is low - which brings me to my point of confusion...

The DVDR is never going to output more than 480 pixels, and the HDTD screen has 1080 pixels, so naturally everything displayed natively by the DVDR (or created by the DVDR, such as a burned DVD) is going to look small on the screen and have bars all the way around. When I zoom it, it fills the screen perfectly and you really have to stare at it to realize it's lower resolution. (My TV is just 40".)

So I'm no longer exactly clear what the composite to s-video down converter is going to do for me. The DVDR only can burn a DVD with 480 pixels, so it's going to have to be converted up in any case, and isn't that basically what a zoom is? Or am I missing something?

I want to try an experiment - record a movie to my DVR from TCM, burn it to DVD using the s-video out on my STB (SA8300HD), and then play the DVD in my Blue-ray, which automatically up-converts. I expect this will look just like the zoomed s-video I'm looking at now, output from the STB to the DVDR, and then piped back to the TV.

How would a DVD I created in this way be any different from what I could create with a down converter like the Lenkeng LKV7611?? I thought I understood this before, but the more I thought about it, I realized I didn't understand it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i86time View Post

So, if you're not recording this kind of material, you do not need a Logic Design Video Filter. You may be better served by a TBC/Proc Amp.

I've been talking to someone else about TBC/Proc Amps and he says if I start fooling around with the color there's a good chance I'll screw it up horribly. He said he tried doing it, and it's very hard to get right. One more reason to live with my degraded VHS quality.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbawc View Post

Permutations, I have been using the Lenkeng between my Moto HD STB and my Pio 640 DVDR for several months now, and I am happy with it. I still have not run it between a DVD player and my DVDR, to see if it strips copy protection. But, I have made some nice anamorphic DVDs, from HD channels.

That is great to know. If I get one of these, then, I'll get the Lenking. If you learn anything about its effect on copy protection, I'd be interested. I'm pretty sure it's stripped out.
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post #7 of 65 Old 02-21-2010, 11:18 PM
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permutations

I have a Panny ES20 connected to my Comcast Motorola DVR with an S-Video connection. Like your setup, mine also records the HD programs as shrunken postage stamp images. Since they are 16:9, I use my TV’s zoom feature in order to fill out the screen. Of course you loose some resolution in doing this.

The problem is your ES20 is wasting pixels by recording all that black border around the image. I don’t save a lot of material so I have just been putting up with zooming & the resultant loss of resolution.

You really need to preserve the 720x480 image that comes out of your STB’s component output. Using a Lenkeng device such as used by kjbawc is the way to go. It converts 720x480 component to 720x480 S-video and/or composite. That way you don’t record a lot of black bars.

As jjeff mentioned, you can still get a 16:9 full screen picture when using other than RAM discs. The RAM discs automatically set your HDTV to the proper screen setting, such as Full on my Sony. With a DVD-R disc I have to push the remote button in order to get the TV to display Full. I also have a Panny EZ17 with digital tuner which lets me record 16:9 full screen programs. The DVD-Rs play back the same way on either machine.
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post #8 of 65 Old 02-22-2010, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
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There's something I'm still not getting here. I'll get very concrete - maybe my numbers are wrong.

My 1080p LCD HDTV has a resolution of 1920x1080. The only source with resolution that high is a Blue-ray disk. A high definition TV signal is 1280x720. My DVDR output (whether through ports or the disks it creates) follows the DV NTSC standard with a resolution of 720x480. Standard definition television (NTSC) is 640x480 or thereabouts.

So I've got this big HDTV screen (pixel-wise - physically it's just 40"), and just about everything I display on it has a lower resolution than the screen itself. And yet mostly what I watch fills the screen. Now how does it do that? It has to do it through a type of zoom - pixel doubling. That's how bitmapped computer graphics are enlarged. What else could it be doing but some variation of pixel doubling?

What I don't understand is how inputting a higher resolution signal to my DVDR could increase the resolution of what the DVDR outputs. It's already outputting a 720x480 image. I can tell just by eyeballing how the picture size compares to my screen size of 1920x1080. It looks like a 720x480 image on a 1920x1080 screen.

When I feed my STB video output into my DVDR input through s-video, and then feed the DVDR signal back out to my TV through any means (even component video), my TV displays an image that appears to be 480 pixels high and 720 pixels wide, centered horizontally and vertically on a screen that's about 70% bigger. The aspect ratio of the picture is the same as the screen, so when I use the TV's built in zoom feature, it looks pretty much identical to what I get when viewing the full resolution version through the STB.

Now let's say I do it differently. I connect the STB's component video output to a $200 down converter, and connect the s-video out on the converter to the s-video input on my DVDR. My DVDR is still receiving and outputting 720x480 bits of information, but it fills the screen because the image is blown up by the down converter's overscan feature. The base resolution has to be the same 720x480 either way because the DVDR only can output 720x480 bits of video data. so it has to be filling the screen through some variation on pixel doubling, just like the zoom function of my TV.

Logically, I can't see how the two methods could be different in resolution. The only difference is how the pixels are doubled to expand the image to fill the screen.

Is the down converter really that much better at pixel doubling that it's worth an additional $100-200? My TV's zoom looks pretty good to me. I just don't see what I'm getting for the additional $100-200 I'd pay for a down converter. I think these converters are mainly useful for when you don't have matching connectors - for example, if my STB didn't have an s-video out. I think my STB is acting as my down converter, and doing a fine job of it.

I hope I'm not making some incredible bone-headed error in this analysis, but I don't mind being embarrassed. I like understanding things (and not spending money unnecessarily).
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post #9 of 65 Old 02-22-2010, 09:12 AM
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OK, so I tested the Logic Design Video Filter to see if it could input an S-Video and output a composite signal. It does not work, as I had expected. It outputs a picture, but it is in B&W. But again, I don't think this is the unit you need.

The following is a bit long, and sorry if you already know this, but just for clarification...

You mentioned above that you tested a recording from TCM (Turner Classic Movies?). If so, do you have this channel in HD (my provider only offers it in SD)? If you only have it in SD, what you described above is how it should be displayed. If you're receiving a SD channel, it is (almost) always in 4x3. Which means that even if the content is in "widescreen", those black bars are part of the image, as opposed to an anamorphic format (like DVD, BD, HDTV streams/broadcasts) where the content is encoded at a certain resolution and those black bars are only put there by the receiver/display where needed. For example, if you have HD service from your provider, but a second tv in your house is only analog, if you view an HD channel, the receiver box will format it to display letterbox on your screen, but those black bars you see are NOT part of the original encoded image, so no bits are wasted.

However, if you tested this out with an actual HD channel, what I said above doesn't really matter. I know that if I want to record true anamorphic widescreen to my DVDR, I need to change the TV setting on my receiver to output SD Widescreen. The 16x9 picture will then by squished to 4x3 upon viewing from my DVDR (as noted in posts above), but can be 'de-squished' using the WIDE display setting on my TV, or by re-burning the disc with the 16x9 bit set on the DVD. If I change the output on the receiver to 4x3 Letterbox, the program will be recorded with the black bars as part of the picture, and thus a smaller image. As you noted above, zooming can be used to fill the screen, but the quality just isn't there.

I suspect that if you have played with all the output settings, and are testing with a true 16x9 image, and are still getting a letterbox (NOT an anamorphic) output, then that's a problem with your receiver box and you should notify your cable company to determine if that's how it is supposd to operate. Perhaps it simply cannot output an anamorphic picture over S-Video. This may be the case as the other posters above have noticed similar problems.

Again, if this is the case, the Logic Design Video Filter will not cure this - but it may be needed if you want to record certain programming,
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post #10 of 65 Old 02-22-2010, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the Video Filter test. That's good information.

I do get TCM in HD. I haven't tried recording a movie to DVD yet. I just saved it to my DVR last night and will record it later from there. When I watch through the STB (DVR) the display fills my 1080p screen. (Note that this occurs though broadcast HD is just 1280x720, as opposed to the 1920x1080 of my TV screen, so zoom is happening even there.)

I'm pretty sure that whatever the DVDR outputs - whether to the TV screen or a DVD - will be letterbox unless I use the TV's zoom, for the reasons I described in my previous message. Did you follow all that? My DVDR is displaying in the resolution that it's designed to display. It can't output a higher resolution than 720x480 by design. I don't think there's anything wrong with my STB.

DVDR (and DVD) resolution is 720x480, and that is and always will be smaller than the resolution of my TV screen, which is 1920x1080. What difference does it make whether the DVD image is expanded through my TV's zoom feature or through anamorphic display, which I assume is just some setting in the video stream that instructs the display to duplicate scan lines. Anamorphic display and "zoom" are the same thing. They both duplicate scan lines. There is no difference in resolution. The difference is only in where the instruction to duplicate scan lines is - in the video stream itself, or my TV's zoom option. Do you see what I mean?
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post #11 of 65 Old 02-22-2010, 11:52 AM
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I think you're getting hung up on the numbers here. Yes, all digital TV's have some 'native' resolution, but since your TV's is 1080p, it can display all SD and HD resolutions effectively without re-scaling (as opposed to older 720p only screens). However, most content provider receivers (STB/DVR) offer only limited resolutions. For mine, I have 1080i, 720p, SD Widescreen (no resolution given, but likely 720x480) and 4x3 (again, not stated, but likely 640x480) - yours may differ. However, whatever they have is all you get. So, if you set your STB to output 720p instead of 1080i, that doesn't indicate your 1080p unit is "zooming" in to fill your physical screen size, it's just displaying that resolution - well that is as long as you've set up your TV to display the native resolution of the input, rather than re-scaling it to a fixed resolution.

Think about this, you can display 1080i from your HD STB, then switch inputs on the TV and display an anamorphic SD signal from your DVD player. Both will 'fill up' your physical screen, but they're two different resolutions and there is no zooming going on. It's just displaying the bits it's provided with, in their native format.

The problem you (and others) seem to have is that the STB your content provider gave you cannot output an anamorphic signal via S-Video. There is a large difference between zooming in on 4x3 letterboxed content and having an anamorphic transfer of it. It's impossible for you to test from your TV content (since you can't get an anamorphic signal to your DVDR), but there is one way. If you have any older DVD's (typically pre 2002 or so) that were widescreen letterboxed (black bars encoded as part of the image), and then you later purchased a special edition or upgrade where the movie was now anamorphic, you can compare the two. If not, here are some (general) reference numbers. If you were able to record HD (downrezzed to SD for DVDR recording, of course), a 16x9 image would have a resolution of 720x480 with all 480 vertical lines used (roughly) in the copy. Now, if you recorded a 4x3 SD signal (640x480) with the same material shown in letterbox, approximately 25% of the screen area is now black bars. This equals about 11% of the vertical resolution, or 53 lines. So, though it's close, there's still a reduction of vertical resolution (not to mentioned the 14% loss in the horizontal). Even when zoomed, it doesn't look as good as the original. That resolution is data that is lost, and cannot be duplicated by your display (as you stated above).

Even when hooked up to a device like the Lenkeng you noted above, if your providers STB does not output anamorphic video over your analog outputs, you are losing resolution, that's a fact. Whether or not you notice is a personal matter.
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post #12 of 65 Old 02-22-2010, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I decided to stop making wild guesses, and actually look up how "anamorphic widescreen" works. It uses COMPRESSION. Ta-da! So while I'm correct that the number of bits transferred is 720x480, I'm incorrect that the IMAGE RESOLUTION for anamorphic widescreen is 720x480. It is able to display at higher resolution because the image is compressed horizontally into 720x480. This is possible because pixels aren't square - they are tall rectangles. The compressed image is then uncompressed during playback - automatically if widescreen signalling is set, or manually if not).

Now I'm researching whether the "overscanning" feature that down converters advertise really does allow true anamorphic widescreen. If so, I will order one! I'll report back what I learn.

Quote:
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Yes, all digital TV's have some 'native' resolution, but since your TV's is 1080p, it can display all SD and HD resolutions effectively without re-scaling (as opposed to older 720p only screens).

Yes, it can display at 1920x1080 without rescaling, but if the incoming signal is lower resolution, it has to rescale. I know this happens with broadcast. When I was buying my TV, the store clerk told me that what I was seeing was not the best my soon-to-be TV could display because it was displaying a broadcast signal. A high-def broadcast signal is lower resolution than the TV, so zooming is used to expand it.

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However, most content provider receivers (STB/DVR) offer only limited resolutions. For mine, I have 1080i, 720p, SD Widescreen (no resolution given, but likely 720x480) and 4x3 (again, not stated, but likely 640x480) - yours may differ. However, whatever they have is all you get. So, if you set your STB to output 720p instead of 1080i, that doesn't indicate your 1080p unit is "zooming" in to fill your physical screen size, it's just displaying that resolution - well that is as long as you've set up your TV to display the native resolution of the input, rather than re-scaling it to a fixed resolution.

Is there really a difference, on the pixel level, between displaying a lower resolution image full screen and zooming? I'm not a video expert, but I'm a computer expert and I know a bit about how computer screens and graphics work. If I lower the resolution of my monitor, more physical pixels are used to display each "virtual" pixel in the display. The exact same thing happens when I zoom an image in Photoshop or use a magnification utility.

I understand now that anamorphic widescreen uses a compression technology that allows a given number of pixels to carry a higher resolution image. But ordinarily, the resolution is the resolution, isn't it? It can either be stretched to fit the screen through pixel doubling, or appear as a smaller image. Or am I again missing something?

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Even when hooked up to a device like the Lenkeng you noted above, if your providers STB does not output anamorphic video over your analog outputs, you are losing resolution, that's a fact.

You may be right, but that's different from what others have said and I have no idea myself. I'm going to do a little research into it and see what I can find out.
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post #13 of 65 Old 02-22-2010, 01:33 PM
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Permutations, I home this doesn't confuse you more but let me take a stab at explaining, in a different way what i86time is saying.
A DVD has a limited amount of space available to store the a image. Any space wasted storing black lines(from a letterboxed source) won't utilize the maximum amount of disc space. Sure you can "Zoom" your TV to fill the screen but it will produce a better picture if you only "Stretch" a 4:3 image to "fill" your 16:9 screen, you'll be using the maximum amount of DVD storage space. Trust me, with a good source it's very obvious whether your source was a postage stamp 16:9 or 4:3 horizontally squeezed(anamorphic).
To get the best looking DVDs out of your STB you need to send your DVDR a anamorphic format and not a postage stamp format.
So the way I see it, you need a Component(at times you've said composite when I believe you mean component) to S-video converter to record a good signal from your DVR, the Lenkeng device sounds like it will work and is cheaper than the other. Note this device will also remove any CP on your source.
You'll also need a video filter type of device. I'd get a cheaper VHS type of filter which should run less than $30. It won't work on DVDs but you could use your Component to S-video converter for DVDs if you wished.
Lastly if you want to correct the color, tint, brightness etc. of your VHS tapes you'll need some sort of Proc amp.
If you plan on playing your DVDs back on a 16:9 TV and won't be borrowing them to people with 4:3 TVs I wouldn't worry about the WS bit. Otherwise it sounds like you could change it with a PC program(which I personally don't do or know much about).
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post #14 of 65 Old 02-22-2010, 10:54 PM
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permutations,

I started this reply quite some ago but was put on hold. I figured I'd post it anyway even though it may be repeating what others have said.

A DVD is 720x480. A DVD player such as your ES20 will output 720x480. The TV does the necessary scaling in order to fit the display, whether it's a 1280x720 or 1920x1080. It interpolates, extrapolates, etc., but it does what is necessary.

By me, 3 of the major networks are 1080i and 3 are 720p. If you have a 1080 HDTV some of the programs will be scaled down and if you have a 720 HDTV some of the programs will be scaled up.

An anamorphic DVD recording does not have any of the side pillar box black bars recorded. It uses all 720x480 pixels to record the image. The image is then stretched horizontally to fill the HDTV screen. On the Panny ES20 and EZ17 a RAM disc (or store bought DVD) will automatically trigger the HDTV to display a full width picture. With a DVD-R you will need to set the HDTV to the proper zoom mode. The picture is identical in either case.

If you record from the STB via S-Video or composite you will be recording black bars. Thus part or the 720x480 pixels are wasted on black area. You can zoom in on your HDTV, but then you're only viewing what was recorded in the center of the available pixels. IOW you may be blowing up an image that was only 640x320 pixels, or something similar.

Using the STB component outputs gives you an image that occupies all 720x480 pixels. But you'll need to convert component to S-Video. Resolution would remain the same but the signal format would change into something that you can use.

Regarding the ES20 - long time ago it was mentioned that outputting component 480i to a HDTV looked better than component 480p. I tried both ways and 480i did look better on programs I recorded. With a commercial DVD I could not tell a difference. So be sure to try both settings. This is also the same for my EZ17.
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post #15 of 65 Old 02-23-2010, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by permutations View Post

I decided to stop making wild guesses, and actually look up how "anamorphic widescreen" works. It uses COMPRESSION. Ta-da! So while I'm correct that the number of bits transferred is 720x480, I'm incorrect that the IMAGE RESOLUTION for anamorphic widescreen is 720x480. It is able to display at higher resolution because the image is compressed horizontally into 720x480. This is possible because pixels aren't square - they are tall rectangles. The compressed image is then uncompressed during playback - automatically if widescreen signalling is set, or manually if not).

This post and your previous writings lead me to think you have yourself confused with the differences between resolution and display format (aspect ratio). It's a common confusion. The liberal use of the term "anamorphic" throughout this thread doesn't help any because it's used in a broad sense.

All DVD recorders recording in full D1 resolution (SP or better) encode a video frame at 720x480 pixels -- the same resolution as a DVD. This is independent of the aspect ratio the video is designed to be played back with. Imagine you have a piece of stretchable screen mesh with 720x480 holes in it. In it's "relaxed" state where the holes are square, the screen has a square-pixel aspect ratio of 1.5. Now, cut out some pictures or file cards with the following aspect ratios: 1.33, 1.78 (broadcast 4:3 and 16:9 widescreen respectively), 1.85, 2.35 (theatrical film aspect ratios). Finally, stretch your piece of screen mesh to exactly match the dimensions of each cutout. There you have the essence of resolution vs. format. Each cutout (frame) is encoded at the same resolution of 720x480 pixels; but the aspect ratio of each picture is very different -- the pixels are no longer square (or rather the sampling area from which each pixel is derived from is no longer square). It will only look proper on your screen if it is displayed in the original aspect ratio (OAR). A 1920x1080 display has a square-pixel aspect ratio of 1.78, which deliberately matches the 16:9 aspect ratio of broadcast widescreen HD. Mapping the 720x480 pixels to the 1920x1080 resolution of your display in the proper aspect ratio is generally the job of your display. Displays are generally very good at this (much better than the up-conversion of cheap players/recorders) because they have to do it for every signal source they receive except 1080 broadcast HD and 1.78 aspect ratio Blu-Ray. If you do the math, you will see that in order to map a 720x480 frame to the full resolution of your 1920x1080 display, the display has to "invent" >80% of the video information. Now you know why people like Blu-Ray and want to record in HD, not SD.

The term "anamorphic" is derived from the 35mm film era and, as applied to digital recording, broadly means a recording with a display aspect ratio greater than the square-pixel aspect ratio of the resolution. In our case, for 720x480, any source with an aspect ratio beyond 1.5 that is encoded as 720x480 is considered anamorphic.

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post #16 of 65 Old 02-23-2010, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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My computer was attacked by a Web site yesterday while I was researching this stuff, and now I'm afraid I have a keyboard logger on my system since it's acting funny (I'm typing on a different computer). Two scans came up clean, but I think something is wrong and I need to sort that out before I can go back to trying to understand this. So thank you for the explanations and I will be back. Just need to fix this first.
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post #17 of 65 Old 02-23-2010, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by permutations View Post

My computer was attacked by a Web site yesterday while I was researching this stuff, and now I'm afraid I have a keyboard logger on my system since it's acting funny (I'm typing on a different computer). Two scans came up clean, but I think something is wrong and I need to sort that out before I can go back to trying to understand this. So thank you for the explanations and I will be back. Just need to fix this first.

I may be out of line here or maybe you do not want to hear this, but what I do to simplify things is I get Direct TV, and plug the S-video output of my DVR to the S video input of my Panasonic DVR and Walla! 16 x 9 at 480i which I then up convert to 1080i and I get a decent recording. I guess what I'm recommending is get D* ,which is what I did , and cancelled cable 10 years ago and haven't looked back. The only thing you cannot record is pay per view.

Cheers.
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post #18 of 65 Old 02-23-2010, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello. My main computer is still infected from yesterday's attack from a Web site, and the scan I started this morning is STILL RUNNING (world's slowest scan). The stats say that one threat was detected, but I can't tell what that is (or clean it) until the scan finishes, which as far as I can tell will be next year. But onto the topic at hand...

Thanks, Kelson, for a very clear explanation of anamorphic widescreen. I had figured out that pixel aspect ratio was key, but you took it one step further. DVD outputs 720x480, which is an aspect ratio of 1.5. My TV screen is 1920x1080, which is an aspect ratio of 1.78 (16:9). If I store a 16:9 image in 720x480 without any horizontal compression, then I have to be recording black bars on top and bottom (letterbox). Anamorphic widescreen stores the full 1.78 image in a 1.5 pixel grid by making each pixel tall and skinny - horizontally compressing the image. Your display knows how to expand this horizontally so it fills the screen and looks normal.

I guess the Lenkeng down converter, in converting the component signal, creates an anamorphic encoding - apparently by accident since it's not mentioned as a feature. (Someone mentioned that I occasionally say "component" when I mean "composite" and vice versa. I'm sure I do because I have to stop each time and think which it is - I get the two words confused.)

The more expensive down converter lets you choose between overscanning and underscanning, which I think lets you choose whether the result is formatted for 16:9 or 4:3, though I don't know why 16:9 would require overscanning - isn't that just "scanning"? The more expensive converter also has component pass-thru, but that wouldn't do anything for me. My Blu-ray output options are HDMI and composite video.

So I guess I'll buy the Lenkeng and put that between my STB's component out and the DVDR s-video in.

For my VHS problem I was looking at this product, which is supposed to improve the video signal:

http://www.qualitekindustries.com/bvistfordvda.html

The VHS tapes I want to copy over to DVD are very old, and in some the color is greenish and the resolution grainy from age. Do you think this will help, or should I just get the cheapo model?
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post #19 of 65 Old 02-23-2010, 03:19 PM
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The component to S-video converters don't do any aspect ratio conversions. The reason they work is because your STB only outputs the correct anamorphic signal from it's component and HDMI output, not composite or S-video which your DVDR needs.
This problem is entirely caused by DVRs or STBs that insist on only outputting letter boxed 16:9 from SD outputs. Other devices (like my Tivo HD) let me chose, letterboxed or full screen 16:9, your STB doesn't give that choice and hence you need to buy the converter to get better looking 16:9 recordings.
The filter you linked, while a great price ($35) for a filter that claims to do DVD isn't really going to correct your colors unless they're caused by Macrovision. I guess the filter would allow you to copy your commercial VHS tapes(and DVDs also according to the site) but I doubt it's going to correct your colors, you'd need something like a Proc Amp to do that.

The wording on that link seemed kind of funny but I guess if it does what it advertises and you have some sort of money back guarantee it might be worth trying. Other filters that remove DVD CP(like the Video Filter brand) tend to be closer if not over $100.
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post #20 of 65 Old 02-23-2010, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Trend Micro HouseCall has now found 3 threats on my main computer, and the scan is still running - it's 75% complete. I really should take that machine offline. It's probably phoning home with all my passwords and financial data. But I'm afraid if I cut the internet connection the scan will abort and I can't do this again. I think it's a keyboard logger on that machine, so as long as I don't log into anything, what can it do? I don't think any passwords are stored clear text anywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

The component to S-video converters don't do any aspect ratio conversions. The reason they work is because your STB only outputs the correct anamorphic signal from it's component and HDMI output, not composite or S-video which your DVDR needs.

The STB is outputting an anamorphic signal through its component output? I thought it would be outputting something full resolution and not horizontally compressed. Oh wait - remembering what Kelson said... It's outputting something with an aspect ratio of 1.78, so when displayed at 720x480 it's anamorphic. I think I get it now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

The filter you linked, while a great price ($35) for a filter that claims to do DVD isn't really going to correct your colors unless they're caused by Macrovision. I guess the filter would allow you to copy your commercial VHS tapes(and DVDs also according to the site) but I doubt it's going to correct your colors, you'd need something like a Proc Amp to do that.

They have a cheaper model. Since the enhancement features won't help with my color problem, I'll just go with that. I don't need to be able to copy DVDs. I just want to copy my VHS tapes before they completely disintegrate. And I want to be able to burn DVDs of shows I record from broadcast, which the down converter will let me do in higher resolution.

Too bad the TV itself doesn't have component video out (or any video out, for that matter). Wouldn't that be great if it did? Do any TVs have this?
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post #21 of 65 Old 02-23-2010, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by permutations View Post

Too bad the TV itself doesn't have component video out (or any video out, for that matter). Wouldn't that be great if it did? Do any TVs have this?

Some Sony HD TV models (circa 2005) had a "Monitor Out" feature that I couldn't get to work:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post17988075

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...9#post17994059

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post #22 of 65 Old 02-23-2010, 07:20 PM
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My '05 Panasonic LCD has a composite video output that's full screen. Before getting CECBs and my Tivo HD I used to record from that output and get a pretty good full screen recording. The first HDTVs had composite outputs but I haven't seen that feature in quite some time.
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post #23 of 65 Old 03-25-2010, 05:11 AM
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I have been reading this, and other related threads, with great interest.

I am a sports enthusiast who records games from broadcasts - mostly NFL football. I have been recording from SD forever and just acquired a HD-DVR (Explorer 8300HD) only to discover that I cannot record full screen no matter what I do. (I record to a standalone DVD Recorder - Pioneer DV533H-S)

A friend of mine sent me a DVD of Super Bowl 42 (Giants) and it was very nice quality that took up the entire screen. He didn't do anything special as the menu was from a Panasonic standalone recorder. I imagine he was getting the signal from DirecTV HD.

Will a conversion device do the trick for my needs or do I have to get DirecTV? Has anyone recorded sporting events?

Still learning....
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post #24 of 65 Old 03-25-2010, 02:31 PM
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Yes recording from a full screen source vs a postage stamp will yield much better results on a WS TV. Your Pioneer won't set the WS bit, but that won't matter if you have a 16:9 screen that's able to stretch 4:3 to fill 16:9 screen, or if your player is able to stretch 4:3 to fill 16:9 screen.
If your 8300HD is capable of 480i out of component output any component to S-video converter will work. If your 8300HD only outputs 480p or above from component output, then you'll need a converter that can also downconvert the 480p signal to 480i.
I don't have a 8300HD myself so I can't say for sure which converter you'd need.
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post #25 of 65 Old 03-25-2010, 05:15 PM
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jjeff: Thanks for your response.

I took the plunge and purchased the Ambery Down Converter. I will test and post my findings.

Still learning....
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post #26 of 65 Old 03-25-2010, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoRodd View Post

jjeff: Thanks for your response.

I took the plunge and purchased the Ambery Down Converter. I will test and post my findings.

Please do come back and report on the Ambery. I am eyeing it as well, so curious to see how it pans out. Thanks.
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post #27 of 65 Old 03-30-2010, 09:38 AM
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Damn! I received the Ambrey converter today. Hooked it up and....nothing.

I have a cable HD setup. I have the Scientific Atlantic Explorer 8300HD DVR. I connected Component Out from the DVR to the Ambrey Converter Component In, out via S-Video to my DVD Recorder.

No picture.

Any ideas/suggestions?

Still learning....
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post #28 of 65 Old 03-30-2010, 10:07 AM
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I was told that the likely reason why I am not getting a picture is that my HD DVR is not putting out a HD picture through the Component Out.

Calling my cable company........

Still learning....
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post #29 of 65 Old 03-30-2010, 03:13 PM
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It's highly unlikely that the tuner wouldn't be outputting HD over component. The filter might not be able to pass the HD signal through. Try switching the output of the tuner over component to 480i (if you can). Then see if the filter outputs it to the recorder in anamorphic 16:9 ratio.
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post #30 of 65 Old 03-30-2010, 03:16 PM
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I agree with Ramm. I'm not familiar with the Ambery but if it's not capable of downconverting they you'll need to only feed it 480i, since DVDRs only accept 480i inputs.
I'd also hook the STB component outputs directly to your TV to verify it's working and exactly what resolution it's putting out.
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