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post #1 of 17 Old 11-16-2006, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,
I just bought a mini (1.83GHz Intel Core Duo with 1 GB Ram) after using a G4 for the last few yrs. I used to preview DVDs on the G4, as I use a separate system with a projector for my main viewing... anyway, I was a little disappointed by the mini's playback out of the box. I'm using a crt Sony graphics monitor which I also used with the G4.... and I see macroblocking and other annoying artifacts which was never a problem before. (can't remember off hand what graphics card the G4 came installed with)
I've tried various resolutions, but the problem remains... even when viewing trailers from Apple's site -- the playback looks mediocre...

I read about all the wonderful things this mini is capable of, and even though don't plan to use it as my HTPC -- just a decent DVD playback on my office monitor would suffice for now

Am I expecting too much... without any add ons - or have I overlooked something fairly basic?

Hoping someone can point me in the right direction

Jack
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-17-2006, 04:28 AM
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Nothing's changed with the DVD player and quality of playback. You're simply seeing what's always been there. If you want higher quality video you'll need to use VLC.
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post #3 of 17 Old 11-17-2006, 05:43 AM
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If you want higher quality video you'll need to use VLC

Or boot into Windows. There are those of us here who don't feel VLC improves much.

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I read about all the wonderful things this mini is capable of, and even though don't plan to use it as my HTPC -- just a decent DVD playback on my office monitor would suffice for now.

Am I expecting too much - without any add ons - or have I overlooked something fairly basic?

You're expecting too much, Jack. It's less a graphics card or resolution issue than it is a software player issue. Improving its software for standard dvd playback is something Apple gave up on a long time ago. The mini is capable of many wonderful things, but if you plan to stay within OS X "videophile" dvd playback isn't one of them. It's far superior serving audio, as a high def media extender, etc. Been discussed ad nauseum.
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-17-2006, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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chefklc, I will give Windows a try. Thanks for the heads up. I guess I was expecting it's playback to be at least the same as the G4..

Andrew, I'm definitely not seeing the same thing as with the G4 (not that that is 'videophile' quality either) I still have the G4, and set it up with my other (identical) monitor and compared the same passages on both computers, and the Mini is definitely the lesser of the two.... as far as dvd playback is concerned
But it does have it's other virtues

Jack
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-17-2006, 01:22 PM
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I've seen both what I'd call "near stunning" and what I'd call "disappointing" output, mostly from Front Row's trailers, when displaying on my plasma TV (I have no dedicated monitor). The HD programs that I've downloaded from the QuickTime site seem fairly stunning. My DVDs likewise; I'm not sure yet whether the Mini is better than my Sony DVD/VCR combo or not, and in any event I may be getting an up-converting DVD player. I -think- the Mini does a better job of upconverting than my plasma TV does, but if so it's only a bit better.

What video output are you using - DVI, DVI-to-HDMI, or DVI-VGA? Have you played with the Displays perf pane, i.e. screen size, calibration/gamma, etc. while your monitor is attached?

I never had a PPC Mini, so I can't give any personal comparisons, but it's certainly possible that a dedicated graphics card on a Mini is "better" than the GMA950 in the Intel Mini.

Doug
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-17-2006, 02:27 PM
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Jack, since it's your office PC, you shouldn't be watching DVDs:-)

But if you must, the OS X players, including VLC, are not very good. They seem passable on perfectly coded DVD, but anything that's not perfect (like most DVDs...,) or anything video (as in TV series, etc.,) will have artifacts. Some are outright hard to watch in OS X (like Tinker, Tailor...,) while showing fine in MCE using the Nvidia decoder.

If you are really serious about HT, you may have to boot into Windows, as chefklc said, until Apple addresses this issue, hopefully with Leopard. But since it's an office PC, you may have to deal with the artifacts....

P.S. While I don't see any video problems running MCE on my Dual 1.6 Mini, it is possible that your G4 had a more robust video card. In addition, it may be that the drivers for your old G4 card were better - Intel's are not the best. It is also possible that the way your monitor is hooked up is different.
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-17-2006, 02:43 PM
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That's an interesting observation. I've always noticed that commerical DVDs (on my PowerMac G5, not my Mini) played fine in DVD Player (and on my Sony DVD player and TV downstairs), but DVDs that I created from my MiniDV camcorder via iMovie and iDVD looked pretty disappointing on the Mac, but fine downstairs. I haven't really tried them on a PC, since I don't have one at home (not counting Boot Camp on my MacBook or Mini) and saw no reason to try them at work.

Doug
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-17-2006, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Doug and Ryan, You may both be right!

The G4 connects directly via VGA to the monitors, whereas the Mini uses a DVI-VGA adapter -- could this interface be part of the equasion?.. that, and the fact that the G4 probably has a better video card/drivers... oh well..

I will be getting a 250 GB external hard drive for the Mini soon, so installing Windows shouldn't be a problem. Perhaps then I can optimize dvd playback

Ryan, I never watch an entire dvd movie in my office - yikes!- I'd never get any work done -- but.. since I work from a home office.. I kinda have more leeway for goofing around
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post #9 of 17 Old 11-17-2006, 05:21 PM
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Yeah, if I recall correctly, there have been posts about degradation with the DVI-VGA adapter, but who knows.

As to the Mini DVD performance, here is an excerpt from the CNET Australian review:

"Given Apple's tradition as a media-friendly company, we were shocked during our DVD and high-definition video-output tests to discover the poor image the Mac Mini sent out. Apple didn't include 3:2 pulldown processing as part of its video-out specifications, resulting in image quality that's quite degraded. This processing is necessary for high-def screens playing video from film sources and is found in even low-cost components. The Mac Mini's DVD- and video-output quality was marred by false contouring (banded or splotchy colours), moiré patterns (line distortion) and jagged diagonals. We've seen $50 DVD players perform better."
http://www.cnet.com.au/desktops/pcs/...060763,00.html

Also, here is some guy's conclusion after a test of the HQV Benchmark DVD on a G4 Mini running Apple's DVD Player:

"...In short the G4 Mac mini de-interlaces video quite poorly (especially using Apple's DVD player software), but hey it makes one hell of a convenient DVD server. The HQV Benchmark DVD score for my Mac mini feeding the IF 7205 was 59 out of a possible 130...."
http://www.hometheatershack.com/foru...vd-review.html

In short, Apple really needs to have someone who knows what they are doing spend some time on their DVD Player and video/audio codecs.
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post #10 of 17 Old 11-17-2006, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I guess I should have been more specific earlier ... my G4 is a Power Mac, not a mini (if that's what you inferred from my inarticulation )

This is my first Mac mini -- and that CNET review bears out what I'm seeing in DVD playback. Glad I didn't see THAT review before I decided to buy

Jack
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-18-2006, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graymoss View Post

I guess I should have been more specific earlier ... my G4 is a Power Mac, not a mini....

The Mini is actually quite capable, it's the Apple DVD Player/QT MPEG2 component that's the weak link (although, in your case, there may be the VGA adapter factor.)

I run MCE 2005 on my Intel (Dual 1.6) Mini, and with the Nvidia codec it outputs great picture, both on film and video. Definitely better than most stand-alone DVD players.

In addition, the CoreAVC H.264 codec available for Windows ($5) is also superior to the Apple offering, providing absolutely smooth playback of hidef.
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post #12 of 17 Old 11-18-2006, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ryan1 View Post


I run MCE 2005 on my Intel (Dual 1.6) Mini, and with the Nvidia codec it outputs great picture, both on film and video. Definitely better than most stand-alone DVD players.
.

This sounds promising -- once I get a new monitor for the office, the VGA adapter issue may be moot... and in the meantime, my projector has DVI in...hmm decisions, decisions. I may have to get another Mini as an HTPC afterall

Thanks for all your help

Jack
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-19-2006, 03:28 AM
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I really have the impression that most people with display problems with the Mac Mini are using plasma or LCD TVs. I have a projector (connected by VGA) and the image quality is exactly the same as from my Windows/Linux machine. Although the projector is low resolution (Infocus X1), I see no artifacts or other image problems. If you are having these problems with a projector, I don't think the problem is software -- more likely a cable or some other part of the hardware system.
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post #14 of 17 Old 06-13-2007, 02:22 PM
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I just received HQV from Silicon Optix and was surprised by the failing score on many tests by Mac's DVD player.

I called Apple and they told me to file a publicly available feedback form at

http://www.apple.com/feedback/dvdplayer.html

I am not holding my breath, but if more people submit the feedback, we might see some resolution.

It also looked like that was the first they heard about these issues. Their second level tech I escalated to told me the DVDs he plays on his MacBook look "just fine" . Well, if this is the level of scrutiny the DVD player is subjected to than we are in trouble.



BTW, here is the correct link to CNET review, which was quoted incorrectly earlier on this thread:

http://www.cnet.com.au/desktops/pcs/...0060763,00.htm
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post #15 of 17 Old 06-13-2007, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avs2099 View Post

It also looked like that was the first they heard about these issues. Their second level tech I escalated to told me the DVDs he plays on his MacBook look "just fine" . Well, if this is the level of scrutiny the DVD player is subjected to than we are in trouble.

The first rule of tech support is "deny, deny, deny". The second rule of tech support is to state "it works fine for me". The third rule of tech support is to forward your complaint somewhere else.
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post #16 of 17 Old 06-13-2007, 04:30 PM
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And fortunately, tech support isn't running Q&A or writing software. I am intrigued by reports that there is another app called Movie Player.app. DVD Player update? Or replacement? I can see Apple just updating DVD Player for SD DVDs, and building a new application for HD. Makes sense. Now we just need to get a copy of Leopard beta to look at, or a report from someone else who has looked at it.
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post #17 of 17 Old 06-13-2007, 05:37 PM
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Quote:


was surprised by the failing score on many tests by Mac's DVD player

old news, unfortunately.

Quote:


I am not holding my breath, but if more people submit the feedback, we might see some resolution.

I think if there were a way for Apple to remove the ability of its dvdplayer.app or movieplayer.app to play video_ts from a ripped commercial dvd in Leopard, they would.
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