Convince me to change from 720p72 on my XG for Blu-ray - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-11-2009, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I realize there's a somewhat similar thread going on, but please bear with me and give me your advice.

I have an XG110LC that was setup by Chuchuf (Terry) with a 720p72 signal input. It looks great with the MPEG2 HD stuff I've been viewing for several years.

I just put together a new Blu-ray capable HTPC. Using the very same signal input, still out the VGA port to 5BNC, it looks absolutely incredible. I really can't imagine it looking any better than it does now, and I'm very picky (although of course I have no reference for comparison).

I don't really want to have to spend the money on a Moome card to go HDMI, but I had envisioned sticking with the VGA out, and changing the HTPC's output to 1080i72 or 1080i96, based on what I've read on this forum (it seems that 1080p would be pushing it for the XG).

If it were easy to try those out and see, I would...but I'm running into (an apparently common) issue of my nVidia drivers rejecting these custom resolutions. Even if I manage to put in the hours to troubleshoot this, I don't know whether I'll be able to converge the new resolution/refresh as well as my current one is setup.

So, I'm asking you to play devil's advocate and convince me that it will definitely be worth the considerable hassle to get another signal going here. Will I see better detail on wide shots? Will there be better motion?

It does seem ridiculous that I'm viewing 1080p Blu-ray material at 720p, but it looks phenomenal....I just need to know (in words) what I might be missing here.

Thanks,

Brent
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post #2 of 19 Old 01-12-2009, 07:34 AM
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Brent,
I am in the same boat as you. I have a G70 and a HTPC and until recently I was displaying everything at 720p/60Hz

without going on a rant let me ask you this:

Take a look at some test patterns which are natively 1080p (at your 720p output from HTPC). see if they are as sharp as they should be.

For example take a look at my first post in my thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1101981

If possible, play your DVE-HD disk look at the pattern I am mentioning in that thread.

Is that really readable and tack sharp in 720p?

for my setup, it was NOT sharp at 720p, but it was sharper and readable at 1080p. I guess it has something to do with conversion of resolution?

UNTIL the day I looked at that test pattern on my PJ set to 720p......I was of the same opinion as you.



Of course the desktop looks soft at 1080p. But that is another story.

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post #3 of 19 Old 01-18-2009, 06:31 AM
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do try 1080i96

these timings will give you exactly the required 95.904 Hz (96/1.001):



Kai
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post #4 of 19 Old 01-18-2009, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Rajiv:

Thanks for that advice. I haven't checked out test patterns yet, but I did try out 1080i60 (which had good motion for video-based Blu-Ray, but not so great for film-based), and I do see that the 1080i looks better than the 720p (at least I think it did -- hard to A/B it when I know which one I'm looking at).


Kai:

Thanks so much for those timings. This is where I'm pulling my hair out -- I have an nVidia 9400 motherboard, running Vista x64, and I absolutely cannot get 1080i96, 1080i72, or basically any other nonstandard custom resolution to work. Apparently, I'm not alone here, and I'm not entirely sure whether the blame lies with Vista, nVidia, or both -- but all the forums have posts about custom res problems. I've tried Powerstrip (which I've heard conflicting things about whether it works with the Geforce 9 series...all I can say is it made such a crazy signal that I had to rush to shut off the XG for fear of damaging it); I tried RivaTuner (which I couldn't quite figure out); and I really haven't yet tried a tedious method of modifying .inf files or the registry with hex codes.

Basically, I'm about to nuke Vista and see if I can get 1080i96 on XP, using either nVidia's own custom res control panel (which seems to cause many people a lot of problems) or using Powerstip (if it will actually work with my video card under XP).

If that doesn't work, then I may have to try adding a Radeon card to my box, and use the onboard Geforce just to drive my LCD monitor (a complete waste, but whatever). That's assuming that it's not going to cause issues running Geforce and Radeon hardware on the same computer (?)

I've been doing the HTPC/CRT PJ thing for 10 years now, and I'm not a novice, but this custom resolution thing on my new HTPC has been pretty much the worst disaster I've ever faced. My big fear was whether I'd be able to successfully converge a good entry on the PJ for this new resolution, but I haven't even been able to get that far!

On that note, I do have a very good 1080i60 signal converged on the XG. Assuming I can manage to get your timings working with whatever video card/OS combination, should I expect that I'll only have minor picture positioning to do on the XG, or could this end up being a big deal (eg, convergence to deal with)?

Thanks!

Brent
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post #5 of 19 Old 01-18-2009, 04:34 PM
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Go with an ATi card and Powerstrip. It's alot easier.

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post #6 of 19 Old 01-18-2009, 04:46 PM
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It's not that easy on an ATi card either.

You have to get 1080i 60hz (called 1080i 30hz in CCC) working in CCC, then change the res with Powerstrip to 96hz.


Only Catalyst Control Center can put an Ati card into "Interlaced mode", at least on Vista.

Trying in powerstrip from a progressive res will result in only the top half of the screen being displayed.

And then Gamma is an issue with an ATi card, although Ben said he had that working.

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post #7 of 19 Old 01-18-2009, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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This is sounding like a real pain. However, that ATI method of first using CCC to force interlaced, followed by Powerstrip to force the higher refresh rate, is certainly no big deal if that's all it takes? Can anyone confirm this? And I can either keep Vista or go back to XP...whatever is better.

Also, can anyone confirm whether it would be a problem to put a Radeon in the PCI-E slot of my nVidia 9400-based motherboard and run both sets of video hardware with their respective drivers? I suppose I could always disable the nVidia hardware, as long as I can actually run 1080i96 off the VGA port of the Radeon card, as well as run my small LCD off the Radeon as well, in 1024x768...

Lastly, there's a fanless model of the Radeon 4650 available -- would you guys recommend that as an acceptable Radeon for Blu-ray, AVCH, etc. playback...or are there compelling reasons for choosing a different model?

Thanks so much for all your help with this mess,

Brent
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post #8 of 19 Old 01-18-2009, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rungabic View Post

This is sounding like a real pain. However, that ATI method of first using CCC to force interlaced, followed by Powerstrip to force the higher refresh rate, is certainly no big deal if that's all it takes?

You only do this once. Do it with a CRT monitor connected.

Do not pick 1080i 25hz by accident, as no monitor will scan that low. Pick 1080i 30hz. You have to add it as a HDTV res.


It's quick once you know. I spent hours figuring it out from scratch.

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post #9 of 19 Old 01-19-2009, 11:09 AM
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Mark,

It's been a while for me, but have you tried 1080i@120 lately?
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post #10 of 19 Old 01-19-2009, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YONEXSP View Post

Mark,

It's been a while for me, but have you tried 1080i@120 lately?

I think I tried it once, but there's no benefit for me.

I don't watch 30fps video, so I don't need it.

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post #11 of 19 Old 01-19-2009, 11:10 PM
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That must be a vista issue as I can set interlaced in xp directly from powerstrip.
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post #12 of 19 Old 01-19-2009, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse S View Post

That must be a vista issue as I can set interlaced in xp directly from powerstrip.


Yep me too. XP pro here. I also don't install the CCC bloat ware. I'm using the Omega drivers curently and powerstrip. ATi 3850

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post #13 of 19 Old 01-20-2009, 12:40 AM
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I briefly tried setting up 1080i 96hz yesterday. But I put 96hz interlaced so I guess it was really 184hz . It synced fine but I was getting wavy lines from the test pattern and gave up. I did try it before at the proper 48hz interlaced (for 96) and it did look very good. More stable flicker-wise, just as 72hz is more stable than 60 and 48hz. Even with a crude setup it looked better than my well tweaked 1280x720 72hz setup. But I couldn't be bothered to do the 1080 96 setup as 720 looked pretty good still.
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post #14 of 19 Old 01-20-2009, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse S View Post

That must be a vista issue as I can set interlaced in xp directly from powerstrip.

Yes I think it is, XP just worked for me too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogRocks View Post

Yep me too. XP pro here. I also don't install the CCC bloat ware. I'm using the Omega drivers curently and powerstrip. ATi 3850

The Omega guy hasn't made a new driver in about a year. I used to use them...but..

Anyway, on Vista, CCC is the only way I found to force interlacing on.

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post #15 of 19 Old 01-26-2009, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much to all of you for your help with this.

After tearing my hair out for weeks, I bit the bullet and turned off the motherboard's Geforce 9400 in the BIOS, and I installed a Radeon 4650 in the PCI Express slot.

I left Vista as my OS, and I installed the current Catalyst 8.12 drivers and the CCC.

I used the CCC to switch to 1920x1080 @ 30i (after loading a different monitor driver to enable that resolution), and then I used Powerstrip to put in Kai's 1080i96 timings.

With some adjustment of the Picture Size and Picture Shift settings on the XG, the new res/refresh worked just fine. It's fairly well converged -- I suppose because my installer had converged a 1080i60 signal in the past.

Then I went ahead and tried do a 120 Hz refresh rate. Surprisingly, it seems to look just as good as the 96 Hz (judging simply from casual watching -- I haven't examined test patterns), and the convergence is actually slightly better than at 96 Hz.

Since I do watch both video-based and film-based materials, it would seem that a 120 Hz refresh rate makes more sense than maintaining separate resolutions for 96 (film) and 60 (video) and having to switch between them.

Can anyone give me any reasons why I shouldn't just stick with the 120 Hz resolution on the XG and be done with it? I've attached a pic of my Powerstrip timings. I basically just worked off of the 96 Hz timings in this thread and then changed the vertical refresh rate, letting the porches, etc. fall where they may. Then I used the XG Picture Size and Shift controls to get the desktop correctly centered on the screen (it was shifted to the left). I'm assuming these timings and my XG manipulations are OK?

Thanks again for all of your advice,

Brent
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post #16 of 19 Old 01-26-2009, 01:47 PM
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You're all good Brent, stick with 120hz if you watch both video and film.

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post #17 of 19 Old 01-26-2009, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the confirmation, Mark!

Now I have to venture into enabling dual monitor support, so I can use a regular LCD screen for maintaining the HTPC.

I'm gonna throw something out there, just on the chance that anyone's seen this behavior:

The XG was initially set up as primary display of course. As soon as I enabled my LCD as a secondary display (I chose to extend the desktop onto the LCD monitor), I noticed that film-based Blu-rays continued to play just fine on the primary display (the XG), but all of a sudden video-based Blu-rays had severe, regular "freezes" about every 2 seconds. This wasn't judder or anything -- it was just not playing right. If I played a film-based disc again, then it was smooth as silk. Then I "unextended" the desktop, disabling the secondary display, but the behavior still persisted.

So I brought back a safety drive image I had made (from right before I had ever enabled the secondary display), and all was well once again for both types of discs.

It seemed like a very weird thing to happen. I'm using TMT for playback.

I then attempted to enable my onboard Geforce, just to drive the LCD screen, but I encountered "incompatible display" warnings when trying to install the drivers, and I gave that up, despite hearing that people often run Geforce and Radeon in the same box...

This is one of those issues that I probably need to post to the HTPC forum, the TMT forum, and a Radeon forum -- but I don't think I have the energy to troubleshoot it -- I may end up ditching the secondary display altogether, even though I really hate having to fire up the XG for doing maintenance on the box...

Brent
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post #18 of 19 Old 01-27-2009, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rungabic View Post

Thanks for the confirmation, Mark!

Now I have to venture into enabling dual monitor support, so I can use a regular LCD screen for maintaining the HTPC.

I'm gonna throw something out there, just on the chance that anyone's seen this behavior:

The XG was initially set up as primary display of course. As soon as I enabled my LCD as a secondary display (I chose to extend the desktop onto the LCD monitor), I noticed that film-based Blu-rays continued to play just fine on the primary display (the XG), but all of a sudden video-based Blu-rays had severe, regular "freezes" about every 2 seconds. This wasn't judder or anything -- it was just not playing right. If I played a film-based disc again, then it was smooth as silk. Then I "unextended" the desktop, disabling the secondary display, but the behavior still persisted.

So I brought back a safety drive image I had made (from right before I had ever enabled the secondary display), and all was well once again for both types of discs.

It seemed like a very weird thing to happen. I'm using TMT for playback.

I then attempted to enable my onboard Geforce, just to drive the LCD screen, but I encountered "incompatible display" warnings when trying to install the drivers, and I gave that up, despite hearing that people often run Geforce and Radeon in the same box...

This is one of those issues that I probably need to post to the HTPC forum, the TMT forum, and a Radeon forum -- but I don't think I have the energy to troubleshoot it -- I may end up ditching the secondary display altogether, even though I really hate having to fire up the XG for doing maintenance on the box...

Brent

If you are running Vista, turn off Aero. 2 monitors with Vista = judders. It seems to get confused.

And try Reclock.

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post #19 of 19 Old 01-27-2009, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Mark,

I'll try turning off Aero pre-emptively, before enabling the 2nd monitor...but for whatever reason, TMT causes Vista to drop out of Aero immediately, so I'm sure that's the issue here.

I can look into Reclock -- I've never used it and have never had a need (as far as I know). What specifically would I need to set it to do in this case?

Lastly, maybe I need to nuke this whole thing and start with XP. The *only* reason I put Vista on was that there there seemed to be some consensus that the PQ with TMT was better on Vista...although it's still open for debate whether TMT is really using EVR rendering or not.

I still find it rather strange that I experienced these consistent "freezes" with 2 monitors, only while playing video-based discs and not film-based.

There are so many possible interactions here -- drivers, playback software, the encoding of the Blu-ray. I don't know whether I can stomach figuring it all out.

I wonder whether one of those USB to VGA converters would work for the second monitor -- might end up with the same issue...

Brent
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