Gigabyte 780G motherboard, onboard ATI 3200
CPU AMD X2 3800EE SFF
Panasonic 42PZ85 plasma, connected via HDMI (All picture improvement' settings off)
FloppyDTV DVB-C digital tv card
and the usual stuff.
- Vista Media Center. All known updates
- Haali splitter,
- AC3 filter
- CoreAVC Professional
For testing I use also
- Media Player Classic,
- Cyberlink PowerDVD 7.3 Ultra,
ATI driver Catalyst 8.8 (tried other drivers but all gave the same results)
I have one major very irritating problem (okay my wife DOES NOT see itbut I do).
Normally I prefer to use Vista Media Center for all viewing purposes, so DVD (MPEG-2), DVB-C (MPEG-2) and MKV (H.264/X.264).
I have a mostly washed out picture, with all contents I normally watch, MPEG2 and MKV's. It is not always just washed out, but it's varies constantly depending on the light in that scene. With very bright scenes, the minor blacks are black as they are opposed to be. But when the scnes are getting darker, the blacks are turning into darkgrey. It looks like a dynamic' brightness or something. This is very annoying to watch. It is especially noticed on the black bar's of a widescreen movie, you can just watch the movie and constant changing the blackiness of the black bars!
I read hours and hours but found nothing exactly similar to my findings, but I learned a lot about VMR9, YV12, RGB32, 0-255/16-236 levels and so on. I do think though it's all connected
So I tried several things:
First little success:
When I installed CoreAVC and made this the preferred HD decoder, the problem went away for MKV files. Hurray! But of course it changed nothing for MPEG-2.
So now I was sure the ATI card was cabable to send a perfectly acceptable signal to my TV and the problem would probably not go away by fiddling with drivers.
Now the suspect was the MPEG-2 decoder. So I tried a lot of decoders (Vista's own decoder, PowerDVD decoder, ATI's decoder and some more).
The problem stayed exactly the same. So the MPEG-2 decoders could not do much about it (till then)
Next suspect, the output renderer. Vista Media Center always uses the own EVR/VMR9 renderer. You cannot change it, sadly. But I could try more software from which I could change the renderer as MPC and DVBViewer.
When I started a DVD in MPC, the problem was the same. However, when I changed the outputrenderer to Overlay, the problem went away.
When I was seeing a MPEG-2 stream from my DVB-C decoder in DVBviewer, the problem was the same. However, when I changed the outputrenderer to 'DirectX Video Renderer' the problem went away.
AHA, so far, by changing the VMR9/EVR renderer to the Overlay renderer the problem does not exists.
But that's no solution because I want to use Media Center. Even Media Portal uses VMR9 so that was no second choice either.
Then I read something about the FFDSHOW settings you can change, as LEVELS. So I installed FFDSHOW, only the MPEG-2 decoder, and changed the LEVELS-tab for the inputlevel 16-236. Also ticked the Use full range. Then I changed the Mediacenter decoder so it used the FFDSHOW decoder in stead of the own MPEG-2 deocder, and the problem went awayhurray. But euhhhno, that's a not-so-nice decoder, aliasing is bad, noise is bad, and deinterlacing is bad. And Mediacenter thinks I am not using my pc and gets me the screensaver after x minutes. So FFDSHOW would need a lot of additional tweaking.
What is happening here? Is my conclusion correct, the mapping between the MPEG2 decoder and the VMR9 renderer is not functioning properly??? CoreAVC is capable to change something at inputlevels (is set to Automatic), and FFDSHOW is capable to change something at inputlevels.
Are there people who have similar findings? When I read similar topics I got a feeling you have all problems with constant washed out pictures (not variying). When I had that, I could at least lower the brightness on my plasma, but I cannot use such a trick. Because that would only shift my problem (the blacks in bright scenes would be blacker then needed)
I also tried the UseBT601CSC=1 register setting, but this changed nothing.
Or am I missing something here completely?