Do I really need FFDshow? - AVS Forum
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Old 11-16-2006, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm totally lost. I've read tons of posts and I am more confused then ever.

I am using My Movies 2 to store, catalog and watch my movies. I just downloaded trial version of theatertek . I havent tried it out yet.

My question is, will the video quality using FFDshow be way better than just using Theatertek? Why should I use FFDshow? Is it hard to configure with TheaterTek? FFDshow seems way way above my technical understanding. I fear that trying to use it will cause more harm than good.

Any opinions?

Scott
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Old 11-16-2006, 06:55 PM
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No, you do not need ffDshow. Try TTek out on its own and see if you like the
setup. Then spend a weekend you have free to figure out ffDshow at a later time.

-Suntan
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Old 11-16-2006, 08:10 PM
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I'll second Suntan's opinion on this....install TTek use a basic calibration DVD such as Avia and move on with your life. I've dug down deep into ffdshow (Avisynth, limitedsharpen, etc.) and while there are incremental gains which can be made - I'm not sure it's ultimately worth the effort. That said, ffdshow is definitely an interesting exercise in tweaking and there are some quantifiable gains to be made; however, I agree that they are best explored on a weekend with little else to do. Of course YMMV...

Best,
Kevin.
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Old 11-16-2006, 09:28 PM
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I spent about six hours yesterday working with ffdshow and theatertek, and I do see an improvement. Enough improvement that I paid to license theatertek. It was worth it to me, but to each his own. Let me make two more posts so I can post a link to a good guide.
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Old 11-16-2006, 09:42 PM
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Old 11-16-2006, 09:45 PM
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I think it also depends on the display. I have a 92" screen and I can definitely see a difference when using ffdshow.

"220. 221. Whatever it takes."
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
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THanks for the reply, the wife is at work so I"Ve been messing around a bit and I followed the theatertek ffdshow guide that was posted on their forum and when I start a movie in 16:9 aspect ratio the movie doesn't fill up the screen, it almost looks like a 4;3 ratio. DO I need to use the aspect ratio editor to do something custom/? or do i have a setting wrong somewhere ? I assume that its supposed to look like a normal 169 ratio with the black bars on top and bottom with the movie filling the width of the screen. I have a 108 in scren wwith a panny projector. any help apreciate.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srthomas21 View Post

I'm totally lost. I've read tons of posts and I am more confused then ever.

I am using My Movies 2 to store, catalog and watch my movies. I just downloaded trial version of theatertek . I havent tried it out yet.

My question is, will the video quality using FFDshow be way better than just using Theatertek? Why should I use FFDshow? Is it hard to configure with TheaterTek? FFDshow seems way way above my technical understanding. I fear that trying to use it will cause more harm than good.

Any opinions?

Scott

Take a look at this page for examples of the difference that FFDShow makes.
http://htpcnews.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=17427

However, if you're watching with a non-HDTV CRT you won't notice a difference.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Either I don't have the settings right (but I followed the Alternative Guide to the Tee) or I'm not doing something else right. TheaterTek using the NVdia Decoder looks better in my opinion than does FFD show. I'm getting weird results using it. In 16:9 ration mode it looks like 4:3 and the movie is surrounded on all sides by black. The movie plays fine but TheaterTek looks better.

Maybe I'm not configuring FFDshow correctly with TheaterTek, I don't know.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh, and I'm using a Panny AE900U projector (native resolution is 1280X720) so its a HD projector.

I also have a Core 2 Duo processor with 1 GB of RAM and a x1600PRO ATI Card.
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:33 AM
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Some of us do not believe that ffdshow is worth bothering with. We believe that the objective of a home theater setup is to show exactly the recorded media content which is the intent of the filmmaker. Nor is it mathematicly possible to improve a dataset via filtering. Our objective is to display the content as recorded with as much fidelity as possible.

That is not the same as saying ffdshow will not make a visible difference. Obviously it does and some people believe the differences constitute an improvement rather than a distortion of the original image. That really amounts to a philosophical opinion.

This is a hobby and no one can or should tell you how to spend your time while pursuing a hobby. Just be aware that many question the value of the changes brought about to the images we are viewing by filtering techniques. If you choose to not use ffdshow you will be in good company.

Gary

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Old 11-17-2006, 06:42 AM
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Gary makes a very valid point. I thought the PQ using just TheatreTek was great. I use just a little denoising and sharpening with ffdshow. I like the image just a little sharper than TT alone was putting out. With that being said if you don't like tweaking or screwing around with computers I wouldn't use ffdshow. It can be a hassle when trying to get it tweaked just the way you like it. It is also very easy to over do it and introduce ringing and artifacts.

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Old 11-17-2006, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srthomas21 View Post

Either I don't have the settings right (but I followed the Alternative Guide to the Tee) or I'm not doing something else right. TheaterTek using the NVdia Decoder looks better in my opinion than does FFD show. I'm getting weird results using it. In 16:9 ration mode it looks like 4:3 and the movie is surrounded on all sides by black. The movie plays fine but TheaterTek looks better.

Maybe I'm not configuring FFDshow correctly with TheaterTek, I don't know.

Under resize and aspect in FFDshow try clicking the no aspect ratio correction.
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I tried that, no luck.....

Its supposed to look like a normal 16:9 movie right? I shouldn't have to manually adjust the aspect ratio in theatertek to get the movie to have a proper 16:9 ratio? I have the display resolution on my computer set to 1280X720 to match the projector. Is that correct?
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srthomas21 View Post

I tried that, no luck.....

Its supposed to look like a normal 16:9 movie right? I shouldn't have to manually adjust the aspect ratio in theatertek to get the movie to have a proper 16:9 ratio? I have the display resolution on my computer set to 1280X720 to match the projector. Is that correct?

Are you resizing to 1280x720? You should resize to the native resolution of your display.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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In the guide it said to check 2X has the resize. Maybe my projector can't handle that and I need to choose 1280X720 but I'm pretty sure I tried that to and it made no difference. The weird thing is that I checked OSD in ffdshow and it shows a output resolution of 1280 X 720 but it definately doesn't look like that when 16:9 is checked. I can adjust the aspect ratio in TheaterTek to make the movie fill my entire screen but it looks a little weird doing that and I'm sure there is a lot of upscaling and stretching going on.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:53 PM
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To me all of the "improvements" in ffdshow are nothing more than a fancy version of turning up the sharpness on your television. If you feed crap in you will still get crap out and amount CPU usage or complex calculations will ever change that fact.

I find that even with poor quality DVD source the best overall picture quality is with all display enchancements such as sharpness, noise reductions, and so on along any software/hardware image enchancements off. I use PureVideo by NVIDIA and I've yet to see anything "improve" the images overall on any of my DVDs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

Some of us do not believe that ffdshow is worth bothering with. We believe that the objective of a home theater setup is to show exactly the recorded media content which is the intent of the filmmaker. Nor is it mathematicly possible to improve a dataset via filtering. Our objective is to display the content as recorded with as much fidelity as possible.

That is not the same as saying ffdshow will not make a visible difference. Obviously it does and some people believe the differences constitute an improvement rather than a distortion of the original image. That really amounts to a philosophical opinion.

This is a hobby and no one can or should tell you how to spend your time while pursuing a hobby. Just be aware that many question the value of the changes brought about to the images we are viewing by filtering techniques. If you choose to not use ffdshow you will be in good company.

Gary

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Old 11-17-2006, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lstepnio View Post

To me all of the "improvements" in ffdshow are nothing more than a fancy version of turning up the sharpness on your television. If you feed crap in you will still get crap out and amount CPU usage or complex calculations will ever change that fact.

I find that even with poor quality DVD source the best overall picture quality is with all display enchancements such as sharpness, noise reductions, and so on along any software/hardware image enchancements off. I use PureVideo by NVIDIA and I've yet to see anything "improve" the images overall on any of my DVDs.

Do you have big screen HDTV and did you actually try FFDShow?
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Old 11-17-2006, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

Some of us do not believe that ffdshow is worth bothering with. We believe that the objective of a home theater setup is to show exactly the recorded media content which is the intent of the filmmaker. Nor is it mathematicly possible to improve a dataset via filtering. Our objective is to display the content as recorded with as much fidelity as possible.

I take that you watch DVDs only on a 480-line screen? If not, the DVD picture has to be distorted in order to display it on a 720- or 1080-line HDTV. Mathematical processing can be used to minimize that distortion.
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Old 11-17-2006, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdmi4ever View Post

I take that you watch DVDs only on a 480-line screen? If not, the DVD picture has to be distorted in order to display it on a 720- or 1080-line HDTV. Mathematical processing can be used to minimize that distortion.

Are you referring to aspect ratio or resolution scaling? I have two primary displays which are a 4:3 front projector and a 16:9 1080p Westinghouse monitor. I utilize several DVD players and find the aspect ratio controls in them satisfactory. I use the hardware scaler of my video board to scale to display native resolution.

Gary

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Old 11-18-2006, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

Are you referring to aspect ratio or resolution scaling? I have two primary displays which are a 4:3 front projector and a 16:9 1080p Westinghouse monitor. I utilize several DVD players and find the aspect ratio controls in them satisfactory. I use the hardware scaler of my video board to scale to display native resolution.

The scaling. Something has to do the scaling, whether it is your TV or projector or the video card or special software or some combination of them.

The lossy compression that goes into making the DVD also adds another layer of distortion. Decoding the DVD to watch it involves lots of interpolation and "best guess" operations to try to fill in what was lost in the compression.

Watching a DVD is an exercise in distortion after distortion, and the use of certain software and hardware, if properly calibrated, can help with reducing that distortion. Using FFDShow is not for trying to make a movie look like something that it isn't; it's for trying to make it look more like how it was actually filmed.
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Old 11-18-2006, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdmi4ever View Post

Do you have big screen HDTV and did you actually try FFDShow?

yes, 61 inch 1080p DLP and ffdshow and is still installed as it has other uses other than magical picture quality powers.

The native scaling modern pc video cards is hard to beat with anything else which has nothing to do with ffdshow.
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:42 PM
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I have to agree, there have been some dramatic improvements in scaling of the newer cards (an admission by the industry we're not just using them to game?). ffdshow is still superior, but the margin has shrunk to the point that I wouldn't recommend for people that lack tech savvy or hate tweaking (unless they're PQ freaks, but those people also tend to be tweakers). I've been using it for some time now and feel comfortable with what my capabilities are, but shudder at my newb days for incomprehensible error messages and that is there something wrong here feeling. I still get that giddy feeling whenever I compare my results to friends' STBs that they proclaim the penultimate viewing experience, but the ones I've helped to brake the STB habit I've tended to keep it simple unless there was a glaring hardware issue to run ffdshow.
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Old 11-18-2006, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Slammy1 View Post

I have to agree, there have been some dramatic improvements in scaling of the newer cards (an admission by the industry we're not just using them to game?).

How new? NVidia 7000 series? Or would an 8800 be required to see the "dramatic improvements in scaling"?
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:14 AM
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Well, I don't follow NVidia as much as ATI (though with the prospects of DX10 on the horizon, I'll prolly jump ship) but I was impressed with the quality of AVIVO compared to previous efforts. Obviously, ffdshow is the way to go for the best quality, I don't think people are arguing that at all, just that for a lot of people who aren't as discriminating, shy away from tweaking, or lack know-how other solutions are perfectly decent though perhaps lacking some in quality. For me, I stick with ffdshow and am happy at my level of knowledge but I do remember those early, very frustrating days of tweak after artifact after tweak. I don't fault others who wish a simpler solution, you shouldn't either .
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stngray View Post

Here is the link: http://www.htpcnews.com/index.php?op...=132&Itemid=54

I was one of the ffdshow skeptics too, I've been using PowerDVD forever and was satisfied enough with the PQ. I followed that guide step by step (it really didn't take that long) and the PQ I'm getting with Zoom Pro/Cineplayer on my 37" LCD & 7800GT literally blows away the PQ I had with PowerDVD, and I only tweaked the most basic settings in ffdshow. Those side by side quality comparison pictures really are no joke.
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Old 11-19-2006, 05:51 PM
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I was using stand-alone TT, and by simply following the guides on the TT forum, I was able to make a dramatic improvement in PQ. Mostly, I noticed how the background images in movies were sharper. I tested using Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo, knowing that those would provide good test images.

The beauty of having FFDshow configured, installed, was that I could easily click it on/off while the video is playing and see the PQ improvment. To be frank, I laughed that the image could actually be improved as much as it was - I wasn't expecting it to be so dramatic.

The key is that you measure CPU before and after, and that you know CPU is increasing due to FFDshow running. I followed the TT guide as well as the guide here - married the two and got great picture.

Keep in mind my graphics card is old, but running at 1080i - you don't need a powerful graphics card for HTPCs. The improvement w/ FFDshow for me may be higher because of this versus newer cards.

My setup
- Radeon 9600 non-pro - latest Radeon drivers
- TT 2.x
- Tosh 42HDX82 RPTV
- Component Cable connection via ATI DVI->Component Dongle
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

No, you do not need ffDshow. Try TTek out on its own and see if you like the
setup. Then spend a weekend you have free to figure out ffDshow at a later time.

-Suntan

What is the latest FFDshow release and where to dowload it from?
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Old 01-07-2007, 03:44 AM
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Search "ffdshow-tryouts".
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Old 01-23-2007, 01:09 PM
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This post from Sep 21, 2006 says to use NVidia PureVideo Decoder to decode (on the card's hardware) and then add FFDShow on top to sharpen and resize.

That was my biggest confusion - how to use PureVideo and FFDshow together.

EDIT: After spend hours trying to configure FFDshow + NVidia PureVideo + Media Player Classic + X-Fi Elite, I couldn't get them to work. Even more frustrating, the FFDshow audio configuration screwed up my X-Fi Elite Pro configuration. So I just uninstalled the whole FFDshow and MPC.

I have an NVidia 6800 Ultra but always used the control panel in the "classic mode." Since I read some more threads on here about the NVidia driver settings + PureVideo, I decided to switch to the new mode. Duh!!! The options to sharpen and noise-reduce are right there on the video->advanced tab! And they work in real-time. I played a couple of DVDs and slid the tabs back to forth to see the difference. Wow, they really do sharpen up the image. I bought the NV 6800U the very first week it came out a 2.5 years ago. And all this time I had no idea I could sharpen & denoise video!

I believe in K.I.S.S. If you don't have hours/days to mess around and possibly have to rebuild your PC, and want to use Windows Media Player or WinDVD, just use an NVidia card w/ PureVideo and the advanced settings.

I do wish, however, that someone could write an installer for FFDshow that would configure it automatically to work with PureVideo and MS Windows Media Player and/or WinDVD.
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