"Downton Abbey" on PBS - Page 8 - AVS Forum
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post #211 of 239 Old 01-07-2014, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Speed Daemon View Post

According to IMDb, the show was originally shot in 1080p25, which is an unusual format and not compatible with the usual 3:2 film pulldown that is used in 60Hz countries. That may account for the unusual motion artifacts that some have complained about.

1080p25 is actually a common digital format. Its often broadcast at 1080i50 in 50Hz countries, but its just a 2:2 pulldown from 25p. In the US, most often some sort of blended frame technique is used to convert from 25p to 60i, and I agree completely it looks terrible. Occasionally a North American Bluray release will just be slowed down 4% for 1080p24 (ie the boxset of Doctor Who), but its more often than not the 60i conversion. If you have a BD player capable of decoding region 2 video you can set it up to display at 60Hz, in case your TV doesn't support 50Hz. 25p on a 60hz tv is a bit jumpy, but its preferable to the blended frame technique IMO.

I was hoping the next generation of TV specs (UHDTV) would have some sort of unified worldwide frame rate, but that appears to have just been wishful thinking. We'll be stuck with lousy conversions for many decades to come I'm afraid.
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post #212 of 239 Old 01-07-2014, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post
I was hoping the next generation of TV specs (UHDTV) would have some sort of unified worldwide frame rate, but that appears to have just been wishful thinking. We'll be stuck with lousy conversions for many decades to come I'm afraid.

I was hoping for that with the switch to digital TV where it really doesn't matter what the line frequency is, unfortunately their must be money in keeping standards different across the world, that or some type of content control :(

PAL and NTSC(and SECAM for that matter) are basically dead but their legacy lives on forever :mad: 

BTW Downton looked decent OTA(1080i) in my market but IMO Downton has never been a standard for picture quality, somewhat dark and muted colors, no macroblocking though.

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post #213 of 239 Old 01-07-2014, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post

1080p25 is actually a common digital format. Its often broadcast at 1080i50 in 50Hz countries, but its just a 2:2 pulldown from 25p. In the US, most often some sort of blended frame technique is used to convert from 25p to 60i, and I agree completely it looks terrible. Occasionally a North American Bluray release will just be slowed down 4% for 1080p24 (ie the boxset of Doctor Who), but its more often than not the 60i conversion. If you have a BD player capable of decoding region 2 video you can set it up to display at 60Hz, in case your TV doesn't support 50Hz. 25p on a 60hz tv is a bit jumpy, but its preferable to the blended frame technique IMO.

I was hoping the next generation of TV specs (UHDTV) would have some sort of unified worldwide frame rate, but that appears to have just been wishful thinking. We'll be stuck with lousy conversions for many decades to come I'm afraid.

I have an Oppo 103 BD player with an all regions modification chip. My display is a 60 inch Pioneer Kuro plasma. I bought Region B BDs of Downton Abbey, Series 4, from Amazon UK. They played perfectly on my system without my having to modify its settings in any way, other that to set the 103 to Region B, of course.
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post #214 of 239 Old 01-07-2014, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I have an Oppo 103 BD player with an all regions modification chip. My display is a 60 inch Pioneer Kuro plasma. I bought Region B BDs of Downton Abbey, Series 4, from Amazon UK. They played perfectly on my system without my having to modify its settings in any way, other that to set the 103 to Region B, of course.

Most likely your TV can accept 25p signals. I only meant that if someone has a TV that does not (myself included), 25p BD's can still be displayed.
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post #215 of 239 Old 01-07-2014, 03:37 PM
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The degradation in quality is just adding insult to injury after their idiotic decision to again delay the US broadcast after the UK broadcast. Glad I didn't wait...
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post #216 of 239 Old 01-07-2014, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by HD-Master View Post

The degradation in quality is just adding insult to injury after their idiotic decision to again delay the US broadcast after the UK broadcast.

Idiotic?

Idiotic?!?

No, no, no, no… this was explained very clearly in Hot Off The Press:

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Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Nielsen Notes (Broadcast)
'Downton Abbey' premiere breaks ratings record
By Brian Stelter, CNN.com - Jan. 6, 2014
. . .
Season four, of course, debuted several months ago in the United Kingdom. PBS has received no small amount of criticism for its decision to delay the episodes in the United States, and the network's executives are aware that some fans get a sneak peek by finding the episodes illegally on the Internet. But they say the sky-high ratings two seasons in a row are proof that their scheduling strategy is a wise one.
. . .
http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/06/showbiz/tv/downton-abbey-premiere-ratings-record/index.html?hpt=hp_c3

Now, see, how can you argue with such logic?

It’s just like right now: I’m getting sky-high drunk on wine… and this proves it is never wise to drink bourbon.

It’s just unassailable logic; you can’t argue with it.

rolleyes.gif


. . . . . . . . .


Can anybody with Season 4 BDs post the episode run times?

Last year, PBS aired additional footage that wasn’t on the discs and didn’t air in the UK. I'm curious if they’ll do the same this year.
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post #217 of 239 Old 01-08-2014, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by joblo View Post

Can anybody with Season 4 BDs post the episode run times?

Last year, PBS aired additional footage that wasn’t on the discs and didn’t air in the UK. I'm curious if they’ll do the same this year.

It is hard to say definitively whether there is any difference in the length of the episodes shown on PBS and those shown in the UK because Episodes 1 and 2 as shown in the UK were combined for the two hour slot PBS used to show them last night. With the exception of cutting the credits for both episodes, I could see no difference in the timings of the two versions. The episodes in the PBS version ran 1:51, whereas the total runtimes for UK Episodes 1 and 2 1:53:24. I think the cutting of the credits caused the difference. If I had to guess, I would say what you are seeing on PBS is exactly the same as I saw on the BDs, other than PBS's jiggering with the credits, of course. By the way the PQ of the PBS telecast was just fine via Cox Tulsa.

Timing of Downton Abbey episodes on Series 4 Region B BDs.

Ep 1: 1:06:27
Ep 2: 0:47:27
Ep 3: 0:47:24
Ep 4: 0:47:29
Ep 5: 0:46:50
Ep 6: 0:47:28
Ep 7: 0:47:28
Ep 8: 1:06:56
Ep 9: Xmas episode, which I have not yet received from Amazon.uk.
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post #218 of 239 Old 01-12-2014, 06:18 AM
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My problem with the picture quality on Downton is black crush. The shadow detail on this show has always been a bit lacking in dark scenes, but episode 1 of season 4 was the worst I've ever seen it.

It was so bad I downloaded the first episode for comparison, in case my local cable company had screwed something up. It was just as dark (watched on my calibrated computer monitor this time, and it's not a display problem). The screenshots on this website also show lack of shadow detail in many scenes.

Does anyone else wish they would shoot the dark scenes better? The following examples are from the website I linked.

No detail in Cora's hair where I would expect to see some:


General absense of shadow detail:


There are countless other scenes like that, and raising the display brightness does not bring out any more detail.
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post #219 of 239 Old 01-12-2014, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

BTW Downton looked decent OTA(1080i) in my market but IMO Downton has never been a standard for picture quality, somewhat dark and muted colors, no macroblocking though.

 

Yes thats what I meant by somewhat dark, almost like the IRE black level is set wrong.....but my guess is it's probably just the way it was shot, apparently not everyone feels we should see detail in dark areas :confused:

As I noted I also feel the colors are a bit muted but again they probably don't want the colors popping off the screen like many of the CW shows I've seen. It's a period piece and I bet the color and black level are purposely they way they are.

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post #220 of 239 Old 01-12-2014, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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My problem with the picture quality on Downton is black crush. The shadow detail on this show has always been a bit lacking in dark scenes, but episode 1 of season 4 was the worst I've ever seen it....
Interesting. Plan to focus on this while watching tonight's episode. Recall commenting in an earlier post here about the images from the first two episodes and the Arri digital cameras used (D21 for episode 1, then the Alexa). A brightly lit flower show and lightish actor clothing illustrated how digital cameras can be overloaded by light, while night scenes from a fair demonstrated their light sensitivity. Dynamic range, greatly influenced by lighting and filtering, is important of course.

Viewing at ~6' via NYC''s FIOS (Verizon) here, on a several-year-old Panasonic 65" 65VX100U plasma. -- John
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post #221 of 239 Old 01-12-2014, 10:03 AM
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I wonder if we are starting to see an unfortunate side effect of moving to BT1886 on "mastering" monitors vs. using power law gamma on the final display device.

IOW, it could be that the shadow detail looked fine in the mastering/editing booth .... ????
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post #222 of 239 Old 01-12-2014, 12:05 PM
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I doubt it's a gamma problem. I don't think the shadow detail is there at all, because I couldn't bring it out by cranking the brightness. If it's an artistic choice, I really don't like it.
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post #223 of 239 Old 01-12-2014, 01:13 PM
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I assumed it was artistic choice, the opening scene with the dark castle representing both the family in mourning, and O'Brien leaving like a thief in the night.  Edith's costumes threw us back into the world of color, a contrast almost as dramatic as in the Wizard of Oz.  

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post #224 of 239 Old 01-13-2014, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kriktsemaj99 View Post

I doubt it's a gamma problem. I don't think the shadow detail is there at all, because I couldn't bring it out by cranking the brightness. If it's an artistic choice, I really don't like it.
Agree about the detail missing from darker objects or scene areas. Part 2 of season 4 last night was bad. Especially bad: black clothing, appearing in many scenes. Actors often seemed without arms because their jackets appeared as one black blob.

Found by changing my plasma's gamma setting from 2.2 down to 2.0 that dark scenes, over all, appeared better. But darker details like the black suits or hair (first image above) still lacked any detail, and the reduced gamma made sun-lit scenes too bright. This early article from camera-maker Arri outlines the thoughts of the numerous cinematographers and directors about lighting the series. Downstairs scenes were crafted darker, with brisker movements than upstairs shots. Production arrangements may differ now.

Presumably those with Blu-rays see the same thing, indicating it's not a broadcast-only problem. Here, hadn't noticed this black-level problem in earlier episodes or series. My local PBS re-ran all four episodes of the filmed "Emma" after Downton last night, so guess I'll compare DVRed black-level details in this series to see if the often discussed dynamic-range advantage of film versus digital-cinema cameras is readily apparent. -- John

EDIT: Couldn't spot significant dynamic range problems watching PBS's rebroadcast of "Emma" (see 2010 thread ). Shot with 35mm 2-perf film, it used added lighting along with candles to simulate 19th-century nighttime interiors but also delivers many sunlit scenes with superb color and HD resolution.
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post #225 of 239 Old 01-13-2014, 08:30 AM
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The black blobs in last night's episode bothered me much more than the first episode.  It was painful in outdoor scenes, and not likely about artistry, e.g., in a long shot of the footmen.   And the dark horse, brown in sunlight, became a black eyeless blob in the shadows along the bridle path.  Maybe it's a PBS thing, another show that comes to mind is Sherlock.

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post #226 of 239 Old 01-13-2014, 08:42 AM
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Agreed it's not just the downstairs scenes that have problems. I'd like to see a comparison between the Blu-ray and the PBS broadcast, but I won't be buying the Blu-ray myself.
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post #227 of 239 Old 01-13-2014, 10:22 PM
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Something has clearly gone wrong ... even the title card appears crushed compared to last season. I'm pretty sure one could make out the "shadowed" details in the lower (black, "reflected") half in years past.
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post #228 of 239 Old 01-14-2014, 08:04 AM
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Just got around to watching the last episode last night and while I'd agree the general picture was quite dark in the dark areas I don't know that I'd say there is a problem, I think it's just the way it was shot. I also was unable to see any detail in black areas(like hair or black dress) but other areas of the picture was fine. My TV is very good at displaying detail in black areas, I can only imagine what it would look like on a cheap LCD where blacks are a grey blob to begin with :eek:

Compare this show picture wise to another show I watched last night, Heart of Dixie(on the CW). That show seems to be mostly lit by full sunlight and the colors just jump off the screen(to the point of almost looking animated) no dark areas in that show :D

It would be interesting to see how Downton Abbey would look as originally broadcast in the UK, wonder if they are seeing the dark detail-less areas.....

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post #229 of 239 Old 01-14-2014, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

It would be interesting to see how Downton Abbey would look as originally broadcast in the UK, wonder if they are seeing the dark detail-less areas.....

I bought the Series 4 BDs from Amazon UK and they look just fine to my eyes. Some scenes certainly were filmed in very low light but it didn't bother me. The strength of the show's cinematography has always been the beautifully lighted indoor scenes inside Downton. Those scenes are as breathtakingly beautiful in Series 4 as they ever had been.
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post #230 of 239 Old 01-14-2014, 10:21 AM
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Just got around to watching the last episode last night and while I'd agree the general picture was quite dark in the dark areas I don't know that I'd say there is a problem, I think it's just the way it was shot.

I'm reserving final judgement until I recheck the calibration/white-level/backlight-drive on my "cheap" LCD. tongue.gif But, In general, my "cheap LCD" doesn't have any trouble picking up shadow details ... quite the opposite in fact. smile.gif

That being said, it's been 4 months and one week since my last calibration run ... OTOH, I still see all the appropriate "flashing bars" on AVS-HD disk ... and I'm using BT.1886 ... so nothing should appear "crushed" on my display unless it's in the source. (Washed-out, perhaps, but not "crushed.")
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post #231 of 239 Old 01-14-2014, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Someone in the Blu-ray software section with the UK-format season- 4 discs doesn't object to black-level details--or the PBS broadcasts. Edit:Then again, a reviewer at Examiner.com writes that black levels are "murky" at points as early as the Season 3 Blu-ray disc.

Maybe someone with analysis software will start comparing black level settings from recordings one of these days.

Missed the black-blob sunlight/shade horse and title-card shots mentioned above (just don't recall them), but the seemingly armless actors, caused by black-hole light-absorbing black suits, still make me feel something is haywire with season 4 material via PBS. -- John
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post #232 of 239 Old 02-21-2014, 11:52 AM
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Does anybody know when PBS will air the 2013 Christmas episode? The last regular episode of the season, Episode 8, is to be shown this Sunday but I can't find any indication anywhere of when, if ever, PBS will show the Xmas episode, which ran in the UK last Xmas day.
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post #233 of 239 Old 02-21-2014, 04:00 PM
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I haven't verified this at all, but I have the impression that this coming Sunday's episode, listed as the season finale in the PBS guide, is the Christmas special as broadcast in the UK. Last Sunday's episode just felt like a season ender, and this coming episode is chronologically quite later (the next year in the summer, if I'm remembering it right).

Cliff
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post #234 of 239 Old 02-21-2014, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffg View Post

I haven't verified this at all, but I have the impression that this coming Sunday's episode, listed as the season finale in the PBS guide, is the Christmas special as broadcast in the UK. Last Sunday's episode just felt like a season ender, and this coming episode is chronologically quite later (the next year in the summer, if I'm remembering it right).

Cliff
If it will be the ninth episode aired and about 2 hrs in length, then yes, it would be the "Christmas Special: The London Season".
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post #235 of 239 Old 02-21-2014, 04:36 PM
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This coming Sunday is the finale aka Christmas Special, 2 hours, but it is called Part 8 in the US.  That's because the original Episodes 1 and 2 were aired together as Episode 1 here.

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post #236 of 239 Old 02-21-2014, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkingRat View Post

This coming Sunday is the finale aka Christmas Special, 2 hours, but it is called Part 8 in the US.  That's because the original Episodes 1 and 2 were aired together as Episode 1 here.

Of course! I had overlooked that PBS had shown what were Episodes 1 and 2 in the UK as Episode 1 here in the US. Really looking forward to seeing PBS's Episode 8, which should be the Christmas special. Sorry for stirring everyone up. Because I bought the UK BDs from Amazon UK I had confused myself. My bad, but I really appreciated the help.
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post #237 of 239 Old 02-24-2014, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
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My wife and are I are getting caught up with Downton Abbey. We're only towards the end of season 2 at this point.

I'm trying to find out if there is any way (once we're ready) to view season 5 early. My understanding is that here in the US, we won't see season 5 until January 2015.

We've been watching Downton Abbey on the Amazon prime app on my Samsung F8500. What I'd like to find out is if I can reset the Amazon app to the UK region and stream Downton Abbey a few months earlier than with the US region designation in the app.

Any help would be appreciated.

Samsung 64F8500, Panasonic 65VT50, Oppo 95, Tivo Roamio for OTA, Dish VIP722, Marantz AV8801 preamp, Rotel Amps, Atlantic Tech 8200 speakers, Seaton Submersive HP, Calman 5, Chromapure, Accupel DVG-5000, i1Display3pro, i1pro2, eecolor colorbox.
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post #239 of 239 Old Yesterday, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimP View Post
My wife and are I are getting caught up with Downton Abbey. We're only towards the end of season 2 at this point.

I'm trying to find out if there is any way (once we're ready) to view season 5 early. My understanding is that here in the US, we won't see season 5 until January 2015.

We've been watching Downton Abbey on the Amazon prime app on my Samsung F8500. What I'd like to find out is if I can reset the Amazon app to the UK region and stream Downton Abbey a few months earlier than with the US region designation in the app.

Any help would be appreciated.
You can order the DVD/BD sets from Amazon.UK when they come out in the fall. However they will not include the Christmas special, which is released separately. And of course they are region locked.
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