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Grex Advanced video stabilizer vs Video Filter - Page 2

post #31 of 261
Thanks Rammitinski. That may be the only work around (zooming in). Hopefully, others may have some feedback...
post #32 of 261
Sounds to me like the Grex is filtering out the flag, so you need to manually switch your TV's picture to wide. I don't see how the Grex could letterbox something itself, it will just pass on an anamorphic signal, that is 16x9 squeezed into a 4x3 frame, if that is what is input to it.
post #33 of 261
If I record from any recorder to one of my Pannies using the Sima and DVD-RAM, it always comes out true 16:9, if that's what the source is. Of course, I have to set the source player to output 16:9, too.

Most recorders will only letterbox it in 4:3 when you're using -/+R/RW, though.

So my Sima at least doesn't filter it out when I'm using DVD-RAM. I think it just depends on the media you use.
post #34 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

So my Sima at least doesn't filter it out when I'm using DVD-RAM. I think it just depends on the media you use.

How can a video filter know what sort of media you have in your DVDR? What if you record it to the HDD, then to disc? The filter couldn't know that either.
post #35 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbawc View Post

How can a video filter know what sort of media you have in your DVDR?

Now you're confusing me. I didn't quite say that.

I see what you're saying, though - that the filter either strips the widescreen flag or it doesn't. If it leaves it in, you should be able to record to any disc format, right? I wasn't really thinking. Lack of sleep.
post #36 of 261
There is a difference between the Grex and the Video Filter when it comes to Widescreen Signaling...The Grex doesn't have the ability to change the flag. It outputs what it comes in. On the other hand, the Viedo FIlter actually allows you to change the flag. Yo can set it to 4:3 or 16:9 with a switch progammed exactly to do that.

As far as different media, neither unit cares what media is used. It's a matter of what the recorder itself allows you to do with the media.
post #37 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

If it leaves it in, you should be able to record to any disc format, right? I wasn't really thinking. Lack of sleep.

Actually, I think you were right the first time (you usually are): many people, especially newbies, aren't familiar with the vagaries of different media types and how the recorders and copy protect schemes interact with the media. This is especially true of DVD-RAM, which is virtually unknown to video consumers unless they have a Panasonic recorder (or newer Pioneer) that promotes DVD-RAM. The video filters of course do not know what type of media you're using: instead, its a question of how your recorder is engineered to react to various kinds of media. At least in Panasonics case, I believe many of their recorders have optimized the full set of features for DVD-RAM, with less features for DVD-R and R/W. Using RAM media allows full 16:9 recording, while anything else is a gamble. With other machines, R/W media is allowed to record certain kinds of copy-protected broadcasts while DVD-R is locked out completely. This is the kind of arcane info spelled out in the instruction manuals that none of us ever reads until forced to by an issue like this.

Other than the early Toshibas and a handful of new ATSC-tuner models, no stand-alone DVD recorder can be relied on for predictable, consistent 16:9 capabilities. Even the new ATSC models are all over the place on this: some reduce 16:9 broadcasts to 4:3 letterbox, others record 16:9 intermittently, and pretty much none except the old Toshibas will do 16:9 properly via line inputs. Your recorder is a bigger factor than your CP filter: if the recorder cannot be switched manually to 16:9 or auto-sense 16:9 input using your preferred media type, it doesn't matter whether your filter passes 16:9 or not: the recorder will reduce everything to 4:3 letterbox. If you are very lucky, it will record 16:9 but without the flag, so the recording would be "squished" if played on older 4:3 displays. This is another reason DVD recorders are rapidly waning in USA popularity: people have long since made the move to 16:9 displays, and want their recorders to work reliably in that format. So far, they don't.
post #38 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Actually, I think you were right the first time..

Yeah, that was my immediate thought. Once I started thinking about it too much, I confused myself.
post #39 of 261
I'm having a hard time finding the "Video Filter" searching the internet. Anyone have the link?
post #40 of 261
The first post on this thread has a link for both the video filter and the Grex.
post #41 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Other than the early Toshibas and a handful of new ATSC-tuner models, no stand-alone DVD recorder can be relied on for predictable, consistent 16:9 capabilities. Even the new ATSC models are all over the place on this: some reduce 16:9 broadcasts to 4:3 letterbox, others record 16:9 intermittently, and pretty much none except the old Toshibas will do 16:9 properly via line inputs.

All I know is that if I feed my Pio 640 an anamorphic signal, over the S-Vid, from whatever source, or copy a non-protected DVD directly to the HDD, either with "Disc Backup," or in real-time, then burn to disc, I get an anamorphic recording just like the original. Well, no DD 5.1 audio, of course...

But, I know nothing about setting the flag, since my Sammy DLP needs to be manually set to wide, or 4x3, no matter what I feed it, from whatever I feed it.
post #42 of 261
I get it now. I played around with the Grex last night and realized the 16:9 broadcasts ARE being squeezed into the 4:3 letterbox. Can't tell you how much I appreciate all of the feedback and the time and frustration you all have saved me. I'm returning the Grex and wanting to go with the Video Filter. Am I correct in assuming this will solve my problem. In other words does the Video Filter also squeeze the 16:9 broadcasts into the 4:3 letterbox or will it display full screen (w/o the squeeze effect?)... Btw. I have a Sony DVD Recorder (RDRGX330) and AT&T STB...
post #43 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbawc View Post

All I know is that if I feed my Pio 640 an anamorphic signal, over the S-Vid, from whatever source, or copy a non-protected DVD directly to the HDD, either with "Disc Backup," or in real-time, then burn to disc, I get an anamorphic recording just like the original.

Using "Disk Backup" mode doesn't count: thats just making a bit-for-bit digital copy of material already formatted professionally for 16:9. Pioneers based on the now-standard 640 chassis (the 550, 560, etc.) are as inconsistent as any other recorder when using the S-video input with an anamorphic source. You are lucky to benefit from a happy coincidence of a cable box and cable service that outputs 16:9 via the S-jack (most don't) in such a way that your particular 640 does not regress and reformat it as 4:3 letterbox on the fly. Even so, the 640 still doesn't embed the flag, which can cause problems on some displays and portable video devices if you attempt to re-purpose those recordings. Many members PM me to report their experiences with various Pioneers, the 16:9 thing comes up a lot in their notes.

Don't get me wrong, I love Pioneers, use three of my own and repair them for others as a hobby: great rugged machines. But the industry long ago made a decision NOT to actively support 16:9 in DVD recorders as a predictable, standard feature: sometimes it works, sometimes it don't, and a lucky few with the "perfect" set of hardware matchups manage successful workarounds. The old Toshibas were the only consumer recorders ever produced with direct, intentional control over correct 16:9 recording including the flag which is more important than most users think (RIP, Toshiba XS). Every other recorder then and now relies on the random response of an auto-detect aspect ratio algorithm which guesses wrong most of the time, and none inserts the flag still required by some playback devices. If you want true, accurate, compatible, non-sloppy 16:9 recordings you need to use a HTPC. Or, record on a Panasonic standalone using DVD-RAM and rip it to DVD-R in a PC authoring program.
post #44 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by hermey View Post

Am I correct in assuming this will solve my problem. In other words does the Video Filter also squeeze the 16:9 broadcasts into the 4:3 letterbox or will it display full screen (w/o the squeeze effect?)...

Citibear? You said you have one, right?
post #45 of 261
I have a Video Filter, and a Sima (don't remember the model). they "work" the same as far as I can tell. I haven't done a good side-by-side comparison to see which looks better, so no comment there. Neither of these devices is capable of reformatting the video stream that they are given, and I really doubt the Grex is capable either. Remember, these things only work with a 480i video stream, and the recorders will only accept a 480i video stream.

The phrase "squeeze the 16:9 broadcasts into the 4:3 letterbox" is confusing to me and needs further explanation. Please elaborate. Is the full screen 16:9 widescreen image being pillarboxed into a 4:3 format, horizontally compressed? Is it being letterboxed on the 16:9 screen, but still full width, vertically compressed? Is it having both happening and has black bars on all four sides (postage-stamped)? Is the aspect ratio of the image changed so the picture is distorted?

From the description provided so far, it sounds like the Grex is filtering the formatting INFORMATION from the stream, which is causing the downstream components to change the way the stream is displayed. I really doubt that IT is reformatting the video stream.
post #46 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Citibear? You said you have one, right?

No, not that one: I mentioned it as having mostly good feedback from members compared to some other units but I don't own it myself. The builder specifically claims to have incorporated true 16:9 widescreen passthrough, so I'm guessing that is the case or people would be all over this board bitching him out.

Leaving aside 16:9 features, I have tried the Grex briefly: thought it was lame for the price, and too many members echoed that experience. I have tried expensive TBCs like the DataVideo TBC-1000 and found they let CP slip past them sporadically, so once again lame for the price. Eventually I settled on a second-hand Sima CT-200, cost me $115 but never fails- ever. Many of what appear to be alternative units are actually outright knockoffs of the Sima, which is why they share some of its flaws, chiefly a tendency towards giving dark nighttime scenes a greenish-tinged embossed appearance. Since this image issue seems to afflict 85% of the filters out there, I would guess that there is more to getting rid of digital CP than just blanking a line or two in the video feed: filtering out the digital CP must entail some impact on the video. For the time being, I rarely encounter situations where I need a digital CP filter, but when I do I tolerate the Sima's slight flaws because it filters all CP completely. Most of my CP exposure comes from analog Macrovision on my long out-of-print obscure VHS collection, I filter these thru cheap analog VHS-only black boxes I pick up for $10-20. Analog filtering was perfected years ago, so the cheapo boxes do an amazing job with very little image degradation. I use the pricey, degrading digital filters only when I encounter digitally protected cable broadcasts (rare) or need to make a real-time analog backup copy of a damaged commercial DVD too scratched for PC backup software to decode.
post #47 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

I have a Video Filter, and a Sima (don't remember the model). they "work" the same as far as I can tell. I haven't done a good side-by-side comparison to see which looks better, so no comment there. Neither of these devices is capable of reformatting the video stream that they are given, and I really doubt the Grex is capable either. Remember, these things only work with a 480i video stream, and the recorders will only accept a 480i video stream.

The phrase "squeeze the 16:9 broadcasts into the 4:3 letterbox" is confusing to me and needs further explanation. Please elaborate. Is the full screen 16:9 widescreen image being pillarboxed into a 4:3 format, horizontally compressed? Is it being letterboxed on the 16:9 screen, but still full width, vertically compressed? Is it having both happening and has black bars on all four sides (postage-stamped)? Is the aspect ratio of the image changed so the picture is distorted?

From the description provided so far, it sounds like the Grex is filtering the formatting INFORMATION from the stream, which is causing the downstream components to change the way the stream is displayed. I really doubt that IT is reformatting the video stream.

It is having both happening and has black bars on all four sides (postage-stamped). The aspect ratio of the image seems unchanged so the picture does not appear distorted.
post #48 of 261
I'm going to check the way s-video out works on the at&t/magnovox stb. I'll hook the s-video out from the stb directly to my widescreen tv and see if it displays "full width" 16:9 or squeezed into the 4:3 with the black bars on all four sides before I go any further. It may also be the way the Sony DVD Recorder interprets and records the 16:9 feed via s-video... I'm getting a lot of good info here!
post #49 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Using "Disk Backup" mode doesn't count: thats just making a bit-for-bit digital copy of material already formatted professionally for 16:9. Pioneers based on the now-standard 640 chassis (the 550, 560, etc.) are as inconsistent as any other recorder when using the S-video input with an anamorphic source. You are lucky to benefit from a happy coincidence of a cable box and cable service that outputs 16:9 via the S-jack (most don't) in such a way that your particular 640 does not regress and reformat it as 4:3 letterbox on the fly.

Yeah, I knew "disc backup" didn't really count.

I'm not really lucky enough to get anamorphic out on S-Vid from cable, since I have Comcast.

The anamorphic ins on S-Vid I speak of have come from 4 different DVD players, set to output to a 16x9 display. The reasons I have done this in realtime, instead of disc backup, are various. I have two players that convert PAL to NTSC, so I use those for making NTSC dubs on the Pio. Also, sometimes the Pio won't play a particular disc, but another player will, so I have to copy it in realtime, or, I may just want a short film or two from a disc with many. I'd guess I've done 30-40 such anamorphic dubs, at least, and they have all worked. These were both pressed commercial discs, and -R and +R discs.
post #50 of 261
Here is what you need to know regarding how the Video FIlter handles 16:9 or 4:3.
If the video coming in is 16:9 it will output 16:9. If it is 4:3, it will output 4:3. In other words, it doesn't change the aspect ratio at all. The difference between the Video Filter and all other units, is that the besides giving the user the ability to set the Copy Generation flag, it also allows you to set the aspect ratio flag so that any device downstream that responds to the flag (like some Pioneer recorders and maybe some TV's), will record or display the image at the aspect ratio you tell it that the video is at.
post #51 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic Design View Post

Here is what you need to know regarding how the Video FIlter handles 16:9 or 4:3.
If the video coming in is 16:9 it will output 16:9. If it is 4:3, it will output 4:3. In other words, it doesn't change the aspect ratio at all. The difference between the Video Filter and all other units, is that the besides giving the user the ability to set the Copy Generation flag, it also allows you to set the aspect ratio flag so that any device downstream that responds to the flag (like some Pioneer recorders and maybe some TV's), will record or display the image at the aspect ratio you tell it that the video is at.

With the feedback from all of you I FINALLY realized what I was expecting to see wasn’t possible via composite or s-video. What I WAS expecting was to get my 40” Sony Wega to display a full (end to end, top to bottom) widescreen (16:9) display. From what I’ve read hear it appears THE ONLY way to accomplish this would be if I was using component out (from the STB) to component in on a DVD recorder (which I don’t have and not aware of a DVD recorder w/ this capability (that I can afford anyway)). I am successful at recording widescreen (16:9) that fits into the 4:3 frame (squeezed into the 4:3 with the black bars on all four sides) using the Grex. What I ended up doing was setting the Wega to Wide/Zoom and it fills the screen (end to end, top to bottom) with decent video quality. Thanks for your patience w/ this newbie and I apologize for any confusion…
post #52 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic Design View Post

Here is what you need to know regarding how the Video FIlter handles 16:9 or 4:3.
If the video coming in is 16:9 it will output 16:9. If it is 4:3, it will output 4:3. In other words, it doesn't change the aspect ratio at all. The difference between the Video Filter and all other units, is that the besides giving the user the ability to set the Copy Generation flag, it also allows you to set the aspect ratio flag so that any device downstream that responds to the flag (like some Pioneer recorders and maybe some TV's), will record or display the image at the aspect ratio you tell it that the video is at.

Thanks for making that clear.
post #53 of 261
Looks like the video filter link in the first post of this thread is dead. Does anyone have a working link to somewhere that still sells it? Thanks.
post #54 of 261
Brighthouse Networks just changed the web pages to a different area.

The new link is http://home.roadrunner.com/~filter
post #55 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Most of my CP exposure comes from analog Macrovision on my long out-of-print obscure VHS collection, I filter these thru cheap analog VHS-only black boxes I pick up for $10-20. Analog filtering was perfected years ago, so the cheapo boxes do an amazing job with very little image degradation.

I know this reply/question is a couple months late, but I'm new to the forum so hope people are still monitoring this thread.

CitiBear (or anyone who can help), would you mind explaining those boxes further to me? That is all I really need. I just purchased a DVD/VHS recorder so I can update my VHS collection to DVD (I will be keeping my VHS's for originals, of course). Obviously, the copy-protected ones won't copy so I was searching around the 'net for alternatives when I found your note. I would like to know more about these "black boxes" and what exactly they are called so I can try to find one. It's a real heartbreak to be able to copy my Die Hard 1 tape but not my Die Hard 2 and 3. Worse yet is Highlander 1 and 2 but not 3 and 4!

Thank you.
post #56 of 261
Yes for VHS you don't need an expensive DVD filter like the two in the title of this thread. Note depending on your "combo" you may or probably may not be able to insert the filter between your VHS and DVD section. AFAIK all Panasonic combos allow you to route the signal through a external filter but I don't think many other brands allow this.
I too was wondering what Citibear was talking about then he's spoke about these cheap VHS filters, then about a month ago he posted a link and sure enough they were ~$20. You might want to try searching on his name to look for that post. I can't remember where it was but it would have been in the DVDR forum for sure.
post #57 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Yes for VHS you don't need an expensive DVD filter like the two in the title of this thread. Note depending on your "combo" you may or probably may not be able to insert the filter between your VHS and DVD section. AFAIK all Panasonic combos allow you to route the signal through a external filter but I don't think many other brands allow this.
I too was wondering what Citibear was talking about then he's spoke about these cheap VHS filters, then about a month ago he posted a link and sure enough they were ~$20. You might want to try searching on his name to look for that post. I can't remember where it was but it would have been in the DVDR forum for sure.

Yes, you are right about the routing problems. Fortunately, I've already figured that part out <<img src="http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Big Grin" class="inlineimg" />> I have extra VCR's and DVD's here that I can hook up to the VCR/DVD combo unit as an auxillary component. It has the inputs because the unit can also accept camcorders, etc. I haven't tried it yet, but will as soon as I get a few more VHS tapes done.

Just for info's sake, I have a Toshiba DV-R610. It's has a couple idiosyncrasies, but nothing to really complain about. There aren't many editing capabilities, but it gets the job done. There is always this folder called "Empty" that just drives me batty (it would be nice if it got deleted when you finalized the disk) and if you copy things in the wrong order, you can't change what order they are listed in.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. At the same time I wrote the group, I wrote CitiBear a private message. He answered me back today with a wonderful note and a link. He said Qualitek had units that get decent reviews (the only complaint being the shipping costs). They run $25-$45 and suggested that the $45 might be the better quality one to get (shipping for that would be $17.50). As I read about it, it looks like it will do copy-righted DVD's as well. I tried to post the URL, but since I'm new the forum won't let me. To help you find it, spelled out it is "qualitekindustries dot com". As I think about it, I think it might be nice to have one that will do that. I have a teenage daughter with a constant stream of friends and it might be nice to back-up their favorite movies so the originals can stay clean.

The other consideration is still the World Imports DP-X7000 that you are all talking about. That one seems to get the best reviews. Do any of you know about the differences between the two units that might make paying twice the price for the DP-X7000 worth it?

Here's a tidbit of info I found out today that you all might find amusing. I figured out that I can copy my Men in Black 2 video, but not Men in Black 1. Hmmmm, now that's interesting. Did someone at the company give up on the idea of protecting it?
post #58 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyHobby View Post

Just for info's sake, I have a Toshiba DV-R610. It's has a couple idiosyncrasies, but nothing to really complain about. There aren't many editing capabilities, but it gets the job done. There is always this folder called "Empty" that just drives me batty (it would be nice if it got deleted when you finalized the disk) ...

You can get rid of the Empty Title by Overwriting it, as described here.
post #59 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

You can get rid of the Empty Title by Overwriting it, as described here.

Thanks, wajo! I have a tape in now. When I finish the second one (I am trying to put two movies to a DVD) I will give that a try.
post #60 of 261
I have a older Sima CT-2 that I bought at BB for ~$100 a few years back. It works on everything I've tried and works quite well. Personally don't have any experience with any other filter but from what I've read the Video filter is probably best followed closely by the Grex. I'd be a little leary of anything priced too low but maybe someone else has personal experience with the one you're looking at. If not and you decide to get it please post back your impressions. People are always looking for cheaper alternatives
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