OP, those are excellent questions, the answers which are subjective in regards to the configuration of your HW / codec / playback software.
I just rebuilt my HTPC this week and am in the middle of a FFDSHOW+EVR and LAV+madVR shootout right now on my setup (literally, taking a little break from it right now) to see what works best for my setup.
Part of that shootout will be enabling Deblocking and Mosquito Noise Reduction. Based on previous experience, I had these two cranked up to like 70 or 80, and they made a huge difference in smoothing out stuff that was not encoded well (XVIDs in AVIs, older WMVs, etc).
Also, based on previous experience:
Post Processing Stuff:
- Like I said, I saw a noticable improvement using MNR and DB
- I've always liked Brighter Whites
- Enforce Smooth Video Playback: Part of my shootout is seeing if I have more/less/no dropped frames with this on
- Apply Current Settings to Internet Video: Youtube, clips on new sites, etc
- De-interlacing and Pull Down: I've always left these off, as I configured my filters (codecs) to deinterlace (EDIT: I turned these on, set to Auto, based on Mindbomb's verification that DXVA2 via AMD can't HW deinterlace in LAV)
1st and foremost, take the time to calibrate your TV before messing with any color stuff.
Head over to the AVS 709 page, grab the MP4s and the patterns manual. Read the heck out of the 1st part of the patterns manual.
The MP4s will help you get your black and white levels squared away, determine if you have any overscan, set your sharpness (if needed).
If you're lucky enough to have a TV that can output 'blue-only' mode, then run the Flashing Color Bars tests also.
Calibrate against the source HDMI port that you have your HTPC plugged into. Set that source's label to "PC" and it's color space to "Auto", as you want to try and get 1:1 pixel mapping / Full RGB.
Speaking of which, in the Vision Control Panel, My Digital Flat Panels, Pixel Format. In the drop-down, see what options you have. Your TV might be able to accept Full RGB, which I've found to be optimal over 4:4:4 (after calibrating).
Leave the Brighter Whites turned off while calibrating, turn it back on after calibrating and run thru the MP4s again to see if you need to adjust your levels. I personally really like the Brighter Whites effects.
- Basic Video Color: Let the video player (MPC-HC, 7MC, etc) handle this
- Turn off Color Vibrance and Flesh Tone Correction - I have these turned off
- Dynamic Range (aka color space and pixel format) - I have this unchecked and have my codecs set to output 0-255 (Full RGB)
The AMD Video Converter and it's HW acceleration is used to convert video files from one format to another, and has nothing to do with playing back content.
I'm not familiar with the 3D/App profiles stuff.
I know, it seems like there is some serious witchcraft happening with these settings. Take your time and have fun. Plan on dedicating a few hours. I can honestly say that calibrating against the AVS 709 MP4s what the single most thing I ever did on my first HTPC build to improve picture quality.
Edited by Bizzy G.L.X. - 9/29/12 at 2:47pm