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Pics of various DVD upconversion modes on Panasonic  

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Here's my equipment:

TV: Panasonic TH50PX60U
DVD: Sony DVP-NS71HP (Costco model)

I rented March of the Penguins, and the picture in some scenes was horrible (in other scenes it was great). Many times the solid blue skys were splotchy (macroblocking, I assume) and they were crawling around like million ants (dot crawl?).

First observation: Turn off the Panasonic's "Video Noise Reduction"! It was responsible for most of the dot crawl. (Picture -> Other adjust -> Video NR).

But it still wasn't good. The order of quality seemed to be (best to worst):

1) DVD upscaling to 720p or 1080i over HDMI
2) 480p over composite (in pause looked the best, but had slightly more dot crawl)
3) 480p over HDMI (by far the worst)

Here are some screen shots of the various modes. Unfortunately, this doesn't convey nearly as much as seeing the moving image.

Composite 480p:

1080i over HDMI:

480p over HDMI:

I can't understand two things:

a) Why would 480p over composite look better than 480p over HDMI?

b) The Panasonic has a resolution of 768, so having the DVD player do scaling to 720 or 1080 means it's being scaled twice, so I'm surprised it #1 looks best. I guess if the panasonic scalar is bad then maybe, but it is still being used to go from 1080 to 768.

I am still not happy with the image, even with 1080i. It's splotchy, and has dot crawl. What can I do? I'm told to avoid Faroudja players because the macroblocking is a real problem when paired with Panasonics.

I'm considering a Denon 2900, because I'm also looking for improved analog audio (but that's a different story). Is there any chance the Denon 2900 with compositdoutputs would make this problem go away? Or maybe I should just try out a Faroudja player.

post #2 of 10
I have an 85h sony(the changer version of the 75H) hooked up to a panny 32 LCD, so someone on the plasma end might have to help out, but I'll see if I can help on the player side.

First, what are the settings on both the player and the set? Did you calibrate with DVE, Avia, etc? My first reaction is you might be oversharpening the image.

For the player I found very nice Smooth results from setting to cinema2 mode, with Sharpness OFF, BNR and MNR OFF. Even with those settings I had to turn the Sharpness on the tv way down as well.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yes, I forgot to mention that. I calibrated with Avia, and the TV sharpness is pretty far down, at -10.

The player has sharpness off (it was much worse with it on) and BNR and MNR off. BNR and MNR didn't seem to make much difference. I don't have a "cinema2" mode on my Sony.

Maybe this is just a noisy shot and the DVD and TV are accurately displaying it? I've seen others say this movie is noisy.
post #4 of 10
the player stops all upscaling when you pause btw.

Have you watched this disc on another dvd player on the same plasma?
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by LawrenceJ
the player stops all upscaling when you pause btw.
Doh! Those pictures are useless then, because I took them on pause. :mad:

No, I haven't tried any other DVD players. I guess I just need to buy a few more and see which is best. Maybe the OPPO.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Interesting... A guy in this thread reports March of the Penguins being poor quality as well. However, others mention that it was fine for them.

He has a Denon 2910 and a Panasonic TH-42PX50HD. Hmmmmm.
post #7 of 10
OK, I threw MoP in my player just to see a little better what is going on. The sky is horrendously noisy. Looking at the material it is not real suprising actually. Black fur detailed penguins on white snow reflecting the sun. To get those images on screen probably took some dynamic range compression somewhere. It looks like the midtones of the sky are taking the brunt of it here, and as a result they end up with a loss of smoothness.

Since I have seen all kinds of stuff that should be at risk of clumpiness look just fine and smooth on my hdmi I am going to assume this is just bad video processing on MoP. No player in the world will make bad video into good.

One other thing, if you are watching it over composite, it will not be 480p but 480i and probably would be fuzzy enough to hide some noise. Kind of like applying a Gaussian Blur in photoshop to smooth over an overly sharp image.

As for changing video modes on pause. Uh. That does not make sense to me, extra work creating a different paused image? Besides which my set reports it is still recieving a 1080i signal or whatever mode I am in when paused.

I am kind of suprised to hear that your player does not have a Cinema2 mode. I had heard that the 71 was supposed to be a 75 with a free cable. Is it actually a completely new model, or is it actually a 70H with a cable? It is a significant issue as some folks had problems with the 70 and image shift.

Generally the Sony's do not have any kind of macroblocking issues, that primarily occurs on the Faroujda based players, so if that is one of your concerns, generally the Sonys are good. If you try the Oppo it seems like the 970 rather than the 971 would be the way to go.

Seems like most everything has some problem or another. The 75/85's primary concern right now is the lack of a useful zoom mode on the player as Sony put a 2x graphic on the display that does not go away. Dumb. Otherwise so far a lovely player.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for checking out MoP for me! The skys are definitely a complete mess in some of the shots. I'm glad it wasn't just me.

Oh, and I finally figured out where the cinema modes were hiding. I had mine in standard.

I decided that the retarded zoom feature was enough to return the Sony. I ordered the Oppo 970, so I'll report back. Maybe I'll keep MoP around just to see if I notice any differencs.
post #9 of 10
You are quite welcome!

Yeah, I have to admit, if I were running on a plasma display, the dopey zoom might be enough for me to return it too. Being on LCD here it is a whole different ballgame.

Ah, good thing you found cinema mode, I was starting to think that the 71H was not what I thought. Good luck with the Oppo. It will be very interesting to see what you think of the two models. Too bad you can't just set them next to each other and A/B them.

Definitely see what you think of MoP with the Oppo. I hope you also got to see some films that performed nicely for you on the Sony so that you can compare them fully. Look forward to the next installment of your saga!
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by tbstbs
Too bad you can't just set them next to each other and A/B them.
Actually, that's exactly what I plan to do. :cool:

Will report back.
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