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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe my persuit is futile, but I often switch inputs on my PJ from HBO HD and my HTPC playing the same movie. It should be no surprise that the HDTV feed is crisper than the HTPC. The HTPC is amazingly good at 720p or 1024p, but the difference still bugs me. HDTV looks great--I forget I'm in my home theatre--but the HTPC always looks a little soft and I am always wanting to tweak it and get a better image.


What's the best HTPC reference movie for video quality (I have the Superbit of Patriot but haven't had a chance to do a comparison)?


I have a Rage Fury Pro video card. Radeons are the rage. Does anyone have experience with both cards; will it be worth upgrading? Does the upgrade to Radeons improve the crispness, sharpness of the image? My HTPC is pretty close to HDTV, but obviously it can never get there.
 

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Why obviously? I thought and continue to hear that a Digital copy is 100% of the original.
 

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What your seeing or not seeing depending on your view is the difference in the quality of the original source material. The HTDV signal is a much higher bandwidth signal than that that comes from a regular DVD. The HDTV signal therefore can transport a much higher resolution picture than the DVD copy.

We'll ignore for now the fact that sometimes HBO will just broadcast an upconverted SD signal instead of a true HD signal.

So there is no way that your HTPC is going to be able to have as good a picture from a DVD as from a HDTV broadcast of the same movie. If your even getting close then your HDTV might not have the resolution to accurately display a true HDTV signal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Guys, thanks for your posts, but I am seeking input on whether I should get a Radeon to get a better picture.


Rhoads: I say "obviously" because 480p scaled to 720p or 1024p is never going look as good as HDTV, because you're still dealing with a 480p source. So a digital copy is not as good as the original when your digital technology (NTSC) wasn't designed to capture the resolution of film.


DuBois: HBO does "True HDTV", which in their vernacular means an HD telecine master, not an upconvert. Showtime HD does mostly upconverts. Since "close" is a relative term, I won't debate your point, but my 1272Q does fine with 1080i, so I assure you this is not an issue with my PJ. I am not trying to get HDTV quality from an NTSC DVD, I am simply trying to ever-improve NTSC. Hey, I feel I've got one up on Yves Faroudja already: his booth at CEDIA actually made me feel good about my HT, not super depressed like I was expecting.


Anyway, I am simply trying to get people's perspective on how much better I could make the picture with a Radeon. People seem to think its so much better, I am simply wanting some empirical anecdotes. My cables are custom built, my PJ is good, but I've never invested in a video card. Senior members, please chime in.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mrhoads43
Why obviously? I thought and continue to hear that a Digital copy is 100% of the original.
You could make a digital copy 2 megs.


Being digital has nothing to do with the original picture, or really, this thread.
 

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I believe the 'softness' of an image cannot be fixed by upgrading your Rage Fury to a Radeon. It might help a little, but the resulting HTPC picture will still be beat by your HBOHD.


However, if you PJ doesn't have all the necessary color controls, a Radeon might help, since it will allow you to tweak the overlay controls (brightness/contrast/hue/saturation/especially gamma). If the above holds true, the HTPC picture might 'look' better than HBOHD.


Another method that you can use is to use ffdshow, and use the unsharp filter (which for some people actually sharpens the image a tad).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ffdshow


How would I use that? I use WinDVD and ZP, is this a filter I can use with that?


Yeah, I have a lot of color controls with the Rage Fury--although I could use a black balance. My HTPC black seems green to me, not sure why I can't fix that.


cg
 

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The key things that you're not telling us is what is your cable interface from the HTPC to the PJ.


Are you running VGA out from the PC to VGA into the PJ???

Are you running VGA out from the PC to componet into the PJ???

or


Are you running DVI from the PC to DVI into the PJ.

I have the ATI-aiw 7500 video card HTPC running to a Sharp M20XP

DVI to DVI @ 15'.


I also have a $200 DVD player running Component to VGA into the PJ

After finaly getting the HTPC tweaked, I can't stand the $200 Sony DVD player anymore.


I will stop a movie, turn on the PC just to get a better picture. There are times when my HTPC kicks out picture quality that is better than the HD demos in bestbuy and sears.


I'm getting comcast HBOHD this weekend. I can only hope the image is better than my HTPC playing dvds. I'm now wonder if I can pass the cable single through my HTPC just to run over the firewire and from the PC to PJ with DVI.


The key is can you feed you PJ a DVI signal. in that case I would spend no more than enough to get the ati aiw 7500~#$120 bucks.



I must say the powerDVD with ZP totally rocked my world.


This is all I can offer you, seeing that I'm a newbie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have RGB to the PJ, as it's a 1272q.


Yes, my HTPC kicks ___ over the Audio King, Best Buy demos and certainly better than a DVD player feeding into the PJ.


I'll be curious to hear how you like HBO HD vis-a-vis your HTPC. The HBO HD should blow you away.
 

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Like others I use a Radeon with ZP/sonic/ffdshow combination. The DVD playback quality is very good with this setup (better than any DVD player I've seen) but it will never match the quality of a real HD broadcast due to the limited source material pixel content on the DVD vs a HD master. The best HD material available today are the D-theater JVC tapes played on the JVC 30000 DVHS deck. These approach to a nats eyebrow the quality of the D-5 master tape that Hollywood uses for film.


Superior source material of HD with superior bit rate (~15-19Mbps) should always blow the doors off of a DVD or heaven help you NTSC source.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Thinker
Is D5 what they used to acquire Star Wars II?
D-5 is a professional digital tape format (about 400Mbps) with 4:1 compression. They are 1080i and 1080p HD masters that are the result of digitizing film. In the case of SW where they originated in digital the D-5 would just be a slightly compressed copy of that.


ffdshow is a directshow filter that can be used with ZP in conjunction with a dvd playback codec. The ffdshow filter offers many types of video processing functions originally designed for Divx playback. However it has become very popular for DVD playback using the "unsharp" mask filter and the noise reduction filters. The unsharp mask processing produces the same result with digital images as for still camera images in a photo processing package. It "sharpens" the image by adding contrast to adjacent pixels in an image. The effect can be quite amazing.


Just do a search for ffdshow.....
 

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 http://sourceforge.net/projects/ffdshow


There are many examples of filter graphs on the forum that show how to connect ffdshow with Sonic, windvd and powerdvd.


Here's the one I use with Sonic video, powerdvd audio and ffdshow:


DefineFilter(CinemasterVideo.DLL)

DefineFilter(claud.ax)

DefineFilter(ffdshow.ax)

LoadFilter({70E102B0-5556-11CE-97C0-00AA0055595A},Video Renderer)

LoadFilter({E30629D1-27E5-11CE-875D-00608CB78066},Default WaveOut Device)

LoadFilter({CD8743A1-3736-11D0-9E69-00C04FD7C15B},Overlay Mixer)

LoadFilter({9BC1B780-85E3-11D2-98D0-0080C84E9C39},CyberLink Audio Decoder)

LoadFilter({6E8D4A20-310C-11D0-B79A-00AA003767A7},Line 21 Decoder)

LoadFilter({04FE9017-F873-410E-871E-AB91661A4EF7},ffdshow MPEG 4 Video Decoder)

LoadFilter({D7D50E8D-DD72-43C2-8587-A0C197D837D2},Sonic Cinemaster® DS Video Decoder)

LoadFilter({9B8C4620-2C1A-11D0-8493-00A02438AD48},Source 0)

ConnectPin(Source 0,Video,Sonic Cinemaster® DS Video Decoder,Video in)

ConnectPin(Source 0,AC3,CyberLink Audio Decoder,In)

ConnectPin(Source 0,SubPicture,Sonic Cinemaster® DS Video Decoder,Subpicture in)

ConnectPin(CyberLink Audio Decoder,Out,Default WaveOut Device,Audio Input pin (rendered))

ConnectPin(Sonic Cinemaster® DS Video Decoder,Video Out,ffdshow MPEG 4 Video Decoder,In)

ConnectPin(Sonic Cinemaster® DS Video Decoder,CC Out,Line 21 Decoder,In)

ConnectPin(ffdshow MPEG 4 Video Decoder,Out,Overlay Mixer,Input0)

ConnectPin(Line 21 Decoder,Out,Overlay Mixer,Input2)

ConnectPin(Overlay Mixer,Output,Video Renderer,In)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
For some reason, my computer is saying it can not connect the pins. Only diff between me and you is my filter is called Sonic Cinemaster Video Decoder 0002 --and so I changed that--I've even tried to play with it in Graphedit. Says the output pin of my Cinemaster is incompatible with the input pin of FFD show. Wierd.
 

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you say your using rgb to connect to the 1272q, are you or h ave you thought of using a mp1 mod(radeon 7500 modded with bnc outputs)? I hear these are practically gold with pj's.
 
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