ABSOLUTE ULTIMATE AV
Absolutely agree with everything you say hereHello all, I would like to jump in and contribute to this thread and expand upon the reasons why the picture quality using the free PC version of Madvr delivers a significantly better picture quality.
For starters, the PC version of Madvr contains the famous Madvr video renderer. This renderer is only available in the PC version and not in any other product including the Envy. While some may argue that a few external media players have a decent renderer none compete with the renderer that is part of the Madvr PC version. This alone gives the HTPC version of Madvr the edge.
Now consider a HTPC delivers the purest and shortest video path. There is less chance for something to alter the original source.
Setting up your external source devices with ‘optimal settings’ still does not solve the visual difference.
This alone can be very clearly seen when performing a side by side direct A-B comparison between a HTPC and a stand-alone video source. Throw in the PC version of Madvr with its superior renderer and the HTPC looks significantly superior. This is not slight. As if an additional layer of ‘grunge’ has been lifted. The image looks less noisy, cleaner, more realistic, natural, less edgy. Overall it is significantly more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Anyone having the privilege to screen a cinema DCP in private will agree the image is very natural, not edgy, smooth, pure, and clean. The DCP image cannot be compromised, it has to look good on very large screen sizes. Using a Madvr driven HTPC brings our consumer source a step closer to the quality of a cinema DCP. This is easily seen with the naked eye, no instrumentation needed.
But using a Madvr HTPC is not for the faint at heart, for many they are not user friendly, and the limitations and complexity of using a Madvr HTPC are off-putting for some people. However, for those seeking the "Absolute Ultimate" in video performance, the Madvr HTPC still represents the "Reference" standard for best video image quality and performance. It is the best image I have seen.
madVR HTPC has the advantage of producing the best video performance, but with the disadvantage of being more complex to setup and use than a madVR Envy, and can't be used with streaming sources.
Whereas, the madVR Envy has the disadvantage of producing comparatively inferior video performance, however this is potentially offset by the advantage of being simpler and easier to setup and use, and the fact that, unlike the madVR HTPC, it be used with ALL sources.
I should add that when viewing madVR Envy by itself it looks great. It's simply that the madVR HTPC's video performance is better. And it is only when doing A-B comparisons versus a madVR HTPC that you can see the difference in video performance, which is not something that is going to be done very often!
It would be cool if @madshi could find a source device manufacturer who would be willing to produce a modified version of a media player which both (1) Uses the madVR renderer; and (2) Outputs the native pure unadulterated 24p 4:2:0 video signal... A madVR Media Player, with support of all disc formats and streaming? Yes please, I'd buy that in a heartbreat