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ABSOLUTE ULTIMATE AV
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Hello 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.
Absolutely agree with everything you say here :)

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 :cool:



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Mathias, I wish you all the success in the world with Envy, but please don't forget where this all started:

https://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=146228

60,000 posts and 35 million views!

While the guys over there might not be able or willing to buy an Envy, a lot of us long-time users sure as hell are willing to pay you for the software and your continued support :)
 

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Sorry but I find it ridiculous to think that they should continue in any way improving the free version. It works fine now an frankly people have been benefiting from his Free hard work for years and it is time for him to make some money from the years of development he was never paid for and is a great product.

I do agree, that there could be paid upgrades to the free version and the Envy. Hardware sucks and is hard to support. If I was king of MadVR I would be sticking with software only and licensing the software to hardware vendors. But I am not King :D

He definitely should finish the HDR tone-mapping feature so it’s not just in a beta build 113 with broken motion smoothing.

People have given him hundreds of hours of free testing and feedback and information on how to tweak and adjust the HDR tone mapping parameters.

The least he could do is finish up the beta testing and roll it all into a release build.

Not asking for more madVR PC features. Just would like a release build for a polished dynamic tone-mapping and then maintenance releases to keep madVR working well as new GPUs, drivers and Windows updates come out.

New and improved algorithms and such would be nice to have and I’m sure people would pay for them as well.
 

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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.
What was the projector(s) that you were using with the MadVR HTPC ? I am asking this because because some people think that madVR / Envy is only worth the effort (and pain :D) when you have little brightness (nits) available. To that I'd disagree of course.

As a side note: it took me half a year to get my HTPC to run as smooth as I wanted it to be. Tons of little details to care for. In that process I had also bought and tested 4 new remotes until I ended up with something that is super easy and reliable to operate. Furthermore I had even bought a new AVR because of HDMI issues. On the other side I could organize my movie library exactly the way I had wanted it to be. I'd prefer that actually even to a Kaleidescape system that a friend of mine is using but which costs thousands of $ ... Yes, this is not for free either: dozends, maybe even hundreds of hours of work and lots of patience and a hard challenge not to lose my nerve. I find the end result is however extremely user friendly now. This convenience factor I had totally under estimated. But to get there is unfortunatelly far from beeing convenient.
 

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What was the projector(s) that you were using with the MadVR HTPC ? I am asking this because because some people think that madVR / Envy is only worth the effort (and pain :D) when you have little brightness (nits) available. To that I'd disagree of course.

As a side note: it took me half a year to get my HTPC to run as smooth as I wanted it to be. Tons of little details to care for. In that process I had also bought and tested 4 new remotes until I ended up with something that is super easy and reliable to operate. Furthermore I had even bought a new AVR because of HDMI issues. On the other side I could organize my movie library exactly the way I had wanted it to be. I'd prefer that actually even to a Kaleidescape system that a friend of mine is using but which costs thousands of $ ... Yes, this is not for free either: dozends, maybe even hundreds of hours of work and lots of patience and a hard challenge not to lose my nerve. I find the end result is however extremely user friendly now. This convenience factor I had totally under estimated. But to get there is unfortunatelly far from beeing convenient.
Well and that´s the reason why we can´t recommend a HTPC to our customers. We will definitely not build one for a customers who´s asking and we´re not happy when a customer comes up with issues related to it.
That´s the dilemma: it might provide the best image quality possible, but it´s not a solution we would sell (i know there are some very few intgerators who sell pre-build HTPCs).
That´s the reason why the Envy is so interesting.

Side question:
If i read correctly, channeling a HTPC-output into an Envy would decrade image quality as well since it also has to be grabbed by the Envy input card, right?
 

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the problem is not the envy capture card it's that the image is already dithered.
not a huge deal but not optimal either.
well 10 bit should be "always" better this way even if the envy is setup to output 8 bit to avoid some processing issues with 10 bit signals and your end devices.

you can try some settings to avoid issue like forcing the output of 4:4:4 from the sources devices so the same chroma scaler is used for the entire image not 2 different ones which can create problems.
 

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Side question:
If i read correctly, channeling a HTPC-output into an Envy would decrade image quality as well since it also has to be grabbed by the Envy input card, right?
It depends. :)

The quality loss due to any video processor (not just the Envy) being in the path depends on the chroma and luma that the source is able to send.

With 4K50 or 4K60, if the source is able to send 4:2:0, there should be little to no degradation and the VP will do all the chroma upscaling (no luma upscaling).

For other content, or if the source is only able to send 4:2:2, the source will do one part of the chroma upscaling (4:2:0 to 4:2:2), and the VP will do the rest (4:2:2 to 4:4:4).

With UHD Bluray, such a loss is minimal, simply because UHD Bluray has a chroma resolution of 1080p to start with, and it's very difficult to mess with that, even with sub-par upscaling.

With bluray (540p chroma) and DVD (even less), this might be a bit more visible, but it's still fairly minimal in my opinion as long as the source can send the original resolution (source direct mode).

There can be other differences due to settings and processing, as has already been discussed.

So overall, in the specific situation of a madVR HTPC going through the Envy, the final quality depends on the power available between the HTPC GPU and the Envy GPU, the content played, and which format the HTPC is able to send.

If you can output 4:4:4 10 or 12bits with 23p content from the HTPC in the original resolution so that madVR in the HTPC does all the chroma upscaling and some of the processing before sending the content to the Envy for luma upscaling or HDR tonemapping and 3D LUT calibrating for example, you might get BETTER quality with the Envy in the chain because you can balance the load between the two GPUs, and use higher settings in the HTPC GPU for chroma/processing, as well as higher settings in the Envy for luma upscaling in SD/HD SDR, or for HDR Tonemapping in UHD, than you would be able to use in the HTPC on its own due to the need to have its single GPU do both the chroma upscaling and the luma upscaling (SD/HD SDR) or the tonemapping (UHD HDR) and the 3D LUT calibrating.

For most non-HTPC sources (especially good ones with optimal settings), the benefits of the upscaling, tonemapping, processing and 3D LUT calibrating brought by the video processor completely dwarf the minor loss of quality that you might get when inserting any VP in the chain. As you have to insert a VP to get all these benefits when dealing with non-HTPC content, the fact that a madVR HTPC on its own might be a tiny bit better becomes entirely moot, given that your HTPC can't help AT ALL with such content, especially streaming and HDTV Sat/cable.

All these questions are a lot more complex than a simplistic "if I put something in the chain, the results will be worse". :)

I am planning to do some tests about this "load balancing" theory but I won't be able to share the results until my NDA is lifted, and there is no guarantee that this load balancing will be beneficial, and if it is that it would be the case for everyone, as it obviously depends on the GPU in the HTPC (and the Envy model). If you have a 2080ti in your HTPC and an Envy Pro, load balancing might be less beneficial than if you have a 1060 in the HTPC and an Envy Extreme, unless you use a lot of filters (sharpening, etc), in which case it might still be beneficial with the 2080ti.

With a 1080ti (that's the GPU I use in my own HTPC) and my Envy Extreme, I would expect to get better results with the Envy in the chain than without if my load balancing theory is correct and if I don't hit unexpected issues during testing, for example due to drivers problems in the HTPC when using 12bits. My priority with Envy (as it would be I guess for most Envy owners) is to use it to upscale, tonemap, calibrate and process all my non-HTPC sources (HDTV Satellite, streaming, mediaplayers, disc players etc), as my HTPC is of no use with these, so using Envy to improve my HTPC content isn't exactly at the top of my list!

By the way, though I am not formally affiliated to madVR, I am very close to the team (as should be obvious to anyone having followed my involvement with madVR and then Envy on the forums over the last few years) as a beta tester and occasional, informal consultant (that's something I do from time to time when I'm passionate about a product, as I do with HD Fury), so please read what I post from now on as if I was affiliated and not as a fully independent source. As I said recently in this thread, I am probably too close to the product to be 100% objective, but that shouldn't prevent me from sharing my views here (within the limits of my NDA). :)

If I ever publish my feedback on the Envy when my NDA is lifted, I will make this very clear of course.
 

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It depends. :)

The quality loss due to any video processor (not just the Envy) being in the path depends on the chroma and luma that the source is able to send.

In 4K50 or 4K60, if the source is able to send 4:2:0, there will be little to no degradation and Envy will do all the chroma upscaling (no luma upscaling).

For other content, or if the source is only able to send 4:2:2, the source will do one part of the chroma upscaling (4:2:0 to 4:2:2), and the Envy will do the rest (4:2:2 to 4:4:4).

With UHD Bluray, such a loss is minimal, simply because UHD Bluray has a chroma resolution of 1080p to start with, and it's very difficult to mess with that, even with sub-par upscaling.

With bluray (540p chroma) and DVD (even less), this might be a bit more visible, but it's still fairly minimal in my opinion as long as the source can send the original resolution (source direct mode).

There can be other differences due to settings and processing, as has already been discussed.

So overall, in the specific situation of a madVR HTPC going through the Envy, the final quality depends on the power available between the HTPC GPU and the Envy GPU, the content played, and which format the HTPC is able to send.

If you can output 4:4:4 10 or 12bits with 23p content from the HTPC in the original resolution so that madVR in the HTPC does all the chroma upscaling and some of the processing before sending the content to the Envy for luma upscaling or HDR tonemapping and 3D LUT calibrating for example, you might get BETTER quality with the Envy in the chain because you can balance the load between the two GPUs, and use higher settings in the HTPC GPU for chroma/processing, and higher settings in the Envy for luma upscaling in SD/HD SDR, or for HDR Tonemapping in UHD, than you would be able to use in the HTPC on its own due to the need to have its single GPU do both the chroma upscaling and the luma upscaling (SD/HD SDR) or the tonemapping (UHD HDR) and the 3D LUT calibrating.

For most non-HTPC sources (especially good ones with optimal settings), the benefits of the upscaling, tonemapping, processing and 3D LUT calibrating brought by the video processor completely dwarf the minor loss of quality that you might get when inserting any VP in the chain. As you have to insert a VP to get all these benefits when dealing with non-HTPC content, the fact that a madVR HTPC on its own (that is of no help with such sources) might be a tiny bit better becomes entirely moot, given that your HTPC can't help AT ALL with such content, especially streaming and HDTV Sat/cable.

All these questions are a lot more complex than a simplistic "if I put something in the chain, the results will be worse". :)

I am planning to do some tests about this "load balancing" theory but I won't be able to share the results until my NDA is lifted, and there is no guarantee that this will be the case, or would be the case for everyone, as it obviously depends on the GPU in the HTPC (and the Envy model). If you have a 2080ti in your HTPC and an Envy Pro, load balancing might be less beneficial than if you have a 1060 in the HTPC and an Envy Extreme, unless you use a lot of filters (sharpening, etc), in which case it might still be beneficial with the 2080ti.

With a 1080ti (that's the GPU I use in my own HTPC) and my Envy Extreme, I would expect to get better results with the Envy in the chain than without if my load balancing theory is correct and if I don't hit unexpected issues during testing, for example due to drivers problems in the HTPC when using 12bits. My priority with Envy (as it would be I guess for most Envy owners) is to use it to upscale, tonemap, calibrate and process all my non-HTPC sources (HDTV Satellite, streaming, mediaplayers, disc players etc), as my HTPC is of no use with these, so using it to improve my HTPC content isn't exactly at the top of my list!

By the way, though I am not formally affiliated to madVR, I am very close to the team (as should be obvious to anyone having followed my involvement with madVR and then Envy on the forums over the last few years) as a beta tester and occasional, informal consultant (that's something I do from time to time when I'm passionate about a product, as I do with HD Fury), so please read what I post from now on as if I was affiliated and not as a fully independent source. As I said recently in this thread, I am probably too close to the product to be 100% objective, but that shouldn't prevent me from sharing my views here (within the limits of my NDA). :)

If I ever publish my feedback on the Envy when my NDA is lifted, I will make this very clear of course.
Manni what software and hardware are you using for 3d LUT calibration
 

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ABSOLUTE ULTIMATE AV
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It depends. :)

The quality loss due to any video processor (not just the Envy) being in the path depends on the chroma and luma that the source is able to send.
In 4K50 or 4K60, if the source is able to send 4:2:0, there will be little to no degradation and Envy will do all the chroma upscaling (no luma upscaling).

For other content, or if the source is only able to send 4:2:2, the source will do one part of the chroma upscaling (4:2:0 to 4:2:2), and the Envy will do the rest (4:2:2 to 4:4:4).

With UHD Bluray, such a loss is minimal, simply because UHD Bluray has a chroma resolution of 1080p to start with, and it's very difficult to mess with that, even with sub-par upscaling.

With bluray (540p chroma) and DVD (even less), this might be a bit more visible, but it's still fairly minimal in my opinion as long as the source can send the original resolution (source direct mode).

There can be other differences due to settings and processing, as has already been discussed.

So overall, in the specific situation of a madVR HTPC going through the Envy, the final quality depends on the power available between the HTPC GPU and the Envy GPU, the content played, and which format the HTPC is able to send.

If you can output 4:4:4 10 or 12bits with 23p content from the HTPC in the original resolution so that madVR in the HTPC does all the chroma upscaling and some of the processing before sending the content to the Envy for luma upscaling or HDR tonemapping and 3D LUT calibrating for example, you might get BETTER quality with the Envy in the chain because you can balance the load between the two GPUs, and use higher settings in the HTPC GPU for chroma/processing, and higher settings in the Envy for luma upscaling in SD/HD SDR, or for HDR Tonemapping in UHD, than you would be able to use in the HTPC on its own due to the need to have its single GPU do both the chroma upscaling and the luma upscaling (SD/HD SDR) or the tonemapping (UHD HDR) and the 3D LUT calibrating.

For most non-HTPC sources (especially good ones with optimal settings), the benefits of the upscaling, tonemapping, processing and 3D LUT calibrating brought by the video processor completely dwarf the minor loss of quality that you might get when inserting any VP in the chain. As you have to insert a VP to get all these benefit when dealing with non-HTPC content, the fact that a madVR HTPC on its own (that is of no help with such sources) might be a tiny bit better becomes entirely moot, given that your HTPC can't help AT ALL with such content, especially streaming and HDTV Sat/cable.

All these questions are a lot more complex than a simplistic "if I put something in the chain, the results will be worse". :)

I am planning to do some tests about this "load balancing" theory but I won't be able to share the results until my NDA is lifted, and there is no guarantee that this will be the case, or would be the case for everyone, as it obviously depends on the GPU in the HTPC (and the Envy model). If you have a 2080ti in your HTPC and an Envy Pro, load balancing might be less beneficial than if you have a 1060 in the HTPC and an Envy Extreme, unless you use a lot of filters (sharpening, etc), in which case it might still be beneficial with the 2080ti.

With a 1080ti (that's the GPU I use in my own HTPC) and my Envy Extreme, I would expect to get better results with the Envy in the chain than without if my load balancing theory is correct and if I don't hit unexpected issues during testing, for example due to drivers problems in the HTPC when using 12bits. My priority with Envy (as it would be I guess for most Envy owners) is to use it to upscale, tonemap, calibrate and process all my non-HTPC sources (HDTV Satellite, streaming, mediaplayers, disc players etc), as my HTPC is of no use with these, so using it to improve my HTPC content isn't exactly at the top of my list!

By the way, though I am not formally affiliated to madVR, I am very close to the team (as should be obvious to anyone having followed my involvement with madVR and then Envy on the forums over the last few years) as a beta tester and occasional, informal consultant (that's something I do from time to time when I'm passionate about a product, as I do with HD Fury), so please read what I post from now on as if I was affiliated and not as a fully independent source. As I said recently in this thread, I am probably too close to the product to be 100% objective, but that shouldn't prevent me from sharing my views here (within the limits of my NDA). :)

If I ever publish my feedback on the Envy when my NDA is lifted, I will make this very clear of course
Manni, firstly thank you for your continued contributions and insight. I am sure that I speak for everyone when I say that it is most greatly appreciated.

The reduction in comparative video performance is not solely to do with the chroma and luma upscaling, it is also due to the very important fact which should not be ignored here that madVR's unrivalled Video Renderer unfortunately cannot be used with respect to the madVR Envy as per it is used with respect to madVR HTPC. Furthermore, within the Envy there is the video capture card with the HDMI input that is also an additional differential versus a madVR HTPC. But in particular the difference in Video Renderer should not be ignored here.

It would therefore require a Media Player that BOTH utilized the superior madVR Video Renderer AND outputted the video as the pure native 4:2:0 video into the madVR Envy in order to close the gap in comparative video performance between the madVR HTPC and the madVR Envy.

Wherein, as I said above it would be very cool indeed 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 and I reckon this would sell like hot cakes :cool:

Furthermore, as has already been revealed and discussed already, the madVR Envy Extreme currently does not contain the best most powerful Nvidia GPU available as of right now, so it's not the TITAN RTX and it's not the RTX 2080ti either. Hence a madVR HTPC with a TITAN RTX or RTX 2080ti will almost certainly significantly outperform the madVR Envy Extreme as of right now.

Hence there exists multiple numerous factors the combination of which is the reason why at the present time madVR HTPC will produce very significantly superior video performance as compared with the madVR Envy Extreme.

Please do not continue to attempt to trivialize this. The difference in video performance is neither 'tiny' nor 'slight' nor 'insignifcant'.

The fact of the matter is that folks have the right to be able to make a properly informed decisions regarding their purchase, especially given the prices, and with the full information some folks might prefer to wait to jump on board the gravy train after: (1) The current PC desktop case, which (I only recently learned myself) is temporary, is replaced by a better one; and (2) The GPU is upgraded to a better one, namely the upcoming Nvidia RTX 3000 Series GPUs.

I got very excited by the huge potential of this product, hence my overwhelmingly positive first impressions; however, after digging deeper and over time it became clear it's just not yet ready for prime time and there's still a lot of work to be done. And this is a primary reason why we are choosing to not get involved with selling the madVR Envy at the present time. However, we have absolute faith in @madshi to produce the goods in this regard; and as and when this happens, we could very well jump on board :)

My own situation is extraordinary by definition, because my primary goal is to achieve the absolute ultimate in video performance for use with the CHRISTIE ECLIPSE. Wherein the three most obvious options right now are (in no particular order): (1) madVR HTPC; (2) madVR Envy Extreme; and (3) Lumagen PRO.

However, as of right now, NONE of these is perfect. They ALL have their own associated disadvantages. What I really want is the performance of the madVR HTPC but with the advantages of the madVR Envy.

The known fact that the Envy Extreme's current mid-range GPU will be upgraded in the future is comforting. And the revelation that efforts will be made to close the gap in performance in this regard, and explaining how this might be achieved, and hence that there will be a possible solution to this on the horizon sometime in the future is music to my ears... THANK YOU @madshi !!! 👍🏻👏🏻😊

But at the same time your attempting to trivialize the difference and sweep it under the rug is more than a tad annoying, given this is something which is extremely important to both me and pretty much everyone else who will be purchasing a CHRISTIE ECLIPSE projector, and like me wishes to achieve the absolute ultimate in video performance.

Also, we should be able to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of any AV product, in particular whilst there is the potential for improvements to be made during the development stage to address those weakenesses, without pointing fingers at eachother an insinuating bias and/or hidden agendas, when none exist. This goes both ways. I do exactly the same when reviewing JVC and SONY projectors. Those who follow my posts will know this.


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The reduction in comparative video performance is not solely to do with the chroma and luma upscaling, it is also due to the very important fact which should not be ignored here that madVR's unrivalled Video Renderer unfortunately cannot be used with respect to the madVR Envy as per it is used with respect to madVR HTPC. Furthermore, within the Envy there is the video capture card with the HDMI input that is also an additional differential versus a madVR HTPC, although assuming this is of a high enough quality has the potential to make essentially lossless transfer possible. But the difference in Video Renderer should not be ignored here.

It would therefore require a Media Player that BOTH utilized the superior madVR Video Renderer AND outputted the video as the pure native 4:2:0 video into the madVR Envy in order to close the gap in comparative video performance between the madVR HTPC and the madVR Envy.
I'm not really following this logic. I think there's a misunderstanding of what madVR *is*. On the HTPC, madVR is *only* the video renderer. Everything about madVR is handled within the madVR video renderer. It's not the rendering process that makes madVR so unique and special but all the algorithms that are implemented in the renderer. That's what ENVY is, btw - all those algorithms. As far as I know, madVR's method of actually rendering that data once it's processed is fairly standard and not unique.

In a PC direct show player you have several elements. The player container which creates a direct show filter chain - file source --> AV Stream splitter --> codec to decode --> video renderer to display. MadVR is that renderer.

On the PC, you can get through the chain directly to the renderer straight from the codec. Nothing sits in between. However, on the ENVY, something else will do all the above and then also render the content and output to that device's HDMI port where ENVY will step in and do all the madVR like processing. The problem is not that you lack madVR's renderer. It's that the other device might ruin aspects of the video via poor upscaling, poor chroma upscaling etc. There are other ways the device can ruin the video prior to the ENVY, for example it can upscale it using its crappy algorithms straight to 4K. Even the device's codec (video decoders) might be subpar and could add artifacts.

But like Manni said above, if you get a device that outputs source direct (no upscaling) and can output 420 I think it would be pretty close in quality ENVY vs madVR.

My own situation is extraordinary by definition, because my primary goal is to achieve the absolute ultimate in video performance for use with the CHRISTIE ECLIPSE. Wherein the three most obvious options right now are (in no particular order): (1) madVR HTPC; (2) madVR Envy Extreme; and (3) Lumagen PRO.

However, as of right now, NONE of these is perfect. They ALL have their own associated disadvantages. What I really want is the performance of the madVR HTPC but with the advantages of the madVR Envy.
I think in this case, the answer is clear. Have the ENVY + an HTPC. Use the HTPC for sources you can, and use the ENVY for everything else - that should give you the best of all worlds.
 

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Question about automatic black bar detection:
Can anybody comment on the following scenarios, if you have experience with a Lumagen or other VP. I assume you can't answer if you're beta testing the Envy due to NDA but hints are welcome ;-)

As I'm planning my future equipment, I would like to understand how a VP can help in the following situation. PJ setup would be DCR lens + 2.35 screen on a JVC RS2/3000. Here there would be no zoom change on the PJ, so it's all up to the VP to adapt the picture to the screen:

Easy exercise: I play the BD of Warcraft, where the format is 2.43:1 on the disc, or play the Shaun Of The Dead on BD (2.28:1 on disc): will the VP automatically adapt the scaling to maximize the height (some black bars above/below for Warcraft, left/right for ShaunOTD)? How quickly? Can you dial-in the ratio in advance?

Hard exercise: I play Netflix' Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods which uses multiple aspect ratios (2.39, 1:33, 16:9) which are NOT "center crop safe" unlike other theatrical variable aspect ratio movies, what would happen? This one might be the new torture test for automatic ratio detection. Can anybody try?

Thank you for your observations.
 

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Manni, firstly thank you for your continued contributions and insight. I am sure that I speak for everyone when I say that it is most greatly appreciated.

The reduction in comparative video performance is not solely to do with the chroma and luma upscaling, it is also due to the very important fact which should not be ignored here that madVR's unrivalled Video Renderer unfortunately cannot be used with respect to the madVR Envy as per it is used with respect to madVR HTPC. Furthermore, within the Envy there is the video capture card with the HDMI input that is also an additional differential versus a madVR HTPC. But in particular the difference in Video Renderer should not be ignored here.

It would therefore require a Media Player that BOTH utilized the superior madVR Video Renderer AND outputted the video as the pure native 4:2:0 video into the madVR Envy in order to close the gap in comparative video performance between the madVR HTPC and the madVR Envy.

Wherein, as I said above it would be very cool indeed 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 and I reckon this would sell like hot cakes :cool:

Furthermore, as has already been revealed and discussed already, the madVR Envy Extreme currently does not contain the best most powerful Nvidia GPU available as of right now, so it's not the TITAN RTX and it's not the RTX 2080ti either. Hence a madVR HTPC with a TITAN RTX or RTX 2080ti will almost certainly significantly outperform the madVR Envy Extreme as of right now.

Hence there exists multiple numerous factors the combination of which is the reason why at the present time madVR HTPC will produce very significantly superior video performance as compared with the madVR Envy Extreme.

Please do not continue to attempt to trivialize this. The difference in video performance is neither 'tiny' nor 'slight' nor 'insignifcant'.

The fact of the matter is that folks have the right to be able to make a properly informed decisions regarding their purchase, especially given the prices, and with the full information some folks might prefer to wait to jump on board the gravy train after: (1) The current PC desktop case, which (I only recently learned myself) is temporary, is replaced by a better one; and (2) The GPU is upgraded to a better one, namely the upcoming Nvidia RTX 3000 Series GPUs.

I got very excited by the huge potential of this product, hence my overwhelmingly positive first impressions; however, after digging deeper and over time it became clear it's just not yet ready for prime time and there's still a lot of work to be done. And this is a primary reason why we are choosing to not get involved with selling the madVR Envy at the present time. However, we have absolute faith in @madshi to produce the goods in this regard; and as and when this happens, we could very well jump on board :)

My own situation is extraordinary by definition, because my primary goal is to achieve the absolute ultimate in video performance for use with the CHRISTIE ECLIPSE. Wherein the three most obvious options right now are (in no particular order): (1) madVR HTPC; (2) madVR Envy Extreme; and (3) Lumagen PRO.

However, as of right now, NONE of these is perfect. They ALL have their own associated disadvantages. What I really want is the performance of the madVR HTPC but with the advantages of the madVR Envy.

The known fact that the Envy Extreme's current mid-range GPU will be upgraded in the future is comforting. And the revelation that efforts will be made to close the gap in performance in this regard, and explaining how this might be achieved, and hence that there will be a possible solution to this on the horizon sometime in the future is music to my ears... THANK YOU @madshi !!! 👍🏻👏🏻😊

But at the same time your attempting to trivialize the difference and sweep it under the rug is more than a tad annoying, given this is something which is extremely important to both me and pretty much everyone else who will be purchasing a CHRISTIE ECLIPSE projector, and like me wishes to achieve the absolute ultimate in video performance.

Also, we should be able to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of any AV product, in particular whilst there is the potential for improvements to be made during the development stage to address those weakenesses, without pointing fingers at eachother an insinuating bias and/or hidden agendas, when none exist. This goes both ways. I do exactly the same when reviewing JVC and SONY projectors. Those who follow my posts will know this.


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Thank you for your kind words. :)

I agree 100% with the part in bold, which is why I edited my post before your reply to make it clear that the first part was true for ANY video processor, not just for the Envy.

I also specify in my post that "There can be other differences due to settings and processing, as has already been discussed.", but you might have missed that part if you read it too quickly.

Finally, I can only comment about what I see here, with my JVC RS2000, in my modest bat loft (great performance but small room), on a fairly small screen. So you make a good point, my set-up might not allow me to evaluate some of the differences you mention.

Please feel free to send me a Christie Eclipse, along with the room needed to store it, and another room to fit a larger screen (I'm all maxed up here!), and I'd love to see if what appears to me, in my set-up, as insignificant becomes magnified with the Christie (or any other projector that I don't own) on a much larger screen. I am sure the Christie would reveal a lot more detail and issues, and I appreciate your fight for the many Christie Eclipse owners who are reading this thread daily and might be misled by my comments before they make their purchase decision.

I will happily revise my general comments after a few weeks cosying up with the Eclipse, in my new house (I think it would be more practical than building two new rooms, so thanks in advance). :D

In any case, I am not at liberty to discuss the pluses or the minuses of the Envy, because unlike you I am under NDA.

When/if I post my technical feedback once my NDA is lifted, please feel free to challenge any positive that you think is overblown, or point any negative that you think I'm trying to "brush under the carpet".

Any comment, bug report, feature request that I have as a beta tester goes to the madVR team, privately, and I don't see any reason to share any of this publicly, just to prove that I'm not only waxing lyricals about the product (as you did a few months back, after a single demo). In fact, I don't think I ever waxed any lyricals about the product itself, unlike you, simply because it's not finished and I'm still evaluating it. Kettle? Pot? Black?

I have no idea why you think I suspect you of having an agenda when I reply to someone else about something else (theoretically making the best of an HTPC when going through the Envy, making it clear it was an UNTESTED theory).

I accept that you don't have an agenda, please let me free to share here what I can share at this stage. If people disagree with my points, they are free to say so, as you are. :)

Have a great week-end!
 

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It strikes me that with the passage of time the PC MadVR solution becomes more and more irrelevant; not because of technical prowess, but simply lack of legitimate access to content.

4KUHD is almost certainly the last significant shiny disk format the world will see (if you can even call it significant), and even that has awful coverage of content that exists currently for consumption in 4K HDR format. From what I understand there isn't any straightforward way to get access to 4K HDR streams from the likes of Netflix or Amazon or any other on a PC platform, so realistically, the writing is on the wall. It's hard to see expending much effort into that market is really going to get payback. It's certainly not a growing market you'll be playing to...

I mean, great, I can get a perhaps "more reference" playback of titles that come out on 4K disc. What do I do about the rest? Unless you're going to live in a cave or grab content from places it shouldn't be, you're really limiting the content you're going to be able to consume going forward.

Every time I consider building an HTPC (which wouldn't be a technical challenge for me) I just come to the same "why bother" conclusion, because it would probably only be useful for 10% of my viewing. Just not worth the effort.
 

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Mathias, I wish you all the success in the world with Envy, but please don't forget where this all started:

https://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=146228

60,000 posts and 35 million views!

While the guys over there might not be able or willing to buy an Envy, a lot of us long-time users sure as hell are willing to pay you for the software and your continued support :)
Yes, I do feel bad for not having posted on doom9 for a very long time. At the moment all my concentration is on making Envy the best product we can. And after that's done, Ric and I will brainstorm on how to best proceeed with the madVR HTPC software. You can be rest assured that I have no plans to stop developing it. For example, for some algos I need the feedback of as many users as possible to make the algos look as good as possible. However, we've not fully decided yet what our "business plan" with the madVR HTPC software is going to be. It's a very difficult topic, and please let's not discuss is now. I wouldn't be able to participate in such a discussion now, anyway.

If i read correctly, channeling a HTPC-output into an Envy would decrade image quality as well since it also has to be grabbed by the Envy input card, right?
The Envy input port is completely lossless. However, of course HDMI in itself has certain limitations. A madVR HTPC usually outputs either dithered 8bit or dithered 10/12bit. And although Envy receives that signal completely losslessly, dithering means that there's a tiny bit of extra noise in the image. However, even at 8bit, the dithering noise level is so low that it's completely invisible, IMHO. So I don't think it's a real problem. Of course that's even more true at even higher bitdepths.

the problem is not the envy capture card it's that the image is already dithered.
not a huge deal but not optimal either.
well 10 bit should be "always" better this way even if the envy is setup to output 8 bit to avoid some processing issues with 10 bit signals and your end devices.
FWIW, Envy has zero problems with 10bit/12bit input signals, so if you have a madVR HTPC, it's recommend to let it output 10/12bit to the Envy.

If you can output 4:4:4 10 or 12bits with 23p content from the HTPC in the original resolution so that madVR in the HTPC does all the chroma upscaling and some of the processing before sending the content to the Envy for luma upscaling or HDR tonemapping and 3D LUT calibrating for example, you might get BETTER quality with the Envy in the chain because you can balance the load between the two GPUs, and use higher settings in the HTPC GPU for chroma/processing, as well as higher settings in the Envy for luma upscaling in SD/HD SDR, or for HDR Tonemapping in UHD, than you would be able to use in the HTPC on its own due to the need to have its single GPU do both the chroma upscaling and the luma upscaling (SD/HD SDR) or the tonemapping (UHD HDR) and the 3D LUT calibrating.
That's actually true. For example, you could let the HTPC do chroma upscaling and tone mapping, and then Envy wouldn't have to do those things but could spend all of its GPU processing power on doing things such as e.g. motion interpolation (once that algo is available).

Of course "load balancing" like this is only really beneficial if you go crazy with multiple computationally expensive algorithms which you want to run at the same time. E.g. let's say you want Envy to tone map 4K24 HDR, then upscale it to 8K and then apply motion interpolation on top. I guess there will be a point in a situation like that where loading off some work to the HTPC could be beneficial to overall image quality. For all of today's algos and tasks, though, I believe the Envy has plenty processing power available to not need the "help" of an HTPC.

I'm not really following this logic. I think there's a misunderstanding of what madVR *is*. On the HTPC, madVR is *only* the video renderer. Everything about madVR is handled within the madVR video renderer. It's not the rendering process that makes madVR so unique and special but all the algorithms that are implemented in the renderer. That's what ENVY is, btw - all those algorithms. As far as I know, madVR's method of actually rendering that data once it's processed is fairly standard and not unique.

In a PC direct show player you have several elements. The player container which creates a direct show filter chain - file source --> AV Stream splitter --> codec to decode --> video renderer to display. MadVR is that renderer.

On the PC, you can get through the chain directly to the renderer straight from the codec. Nothing sits in between. However, on the ENVY, something else will do all the above and then also render the content and output to that device's HDMI port where ENVY will step in and do all the madVR like processing. The problem is not that you lack madVR's renderer. It's that the other device might ruin aspects of the video via poor upscaling, poor chroma upscaling etc. There are other ways the device can ruin the video prior to the ENVY, for example it can upscale it using its crappy algorithms straight to 4K. Even the device's codec (video decoders) might be subpar and could add artifacts.

But like Manni said above, if you get a device that outputs source direct (no upscaling) and can output 420 I think it would be pretty close in quality ENVY vs madVR.

I think in this case, the answer is clear. Have the ENVY + an HTPC. Use the HTPC for sources you can, and use the ENVY for everything else - that should give you the best of all worlds.
Spot on!!

Question about automatic black bar detection:
Can anybody comment on the following scenarios, if you have experience with a Lumagen or other VP. I assume you can't answer if you're beta testing the Envy due to NDA but hints are welcome ;-)

As I'm planning my future equipment, I would like to understand how a VP can help in the following situation. PJ setup would be DCR lens + 2.35 screen on a JVC RS2/3000. Here there would be no zoom change on the PJ, so it's all up to the VP to adapt the picture to the screen:

Easy exercise: I play the BD of Warcraft, where the format is 2.43:1 on the disc, or play the Shaun Of The Dead on BD (2.28:1 on disc): will the VP automatically adapt the scaling to maximize the height (some black bars above/below for Warcraft, left/right for ShaunOTD)? How quickly? Can you dial-in the ratio in advance?

Hard exercise: I play Netflix' Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods which uses multiple aspect ratios (2.39, 1:33, 16:9) which are NOT "center crop safe" unlike other theatrical variable aspect ratio movies, what would happen? This one might be the new torture test for automatic ratio detection. Can anybody try?
It works like this: You tell Envy exactly which pixels of your projector panels are visible on screen, and which exact stretch factor your DCR lens has. Having this information, Envy will auto detect the movie AR, also AR switches in the middle of the movie, and then auto adjust the scaling so that the screen is always and in any situation filled exactly according to your wishes. You can define if you prefer to zoom black bars completely away (so there's never any black bar at all on your screen), or whether you prefer to never have any image loss (which will then sometimes result in some black bars). Or you can also pick a compromise between those 2 options.

Just today I received feedback about Envy's Auto AR detection from a new Envy beta tester, who has a similar screen setup to yours. He reported that he's tested 15 different ARs and all were detected flawlessly. Also he reported that he tested Interstellar (IMAX) and reported that the AR switches were instant for him, so it looked like a film edit instead of like AR detection.

It strikes me that with the passage of time the PC MadVR solution becomes more and more irrelevant; not because of technical prowess, but simply lack of legitimate access to content.

4KUHD is almost certainly the last significant shiny disk format the world will see (if you can even call it significant), and even that has awful coverage of content that exists currently for consumption in 4K HDR format. From what I understand there isn't any straightforward way to get access to 4K HDR streams from the likes of Netflix or Amazon or any other on a PC platform, so realistically, the writing is on the wall. It's hard to see expending much effort into that market is really going to get payback. It's certainly not a growing market you'll be playing to...

I mean, great, I can get a perhaps "more reference" playback of titles that come out on 4K disc. What do I do about the rest? Unless you're going to live in a cave or grab content from places it shouldn't be, you're really limiting the content you're going to be able to consume going forward.

Every time I consider building an HTPC (which wouldn't be a technical challenge for me) I just come to the same "why bother" conclusion, because it would probably only be useful for 10% of my viewing. Just not worth the effort.
That's a very fair point. I'm still a big sucker for UHD Blu-Rays, though, and I hope the format will continue to exist for a long time.
 

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I'm not really following this logic. I think there's a misunderstanding of what madVR *is*. On the HTPC, madVR is *only* the video renderer. Everything about madVR is handled within the madVR video renderer. It's not the rendering process that makes madVR so unique and special but all the algorithms that are implemented in the renderer. That's what ENVY is, btw - all those algorithms. As far as I know, madVR's method of actually rendering that data once it's processed is fairly standard and not unique.

In a PC direct show player you have several elements. The player container which creates a direct show filter chain - file source --> AV Stream splitter --> codec to decode --> video renderer to display. MadVR is that renderer.

On the PC, you can get through the chain directly to the renderer straight from the codec. Nothing sits in between. However, on the ENVY, something else will do all the above and then also render the content and output to that device's HDMI port where ENVY will step in and do all the madVR like processing. The problem is not that you lack madVR's renderer. It's that the other device might ruin aspects of the video via poor upscaling, poor chroma upscaling etc. There are other ways the device can ruin the video prior to the ENVY, for example it can upscale it using its crappy algorithms straight to 4K. Even the device's codec (video decoders) might be subpar and could add artifacts.

But like Manni said above, if you get a device that outputs source direct (no upscaling) and can output 420 I think it would be pretty close in quality ENVY vs madVR.
I am referring to the fact that with the madVR Envy you are at the mercy of the quality of whatever source device's ability to decode the video source content as well as having to transmit the data across HDMI via an HDMI input video capture card. Whereas, with a madVR HTPC it is the madVR software that does the decoding and hence this process is carried out in a potentially superior way than with respect to an external source device.

I think in this case, the answer is clear. Have the ENVY + an HTPC. Use the HTPC for sources you can, and use the ENVY for everything else - that should give you the best of all worlds.
Having to purchase, install, and setup both a madVR HTPC and a madVR Envy is not an ideal solution. But thank you for the suggestion



.
 

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aka jfinnie
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I am referring to the fact that with the madVR Envy you are at the mercy of the quality of whatever source device's ability to decode the video source content as well as having to transmit the data across HDMI via an HDMI input video capture card. Whereas, and please correct me if I am wrong here, with a madVR HTPC it is the madVR software that does the decoding and hence this process is carried out in a potentially superior way than with respect to an external source device.
In an HTPC MadVR setup the stream splitting and decoding isn't done with MadVR - that duty falls to another piece of software. Frequently nevcairiel's LAV filters I believe. MadVR deals with everything after taking the decoded frames and getting them to the screen.
 

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Any preference between calman and colour space ?which one works better with envy?any challenges in carrying out 3d LUT?
I can't talk about Envy specifically as I'm under NDA but I can reply more generally or as far as madVR is concerned as it's very similar.

It depends on the size of the LUT and this topic needs a lot more space to be discussed properly.

At the moment, my Discus is a limiting factor in Calman because it stops working after two hours due to a hardcoded software time limit, while it can work accurately and reliably (within it's own limits) almost forever in Colourspace (especially using a custom patch set with the darkest patches first), so I'm unable to answer this question yet.

I am working on resolving this, either by lifting this (unnecessary in my opinion) limitation in Calman or by getting a different meter that doesn't suffer from this limitation, so that I can evaluate larger LUTs with Calman too in order to compare apples to apples.

Colourspace is still in beta, but I can already say that it's much better than Lightspace to work with madVR as most of the issues I had with Lighspace regarding madVR have been fixed in Colourspace, as reported here.

Calman might get an upgraded LUT engine soon, so I'm waiting for that to make a fair comparison.

If you're not in a hurry and don't have a significant preference yet, it might be a good idea to wait a bit. ;)

All I can say it that by the time my NDA is lifted, I should have done more research and as soon as the final/new version of both software is released, I'll share my results if I can find the time.

I probably won't say which is best by the way, because they are such different animals and serve different purposes, hence suit different needs and types of users. Stricly for 3D LUT, the free DisplayCAL shouldn't be dismissed either as it can produce very good results with madVR, unfortunately ArgyllCMS (the software layer providing hardware support to DisplayCAL) doesn't support my Discus so I haven't tested it extensively.

At the moment, if we go back to Calman vs Colourspace, I wouldn't want to use one without the other as both have their place in the calibrator's toolkit, but I'll try to explain the pros and cons of each solution when calibrating Envy/madVR as soon as I can, in a separate thread.
 
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