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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to HD as I've just gotten D* going with the Samsung 160. I've now watched 2 complete movies on HDNM and assorted shows on Discovery HD as well as the Sunday night football game on ESPN HD.


I may be new to HD but not to Home Theater. I've been running a front projector system for about 5 years and currently use a Marantz 12s1 DLP. It puts out a nice picture. Unfortunately it does not have a DVI connection and so I'm using RGB. For DVDs I use a Sony 999ES (forget the model #) with a component connection. While some of the Discovery HD shows are eye popping, I'm mostly into. I'm starting this thread to get opinions on movies in HD vs. DVD. I know this is all going to be system dependant and vary from film to film. I have not checked out a PPV HD film yet or HBO/Showtime only HDN.


If I compare the PQ of the films I've seen on HDNM to the best DVDs I'd have to say its a lot closer than I would have thought. On some outdoor on-location shots the HD stuff can look quite good. It seems that there is more color depth. Detail on HD is only marginally better than the good DVDs. I don't see much difference in smoothness as far as motion goes. Compared to regular D* broadcasts the HD stuff looks great, but compared the best DVDs it not like its another world. So I'm kind of luke warm on this. The good news for me is that the improvements in the HD make it look more like film (particularly the color) vs video. The other thing is that if the PQ is as consistent as the two films I've seen (Wrestling Ernest Hemmingway and White Sands), then it certainly has a big edge over DVD which can very dramtically in PQ. Also there is no EE. Of course with the D* stuff I have to sit there at the alotted times which I'm not used to.


I'm very much interested in other opinions and how does HDNM compare to PPV, HBO or Showtime.
 

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You have to factor in the fact that all the channels in D* is over-compressed to save bandwidth. To truely compare HD to DVD, you need use a good OTA HD source or good cable HD source.
 

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I don't even think there's a debate here.


DVDs are encoded at 480i, if you're lucky you can deinterlace the fields

and get a full 480p frame.


HD sources are going to be 720p or 1080i.


HD source will be clearly better.
 

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Yeah they're better alright. But certainly not the night and day difference vs a good DVD as opposed to when comparing HD video to SD video. And thats what trips people up sometimes. Particularly depending on what type of display device/viewing distance they use.


It's interesting to hear John follow up, even if it's still early on because he started a thread a month ago or whatever asking about how much difference there was before he bought his HD receiver. He said that HD movies would have to be "considerably superior" for it to be worthwhile due to the DVD convenience factor.


I didnt chiime in in that thread but I remember being tempted to say something like...oh they're better alright, just dont necessarily expect the same jaw dropping experience on movies in HD as you might have experienced if you saw some HD video based demo loop at a store or something.


I've said it 100 times before and I'll say it again. In my opinion if it were up to film based content (movies, dramas, sitcoms) to drive the HD world as opposed to video based (sports, nature, travel), HD wouldnt even be marketable to the masses at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Foxbat121
You have to factor in the fact that all the channels in D* is over-compressed to save bandwidth. To truely compare HD to DVD, you need use a good OTA HD source or good cable HD source.
OK, so where can you watch a commercial free, uncut, OAR film over the air?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by DP1
Yeah they're better alright. But certainly not the night and day difference vs a good DVD as opposed to when comparing HD video to SD video. And thats what trips people up sometimes. Particularly depending on what type of display device/viewing distance they use.


It's interesting to hear John follow up, even if it's still early on because he started a thread a month ago or whatever asking about how much difference there was before he bought his HD receiver. He said that HD movies would have to be "considerably superior" for it to be worthwhile due to the DVD convenience factor.


I didnt chiime in in that thread but I remember being tempted to say something like...oh they're better alright, just dont necessarily expect the same jaw dropping experience on movies in HD as you might have experienced if you saw some HD video based demo loop at a store or something.


I've said it 100 times before and I'll say it again. In my opinion if it were up to film based content (movies, dramas, sitcoms) to drive the HD world as opposed to video based (sports, nature, travel), HD wouldnt even be marketable to the masses at all.


Nice post Dan. It sounds like we're in agreement. Right now as you can gather from my initial post I am luke warm. There is defintely an improvement, but like you say not jaw dropping. I do feel that the selection on HDNM is quiet good, but its not like I'm going to sell off my DVDs. Its going to be interesting when HDNM shows Lawrence of Arabia which I will look forward to and will compare to the SB DVD that just came out.


As an asside because of all the incentives I'm only out about $350 for this experiment so far.
 

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I think the Digital Transfer has the most to do with it. Some movies just look better than others.


After I got my mitsu ws55711 I bought a progressive scan DVD player. I compared HD Video to DVD, no comparison, the HD video just kills it.


I was reading on the HTPC forum here and I learned how to hook up my PC to my TV and use TheaterTek to play DVD's in 1080i, it look so much better then my DVD player, I haven't used my new DVD player since. I was convinced it looked almost as good as HBOHD. One day a movie came on HBOHD that my wife had on DVD. The minute I saw it I grab the DVD loaded it into the PC, and got the two sources as sync up as I could. The movie was "The Banger Sisters" which had a good digital transfer. There was no comparison between my HTPC and HBOHD, what I thought was close was so much different when I was able to do a A/B comparison. The HBO was much clearer, the colors were the biggest difference, which is why I think it was hard for me to tell before since I was not comparing the same content. The HBOHD didn't have as much texture, or graininess.


Some movies like "Minority Report" you can't tell as much since that movie has grain put in on purpose. I noticed the same thing with "The Matrix" the director has processed the film some how as an effect. Personally I think it makes it look soft.

I have not been able to do a A/B comparison with any other movies since I only own like 25 DVD's and most of them are older movies like "For a few dollars more".

From this one comparison I would say there is a big side by side difference.


For Filmed Drama's on TV. For example CSI looks much better than the 1/2 hour commedies on ABC. I assume this is becuase of the digital transfer, and has nothing to do with 720p since to me nothing looks as good as ABC MNF.
 

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The difference certainly isn't jaw-dropping. We're all familiar with the way movies look in the cinema, and no one comes out of the movie theater proclaiming how great the PQ was. HD is lower resolution than film, so there's no reason that film-sourced HD would be more impressive than going to the movies.
 

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bdraw makes the other most valid point. There is as much variation in the quality of the film to HD transfers as there is in quality of DVDs. Even given that, as bdraw says, the more you watch HD film transfers the more one comes to appreciate the less than jaw dropping but still significant improvements HD makes for movies as well. The worst HD transfer is still better than the best DVD (even if not by much), and the best are as Zac says, no contest. It's kind of like that old saying about sex, "even when it's bad it's still good" :)


ron
 

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DP1 is basically right, I think. It's better, but not nearly as dramatic a difference as VHS to DVD. Also, on smaller sets (40" or less) the difference is almost not perceivable. Frankly, sometimes I can't tell the difference between digital upconverted SD and HD on my 40" set except that the HD material is 16x9 and the SD is pillarboxed (in DC area, most of the OTA stations always broadcast in HD and pillarbox SD-sourced material). Plus, I'll take a well encoded DVD in 5.1 surround over an often choppy HD signal in 2.0 sound anytime, which is why I'm cancelling my Comcast HD and sticking with OTA for HD.
 

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Not sure if this is a valid comparison, but during last years superbowl...almost all the movie trailers were in HiDef...I especially recall the Bad Boys II trailer as being amazing in picture quality...none of my dvd's could possibly rival that...but I've also seen some movies on ABC for example that don't look as good as say SWII-AOTC DVD...


not to beat a dead horse, but definitely depends on the source material, but at its best, I think HD definitely is superior to DVD, and a definite visual difference than DVD...not quite like HD Football vs SD football, but still excellent
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by peter0302
DP1 is basically right, I think. It's better, but not nearly as dramatic a difference as VHS to DVD. Also, on smaller sets (40" or less) the difference is almost not perceivable. Frankly, sometimes I can't tell the difference between digital upconverted SD and HD on my 40" set except that the HD material is 16x9 and the SD is pillarboxed (in DC area, most of the OTA stations always broadcast in HD and pillarbox SD-sourced material). Plus, I'll take a well encoded DVD in 5.1 surround over an often choppy HD signal in 2.0 sound anytime, which is why I'm cancelling my Comcast HD and sticking with OTA for HD.
Peter I think you need a new set. Or maybe to scoot up a bit :). I've been watching all my HD on a 36" 4x3 set (making the HD even that much smaller) and I find the difference to be plenty perceivable. I do sit relatively close though...


ron
 

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My experience using a Sony KP57HW40 with both a Hughes box and Sony HD-200 vs dvd on a panasonic CP-72 progressive scan player:


Well mastered dvd (Gladiator, Shrek) does not look as good as HD from HBO or Showtime. The difference is not night and day, however, and on my setup the dvd pq is good enough that I won't bother purchasing a ppv HD version of a movie I already have on dvd (Two Towers will be an exception, lol).


HDNet movies pq for some of the older films they run frankly blows away the dvd transfers.


Video based HD blows away the vast majority of film based HD.


I agree that if the only material available in HD was theatrical movies, it would not imho be a big enough improvement over a well mastered dvd from a pristine film source to justify the expense of the stb. PQ for hd sports and video based HD, as well as some series television like NYPD Blue, Boomtown etc (our CBS affilliate still can't do HD, so haven't seen CSI which I hear is magnificent) does justify the investment to me.


When Mark Cuban gets more in-house produced HD stuff on the air it will be even better.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by John Moschella
I may be new to HD but not to Home Theater. I've been running a front projector system for about 5 years and currently use a Marantz 12s1 DLP.
One thing to keep in mind is that your projector has a fixed resolution, in your case WXGA 1280x720, which is perfect for 720p HD. However, 1080i HD has to be scaled down, and 1080i does not scale down well.


Your scaler will take the first 480-line field of the 1080i signal, bob & weave it, and then scale it up to 720p by duplicating pixels. So basically you've halved the resolution and then scaled it back up. 1080i will only look marginally better than 480p this way.


Try watching more 720p HD (and make sure your HD box is set to output 720p). You'll probably get a better impression that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Josh Z
One thing to keep in mind is that your projector has a fixed resolution, in your case WXGA 1280x720, which is perfect for 720p HD. However, 1080i HD has to be scaled down, and 1080i does not scale down well.


Your scaler will take the first 480-line field of the 1080i signal, bob & weave it, and then scale it up to 720p by duplicating pixels. So basically you've halved the resolution and then scaled it back up. 1080i will only look marginally better than 480p this way.


Try watching more 720p HD (and make sure your HD box is set to output 720p). You'll probably get a better impression that way.
Josh,

That is a good point and I am perfectly aware that native 720p will be better suited for my projector. However the only HD broadcasts I know of in 720p are ESPN and ABC and neither of those are sources for movies.


The only thing I have going for me is that the Marantz has a great de-interlacer scaler.
 

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IMAX and 70mm, transferred properly, will have the "WOW!" reaction in HD. It's very rare for 30mm to have it at that level. I'd say U571 is the only title I have come across that is so impressive to people I show it to, they want DVD to die that instant and be replaced by HD-DVD. Most titles people think look better, but not knock your socks off better. The larger the screen, the more impressed people are. A 73 inch Mitsubishi with 9 inch CRT's is going to be astonishing, while a 50 inch or under REP is going to be very good and a 34 inch or lower tube is going to simply be good.


Am I making sense here?
 

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With my very limited experience with DVD sources on my new Sony XBR910 it seems that it has more to do with the choice of player. I had a Sony progressive scan DVD player that would only scan at 480p, costing a staggering 399 back when I bought it to be future proof ;) ...the difference was less than impressive. I then hooked up a Liteon LDV-2001 , costing a jaw dropping 140 that will output 1080i! That did the trick. It just looks like apples and oranges compared.


my .02 worth,


MB1010
 

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I just got my HD service from Charter installed last night and I was curious to see the differences between HD and normal tv, plus the movies on HDmovies converted to HD versus the material on HDnet recorded in HD. I felt the same way, the movies looked nicer than the standard channels, but I didn't really pick up much of a difference between the HD movies and my progressive DVDs. But man was I blown away by the HDnet shows. This morning I was watching a show about cliff divers and it blew my top.


What I'm at a lose for is the CBS channel in HD. I figured that if a CBS show wasn't avaliable in HD then the HD channel would be black, but instead it looks like they send the normal stuff through there as well? I turned on a football game today, that either wasn't in HD or HD football sucks. Everything was all pixelated. Any clues about this? I was thinking that CBS was broadcasting its football in HD. (a little off subject now I know)
 

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I think Fellowship of the Ring is one of the best DVD transfers available. I also happen to have the HD version from Dish Network satellite. Yes, the DVD is very good looking, but if you A/B with satellite there is a lot more fine detail on the HD source.


The DVD is very satisfying to watch, but the HD is just that much better.


PJ is a Sharp 9000. DVD and HTPC are both connected via component through a Latency: Zero HD component switcher.
 

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Sorry to disagree with you, Mike, but Fellowship is not even close to reference HD film transfer quality. It's very soft compared to most transfers. It's just the way it was shot. I can pretty much throw a ball at my tape collection and hit one that has a better looking, sharper transfer. That being said, it is certainly better than the DVD. There are numerous screen shots online showing this. Unfortunately, I cannot bring myself to watch the DVHS tape I have of the film since I love the extended version far more. I only use the HD version to show people the difference between the two formats.


Nath, football in HD is a rare thing. :( Sounds like they are sending the compressed to hell non-HD signal through the CBS-HD path when no HD is available.
 
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