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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I watched the Star Wars Episode 1 DVD the other night at a friend’s house on his Dwin DLP Transvision system. He was using an external Sony non Prog Scan DVD player. I have to say I was not blown away by the sharpness of the picture. I have the same DVD and wanted to compare it on my system (1Ghz, HTPC and G11 D-ILA projector) I have been using WinDVD for most of my DVD viewing as I think it has a little sharper picture quality than the ATI DVD player I also have installed. Using WinDVD, I couldn’t get enough contrast and saturation in the DVD to make me happy. I began to think that it was just a poor transfer, although I had read it was suppose to be quite good on the video side. I, then for the hell of it fired up the ATI DVD player and was amazed in the difference in color saturation and contrast I was able to achieve. I really liked the Gamma adjustment. I do think that the image was a little sharper using WinDVD, however. I have been reading some of the post (just too many to read them all) about the TheaterTek DVD software player. The Screen shots looked good but I don’t think they do justice to the real quality of any DVD software player. Also I would have to see one DVD on all 3 players to determine if there was a real difference. I can’t see spending more money for an additional DVD software player when I have what would appear to be two quite good players already installed. I down loaded the latest ATI DVD software update (vsn 4.1) and hope to install it this weekend. I have the ATI Radeon 64 DDR AGP video card at the heart of my HTPC. I am sure the pros and cons of ATI DVD and WinDVD have been thrashed about quite a bit in this forum. Does anyone know if this ATI DVD update is worth installing and will it give me a sharper picture? The DVD I use as a bench mark is Patriot. Using WinDVD the picture was close to HD quality. Not many other DVD’s have come very close to its image quality.


Any general comments and observation on these players would be appreciated.


Thanks, Don


*************************************

JVC G11, hushbox, VuTek 3X4 100" screen, AVS 1Hgz HTPC, Dish Net HD6000, HBOHD & ShowTimeHD, Lexicon MC-1 7.1, NHT 2.9's, AC2, 1.5's, DT BP2X Surrounds and Sub, BK amp, Rotel amp, 4DTV "C" band BUD, Pioneer LD, Pronto TSU2000.
 

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In all the recent threads about new, different, better players, I've not encountered any that claims to be better that the ATI4.1/radeon combo in terms of PQ. (better I/F's, stability, more features, yea) but not better PQ.


Point me to them if I've missed em.


Dave
 

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CinePlayer 4.0 is using the newer decoder set (compared to ATI) and therefore has theoretical advancement over 4.1 but... Its stability is poor at best... It needs some reg hacking to get the player to its finest... This is the decoder set for the 5.0 player with the broken sound issues (IIRC)


It looks stunning but I was let down in playback during movie watching and this just ruins a movie experience for me so much that I wont tolerate it...


The TT player is using a marginally later decoder set than ATI 4.1 (IIRC I think this was what was stated by Andrew) but the decoder choice was one made on what was the best image quality attainable with the Ravisent decoders that still gave prefect sound and playback performance.. In my mind this is a fine position to take and the decoder can be improved when Ravisent get it perfectly stable... In short its like ATI with DTS sound, perfect stability, Pronto / Girder / IR support, out of the box Radeon scoped settings, Plus lots of AR niceties and OSD's... If you like ATI now, whats not to like ???


I have a curious mind as to what will happen if I try to swap the filters between Cineplayer 4.0 and TT this way I have TT's niceties and the (albeit unstable perhaps) newest Ravisent decoders...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Phat Phreddy,

You have it way over me when it comes to your HTPC technical knowledge. ;) I appreciate your comments/response. I can hold my own on video and audio knowledge but still have a way to go regarding my HTPC (fairly new user of HTPC, 6 months). It becomes quite an expensive learning curve when using a D-ILA projector. The one thing I am sure of is the outstanding picture and sound quality when it comes to DVD playback using my HTPC. I haven't seen a standalone DVD player to match it. I may be splitting hairs when it comes to comparing DVD software playback quality but I learned a while back that if I have an off the wall newbe question, this forum is the best place to get the most accurate and informative information from people like you. Thanks, that's why I asked it here. I guess I'll be installing version 4.1. I am going to wait however as the person that build me the HTPC (for AVS) is sending me more recent ATI Radeon drivers. I want to install those first.


Thank, Don
 

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Hi Don,


I've been doing similar tests on my HTPC/D-ILA (G11) combination this weekend.


I've tried a 2x2 matrix of combinations consisting of a GeForce video card, a Radeon 64 MB DDR video card, WinDVD and the Raviscent engine (in the form of TT). I tried each video card with each DVD player and watched the same material on each.


I found that the Radeon was an improvement over the GeForce card no matter which DVD player I chose. Between the software DVD players with a video card, I found after 1.5 years as a loyal WinDVD user, I really liked the Raviscent engine on the Radeon.


WinDVD only has the edge in "sharpness", but I think that this is at the expense of a small amount of quality in other areas including:


I went back and forth with WinDVD and the TT player with chapter 9 of the Fifth Element (from when Leloo gets created up to the ledge jump)


* Raviscent had smoother gradients (interestingly, I never noticed an issue with WinDVD in this area until I did back-to-back comparisons). On the metallic robot arms that are creating Leloo, the smooth metal gradient was outstanding on the TT player, and really looked a lot more like metal really would than WinDVD rendered.

* WinDVD had a "sharper" output overall. This was noticable in the crumpled-foil "wall" that leloo jumps through. It had crisper edges in WinDVD than with the TT player, but this might be artificial edge enhancement in the player as well.

* Raviscent did much better in the dark scenes of the tunnel when Leloo is running away toward the ledge. WinDVD exhibited some posterization between finely transitioning shades in the darker gradients and TT did not. This could be an extension of the first observation. Again, it looked more "realistic".


In general, I found that getting used to the slightly less sharp picture took some getting used to, but I very quickly began to like it...a lot! The smoother gradients, lack of posterization and better performance in dark scenes made for a much more film-like and pleasing picture.


After being a GeForce/WinDVD guy for over a year, I'm now going to be dropping both in favor of a Radeon/TT combination.


By the way, a freshly mathematically calibrated D-ILA makes me smile ear-to-ear with the Radeon/TT combination!
 

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I have not seen posterizing with WinDVD on my Nec1352LC.

I do however agree that Ati combo is definitely flatter but more colorful. This actually might be an assets for digital but with my Nec, I prefer the winDVD and Visiontek GeForce 400MX. It is a much sharper image with more accurate red. Yes I know I am a minority. The Ati combo might be a better solution for a 9'' CRT since they are sharper. I run my DVD at [email protected] At this resolution the gradient is near perfect as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
milori,

I watched "Pay It Forward" this weekend. I compared the image quality on both WinDVD and ATI DVD. I found WinDVD to be, again, a bit sharper but ended up having to play with the video adjustments multiple time to get it even close to a picture I liked. On the other hand watching it using ATI DVD I didn't even have to make an adjustment from the previous movie I had watched (SWPF Episode 1) a couple of nights before. The picture was a bit softer but a lot more film like. The color correctness and saturation was right on the money.


I know you are the developer of "Dilard" so I am assuming when you say "calibrated G-11" you mean using your software. By the way my hat is off to you for developing such a masterful tool for D-ILA calibration. I don't know if I want to get into that level of tweaking, however. One of the reasons I had a HTPC built is that I know myself all to well and would never be satisfied with the results. I am too much of a tweaker tied into a perfectionist’s mind set. Also I am not as familiar with what does what regarding the internal G11 software. The time it would take me to learn it all and compare could be a very expensive (tube wise) learning curve for me. "Dilard" could be a tweakers paradise or more likely in my case turn into another way of driving me crazy. I guess my bottom line question, is it really worth the hassle of getting the G11 professionally calibrated? It would be a real big job for me. The unit is in a big hush box, plus shipping to and from a facility (don’t really know who woul be best to use, JVC, AVS, etc.) would add substantial costs to the actual calibration costs of approximately $500.


Thanks, Don
 

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Hi All:


___The TheaterTek player actually does use a better decoder than the current ATI player which was the “Best in Class†while using a Radeon until just recently. The neat thing to add is that the TheaterTek player also handles video better than any SW player to date. Would I simply keep a single install of the TheaterTek player on my HTPC’s? Of course not. It is always best to have a few installed in reserve just in case a gotcha appears but from everything posted so far, the TheaterTek player is number 1 in its construction with maybe PowerDVD 4.0 XP having close to an equivalent picture under XP/Millennium w/ HW acceleration enabled and the latest ATI drivers. MikeM and Cliff, I am listening but still waiting for the final PowerDVD myself ;) There are issues under all of the players that I am sure you will find within a few hours of playback but from my viewpoint … I am a bit biased since I need custom T&R’s as well as YXY type aspect ratio control w/ my HD RPTV and only the TheaterTek player offers me this in an all-in-one intuitive player format/solution.


___Good Luck


___Wayne R. Gerdes

___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.

___ [email protected]
 

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xcel,


I am very interested in trying this new player, as soon as it is available.


Just curious, but what is your involvement with TT. Are you in on the programming with Andrew, a business partner or just a beta tester?


Thanks for the insight, I look forward to seeing it with my own eyes soon. More than anything, I just want the 'best' player that works all the time without tweaking. I am tweakmaster, but I'm getting sick of it and would really prefer to retire WinDVD and see the light.


Brian
 

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Hi,


An idea is to add a software-based Sharpness adjustment to the TT player, perhaps. (Much like the Sharpness filter in DScaler).


That way, you could get the same sharpness in WinDVD using TT. There is probably some kind of artificial edge enhancement being done in WinDVD, so the Sharpness plugin of DScaler does essentially the same thing!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mark Rejhon
Hi,


An idea is to add a software-based Sharpness adjustment to the TT player, perhaps. (Much like the Sharpness filter in DScaler).

That's a wonderful idea. The Sasami player does have a filter to do that, but it does not play DVDs, only media files.


Sharpen, saturation filters would be a great plus.


camoura
 
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