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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a recent HD-DVD adopter. I only have 4 movies in my library so far and I am very pleased with the performance of the 2nd gen Toshiba player.


That said what's swaying me towards BR is the release list. I just can't believe how slow the releases are and how few quality titles are out now.


That said I read a few concnerns about BR from early on and I genuinely want to know if these have cleared up. I hope not to be acused of trolling, a simple answer to my question will do.


Basically my concern is that some of the early BR releases were using MPEG2 which seemed to be at least partially responsible for the less than stellar picture quality, along with the softness circuitry in the first gen player.


Have these two issues been resolved sufficiently so far? Which player would I want to get to avoid that softness circuitry completely? And how many of the new BR releases are using MPEG2 so far?


The other thing I read in a magazine was something about Sony not using the first 8 and last 8 bits in the color range, meaning blacker than black and whiter than white, or something to that effect. Have they changed this yet and does it even matter?


By the way, my display is a latest generation Fujitsu 50" Plasma TV.


Many thanks...
 

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Regarding the 'softness circuitry' don't get the Samsung player. Not sure about the Philips player, though it is supposedly a rebadged Samsung from what I've been reading.
 

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MPEG2 has nothing to do with PQ. It can and has looked exactly the same as MPEG4. There are other factors involved that cause BR movies to at times look underwhelming, but MPEG2 isn't one of them.
 

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Avcat, I have a collection of over 100 HD DVDs and I have been quite pleased by the PQ overall. Universal, Image and the Weinstein Company are still HD DVD exclusives and will probably maintain that stance for quite awhile. However, the growing list of titles from Fox, Disney, MGM and Columbia (Sony) convinced me to go neutral. I picked up my PS3 60G yesterday and watched "Eight Below" and "Underworld Evolution." Both rank pretty high as far as PQ is concerned. I understand that the studios are now using VC-1 for Blu-ray. I suggest reading online reviews at The Digital Bits, DVDTalk, and HiDef Digest to get a good review of sound and picture quality. I am quite pleased with my Blu-ray experience so far but have no plans on abandoning HD DVD.
 

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i have a PS3 60gb. the picture quality on it is fantastic and it includes hdmi 1.3 and wi-fi. with several major firmware upgrades supposedly on the way for dvd upconverting 1080p24 rather than the current 60 it seems to be one of the best available. i would look into that.
 

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The masters is probably 90% of the problem (though sloppy mpeg2 encodes on the first titles probably made it worse).


What I'd rather see is disks using AVC on BD50 at average bitrates of 30 and peaks of 39 to deliver video at as little loss to the original master as possible.


A lot of movies recently have come out on HDDVD that don't look the same as the Serenity and CoR and PotO for a good reason. They are probably done with film or they have grain added to make it look like film. I think the list of shiny titles have dwindled too quickly. Even BD studios seem to prefer releasing the shiny titles first and holding on longer to the grainy ones.


Descent and Covenant are very shiny titles with the 3D look people seem to want a lot more than the film look of the original celluloid.
 

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You really shouldn't have to "switch over". Can't you support both? That may be what you mean. Having said that, I picked up a PS3 yesterday. That officially makes me a duel format supporter. The two movies I picked up were Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down. Perhaps not the greatest movies to test for picture quality. Or, maybe they are. Either way, the top HD-DVD titles for PQ look better. TO ME!. Like I said, I have only watched two movies. Now, they certainly didn't look bad. Just not as good as the best of HD. My two movies are probably not the best of Blu-ray, so I guess I shouldnt' make a comparison. I can tell you that I don't have any buyers remorse though, if that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblow /forum/post/0


MPEG2 has nothing to do with PQ. It can and has looked exactly the same as MPEG4. There are other factors involved that cause BR movies to at times look underwhelming, but MPEG2 isn't one of them.

Hmm, perhaps it was that they were using low capacity discs which forced them to turn up the compression ratio on their MPEG2 codec?


Also, I don't believe it's true that MPEG2 has nothing to do with it, at least Sony's MPEG2 encoder lacks the lower 8 and high 8 bits of black and white information, according to either HT Mag or The Perfect Vision, I forget which one had this little sidebar on it.


So I am not ready to believe that MPEG2 is not a partial culprit, especially when respected Widescreen Review has put some of the onus on the codec.


I'm willing to be convinced but I'm looking for more detail than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo1965 /forum/post/0


Even BD studios seem to prefer releasing the shiny titles first and holding on longer to the grainy ones.


Descent and Covenant are very shiny titles with the 3D look people seem to want a lot more than the film look of the original celluloid.

I am genuined confused by this. I want to see what the director wanted me to see. isn't that the whole point? If it's supposed to look grainy, so be it. But adding artificial grain? That frightens the begesus out of me. I know it has nothing to do with BR or HD-DVD exclusively, it stands to be an issue in general.


So it sounds like the PS3 has no softening circuitry and it's a pretty good PQ player?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by avcat /forum/post/0


Hmm, perhaps it was that they were using low capacity discs which forced them to turn up the compression ratio on their MPEG2 codec?


Also, I don't believe it's true that MPEG2 has nothing to do with it, at least Sony's MPEG2 encoder lacks the lower 8 and high 8 bits of black and white information, according to either HT Mag or The Perfect Vision, I forget which one had this little sidebar on it.


So I am not ready to believe that MPEG2 is not a partial culprit, especially when respected Widescreen Review has put some of the onus on the codec.


I'm willing to be convinced but I'm looking for more detail than that.

Widescreen Review was raving about the high quality MPEG2 encoding on Dtheatre (only a couple of years ago). Personally, I think the folks who criticize the image quality of MPEG2 have limited experience with it and/or have a vested interest in the newer codecs. Regardless, it's easy enough to check it out with your own eyes.
 

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Title-to-title variability seems to be a much factor issue than variability among CODECs. Even reviewers who had doubts about MPEG2 (eg: HighDefDigest) have been pleasantly surprised by the few titles that have been released on both formats using different CODECs. As the mastering software matures we'll likely see some changes in prefered encodings among the studios. It's interesting to see that Casino Royale from Sony Pictures is scheduled as an MPEG4/AVC/H.264 encoding.


We've certainly seen stellar examples of PQ and AQ on both formats, so I wouldn't let that be a deciding factor for you. Pick the format that has the titles you want to watch, and a player that has the price / feature combination that makes sense for you.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by avcat /forum/post/0


I am genuined confused by this. I want to see what the director wanted me to see. isn't that the whole point? If it's supposed to look grainy, so be it. But adding artificial grain? That frightens the begesus out of me. I know it has nothing to do with BR or HD-DVD exclusively, it stands to be an issue in general.


So it sounds like the PS3 has no softening circuitry and it's a pretty good PQ player?

Many of the best HD DVD movies are praised highly because they have no film grain, and for those the director shot them in mostly CG or with some HDCAM so there is no grain. Once the film or added-grain on video movies showed up, there's been some people commenting that the 3D pop is gone, and they can't stand them.


I like fine grain. They bring out more detail. It's the other stuff that is questionable. Things like adding grain to video to make it look like film.


I'd like to watch what the director intended, but up to a point. Sometimes, Director's Intent is also used to hide a whole bunch of expedient stuff that happens when you shoot a movie, perhaps it was late, and everybody wants to go home, so the bad lighting will just have to be fixed in post production. Or ran out of film, so the out of focus shots will not be retaken.


Or sometimes just cheap equipment.


Who knows? The begininning of Casino Royale in the theatre was very grainy - perhaps it is some type of flashback mode to achieve that --- oooh, we're in eastern europe so this eastern europe is a grainy and gritty place Ya? That's why the walls have grain --- look. Fortunately the rest of Casino Royale was very clean.
 

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MPEG2 was never the reason for bad material.


The only time MPEG2 looks bad is when it becomes starved for more bandwidth and macroblocks. I think the issue with the initial launch titles for Blu-ray was just poor Masters with sloppy encoding.


That being said I still believe the future is with AVC and VC-1 and Blu-ray needs to move in that direction because the codecs from a technical standpoint are superior to MPEG2. Why choose superior hardware and not take advantage of superior codecs?
 

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Recent MPEG2 releases have been fantastic even on BD25. I believe they should move to AVC, but the PQ probably won't improve, the main advantage to that and VC1 is that they take up less room and better sound and extras will be possible.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison /forum/post/0


MPEG2 was never the reason for bad material.


The only time MPEG2 looks bad is when it becomes starved for more bandwidth and macroblocks. I think the issue with the initial launch titles for Blu-ray was just poor Masters with sloppy encoding.


That being said I still believe the future is with AVC and VC-1 and Blu-ray needs to move in that direction because the codecs from a technical standpoint are superior to MPEG2. Why choose superior hardware and not take advantage of superior codecs?

We need a double-take emoticon.



I agree with all you said. And there is already indication things are moving that way. Over the Hedge and Casino Royale are reportedly to be AVC encodings from Sony.


The beauty is, for the less key titles, the quick MPEG-2 encoding allows them to be created and released economically. In time, this will be true for AVC and VC-1. It isn't now.


Gary
 

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avcat:


Have a look at the first post on this thread The Tier System For Blu-ray PQ

Stealth - tier 1 - is so good I love the display.

House of Flying Daggers - tier 4 - is so bad I vowed never to put that disk into the player again. (turns out it's a Sony disk which has the 7669 calibration signals on it -- so the disk is going in the player, but I'll never watch House Of Flying Daggers from it again).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dialog_gvf /forum/post/0


Over the Hedge and Casino Royale are reportedly to be AVC encodings from Sony.

I think you meant Open Season, although it would be nice to get Over the Hedge.


--Darin
 
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