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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Could someone explain to me exactly what's so magical about an SDI-modded DVD player? I mean, if it works perfectly, it's output should be identical to that of the DVD-ROM drive in my HTPC, right?


A DVD STB in general is basically a DVD-ROM drive, only with the added expense of
  • its own case/chassis
  • a dedicated power supply
  • IR remote
  • audio and video processing (which are done just as well in software which is a heckuva lot eaier to upgrade)
  • (typically unwanted and unused) circuitry to convert the audio to (in most cases) 2-channel analog
  • circuitry to convert the video to analog (which you're going to bypass anyway, and at a cost that likely exceeds the original purchase price!)

I must be missing something... what's the appeal?
 

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Ummmm.................



Well, it's really expensive. So it must be good for something. Bragging rights?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ElvisIncognito
audio and video processing (which are done just as well in software which is a heckuva lot eaier to upgrade)
My understanding is that the consensus is that the video (and maybe audio processing) of the better chipsets exceed current software implementations of MPEG decoding. The differeneces are probabaly down to rounding in IDCT implementations. There is always the possibility than better software (or HW accelerated) comes along but that is the snapshot now.


John
 

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When I bought my SDI DVD player the main benefits were;


Improved colours

Much better deinterlaceing using DScaler

Improved Mpeg decodeing

Improved DD and DTS passthru

100% butter smooth panning using 50Hz for PAL and 47.952 or 71.928Hz for NTSC.


Since then software players and graphics cards have got better;


Using the latest version of TT with Windows XP and all the latest drivers etc with a PC that includes a Radeon 9500 and a RME Digi 96/8 PST audio card.


Colours are very much the same.

Deinterlacing still poor

Mpeg much better and about the same as my Denon 1600 DVD player

DD & DTS possibly better on the HTPC now.

Still find it impossible to get perfect, 0 moments of stutter playback, it will be perfect for about half an hour then will get a couple of minor stutters. At 60 Hz I would guess that you would never notice since it would be masked by 3:2 pulldown judder.


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, John. I suspected that might be it. Any idea if those video chipsets are available to hobbyists? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
JeffY - have you tried using any of the more sophisticated filter graphs in ZP that incorporate Dscaler/ffdshow for comparison w/your SDI DVD?
 

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I only had a quick look, Sonics software only video decoder is inferior to the hardware assisted one. VMR9 does something nasty to the display which shows up very well in the Avia resolution test screen. These short comings IMO can't be saved by some clever post processing. Even when using the SDI player with Dscaler I tend not to use any video filters, since I find their drawbacks out way the benefits.


I use a 9" CRT projector so what I'm seeing is likely to be quite different to the average user.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by HK43
"Improved Mpeg decodeing

Improved DD and DTS passthru "


How does the SDI mod improve these things?
I could see the audio being an advantage since many sound cards won't pass DTS thru SP/DIF output without resampling it, which is of course undesirable. Using an SDI modded player, you can simply plug the digital audio output of the player into your receiver and be done with it.
 

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Well I have an SDI modded RP82 on the way. So I will let you know what I find compared to WinDVD or Sonic filters.


Offhand I do have to say that the reason I took the plunge is that I am kinda of sick of the studders, choppiness, audio sync, and what not from poorly flagged titles or video titles. I could spend even more time on troubleshooting the problem, and downloading more driver updates, more software updates, etc - but it gets old. Especially when I sit down to watch a movie with others and problems occur during mid-movie.


The other option I am investigating is to use an XCard hooked up via bt656 into my Holo3DGraph board. With this it will still be a digital chain, hardware decoding that is better at video it seems, but still all in one box. But for this project I am awaiting news on driver support and custom ribbon cable from Immersive to support this.


-pd
 

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HK43,


The SDI mod taps into the output of the hardware MPEG decoder, so if the MPEG decoder is crap, its output will be crap, and of course if its good, the digital output over SDI will be good. Possibly better than what is available via software decoders.


As for audio, audio remains the same on the player. Nothing touched there.


-pd
 

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Hk43,


Really what you want to know, is what he comparing this against. If he is comparing it against a software solution on the PC, than yeah all of that is possible.


-pd
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by HK43
Then why does JeffY claim that the SDI mod improves these things? Speculation? wishfull thinking?


JeffY wrote:


"When I bought my SDI DVD player the main benefits were;


Improved colours

Much better deinterlaceing using DScaler

Improved Mpeg decoding

Improved DD and DTS passthru "
"Improved colours"


Many early SDI adopters commented on this, colours were better, but with the Radeon 9500 and the latest software and drivers I no longer see the difference.


"Much better deinterlacing using DScaler"


Actually deinterlacing has improved a bit, however you still get lots of problems such as TT using video based deinterlacing on PAL film material. DScalers video based deinterlacing and its ability to choose the correct method is much better.


"Improved Mpeg decoding"


Panasonic based DVD players have VERY good mpeg decodeing, much better than software only decoders (currently available) and much better than the hardware assisted decoders of the time. This however changed with the latest Radeon cards. Example; the mpeg blocking artifacts that were visible in Monsters Inc (R1) are now completely gone. With the SDI player they weren't visible either.


"Improved DD and DTS passthru"


In theory, DD and DTS passed to a receiver should be identical regardless of hardware or software. In practice I have found that both can make a very big difference. Standalone DVD players also vary in sound quality. I'm very happy with the performance I'm getting with TT and my RME card.
 

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I don't think he really means the mod improved anything, just that the SDI moded player's performance showed improved characteristics over what. STBs in general seem to do a much better job at MPEG2 decoding in general than software players.


For example, one of the worst things my software setup will do to me is give horribly choppy video whenever the camera pans (horizontal or vertical), especially on video material (which, since I collect anime, I have alot of). I run it through my Xbox via Svideo into DScaler, and get buttery smooth payback of the same material.


Of course, Xbox to DScaler via a D/A/D conversion chain isn't sufficient for good live action material, and that's where the SDI mod comes into play. The video never leaves the digital domain. The STB decodes the MPEG2, and sends out a 480i digital signal straight to DScaler which can do a better deinterlace job than pretty much any STB chipset while giving you alot more options and controls.


Now, if someone would just come up with an SDI mod for an Xbox or a GameCube . . .


Kensai
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by HK43
"Improved Mpeg decodeing

Improved DD and DTS passthru "


How does the SDI mod improve these things?
These are improvements that came as a result of having a Denon 1600 DVD player vs Zoomplayer with Cineplayer 4 (the best software combo at that time), SDI is simply a means of getting the best video quality out of it.
 

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PS the great pans have nothing to do with the standalone player itself, its DScalers judder terminator software that makes this possible.
 

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JeffY,


Of course. Suppose I shouldn't have forgotten to mention that. JudderTerminator is your friend.


I'd heard once, quite along time ago, that DScaler was eventually going to be able to function as a low feature ZoomPlayer, a front end for software decode filters, giving us the ability to do the decode in software and then the deinterlace in DScaler, all without ever leaving the digital domain. This always seemed like the best of all worlds to me. Inexpensive and free software, all digital path, impressive amount of control and customizability . . . I've been watching for that ever since. Anyone have any idea if this is ever going to happen for real?


Kensai
 

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SDI elliminates several of the 'noisy' D-A and A-D conversions that take place between your shiny new DVD movie and the screen it eventually ends up being displayed on. Anythime you can reduce the number of times a signal needs to be converted, it reduces the chances of adding extraneous video noise. SDI, when used with a digital front projector and HTPC will allow you to display a picture that never once is converted to analog. Some find that it looks much better, and some people dont see much of a difference at all.
 

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Kensai,


Actually with the newer builds of FFDShow you can load up the various deinterlacing routines now.


So with Zoom Player, FFDShow, Sonic, DScaler installed, and a proper graph and configured FFDShow, you have the capability of using any and all of DScaler's deinterlacing now. Albeit you will need to turn off deinterlacing via the dvd decoder, and have a fast enough PC to go along with DScaler's routines.


-pd
 

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Yeah, not to mention the time, patience and knowhow to swing it. I haven't found sufficient spare amounts of those three things to give it a try yet, though it has been very intriging. Even if I did, my 1.4gig TBrid would seem to be a bit on the spare side for making the attempt ;)


It would just be very nice to get it all integrated into a single application (DScaler) with either a good selection of preloaded graphs or some ability to assist the graphing impaired among us.


I wasn't aware that you could use DScaler's JudderTerminator with FFDShow. Is that possible?


Kensai
 
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