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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While I have all three players installed on my radeon equipped HTPC for my G15 I have found the following which apparently doesn't correspond to the majority on the HTPC forum who are using presentation pieces other than D-ILA and I'm wondering why. I have found the best combination of useability and picture to be PowerDVD.

The ATI-player fouls up aspect ratios all the time and is a bit heavily saturated to me.


WinDVD, newest version, has fewer aspect ratio issues but to me doesn't look quite as clear and when aspect ratio problems do arise it has less flexibilty than PowerDVD does.


While the general consensus seems to be that ATI's player has the best pic and is worth the hassles I sure don't see the pic as being superior on a D-ILA.


What do you guys use and why?


Larry




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I'm surprised you're not getting opinions on this, Larry.

I would like to know what they all think about it too.


I have one PC equipped with a Geforce2 MX. And another one with a Radeon VE. I have WinDVD 2000 and PowerDVD 2.5 in the Geforce system. And both along with the ATI player in the Radeon PC.

After switching around between all the combinations I think my take on it is that they all make such a pleasing picture that it's hard for me to have a preference when it comes to that.

My preference will eventually be the one which runs the smoothest and gives me the least headaches. Right now the jury is still out on that for me.


Bob


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah Bob so am I and I am really interested in other peoples results!

Maybe everyone is being REALLY productive unlike us http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif


Larry


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Hi Larry,


I also have all three players installed on my Radeon HTPC, and I agree the ATI player is the most quirky and has the most difficulty with aspect ratios. However, it does work fine for anamorphic DVD's which are 90% of what I watch, so I'm using it as my primary player.


On PowerDVD and WinDVD I find the picture to be "colder" and "flater" than ATI. It could just be a personal preference for the saturated colours of the ATI player.


Where I find the ATI player really shines is rendering of smoke effects and diffuse lighting. On the other players smoke just blends into the scene, but on ATI it looks realistic and three-dimensional. The concert scenes in "Almost Famous" are a good example.


I also find the gamma adjustment on the ATI player to be critical for my D-ILA. The absolute black level is poor compared to a CRT, so the projector needs all the help it can get in rendering shadow detail. By moving the gamma slider up 4-5 notches I get a picture that looks closer to HDTV in shadow detail and dim scenes.


PowerDVD doesn't have a gamma adjustment, and I still haven't figured out how to enable the gamma on WinDVD (although I haven't tried very hard).


Hopefully the next version of the ATI player will address some of the outstanding bugs.


Dave.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
good question!


The other deeper level to my initial question is why so many people turn up their nose when PowerDVD is mentioned as the player of choice. Unless of course they love to tweak...in my case I have my "tweak satisfaction quotient" satisfied messing with the projector alone.


Larry


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I never got the ATI player to work reliably.


I mostly use WinDVD 2000 because it looks best, but I have a recurring problem where it randomly zooms in to 20 pixels from time to time.


I've always liked the interface of PowerDVD best(I have 3.0), but sometimes primary colors are rendered in a blocky fashion which is more distracting to me that the occasional zoom issue on WinDVD.


I should do some research on the on the latest patches, but I'm too busy actually watching movies.


-Dean.
 

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Quite honestly I use the ATI because I beleive it has the best picture quality of the three.


With a fresh boot and the atidvd.reg file executed via a Dilard macro before the player starts up, I rarely have a problem with any DVD(knocking on wood).


Chris
 

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Thanks Dean,

Frankly I have been using the ATI player exclusively because I felt it would best utilize the hardware and it has worked ok but, CCLAY can you tell me how to get the atireg.exe working. I got the files from MikeM and every time I start the player I get errors and it shuts down. I posted this question in the HTPC forum and surprisingly got no help.


Thanks


Gil
 

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Thanks to a lot of very helpful people on this forum I finally got the ATI player tamed. After a lot of critical viewing I went back to WinDVD 3.0.


The horizontal pans on the ATI are smooth but I have noticed occasional very jerky vertical pans; much worse than the occasional WinDVD horizontal micro stutters.


In addition, I have noticed a very slight vertical jittering in the ATI dsiplay card itself, almost as if it were interlaced, (which it obviousely is not).


Lastly, although it was marginally sharper and had marginally better color depth, (certainly enought to notice both immediately), I could not get it to look quite right on my D-ILA. In fact after days of tweaking I decided, just for grins, to remove the filters from my Elsa Gladiac GTS-2 and try that.


WOW! It looked great! The sharpness went up enough that I did not miss the ATI board at all. But the colors and shading were outstanding.


The difference between the best I could tweak the ATI board/player, (believe me, I spent hours!), and the unfiltered GTS-2/WinDVD was night and day. Needless to say, I'm returning the ATI today.


One of the things I've mentioned before is that the ATI won't output reference level signals. I think that the D-ILA is very sensitive to this. Even with tweaking the gamma on the ATI I just couldn't get it quite dialed in.


Just the same, I have high hopes that their next release player will fix all of the bugs the current one has. I also hope that the Radeon 2 will do a better job of driving the outputs to reference and somehow get rid of the vertical jittering I noticed on the current Radeon.


When the Radeon 2's hit the streets I'm sure there will be brave souls who will put in the time to get it up and running and we'll see the reviews flowing in. If/when it's stable enough, I'll certainly give it a try.


Just one man's opinion,

Phil
 

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I am currently using the ATI player on my D-ila, via AIW Radeon. Previous HTPC had Geforce/WinDVD 2000. I have not tweaked to the last degree (theres always room left), but what I have come up with is ATI, for these main reasons:


1) Gamma. Powerstrip gamma is very coarse / unuseable , at least with the Radeon. D-ila needs the gamma adjustment.


2) I have ironed out (or never had) many of the "issues" others have had with the 4.1 DVD player. It wont remember the gamma sometimes, but that is the only problem I have.


That said, I will point out what I have noticed about the ATI player, and winDVD:


1) I use 60 hz refresh. To me, pans are clearly smoother compared to 72, 75, or any other frequency (that "should" be right or otherwise). I have even used 48Hz somewhat, but somehow, 60 is smoother as well. My experience, "smootheness" wise is 60 is best, then 72, then 48. A bonus is less bandwith for your cables / VGA DA / Projector. I get much less phase/tracking variation / warm up time variabilty at 60 hz.

Note that most of my refresh testing has been done with ATI, and I assume similar results with winDVD.


2) The ATI player has the chroma bug. This will probably get folks going, but Its there on my system, with this qualification: Only on 30fps material. It is also exagerated by using the "Radeon" setting in "decode quality" of any/latest DVDgenie. I have found "Full CPU" is the best. In 24fps, I see no change. I also see no evidence of the chroma bug. But in video sourced stuff, all bets are off. WinDVD has not the chroma bug problem, no matter what the source. I have HEARD that PowerDVD has the Chroma bug - I have 3.0 but have never tried it - maybe I should. For those not familiar with the Chroma bug, do a search, and you should find some reference to it. It is suprisingly common problem, and its not just HTPCs.

I think in one of the above posts it was mentioned that "primary colors" appeared blocky. THAT is the chroma bug. Esp. red, but blue will do it also sometimes. Check out Don Henley concert - lots of red lighting / background effects. Try it on the ATI with the decode at "Full CPU" and at "Radeon" - see for yourself. Its there in both modes, but more tolerable in the "CPU" mode. It ain't there at all in WinDVD. There is a part of "Toy Story" I think its maybe even a static menu screen, that everybody points to to display the chroma bug, but on my system, (TS being 24fps) I see no evidence of the problem, and my kids LOVE TS2. So there, its weird, but thats my experience.

I also have switched "adaptive deinterlacing" on / off. Makes no diff. It will, however, screw up some fine details in film mode stuff, however. Leave it off, IMO. Check out the "monsters" preview in TS2 (obviously 24fps), and watch the door panel details shimmer when AD is "on". I have never witnessed its improvements - but there may be some in video mode.

So maybe this thread should be what is the best player / setup parameters for Radeon / D-ila / in 24fps, and what is best for 30?


Lets not forget the chroma bug thing either.


- Just my observations - If anybody knows how to fix the problems I am seeing, Im ready to switch players / change settings.
 

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Gil,


I've modified mine a bit so maybe it'll work for you. E-mail if you want, I'll send it tonight.


The atidvd.reg file, btw, includes a gamma setting to overcome the problems mentioned above. The ATI player has been very stable with using the .reg file as long as you start off with the ATI player. I've had a problem or two using WDVD first then switching to the ATI player. Lock ups, rapid repeating of a few seconds of the opening of the disc(Columbia Tristar intro), or just a plain no start. Very bothersome.


Iamjcl,


I've tried the refresh tests for 60, 48, 72, 73.xx(current), and saw very little difference in any of them. Do you have any particular scenes in, say, Fifth Element that you could give as reference scene to test or see the differences you mention?


The one thing I really don't like about the lower rates is the fact that the DILA will now sync to a lower source input unless you force. I prefer to "Auto" for various reasons.


Chris
 

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True, a 60hz refresh will not "autosync" to SXGA 3, but I just have it manually selected - that's pretty much the only thing I feed it on that RGB input - 1080i goes in on the component input.


When I did some refresh testing, I recall using the opening to "Prince of Egypt" with pans of detailed animated landscapes, in the first minutes of the film, mostly.


I have tweaked alot of other things since that time, and will try it again when I have time and see if I still see the same things.


Anybody have any info on a fix / fixes for the chroma bug?

Do all agree with my comments on it as I have laid it out above (Power DVD supposedly has / always had it across the board, WINdvd does NOT have it, and ATI shows some artifacting relating to it on video source material only, with no settings that I tried through DVDgenie or ATI player itself being able to eradicate them)? I have never seen anybody comment on the ATI player exhibiting this problem, and I can't believe I would be the first to spot it, but I do think most viewers are watching 24fps material when checking out SW dvd players - I have quite a few concerts to go with my film discs, and these often have great (colorful / bright) lighting that will show up the problem


- Chris.
 

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CCLAY,


Please send me the files and I'll try it again. I tried posting for help on this. When I loaded the file the player would not run. Actually I installed WinDVD 2000 (3.0) on the weekend and it works well. I ran a few DVDs and the PQ was acceptable but did not seem to have the punch of the ATI player, although it might have been the source material so I really need do a bit more testing.


Thanks


Gil
 

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Gil, you got mail.


Chris, do you have Live at the Beacon? That's got a lot of color in it. Maybe you could pick a scene or two that you've noticed this in and I'll look at them and compare the two players.


Chris
 

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Chris,


I do have JT Live at the Beacon, and I took a very quick look at it on my Radeon / ATI, using my CRT monitor.


Check out chapter 2, @1:06; look at the blue spotlight on the left side of the screen, which is down on the stage, pointing up at about a 45 degree angle. Notice the "stair step" effect around the blue beam ?


Chapter 3, @ 3:38, same light, same problem.


Chapter 3, @ 4:08, look at the red area above the black musicians' head (to the right side of JT) - all of these shots are only a few seconds each, so you may have to check them a few times.


Red is always the worst color, but alot of the reds in this disc are not intense enough or whatever to really be noticeable, but they are there. Blue is usually not as bad, but on this disc they are there also. Most of the time the "chroma bug" is defined as being either present or not present in a particular decoder (HW or SW), but I see varying degrees of the problem. It was also noted somewhere that I saw that the Sony 9000ES player (which HAS the chroma problem, whereas the 7000 which I have does NOT have the problem - go figure) has the problem to a lesser degree than most "chroma bug" players. It could be that the ATI player has a "mild" case of the bug.


Try watching these scenes with the DVDgenie setting of "full cpu" and "radeon" and watch the changes - subltle but there. To me, the ATI has too many jaggies if set to "radeon" mode when watching 30fps material. See what you think about the jaggies and the chroma bug.


- Chris.

 

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A quick addendum to the above ramblings:

I had been assuming that most / all of the above information

was 30fps specific, but on viewing chapter 12 of Gladiator,

as was suggested for judder testing, I notice that in "full cpu mode" the de-interlacing is wrong / bad / off. Tons of jaggies and line twitter. Very strange. When set to "Radeon" (via DVDgenie of course) the deice is again perfect, but the menus / etc... are again full of jaggies and problems, just as 30fps concerts are all the way through, unless Full CPU is selected.


So, "Full Cpu" for 30fps material, or you get jaggies.

Chroma bug no matter what with 30fps.


"Radeon" for 24fps, or you get jaggies when in 24fps mode.

No chroma bug at 24fps.

Apparently, the menus etc... on the discs are not flagged properly for 24/30fps or either they ARE 30fps, or either the ATI player cant figure it out.


Too much trouble to remember to set DVDgenie to diff. modes depending on what you are going to watch.


WindDVD needs GAMMA!


My D-ila is quite dark without it; hence, all the trouble

to try and like the ATI player.


I understand it HAS gamma, but you have to enable HW Acceleration, which I presume will involve possibly jaggies in 30fps or chroma bug or both?


I don't want to put WinDVD on this system because the ATI player, while giving everybody else fits, behaves perfectly on mine, and it was weird on my PIII machine that had WinDVD and ATI installed simultaneously. I guess I could install "Go back", which is currently not installed, then install WINdvd, then try it out, and then back it off if it doesn't solve any problems. I would love for it to work, especially since it can play .vob files from ripped DVDs. If it can do that, with gamma, and play nice with 24 and 30 fps material, I'm a convert. I never had any problems with 2.64 on my GeForce 256 / PIII machine.


Anybody have both installed and can comment on the above ramblings and tell me which player does what when ?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Iamjcl:




WindDVD needs GAMMA!


My D-ila is quite dark without it; hence, all the trouble

to try and like the ATI player.

Actually WinDVD doesn't need Gamma, it just needs the Radeons overlay brightness to be set correctly. This is done through the driver and not WinDVD or Powerstrip.


Jeff
 
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