Guide: How to "upscale" DVDs/Video using Catalyst Control Centre

Grangey.

Distinguished Member
Ok Guys,

I say guide loosley as I would need feedback from others to confirm there is a good difference after anabling and adjusting these settings.

To give you some background, I did not want to have to install any codecs or splitters to playback my DVDs and Blurays, so I discovered these easy to apply settings on how to upscale DVDs in Windows Media Centre (should work on other video files too) by playing around abit, note: I use TMT3 for Bluray playback and it does not effect these settings.

Now first, if youre expecting PS3 style upscaling quality, youre out of luck, unfortunatly the one thing CCC lacks which ffdshow doesnt is the facility to "sharpen" the picture (how well this works I dont know), but I am writing this "Guide" for those of you like me that dont want to mess with codecs and would just like to get a better picture out of their 5xxx GPUs as many like me will have alot of its functions disabled based on recommendation.

Before we continue what I will siggust is you have WMC open in the background, resized to a smaller window so you can access both CCC whilst having WMC running in the background.

So, first you need to navigate "Video" options in CCC and is easiest to select all settings. At this stage, scroll to the very bottom of the screen where you will see "Demo mode", to see the effects the following settings will make I would recommend you enable demo mode so you can see in real time the differences. There are 3 options which are very easy to understand, select "Split Screen Mode"

This should then put a line down the middle of your film which you should have playing in the back ground, left side will be with all settings disabled (how most people have it by default), roght side will show you in real time what differences the settings you are adjusting make.

So my settings look as follows but you may want to adjust them slightly to your own preference as it will all dipend on your display as to what looks right:







Which gives me the following results (dont be a sceptic about the Demo mode, what is displayed on the left is exactly what I would get without enabling these settings)






















(put the image locations in your browser to see them larger and see the differences better)

As you can see, its certainly an improovement.

Let me know how you get on as I would be interested in hearing who else sees a noticable difference with these settings- and if someone using ffdshow with xsharpen etc enabled id be interested in comparing the results.

Also as a final note, please understand I have written this purely for those that dont wish to confuse matters with other programs etc, I am well aware that ffdshow has a great amount of benefits such as HD audio etc aswell, but for those that just want to play DVDs in WMC using nothing more than what comes with Windows and their graphics card, hopefully this will help.

Grangey
 
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cram

Novice Member
To be honest I pretty much turn off all of catalysts video adjustments especially dynamic contrast that just messes with black level IMO. I tend to do most adjustments to do with saturation, contrast, brightness etc. On the projector or monitor itself.

I tend to set deinterlacing to vector adaptive and then turn off enforce smooth playback
 
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Grangey.

Distinguished Member
To be honest I pretty much turn off all of catalysts video adjustments especially dynamic contrast that just messes with black level IMO. I tend to do most adjustments to do with saturation, contrast, brightness etc. On the projector or monitor itself.

I tend to set deinterlacing to vector adaptive and then turn off enforce smooth playback
I can see your theory and can understand why, but there will also be many people just like me that run multiple sources to their PJ/ TV so having to set this up for a graphics card that with everything turned off looking crap, would make other sources which do output pictures perfectly out the box (ps3, xbox etc) look waaay out of wack. This is why it is better to have your tv/pj setup knowing it is at its optimal settings, and then also have the source.

Example, you wouldnt have your TV ISF calibrated, only to then ruin and change all these settings to get your graphics card right would you?

As for deinterlacing and enforce smooth playback, its like i say in the guide, people should tweek this to their own preference which is easy to see, i have these set how they are as they deliver the desired results on my screen :)
 

cram

Novice Member
Well most modern pjs and TVs allow you to save different settings for different inputs. The problem I have with what you've done here is that it is a sort of blind calibration. Ie you're calibrating to nothing over than your personal taste. If you're pleased with the results (and you seem to be) then that's fine. But in general the point of calibration is to get a more accurate picture (colour wise). When people calibrate by eye/taste they tend to end up with an overly bright image. On a couple of the screenshots your whites look slightly overblown to me. Why not try adjusting your settings whilst using something like a thx setup disc (available on quite a few DVDs). There are also loads of free calibration patterns available on the net.

Re the enforce smooth playback setting my understanding of this setting is that it controls what picture processing the card turns off when things get tough, this can actually have a negative impact on playback. Google cheese slice test.

Edit: to improve DVD image quality you may want to look into RGB range levels and also google media centre nominal range reg edit
 
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wolvers

Novice Member
I don't get on with 'dynamic contrast' either.

The main improvement I think you are seeing there is having the dynamic range set to 0-255, which IMO is correct for 7MC playback. TMT appears to use this range as default.
 

cram

Novice Member
Yeah ATI drivers do seem to treat HD and SD video differently. Used to be a big deal a couple of years ago where you had to use a reg hack (or a couple of reg hacks) just to get black levels behaving the same between SD and HD. You can at least control this a bit better through catalyst these days. Quick note on the Dynamic Range setting - this is heavily influenced by the pixel setting set elsewhere in catalyst
 

wolvers

Novice Member
But isn't that because the black levels 'are' different in SD and HD material?

What do you mean by 'heavily influenced by the pixel setting set elsewhere in catalyst'?
 

Berties

Banned
yeah agree with others, disable all those things. I just enable ffdshow resize and set that to 1920x1080, lancos 4 taps. Job done.
 

cram

Novice Member
But isn't that because the black levels 'are' different in SD and HD material?

What do you mean by 'heavily influenced by the pixel setting set elsewhere in catalyst'?
The RGB full vs limited vs YCbCr settings. Depending on this setting the dynamic range behaves slightly differently

Re black levels I'm talking about grey level expansion, the old UseBT601CSC reg hack that had to be used to stop SD content from appeariing washed out
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
But isn't that because the black levels 'are' different in SD and HD material?
Nope - SD and HD video use the same level standards for both broadcast and pre-recorded content. They use YCrCb 4:2:0 with 16-235 Y levels, and 16-240 Cr/Cb levels (centred around 128), and if in the RGB domain the levels are 16-235. (There are differences in the way YCrCb is mapped to RGB between ITU601 SD content and ITU709 HD content - but the levels space is the same)

These standards are also used by HDMI interconnections on most DVD players, Blu-ray players and every satellite receiver and digital TV set top box I've found with HDMI outputs.

There were lots of problems with protected HD and unprotected SD (and I think HD) video being handled differently in Windows - which caused Blu-ray and TV to have different black levels with some drivers and software for a long time (and often required registry hacks to fix)

What normally happened was that SD video was handled incorrectly and appeared 'set up' with grey blacks, and washed out colours. This was because 16-235 content wasn't being kept mapped to 16-235 for HDMI output, and was being output as if it was 0-255 sourced.
 

moominy

Active Member
Ok so can I ask what the preferred settings are for the ati 5xxx cards via HDMI are now?

Im currently using ycbcr 4:4:4 (all other settings off so no dynamic range etc.) which is giving me a slightly washed out desktop but good picture on BR with TMT. However 720p mkv's (tv shows) through mce seem to be washed out.

If I switch to full RGB I get a richer desktop picture and mkv's but loss of black detail in tmt (I assume this is crushed blacks).

I have read there is a hack for mce to set it the same as the desktop but really I want to know what are the best ccc settings before I go messing elsewhere.
 

Stephen Neal

Distinguished Member
It depends on the calibration of your HDMI display in the first instance.

TVs usually default to 16-235 levelspace. This is what a Sky HD box will output, and what is broadcast, and also the default for Blu-ray players etc. However some TVs can be switched to 0-255 levelspace on an input by input basis, and PC DVI monitors (which can be fed HDMI via a simple cable converter) are usually 0-255 as well... Usually Limited = 16-235, Full = 0-255.

MPEG2 and H264 content run in YCrCb (sometimes incorrectly described as YUV) and in domestic situations are in 4:2:0 format. You'd therefore think that YCrCb 4:2:2 would be the most sensible output format for video from an HTPC - as it avoids 4:2:2 to 4:4:4 conversion and YCrCb to RGB conversion. However 4:2:2 means lower colour resolution, which means blurry Windows text if it is coloured, and PCs usually convert 4:2:0 to 4:4:4 internally and from YCrCb to RGB internally, so output in 4:2:2 YCrCb is just introducing more conversions not less.

Also the YCrCb to RGB mapping for SD content is different to that for HD content whilst the RGB standards are the same - so conversion from SD YCrCb to HD RGB and conversion from HD YCrCb to HD RGB makes a lot of sense if you want colours to stay true. (SD Y=0.59G+0.3R+0.11B whilst HD Y=0.72G+0.21R+0.07B - both slightly rounded)

If your TV is expecting 16-235 RGB content (i.e. black is at 16 and white is at 235) then one of the Limited settings SHOULD be the right choice. I currently run RGB 4:4:4 Limited as my chosen setting - on the basis I want to keep the number of YCrCb to RGB conversions to a minimum (as truncation will occur on every conversion - and the PC runs RGB internally AIUI, and the TV ends up displaying RGB. I'm also concerned about 601 and 709 YCrCb being handled incorrectly - as SD and HD YCrCb systems are different)

HOWEVER this relies on the PC, drivers and player software to correctly handle 16-235 sources and output them as 16-235, and to compress the desktop from 0-255 to 16-235. This isn't always a given - particularly with some player software (which also has to cope with 0-255 DVI and VGA displays)

Depending on your OS, Driver version and replay solution there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer, and sometimes you have to alter the output level space from 16-235 to 0-255 to get SD content to display with blacks at 16-235 (as the OS/drivers ignore the 16-235ness of the content and treat it as 0-255, which means when output at 16-235 black is much higher than 16 and looks dull grey) There were ATI reg hacks to fix this in the drivers, and there are some 7MC hacks to attempt to fix this in 7MC, but Windows and its driver/player infrastructure is still far from always correctly handling 16-235 content in a foolproof manner. (And 16-235 has been the standard for digital video for 25+ years, and the 16-235 levels are there for very good engineering reasons)
 
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moominy

Active Member
Blimey ask a simple question! thanks for the reply
Ok so if I understand that right I should make sure everything is set to limited as that is what the tv ultimately ends up displaying.
To complicate matters I think the tv can take either as an input and the the dvdo edge can handle and convert either in the middle (although the edge is telling me what its inputting and outputting which is handy)

I always assumed that the wider colourspace would be the best.

So I now have it set so that the ati is outputting RGB limited, the edge is showing this as RGB and with a video colourspace (not computer) and the tv is recieving RGB with a video colourspace. This will give me the correct blacks and whites?
This is with windows 7 and TMT3 for BR and using MCE for mkv

as an aside (and a little off topic) the edge is showing the sky box as outputting YCbCr 444 (and either bt601 or 709 for SH/HD) is it wrong to input this to the tv as RGB?
 

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