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HDTV Demonstration - Not That Impressed?

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by Suave, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. Suave

    Suave
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    Hi Folks,

    I was in Leicester this weekend and went to Sevenoaks Sound & Vision. Great place, excellent staff. They had a fully set up massive screen with a projector that they were using. When I saw the picture quality, I thought. WOW, that picture is absolutely fantastic - I really did, it was superb. One of the best pictures I have seen. Then I made a stupid comment - which was that HDTV would be even better than this, at which point I was told that I was watching HDTV!! (Off satellite!) I felt like an idiot!

    Can someone help me out here - I saw a lenghty HDTV demonstration in the USA YEARS ago (on a Plasma) and I was stunned - I remember CLEARLY to this day how vivid the picture was. It had an INCREDIBLE amount of DEPTH and DETAIL to it - a very 3D like picture (but in the screen - nothing coming out of the screen like when you wear glasses). Another thing was that the level of detail was uniform across the picture whether objects were close or far in the distance. The combination of such depth and detail made my jaw drop. This was 6 years ago.

    The set up at Sevenoaks was without doubt state of the art, but the picture was nowhere near as impressive as what I saw in the USA. It had depth and detail but nowhere near what I saw. Objects in the distance were not as clear as those in the foreground and the depth was there but did not give the 3D depth that I saw. It was like a half way house between Normal TV and HDTV that I saw. I asked if I could see iot on a plasma and we choose a great Pioneer HDTV compatible screen. It was good but again not as good as the HDTV demo in the USA I saw. Again , it was 50% of the USA demo.

    It left me bemused and kind of deflated as I was told that when sky gets up and running, this is what we will get. I was just half turned on as opposed to to having an orgasm when comparing what I saw in the USA and what I saw here. Is it me or are there different versions of HDTV elsewhere with different picture qualities/resolutions? Its just that there really was that much of a difference. All you experts on HDTV, talk to me!

    Regards,
    Suave!
     
  2. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    sUAVE: The detail in close and far away stuff you saw previously was due to the lens used in the camera I think you'll find. Film on HD will not have the same look as stuff recorded with HD Videocamera's. This is true with SD TV. If you see something like Strctly Come Dancing it looks sharper than ET.

    You also need to remember that your perception of sharpness and detail is tied to the distance away from an object and it's size. Look at a 21" portable from 8ft away and it looks sharp. Look at a 6ft wide image from 8ft away and it'll likely not be that sharp or pretty.....

    So in essence I think you will find that some programme material on HD will be as you remember and long for and some will not.

    Gordon
     
  3. Nick_UK

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    What Gordon is saying is perfectly true.

    Also, I suspect that when you saw the demonstration in the US, you were comparing it to something rather less than what you can compare it with now ?
     
  4. AML

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    I have a Q.

    Today I was watching "The Jackal" on Japanese TV. Yes it is Digital TV and the resolution here is 1125i.

    The picture was nice, but I noticed that in dark scenes, there were horizontal lines throughout the picture.

    Its not as bad as the macro blocking we see on DVDs bit its still distracting.

    Still the picture on the channel the jackal was on still isnt as nice as another channel called BS HI. On which all the programs that are shown are programs filmed with Hi Vision (Hi Def) cameras.

    The picture on this channel is the most amazing thing ive ever seen. Similar to what Suave was reffering too.

    Since most films that are out these days havent been filmed with hi def cameras, is it really going to be worth geting an HD DVD player or Blu Ray plpayer?

    I ge the feeling we wont see such a huge improvement unless all new movies are made with hi def cameras.
     
  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    The point I was making was more to do with lenses rather than film v video. Good transfers of modern films will look great. I've seen clips of Spiderman2, 50 First dates etc on BluRAY...it's not shabby!

    Gordon
     
  6. Suave

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    Hi all,

    I have no doubts whatsoever at what Nick said that the equipment used at the demo I saw this weekend at Seven Oaks was better than that of what I saw in the USA 6 years ago as that would make perfect sense - 6 years in the technology world is a fairly long time which is why I was disappointed at the picture quality I saw over the weekend over that I saw in Arizona 6 years ago which was far better but IT SHOULD NOT have been it makes no sense! I just hope Gordon is right and that it was due to the lenses that were used or some other logical expanation! I just know what I saw! Another thing, at the Sevenoaks demo, The picture was not as SHARP (you noticed some lack of sharpness at edges) whereas the USA demo the picture sharpness was as sharp as can be. I wanted you all to know as all of us are going to spend an awful lot of money on HDTV when it comes out and I dont want it to be an anti climax and in true British fashion, just accept what we are given, pay through the nose for it when I THOUGHT that there was something POSSIBLY better out there that we deserve!

    Suave!
     
  7. AML

    AML
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    Could it be that your memory also isnt as Sharp as it used to be? :D

    6 years is a long time in human terms. It could be that your eye sight has deteriorated in the last few years? :rotfl:

    Anyway. There are times when they will show something at a show that never actually materialises. A bit like a concept car. When u see it, you think WOW :eek:
    But even after so many years what comes out is never the same.

    On the other hand, it could be that what you saw then is the same now, but it just doesnt have the same impact coz you have seen it before.

    Its too early to tell anyway. Both Blu Ray and HD DVD have still to come out. Not to mention the optimisiations that will occur over time.

    Look at the difference between 1st generation DVDs and what we have today. Both in disk quality and player quality.

    Networks can also optimise their services over time. Since Hi def broadcasting is still something new, its going to take time to get better.

    Just wait a few years then you will see the power! :)
     
  8. Rimmer

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    One thing worth considering is how HDTV compatible were the displays you were looking at. HDTV has a resolution of either 1280 x 720 pixels, or 1920 x 1080. Pioneer's 43" PDP435XDE plasma has a resolution of 1024 x 768, which is not enough to resolve 720p, so some downscaling is necessary. It means you are not seeing the full resolution of the broadcast material (I assume your were watching a HD1's HDTV channel in 1080i).
     
  9. Stephen Neal

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    The US stuff the original poster saw - where everything was sharp an in-focus - irrespective of distance from camera - is purely a function of the way the material was shot, not the resolution.

    If you shoot a brightly lit exterior scene with a decent video or film camera, then you have to control the amount of light reaching the film or image sensor to avoid over exposing the picture. If you use the camera iris to do this, and reduce the iris to a very small size, then you have an incredibly large depth of field, and everything looks "in focus" irrespective of distance.

    This can look amazing for HD demonstrations, but isn't actually what directors and directors of photography always want to achieve. Having a shallower depth of field, with a face in focus, but the background blurred, can be used for dramatic effect.

    If you have low-light conditions, you open the camera iris up, but this reduces the depth of field of the camera, meaning there is more differential focus going on. (i.e. foreground in focus, background out of focus etc.) If you want to achieve the same effect in high brightness conditions (say outside on a sunny day) - then you start playing with ND filters etc. to reduce the light levels coming into the camera without closing the iris down too much.

    HD material shot for demos is notoriously "bright and shiny" and "sharp" and "in focus" and "saturated" and "fluid". This is what people superficially admire in an HD demonstration. However HD isn't there just as a demonstration - it is used to make real programmes.

    Hollywood could shoot all their films in a brightly saturated, fully in focus look if they wished, but this isn't always justified artistically - and the same goes for HD production!
     
  10. cerebros

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    I'm with Stephen Neal on this. Ignoring the fact that the OP is comparing something they saw 6 years ago with something different entirely seen a couple of days ago, I suspect his disapointment is more down to a combination of the way the material was shot and the equipment used to shoot it.

    Out of interest, what was it that Sevenoaks were using as demo material? (i.e. sports footage, concert, movie etc) I live in Leicester myself, so I might pop in and have a look if the demo is still being run .
     
  11. Stephen Neal

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    I've been watching HD demos since the late 80s - European, Japanes and American.

    In my experience demo material is optimised to make it look "glossy" and "bright and shiny". However the demo material doesn't actually look like the content many of us want to watch most of the time - it is usually travel sequences (blue seas, golden sands, bright sunshine, coloured birds etc.)

    When you see HD used for more normal applications, like music, drama, sport etc. the difference is less "in your face" - because the content is similar to what we've seen before. However when viewed on a decent display - the best HD I've seen is still from a direct-view CRT (a broadcast quality model) - though I've seen good stuff from 3xCRT projectors in dark conditions - the sharper, cleaner pictures are noticable.

    Personally I like the extra clarity and reduced line-structure, but I still like the dramatic use of film grain, reduced depth of field, when it is justified. Just because we have HD it doesn't mean we have to shoot so that everything is perfectly sharp all the time, and that there are no artefacts.
     
  12. cerebros

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    Or at least no artefacts that shouldn't be there...
     
  13. Suave

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    Hi again Folks!

    Well, after reading what you all wrote, I do feel much better about HDTV - I took in your points with interest. AML made a valid point about eyesight/memory function but in this case I can assure you these were not a factor - the experience was just too dramatic as it was a first time experience and due to my industry, I have had years of intense technical training which relies on ones ability to retain, store & recall information accurately (or people die!). I have to have my eyes tested every 6 months. (OK, I am going to bragg here, but I have been told I have as perfect a vision a human being can get and I still meet the same parameters today! - If only I can say that about the quality of women in my life!). The fact is the USA demo 6 years ago was far superior to the one off the satellite feed I saw in Sevenoaks in Leicester last week.

    AML was perfectly correct to make the statement as many in my industry lose their jobs because they all of a sudden do not fit the memory/eyesight criteria - and these are folks who are very highly trained and technically competant. Its a fact, as we get older, we lose the qualities of our faculties but we ourselves rarely notice as the change is so gradual that we become accustomed to it.

    I too cannot believe that something 6 years older in technology is better than what is available today. Rimmer, I had no idea that HDTV could be run on 2 different resolutions and no idea what the resolution was in the USA demo or the one in Leicester. May be the USA demo was using the higher of the 2 resolutions you mentioned or maybe it was filmed in a way to give maximum dframtic effect due to the way it was filmed as others have mentioned - I just don't know! (But would not 2 different resolutions not give 2 different picture qualities? - ie: Lower Resolution = Lower Picture Quality & Higher Resolution = Higher Picture Quality? (like comparing standard VHS to S-VHS? - the difference is clearly visible) or have I got it wrong again?

    Thanks also to Gordon, Stephen Neal & Cerebros for the info about cameras, lenses used, way things are shot etc - I had no idea so did not know they could affect the outcome of the picture quality. I know better now! If we are getting something less than we expect or is inferior to that available elsewhere, it looks to me like you guys will pick it up and thats good enough for me! I just did not want us all to pay the price (in all its forms!) for a Ferrari and end up with a Ford!!

    Someone mentioned they lived in Leicester and if Sevenoaks still had the HDTV on demo - I'm sure they do as it was very well set up, they must have gone too some trouble - you have the choice of watching it on a fairly huge (8 foot I think) projector screen or on a plasma screen. I would be grateful for your thoughts on it.

    Thank you all,
    Suave!
     
  14. Stephen Neal

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    6 years ago - if the HD was off-air (US ATSC HD launched in 1998 ISTR) then it would have been 1080/60i or 720/60p - NBC and CBS are 1080, CBS (and now Fox) are 720, Fox was 480 then.

    However it is likely that you were watching on a 1080i CRT display 6 years ago - either a tubed projector or a direct view TV. This will have displayed the material in native interlaced format.

    If you were watching a DLP or LCD projector, or an LCD or plasma direct view screen, in Sevenoaks, then it would have been converting the 1080/50i or 1080/60i HD off-air signal from the satellite to progressive via a de-interlacing algorithm, and in the case of many projectors, also down converting to 1280x720 resolution from 1920x1080.

    As I have said before it may have been showing "real world" programmes as well - rather than HD "demo" material optimised to show off the platform. ISTR that in the early days of US HD most of the networks didn't make much in HD - and for much of the time they pumped out test loops (PBS certainly did this - showing loads of travel documentaries?)

    As long as they simulcast their analogue signal in SD on their digital slot they could show anything they liked in HD ISTR.
     
  15. Stephen Neal

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    Well there are artefacts introduced for artistic purposes (fake film grain, excessive film flicker effects etc.)

    There are also artefacts introduced by the production chain - HDCam VTRs reduce the horizontal resolution from 1920 to 1440 horizontal samples when they record for example.
     
  16. dan1979

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    This is very true, something I'd not thought of. The one HDTV demo that really impressed me was the Magic of flight. Thinking about it, it looks so good because of the gleaming red planes and bright blue skies none of the other demos really stood out and a lot of the film trailers looked only marginally better than a good dvd transfer
     
  17. Suave

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    Hi Stephen Neal,

    Suave here! Thanks to you and all for your input! The demo I saw in the USA was not off air but a stored demo of many scenes (mainly scenery & some with folks doing activities) All I can tell you was it was shown on a 42" plasma screen by Runco if that helps. Maybe that can better tell you waht resolution it was using? There was one demo of a walk through a forest and it just blew my socks off! So freaking 3D & Sharp! The demo in Leicester Sevenoaks was of a satellite channel (called HD1 or something) and that too was of scenery & folks doing things although not the same ones. Some were better than others - ie to me the demo of the Sahara or the sea town view was not as good as the demo of the Taj Mahal. Like you all said, it was probably down to the lenses used and the way things were shot?

    Regards,
    Suave!

    Still Confused about one thing though: Why are there 2 HDTV resolutions - 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080? Is one better than the other - That would make sense to me... and which of these two are we here in the UK going to get? One seems a lot better resolution than the other. Why would anyone want the lower resolution when they can have the higher which surely gives a far better picture?
     
  18. RecordablDVDfan

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    So Japan uses a non-standard even higher HD resolution than the USA etc ?
     
  19. Stephen Neal

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    Nope - 1125 is the total number of lines, 1080 is the number of active lines that contain pix, not including the lines used for field blanking etc.

    It is like the 625 line system in the UK being described as 576, or the US 525 system being described as 480.

    (The Japanese system originally had 1035-1050 active lines, but has adopted 1080 since their digital launch AIUI)
     
  20. Quickbeam

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    720p (1280 x 720) uses progressive scanning - hence the 'p'
    1080i (1920 x 1080) uses interlaced scanning - hence the 'i'
     
  21. Suave

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    Hi, can you explain to me what the difference is between progressive & interlacing? Which is better and what will we get?

    Thanks!
    Suave!
     
  22. Isamu Chan

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    Suave, try a google search for all the details, but basically:

    progressive displays - all other things being equal - are preferable because movement is smoother and more filmic than via interlace.

    With HDTV, however, all is not equal. You can choose between a smaller resolution with smoother movement, or a greater resolution with less smooth movement. Different people have different opinions as to which is preferable.

    It, I believe, is up to the broadcasters/providers to choose which we get. As was noted in a previous post, US broadcasters choose differently. I think Sky are rumoured to be choosing 720p - but I don't know of an official announcement.
     
  23. Dutch

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    Yes, SkyHD are going to use 720p50 as recommended by the EBU, but other broadcasters on the SkyHD platform may use 1080i50 (aka 1080i25) and the HD STB will be able to output either resolution.

    Steve
     
  24. Stephen Neal

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    Has Sky only using 720/50p been confirmed anywhere?

    Whilst I wouldn't be surprised if they went 720/50p for sport, I would be if they chose it for their movie channels.

    (Of course their sports coverage may actually be originated in 1080/50i and cross-converted to 720/50p for transmission.)
     
  25. Dutch

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    Hi Stephen,

    I was just going by this quote from Sky - I've not seen it confirmed anywhere else.

    BSkyB believes that a progressively scanned picture format is better suited
    for the delivery of HDTV to the large screen, flat panel displays (mostly
    plasma or LCD) that are increasingly prevalent. These displays are
    progressively scanned and 720/P/50 is currently the maximum progressively
    scanned format that is deployed in consumer decoding and display devices
    expected to be widely available over the next few years. However, BSkyB
    acknowledges that, for some types of programming, the higher screen
    resolution offered by the 1080/I format may be preferable.


    I took from that, that Sky themselves would only use 720p50. I guess we'll find out for sure next year. :)

    Steve
     
  26. Rob.Screene

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    Wow, Sky recognising that interlaced broadcast isn't a good idea as most viewers with be using digital progressive panels. Such a good call gives me hope. I'd have guessed that they'd have marketed it with the bigger number=better approach of "1080".

    Also, at a modest bitrate they will probably broadcast at, 1280x720p will most probably look better than a bit starved 1920x1080i when things move.

    That's the difference I've noticed with the 720p and 1080i clips that I've seen is that 1080i only looks better when things are pretty still at the usual 14-16Mbps.

    Well probably with the exception of D-Theater 1080i D-VHS tapes that are at 28Mbps that is, but I haven't seen those.

    Rob.
     
  27. 1080 jawbreaker

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    the hdforum sat channel demo footage might change your mind,
    and try to get a DLP TV demo next time, or a 1080 crt :smashin:
     
  28. Oakleyspatz

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    Nobody has mentioned that the projector Sevenoaks was using to display the HD image may well have been a lower resolution projector which was having to down scale the image. This is common with all but the very highest range of DLP projectors which have an upper resolution of 720p and only a very small handful at £20k plus prices have a native resolution of 1080i. Assuming it was a DLP projector used, it may well have only had a resolution of 576p ( as do most DLPs up to £3000) which is a bit like running DVD Audio through a mono radio. You get sound, but it's not close to what the technology is capable of.
     
  29. Stephen Neal

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    Sorry to be picky - but no DLP projector that I know of has a native resolution of 1080i - DLPs are inherently progressive so can't display "native interlaced". I think you mean 1080p.

    Whilst it is widely accepted that 720p is pretty equivalent in vertical resolution terms with 1080i (due to the Kell factor and vertical pre-filtering required in interlaced system to reduce interline twitter) - the horizontal resolution is often overlooked. If a 1920x1080i signal contains full horizontal information it will look sharper horizontally than a 1280x720p signal - even if they look about the same vertically.

    Though of course the quality of the 1080i to 720p de-interlacing and scaling also play a big part in this.

    If the projector was DLP it is highly unlikely it was 1920x1080 - and possibly very likely a single, rather than three, chip model. If the projector was LCD then it is likely to have been a 3 panel device - and possibly higher res than 1920x1080.

    The original HD demo the OP saw may well have been displayed on a 3 tube CRT or low-brightness, very sharp, direct view CRT - DLPs and LCDs are brighter, and easier to use, but they aren't actually sharper...
     
  30. Oakleyspatz

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    So Stephen, from that rather detailed comment, would I be correct in thinking that you are agreeing with me ? That the projector probably wasn't of a native resolution to do HD justice? Your comment about :

    "If the projector was LCD then it is likely to have been a 3 panel device - and possibly higher res than 1920x1080."

    seems a little optomistic as most of the current crop of LCD projectors have an upper limit of 720 lines of resolution so it would seem safer to assume that this would be the resolution viewed ( if it was indeed LCD)
    Currently DLP have the better image quality compared with LCD and CRT's are dinosaurs now and I very much doubt if Sevenoaks would be trying to market big cumbersome CRT projectors nowadays.
    I think the best way is to let Suave tell us exactly what projector was being used to display the HD image.
     

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