Help pls - "Upscaling" DVD player - I *think* I want one

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Napoleon88, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. Napoleon88

    Napoleon88
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    I really suck at this stuff, I have no idea what I'm talking about :blush:

    I've just purchased a Hannspree Xv37 LCD TV. My current Asda cheapo DVD player is dead anyway and I need a new one. I'd like it to be a recorder as well as a player.

    I'd like to buy something that makes the most of my LCD TV, which has the following spec:

    As you maybe able to tell from my choice of TV, I'm a cheapskate, so please bear this in mind with any recommendations you may provide.


    Any help or advice much appreciated :smashin:
     
  2. LV426

    LV426
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    All LCD TVs have scalers built in to them. The native resolution of the TV (according to that spec) is 1366x768. The onboard scaler will take anything incoming that isn't already 1366x768 and rescale it (up or down as necessary).

    Scaling is a process which is best done as few times as possible. Once is better than twice.

    Therefore, unless you can feed the TV with exactly 1366x768, it will rescale. And, if that signal has already been scaled once (in a DVD player, say) then, unless it was done exceptionally well, you will not see optimal results.

    Now, 1366x768 is not a standard video resolution for regular video (it is for PCs). An upscaling DVD player is UNlikely to produce 1366x768 (which might also be written as 768p). It might do, say, 720p (which is 1280x720). Or 1080i (1920x1080).

    And, even if the DVD player could scale to 768p - it would have to do it better than the scaler in the TV for it to be a benefit.

    So, you see - an upscaling DVD player (especially a budget model) is quite unlikely to be a great benefit.
     
  3. wozwebs

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    Great explanation - thanks for that. Am looking for a DVD Recorder with HDMI too
     
  4. Gavtech

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    Well said and well put.

    This is a hard message to get through.
    I daresay all the sales hype does not help.
     
  5. spinalpap

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    Hi I also have a 37" hannspree and was considering a upscaling dvd, but by the looks of things this wouldnt give me the extra quality i desire is there any suggestions how i could make the quality of the image on the screen better...
    many thanks
     
  6. Gedd

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    I have the same LCD and the best picture i have seen and have 2 dvd players 1 normal recorder and the other progressive scan whitch gives a better colourfull pic...but the best picture i've seen for dvd is through DVI-HDMI @ 1080i (1920x1080)...and got to say well pleased with the results....don't think a cheapo dvd player could compare with the PQ....but i am also looking in to getting the Panasonic recorder EZ25...which has freeview built in and HDMI...so could result in a better freeview pic also.
     
  7. Gedd

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    Oh well could'nt help my self...one pana coming tommorow.:D
     
  8. Napoleon88

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    Thanks very much indeed LV426, a crystal clear explanation even for a walloper like me :D

    Given what you've said, could you then recommend a DVD recorder from say, RicherSounds or somewhere similar that would fit the bill?

    Thanks again for the great explanation :smashin: :smashin:
     
  9. LV426

    LV426
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    Thanks for the compliment.

    It's hard to make a personal recommendation as I'm not a tester and don't therefore have the luxury of having tried many out.

    Generally, I'm a liker of Pioneer stuff; I think it's mechanically pretty sound. Don't forget to ask for it to be de-regioned......
     
  10. spinalpap

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    where did you order from? am looking for a decent upscaler too, what price did you pay and from where? cheers
     
  11. Scooby Stevo

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    Thanks again to LV426 for that explanation.

    That helps me out too. :smashin:

    Don't mean to hijack the thread but I'm in a similar dilemma. Need to replace the old tv with a new one. Looking at something around 37" I think (LCD or Plasma). I've already got a Panasonic DMR EX85 recorder.

    Wondered if there was any scope for me "upscaling" the freeview channels from the EX85 to make them closer to HD - and if so if there was anything I should look for in the choice of tv?

    From what LV426 has already explained, unless the DVD player can upscale better than the tv can do itself, then no. - But is there a way I can get a "Higher definition" pic using from my DVD recorder?

    thanks all.

    (Hope this helps other "Novices" in the same boat as me.)
     
  12. LV426

    LV426
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    First of all - you can't reproduce what's not there in the first place, and digital TV and DVDs are standard definition sources, meaning they have 720x576 (PAL) bits of colour information to make up the image. So any method of upscaling this (in a DVD player, in a digital TV, or anything else) uses guesswork to recreate the extra information needed. This is exactly what upscaling is. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Having said that, really clever scalers can take information from successive frames and use that to help understand and hence recreate the original shape of objects, more precisely than by simple interpolation.

    So it can be done, to a degree, and at a cost. A good standalone scaler can and does make a pretty creditable job of estimating what's missing from a low definition image. But let's be clear - for this to be really worthwhile, you're talking about spending probably more than the price of a half-decent large LCD TV.
     
  13. Scooby Stevo

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    Ok thanks again.

    So in your opinion, (and I'm sure others will differ, I know), is "Upscaling" not worth bothering with?

    And do you think I'm best just to settle for standard def and get as good a screen as I can and settle for that?

    I'm not on Sky so don't really have access to HD material at the mo - I watch dvd's, don't play games consoles generally, just want a really nice quality picture (and sound) for watching Sport (via NTL cable as well as through Freeview on DVD player) and for watching films.

    Thanks for helping out the Not-so-techies mate. :smashin:

    Appreciated.
     
  14. son_t

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    Wouldn't you say also that the scaler inside a good DVD recorder (e.g a Panny EZ25) would do a better job than the scaler in your LCD TV?

    I'm coming to a slow realisation that most if not all LCD TVs are pretty poor at accepting SD via SCART and giving good PQ. The only way to get good SD pictures (from Freeview/Sky) on your LCD set is to pump it through an upscaling DVD recorder such as the one mentioned above...

    I think I would rather spend ~£500 on a cheap LCD TV and a further ~£200 on an upscaling DVD recorder to acheive good Freeview PQ, than spend ~£700+ on a branded LCD TV and get poor SD PQ...

    Having read post #2 - anyone know what resolution the EZ25 upscales to?
     
  15. zim_zimmer

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    Surely a DVD player that sends an upscaled image of 720p is better than one that sends an image of 576 to the LCD to play with though?! If you feed it with a lower resolution then you're not going to get a better picture than if you fed it with a higher resolution in the first place... are you?


    Also I agree with you Son_T... unless you can feed your Freeview picture via component or if you're lucky, HDMI, then the image sent by scart is going to be pretty standard compared to the other two options. So if you could feed it via a Upscaling DVD player, and it actually did that common sense would say its going to be a better image??
     
  16. son_t

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    It depends if the upscaler is any good. Remember the first rule: garbage in garbage out...

    The secound rule is: if the picture info is not there then you are making it up! So if the made up picture is bad, it is still bad whether it is 576 or 720...

    My arguments are:
    1. LCD TV's upscalers are poor.
    2. Can't get good SD picture via SCART (RGB).
    3. An upscaling DVD recorder would produce better SD PQ to the LCD TV (assuming that it has a good upscaler)...
     
  17. aekostas

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    I think 3 would be true only if the TV did not need to upscale/rescale the upscaled input.
     
  18. son_t

    son_t
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    So back to post #2 really...

    I found out the upscaling output of the DMR-EZ25 over HDMI; these are the settings from the operating manual PDF...

    [576i/480i][576p/480p][720p][1080i][Automatic]

    So it is very important to get 1:1 pixel mapping over HDMI (to stop the LCD TV from re-scaling the input!)
     
  19. spinalpap

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    how is the panasonic working out, hope its sorted your SD picture quality. :thumbsup: trying to decide on whether this is the right route to go down. with the money saved on the hannspree i can afford a decent dvd player.
     
  20. PhilipL

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    Hi

    Which of course you can't do. Most LCD panels are 768p, and will still scale the image to give some overscan if you did match it completely anyway!

    The only scaler that can scale the picture and give one to one pixel mapping in one go on the first pass is, yep you guessed it, the one in the TV. :clap:

    Because the TV will do a one to one pixel mapping scaling to it's own resolution means it's also going to do the best job of de-interlacing the picture.

    HDMI on standard definition equipment is just a marketing gimmick (a large success by the amount of people 'wanting' HDMI on their low resolution equipment) and for high definition it's main reason for being introduced is for copy protection.

    In the UK our advertising standards do not allow digital cameras to be advertised with the number of pixels on the upscaled picture, for example, advertising a camera as 10M pixels if it only captures 5M pixels then "upscales" it to 10M is not permitted, as you simply are not getting anything better. Clearly for TV standards this is exactly what they are doing, throwing around 1080p and 720p outputs from standard definition sources implying you get a better picture.

    Regards

    Phil
     
  21. Gavtech

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    :smashin: Keep at it Phil.

    I second all Phil's comments above
     
  22. Gedd

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    Well pleased so far....seeing a better pic so far from composite as not had my adapter yet...take a look in the Hannspree 37" thread as posted a couple of pics to compare.
     
  23. aekostas

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    Thank you both for enlightening us. So:

    • If you go down the scart route you have digital-analogue-digital conversions
    • If you go down the HDMI route you have scaling conversions

    Is the conclusion that the best connection is the one for which you already have a lead? ;)
     
  24. son_t

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    Er, if I feed my PC's output at 1360x768 over HDMI to the LCD TV... and the LCD does 1:1 pixel mapping... err... no upscaling needs to be done... I don't know if there are any upscalers on the market which can upscale to 768p but as the '1366x768' panel resolution is now a defacto spec... maybe someone will... Certainly recording devices based on Linux should be able to upscale and output at this resolution (?)

    If your upscaling device is any good, then inputing 720p to the LCD TV would mean that the TV would only need to upscale a small amount (to 768p) as opposed to badly upscaling 576i/p (SD DVD player, for example) to 768p...
     
  25. Gavtech

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    • There is an underlying assumption in there that conversion is fundamentally evil... It's really a theoretical ideal only.
      In practice there are a great many A to D to A conversion in the whole chain.

      ALL Broadcast TV starts out as analogue.

      Other assumptions that are generally held - such as: analogue is better than digital - are also falsehoods.


      I am sure I'll be shot down here, but whilst meaning no offence to those in this thread , I am bewildered by consumers buying cheap CE items, and worrying to such a great extent about connection issues in order to try to attain better quality.

      If picture quality was such a concern, would it not make better sense to invest in quality products in the first place?... especially in the area of TV panels , as they are known to be such quality-challenged items.

      Each to his own I guess.. and maybe not all that constructive or helpful of me.

      I'll just get me coat :)
     
  26. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi

    It is unlikely the TV will show this resolution as it isn't a standard HDMI resolution, if it does accept the resolution, it is just as likely to enlarge it to a slightly higher resolution as a TV wants to overscan, i.e. chop some off the tops and sides.

    Well they would if it made any difference, but TV's don't generally as a rule support 1 to 1 pixel mapping, you need a computer monitor for that. Of course even in that case the picture is still upscaled, just by the computer. Do you think a computer or super expensive graphics card will be any better at upscaling? I doubt it, which is why we all go mad for mega pixel camera's as even with the most expensive and powerful PC you can't add any detail just by increasing the pixel count, and that's on very fast powerful computers that can take as long as they want doing it!

    But that is still two lots of upscaling, you are taking real pixels and diluting them with lots of false pixels to get the extra resolution. Your TV then takes some of the real pixels and a probably a lot more false pixels then upscales and dilutes the real detail even more.

    Upscaling isn't difficult to achieve. Yes some machines can use all sorts of clever tricks to do a very slightly better job on certain types of footage, but it's only slightly better, not enough to notice when you sit back on the sofa. The chip inside your TV is perfectly up to the job.

    Yes I would say so. Of course if you have needed to buy new equipment that comes with HDMI then use it by all means, but don't re-purchase all your standard definition equipment again just because the latest buzz word is "upscale", it's all marketing is what we are saying.

    Having a look in this forum we see no posts from people who have got HDMI on standard definition equipment shouting about how brilliant it is, plenty are wanting it, but those that have then got it seem rather underwhelmed and silent on the matter.

    Regards

    Phil
     
  27. son_t

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    Err... that's why it is important to get a LCD TV set that supports 1:1 pixel mapping... see: http://pixelmapping.wikispaces.com/ and especially the 1366x768 guide.

    As far as I can see 'upscaling' is a digital process... i.e. something a computer can acheive very easily if you have the right techniques and algorithms... LCD TV's upscaling is done by chip but then a chip is a very small computer... So yes a PC (back to post #2, my PC is £1000+) can upscale a lot better than a chip inside my LCD TV...

    Two lots of upscaling... What I am trying to establish is: (A) two lots of upscaling - first good upscale of an extra 144 (720-576) and then second bad upscale of an extra 48 (768-720) is better than (B) one lot of bad upscaling of an extra 192 (768-576).

    That is all...
     
  28. son_t

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    I don't think we are talking about making cheap equipment better... I am sure that any enthusiast who pick up a £30 DVD player knows what to expect in terms of PQ...

    I will give you an example of my case, to make a point about the issues in this thread...

    All I want is a big TV (say 37" plus in size)... I want a big screen not a beast (got one already and it's only 28 viewable inches ;)) So the option is plasma or LCD TVs...

    So my input sources will be SD (analogous to cheap - if you like). I'm not going to go HD (analogous to quality - as you put it) just because my LCD TV is geared towards this HD... I need to improve the PQ of my already existing (quality) SD devices... do you see?
     
  29. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi

    Which is fantastic for something at that exact resolution, such as the Windows desktop, but feeding in a 576i that's been upscaled and squished and squashed, there is no 1 to 1 pixel relationship anyway, so you are not going to see much improvement from going the extra mile to get true 1 to 1 mapping on the last leg of journey!

    But that's just it, there is no algorithm to do magic which can add in more detail that isn't in the original picture. We all know computers are hopeless at real world images, for example, face recognition, because the images are not computer images or from some neat mathematical equation. Millions of pounds go into R&D to get face recognition and it barely works. Do you really think in real time your algorithm (be it in the computer or a TV) is recognising every object in the picture then adding detail intelligently, for example it recognises a face and head with ginger hair then thinks, "I know they would have some freckles with that hair colouring that are missing at this low resolution, I'll add some in to give it more detail" :lease:

    And me or thousands of others haven't tried this already! I've messed about for hours with various options on my computer connected via HDMI to the TV, and not matter what I did, sticking a DVD in the DVD Player connected via Component gave by the fair the most pleasing and natural picture:lesson:

    As for whether two or one upscaling applied will give a better or worse picture just try it.

    If you are trying to build yourself a PC with powerful graphics card and processor in the belief it will give you something better and more usable than a £180 PVR connected via that 'long in the tooth' SCART cable, good luck to you.:thumbsup:

    The way of improving SD is move to high definition. Just connect your existing equipment to the TV via SCART or RGB and that's just about as good as it is going to get, we've gone as far with SD as we can and there isn't a lot more to be done to improve it than will already be sat in the equipment you have.

    Regards

    Phil
     
  30. son_t

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    Nooo... I don't want HD... You can't get CBeebies on HD... you can't get CH4 on HD, you can't get Film4 on HD (or can you? ;))... the list goes on...

    You see I why want to improve my SD? If all of the BBC channels are available in HD (in Scotland) I will definitely get HD... yup no probs... (or maybe not as I would have to pay my license fee and the Sky HD fee... hmmm, no I'll stick with trying to improve SD ;))

    I don't believe so... I will give you an example here... I have a Humax 9200T PVR... I recently bought an LCD TV - 40"... Connected it via SCART via RGB via a good SCART cable to the TV... REALLY CRAP PQ...

    BUT I have a modded Xbox (not 360) running XBMC... connected to SCART. I transfered the .ts recording of Dr Who off the Hummy and watched it using XBMC - the PQ was 50% better!!!

    Tell me what is going on here?
     

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