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How much block noise and banding are normal?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Zacabeb, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. Zacabeb

    Active Member

    Jan 17, 2002
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    I have been under the impression that if a DVD player works according to standard, and has no problems reading the disc, it should in theory give the exact same (raw) results from MPEG-2 decoding as any other correctly functioning player.

    It appears this is not true, because looking at the same discs on several different sources (PlayStation2, Xbox, PC through Hollywood Plus card, PC through ATi Radeon), they all give slightly different results. It's annoying me, and now I'm annoyed also by all the faults I'm finding after having bought a 'real' DVD player instead. It doesn't perform any better, actually it's almost as bad as the Xbox.

    The player is the one I ranted about in a thread below regarding its erroneous black level (Philips DVD737). I thought one could get away with a budget DVD player nowadays, but apparently it is not true.

    An example is Fantasia 2000, for instance in the scene where Bette Midler presents the 'Steadfast Tin Soldier'. There is tons of block noise and banding to the right of her in the upper part of the picture, when playing the scene back through the DVD737 (or the Xbox for that matter). When using my ancient Hollywood Plus card, or the PlayStation2, there isn't. I've even studied captures of the scene from the Hollywood Plus card to verify that. The block noise isn't there.

    Why can a brand new, standalone DVD player with an IC released only months ago, not decode the image properly when a 4 year old €30 PC plugin-card can? What is it about MPEG-2 decoding that means no two decoders give the same result, or may not even give a decent one? When compression itself is not to blame for block noise, what is? Crummy cosine lookup tables? Deliberate dropping of data to save memory? Faulty code?

    Anyway, does Philips have any player that works the way it should? That is, decoding the image correctly, and displaying it correctly. What player is that and how much does it cost?

    Thanks in advance and have a merrry christmas. :)

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