Macroblocking upscale players

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by richjthorpe, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
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    Hi,

    Been reading about the DVD Players that upscale and the comments on Macroblocking.

    Denons 1910 (FR2301) seems to be affected as too the 2910, 3910 and Panasonics S97 (FR2310's).

    The Samsung 745 and 945 use Zoran chips. Do these have the same macroblocking problem as the Faroudja chips ?

    Also, is there anywhere in the SW London area where I can loan out a Denon, Panasonic and Samsung DVD player to test ?

    Thanks,

    Richie.
     
  2. MickyGee

    MickyGee
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    Anyone got the answer to this one as I am looking for a DVD with DVI/HDMI to complement my Sharp LC32GA4 ?
     
  3. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
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    Hi MickyGee,

    From what I read yesterday, the 2301 and 2310 Faroudja chips that are in the latest crop of upscaling DVD players all have problems with macroblocking. There could be updates from Faroudja but I haven't heard anything about it.

    I think it may be worth while holding out for the next generation of upscaling DVD players unless you go for a Prog Scan DVD player.

    Richie.
     
  4. AML

    AML
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    Or you could wait for Blu Ray and HD-DVD. After all whats the point to spend money on a DVD player that tries to do what will be standard in these new formats.
     
  5. Alan D

    Alan D
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    There are plenty of Denon owners who haven't experienced any macroblocking - it is dependent on the screen you have it connected to - and there don't seem to be any hard and fast rules about it.
     
  6. petecowie

    petecowie
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    Yes, cos I doubt many of us are early adopters! Lets face it we all buy an upscaling DVD player now and then a next gen when they become available as well. I personally have bought about 20 DVD players so far and at one point had 11 dvd devices around my house (I live on my own!)

    Besides that I want to watch all the films I currently own in a higher def. now!!
     
  7. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
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    Looking at Blu-Ray/HD-DVD players, they will probably only just become affordable about 2 years after they come out which will be late 2007/early 2008. By then they should either be a clear winner in the Hi Def Disc player race or twin players on the market.

    I've had my DVD player for 3 years as it is and don't want to wait another 3 for Blu-Ray/HD-DVD.

    Richie.
     
  8. Loada

    Loada
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    For Panasonic S97 (or potential) owners, Panasonic have recently released a firmware upgrade to partially address the macro-blocking issues with reasonable success (from my limited testing). There is ANOTHER update out NOW that apparently addresses it further - so things are improving. No doubt Denon (who use the same chipset in the 1910) will probably follow suit.
     
  9. Audionyx

    Audionyx
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    For what its worth, I owned the Denon A11 for a year and waited patiently for the macroblocking fix to no avail. I believe that the problem with the Fardoudja silicon is unfixable and only maskable by certain register settings present in firmwares.

    Unfortunately as the FL23xx is a complete deinterlacing/scaling solution it has found it's way into many products. Interestingly, projectors featuring this chip do not suffer to the same extent - perhaps this is because of the input signal being interlaced/progressive YUV rather than raw digital from MPEG decoder.
     
  10. Loada

    Loada
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    This sounds plausible - the microcode of the Faroudja implementation I would expect to be fixed but there will be "modifiers" that are affected by the licencees' own firmware. I presume this is what Panasonic (and I suppose, Denon) will play with in their firmware releases. It all depends on how they've implemented their firmware, I suppose, as to how much of an effect this tweaking is capable of. Without concrete information however, all this is just supposition.

    As for as the Panasonic S97 goes, I have noticed a marked improvement in quality of certain discs (Aladdin R2 for one) that were pretty much unwatchable on the previous firmware (in Aladdin's case, there was all sorts of flickering artifacting on dark "night sky" images) and are now much much better. Other owners are still reporting macroblocking but a perceptibly less than the previous firmware. Mind you, as with all forum postings, take that with a pinch of salt - people see what they want to see. All I can say is that it worked for me although I wouldn't say that my issue was the "traditional" macroblocking.
     
  11. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
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    Does anyone know if there is going to be a new Faroudja chipset out then ? Faroudja must know that there is a problem linking DVD players with their chips to Plasmas/LCDs.

    Richie.
     
  12. YellowCows

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    Just to corroborate what Darren's just said,

    The FLI23xx family is afflicted with the MB issue across the board, to varying degrees. Depending on your display, the problem might be mild to intolerable, especially so with Panasonic plasmas (which is ironic since Panasonic uses the Faroudja chipset on its HDMI players).

    It's important to note that the FLI chips are video processing (deinterlacing/scaling) chips, which is distinct from MPEG decoders. Samsung uses Zoran MPEG decoders, but the de-interlacing & scaling is done by the Faroudja chips, which do exhibit macroblocking.

    As for the Sharp screen, I have no first-hand knowledge, but from what I've heard and read, this Aquos series is merciless with less-than-perfect signals, so my suspicion is that it may be in the Panasonic camp and emphasise the MB problem. The only way to tell is to actually test the screen with an FLI23xx-equipped player.

    My personal view is that Faroudja have damaged their brand greatly (at least with those in the know) with these chipsets that have been cheap enough that they've been adopted by so many brands into all types of units from the budget to the high-end - players, scalers, display devices, kitchen sinks etc. Great business for Faroudja, great letdown for consumers who think they're getting the latest and greatest only to find the pictures unwatchable.

    Avoid them if you can, I say, and just get a decent prog scan player - MB is a menace.

    HTH :)

    Moory
     
  13. richjthorpe

    richjthorpe
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    Well, don't know what kind of reply I'll get but I've fired off an email to Denon UK asking what they plan to do with the 1910s MB problem. Will the update the firmware like Panasonic or will they put the 2310 into the 1910. Hopefully I wont get a complete dunse at the other end who will pass it on to the correct technical people.

    Does anyone know what the Prog Scan through YUV on the 1910 is like ?

    Richie.
     
  14. paulfoley

    paulfoley
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    I would like to put in my 2 penneth worth. Unlike a lot of people on these boards that have a go at these player I actually own one (Denon 1910). I use this player with a Panny AE500 Proj, I do not see Macroblocking on any disks, in fact my picture at 720p though DVI is absolutely incredible. Before purchasing I awaited a reliable review & eventually read the American Secrets tests on the 1910 & 2910, they saw no Macroblocking & they are very, very fussy!

    I firmly believe that Macroblocking is monitor specific & is caused by errors on badly authored DVD's i.e. it takes an encoding error that you might not notice at Standard Definition & enhances it. Imagine one of the minor Freeview channels showing on a 60" Plasma, whats bad the service or the plasma?

    There are also reports of jitter when using the 1080i mode. I saw this with my own eyes when demoing the player on a four grand Yamaha PJ, bought it anyway because I could use 720p. When I got home I tried 1080i anyway & guess what - no jitter at all on the Panny?

    My best advice is to find an accomodating dealer who will refund / exchange if you are one of the unlucky ones.

    :D
     
  15. Audionyx

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    A "macroblock" is a mean value from the MPEG decoding algorithm (2x2 blocks) that exhibits itself unsurprisingly as a block of sold colour. The FL23xx series of deinterlacer/scaler silicon have an issue re-quantifying the (digital) stream prior to output. Certain firmwares have the microcode that all but eliminates it and as previously explained is all but non existent in projectors using the chip.

    To put things into perspective, I spent a few minutes tweaking gamma and brightness settings and reduced the effects substantially. Ideally the issue should not be present at all but hey, that's consumer electronics for you!

    This worked for me both on Infocus 5700 projector AND Panasonic plasma. One caveat is that if the connection to display is digital then the effects of "noise shaping" present in the DAC's is circumvented.

    If I may just offer one poignant fact : there are always compromises when digital approximates an analogue world!
     
  16. MickyGee

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    Need to change my ageing DVD (Tosh SD100E) and can't wait for High Def DVD.

    I haven't read any issues with Macroblocking on any of the Samsung HD 745/945 DVD's yet. So is a Samsung the safest (and cheapest) bet for DVI on my Sharp ?
    Too many issues around 1910's and S97's to take the risk.

    Too date haven't found anyone using the Sharp/Samsung combination yet.
     
  17. stanleyntl

    stanleyntl
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    Is MB only evident/worse on Prog Scan output i.e. thru the Faroujda chipset?
    If component (interlaced) or RGB scart is used does the problem vanish?
    Have Denon updated firmware for their range to "fix" MB?

    Notwithstanding MB are their other major problems affecting the S97 and 1910?
    Opinions Panny vs Denon would be helpful.
     
  18. KraGorn

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    MB certainly seems to be mostly being discussed in relation to the Faroudja and mainly with regards to Denons (though possibly that's simply due to those being the most popular players using this chip).

    Actually, is MB 'fixable' at all in firmware? AIUI it's a fault in the microcode in a support chip, the firmware could only 'mask' it.
     
  19. YellowCows

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    Stanley,

    Standard-definintion (480i/576i) interlaced signals are not processed by the de-interlacing circuitry in prog-scan dvd players. Hence they would bypass the FLI23xx chip and be free from its resulting MB problems. Denon have released firmware for their various DCDi players that improves the pictures, in some cases (with some displays) all but eradicating macroblocking. There is no firmware on any FLI23xx-equipped player from any brand that totally corrects the problem. Faroudja themselves have not found an algorithm that eliminates MB yet. I suspect there may be no complete solution.

    While there are many displays/projectors where the MB is almost undetectable, I must repeat, if you have a display that has been known to emphasise Macroblocking - again, Panasonic Plasmas (especially the HD variety) are the most severely affected - it is best to avoid players with this chippery.

    Moory
     
  20. stanleyntl

    stanleyntl
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    What players would you recommend then?

    What Denon firmware release should I be looking at for the 1910 model? or 2910 and 3910 models? Where is this located?
     
  21. paulfoley

    paulfoley
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    I do not see it ever & have watched about 20 films so far. I'm also very picky & would say if I had. According to the detailed review / analysis by Secrets in America it is display dependent, they never saw it either. I use it with an AE500 1280x720 PJ over DVI. The problem with these forums is that if 5 people see it & post then you assume that its a major problem?

    If I wanted one I would find a dealer that will swap it over if you see it. If youre OK & dont see it then get ready for one of the crispest, noiseless, most detailed beautiful pictures that you'll ever see on a budget player !

    :thumbsup:
     

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