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Scaling for NoooObs!

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs Forum' started by bonc, Aug 15, 2005.

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  1. bonc

    bonc
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    Ok guys,

    Ive read countless threads and spoken to dozens of personel from the big electronic houses (slight exaggeration), but still no one can clarify the following in layman terms...

    here we go,

    If I have a: LCD screen - resoloution 1378 x 768

    and a dvd player outputting 480p through its components.

    I am under the understanding, the screen will naturally upscale the signal to its native resoloution i.e 768

    this therefore means I am then enjoying a HD 780p picture.

    or

    I am still only getting 480p fed through to my screen and am still not yet on the HD ladder?

    Secondly,

    If I then want to enjoy a 1080i picture, I will need to buy an upscaling dvd player such as the Samsung 950 and feed it the signal.

    my screen will then take that 1080i signal and

    a: downscale to its native resoloution 768?
    b. do some additional scaling and show a 1080i picture?
    c. not scale at all and just output a 1080i signal using the dvd player scaler?

    if anyone could clarify this phenomenon, much appreciated for all the noobs alike!

    thank you

    p.s Samsung LE26R41BD screen
     
  2. jw250

    jw250
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    You will still only be getting a 480p picture. The screen will effectively 'scale' this to fit its pixels, with a little loss in quality due to the processing involved. Scaling technology in these screens aren't normally that great. The best picture to feed this type of display is a 720p HD picture as this is the nearest fit to your displays native resolution. If you feed it with a 1080i/p image then you are asking the screen to do a lot of work to downscale the image to fit, resulting in a greater loss of quality from the original source than if you were providing a 720p image.

    The best way to look at it in my opinion, is that you can't 'add' quality. Having a high res dislplay with a low res picture being fed into it, often looks worse than a low res panel with the matching low res being fed into it. Take Panasonic Plasmas as a good example. Very good low res performance. With HD round the corner, you'll want to have a high res panel, but you won't really see what it can do until you give it a proper high resolution image. An exception to this is if you use an external scaler. Like those found in good Denon DVD players. The scaling technology in these DVD players output a convincingly improved picture than standard players at 720p and even 1080i (for those displays that match that res) meaning that when its fed into a screen the scaling is mostly done in the DVD player with high quality chips and therefore the screen has much less to do with its poor quality chips that introduce all sorts of nasty picture problems when up or downscaling. 480p from your DVD player will be a nice improvement until HD comes your way.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. bonc

    bonc
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    Excellent JW250, well explained, Thank you

    so does the following theory also apply: - (?)

    There are at least two things happening: deinterlacing and scaling.

    Anytime you feed a display interlaced (480i) signal - the display is doing the deinterlacing.

    Anytime you send it progressive signal (480p/720p) the DVD player is doing the deinterlacing.

    The TV will then always scale the image to whatever it needs to properly display the picture.

    As a result, you generally have to try both (480i/480p) to see which deinterlacer is doing a better job. Look for moving curved lines and such and check for "jaggies". For instance, if you have a £50 DVD player, it's likely the TV will do a better job of deinterlacing. After this you can then check to see if the display likes 480p, 720p or 1080i better... check them all, and every display is different.

    And do you agree, that I should get a much improved picture to 480p if I feed my screen a 780p feed (which as you mention is closer to my native resoloution)? - and hence a hdmi player that can do this is worth the extra investment!!!?
     
  4. multiply

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    Thanks for this thread - and thanks to the patient 'experienced' users who take the time to respond.

    My related question is, what resolution are the DVD movie disks themselves encoded at? Does switching to HD mean that my DVD movie collection is obsolete as I will need to buy the 'new' HD-DVDs?
     
  5. jw250

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    I think you're pretty much correct with what you say there. One thing I would point out though, is that leaving the deinterlacing to the screen is never (in my experience) anywhere near as good as when done externally; in a DVD player for example. Even a £50 DVD player is likely to offer improvement over what the panel itself is capable of. I don't know why this is the case. Perhaps there is an expensive reason that high quality scaling components aren't included in flat screens, unlike DLP projectors though, which can have very good internal scalers.

    I have seen the results of a DVD player upscaling standard definition to 720p onto a 1024 x 768 plasma and was impressed by the improvement. There is some discussion though whether using the component connections for this might still be better than an underdeveloped HDMI (which is still being improved). One for you to test. If the movie you watch was originally shot in Digital (e.g. Star Wars II, Pixar movies etc.) then HDMI should look fantastic. Component might look better for all else though. Another test for you, just to make things more confusing!
     
  6. jw250

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    Multiply,

    DVD resolution is up to 576 lines of resolution (for PAL, 480 for NTSC), - as good as it gets by current broadcast standards (in the UK), VHS is about 200 lines of bad signal if you need a comparison. Obviously HD will change this when launched next year. This will be via Sky to start off with, and you will need to buy a new box and have a compatible 'HD Ready' TV to see the improved picture. As for DVD, there are 2 new DVD formats - Blu-ray and HD DVD. New machines AND new discs which will not work in current DVD players. I think the new formats will play the current, standard DVDs though. So, in a way, your current collection won't be obsolete, but they aren't in HD so if Star Wars trilogy is re-released in HD then you'll probably be buying your 12th version of it!

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. multiply

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    Thanks, JW.

    So if I buy an LCD with a resolution of 1378 x 768, then the existing DVDs will only display less than half the potential detail (I assume there would be some interlacing to compensate)?

    Therefore, bottom line is it would be best to hold off buying an HD-ready TV as there is nothing, with the possible exception of a PC and PS2, which will display the full rez, is that right?
    HD DVD players are available, but the media doesn't meet the highest resolution standard, and at the moment in the UK, there are no HD broadcasts on either terrestrial or cable/satellite.

    Sounds like I should wait until I have something that can exploit the TV to its full potential. I have 600+ DVD movies, so you can imagine my distress at hearing this!!
    :(
     
  8. jw250

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    True HD DVD players (either Blu-ray or HDDVD formats) are not available yet. The US will get HDDVD by xmas, Blu-ray to follow I guess. PS3 will be Blu-ray based. When you mention that HD DVD players are available, I take it you mean DVD players that 'upgrade' the picture to HD standards, such as Denon players? If so then you should realise that that technically they are not HD at all, just slightly upgrading the picture, and picture quality is nothing like as good as actual HDDVD.

    All the manufacturers are scrambling to realease ranges of HD Ready screens. Sharp and Sony announcing big range releases. If you're buying a flat screen now, make sure its a true 'HD Ready' TV with the logo stuck on the front in the shop display (HD compatible or HD Display or High Resolution Display doesn't cut it) but if you can wait then it means that you'll have more choice later and the likelihood of cheaper prices.
     
  9. jw250

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    Sorry, to answer your question, there is one HD satellite broadcaster called euro1080 that is available in the UK. Alot of live classical concerts and shots of 'vistas' and the like. With Sky around the corner, best just to wait - in real terms there is no sensible HD source available in the UK.
     
  10. multiply

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    Great advice. Thanks again.
    I have already made up my mind to get a blu-ray DVD player, so there would be no point in forking out for an HD- DVD player right now. I had suspicions about all this, and you have confirmed this - clearly and concisely. :thumbsup:
     
  11. jw250

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    Just to clarify: There is HDDVD and Blu-ray, both true High Definition formats, both not available yet! On either side of the Atlantic. Then you have standard DVD, some machines of which have 'upscaling' technology built in to output a 'fake' or 'virtual' HD picture. Nowhere near the real thing. Just want to make sure you were clear on that.

    There'll be a format war unfortunately. And I, for one, have no idea which one will end up as the standard. Blu-ray may be a superior format though. Then so was Betamax.
     
  12. PoloQc

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    Thank you all for this very interesting thread.

    So I guess after what I've read that the best solution for scaling and/or de-interlacing is to use an HTPC that will output everything to 720p or 768p, depending on the LCD size ?
     
  13. pjskel

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    Or consider a true out-board scaler from the likes of those mentioned in the Video Scalers forum.
    Bear in mind, it'll realistically be at least 18 months before there are sufficient HD pre-recorded discs in either format to warrant spending money on another DVD player.
    With your current player and a scaler, you can watch peusdo-HD from broadcast and DVD until software and hardware alike are matured, and possibly HD Recorders are available to record your Sky+ HD programs in HD.

    I wouldn't unduely worry about the whole HD thing - a nice HD Ready TV will still produce good enough pictures from Freeview/Sky/NTL digital and analog. DVD playback will be more than acceptable, and you can use the interim period to watch what way the market goes on formats, prices drop steadily, save extra ££s, and jump in when you feel the time is right for you.
    HD is here to stay, it's not here temporarily and then gone again, so there's no race on to get yourself HD'd in the shortest time possible. Patience is a virtue and good things comes to those who wait - two phrases that still hold true today, as they did last year.
    It's very easy reading here and elsewhere all the hype about HD, and getting worked up about it, to the point where you believe you must have it, and have it now.
     
  14. jw250

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    To respond to PoloQc's question, I think its a good rule to make sure that the source device, the DVD player, satellite receiver etc., is the one doing the deinterlacing so as not to rely on the screens' own processing. Or as pointed out quite rightly by pjskel above, use an out-board scaler sitting between source and screen. I use an out-board scaler that feeds a DLP projector which gives great improvement over the DVD players own progressive output and the projectors own deinterlacer, but my equipment is a bit dated now, some DVD players now have excellent scaling. And as for matching resolutions - yes, if you have a screen thats either a genuine 720 (such as some projectors) or 768 resolution then match as close as you can to that resolution.
     

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