sky HD v HD DVD

oasisnut

Novice Member
C an anyone comment on the two.
i would assume that the HD DVD player would give a better picture than an OTA .
but how much better?
cheers
 

scgf

Active Member
I have both. The picture quality to my eyes on my 42" plasma monitor is very similar on both formats. If someone showed me a film playing and asked me to say whether it was HD-DVD or Sky HD I'd be hard pressed to say with any degree of certainty. If you will be using your 32" Bravia you will be even more hard-pressed to tell the difference, given the smaller screen size.

Sky HD does tend to be a little more variable in quality terms - some HD films can look like very good SD, others look stunning. There again, I have 16 or so HD-DVDs and find the quality is not consistently high. The other factor is that Sky could reduce the bitrate at any stage and the quality would suffer.

The big benefit of SkyHD, of course, is the sheer range of films. Spoilt for choice and at £10 extra a month an absolute bargain IMHO.
 

astirling

Well-known Member
scgf said:
I have both. The picture quality to my eyes on my 42" plasma monitor is very similar on both formats. If someone showed me a film playing and asked me to say whether it was HD-DVD or Sky HD I'd be hard pressed to say with any degree of certainty. If you will be using your 32" Bravia you will be even more hard-pressed to tell the difference, given the smaller screen size.

Sky HD does tend to be a little more variable in quality terms - some HD films can look like very good SD, others look stunning. There again, I have 16 or so HD-DVDs and find the quality is not consistently high. The other factor is that Sky could reduce the bitrate at any stage and the quality would suffer.

The big benefit of SkyHD, of course, is the sheer range of films. Spoilt for choice and at £10 extra a month an absolute bargain IMHO.
How about in fast action or camera pans? The football for example shows noticeable blurring when the camera pans from left to right. I'm assuming that HD-DVD's can keep a high level of quality during busy scenes.
 

scgf

Active Member
Yeah, I have found that is the case with any material I throw at a plasma, whether from Sky or DVD. Panning is not particularly smooth. HD-DVD is better, but then you get slight judder in panning shots where the machine is 60Hz and our mains is 50Hz.

I've not noted which material gives poor pans, it may be that from DVD it is NTSC material. It hasn't bothered me too much, I've always put it down the panel technology.
 

thfccambs

Banned
:( I also have both and think HDDVD blows SKYHD away.It's been on a par with eveything i've seen on BBCHD though.I've been really let down by SKYHD to tell the truth.Some films are DD5.1 and some aren't on SKYHD.If i had the choice again i wouldn't of bothered with SKYHD to tell the truth.
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
The 50Hz to 60Hz has nothing to do with the judder. Neither will European players be guaranteed to eliminate this.

Movies in High Definition or Standard Definition are encoded in one of two ways. For PAL (50Hz) regions, traditionally the original film (recorded at 24 frames per second) is sped up to 25fps which clearly is quite easy to then display at 50 frames per second by displaying each frame twice. This gives no noticable judder and looks very smooth, the drawback is that the film is slightly faster as is the audio.

For 60Hz regions, getting a 24 fps source into 60 frames a second is more tricky, so some frames are shown twice and a smaller number 3 times, this is what results in the slight judder you see. So, you would expect to see this judder on R1 DVD's and ALL current HD-DVD's and Blu-ray discs imported from the US.

Studio Canal a large European film distribution company have apparently already stated that for their European HD-DVD films, they will not be encoding them at 25fps, but instead at 24fps, so on a European HD-DVD player you would still get very slight judder on things like pans.

The reason they are doing this is because on higher end kit, you can watch the film at the original 24fps (or multiples of) which is exactly as it was intended to be seen and how it is shown at the cinema. This also gives very smooth motion and is the correct speed. You can't get the exact 24fps original from a 25fps disc. Whether all companies follow suit remains to be seen.

There are occasions when you will get judder from forcing 60Hz programs onto 50Hz screens, however, unless you have very expensive processing hardware you will notice this in seconds as the judder is not slight, it is usually severe. The best way to force this is to set your DVD player to output PAL only (not NTSC or auto) and play a R1 NTSC disc. It will look horrid.
 

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
Ian_S, why will there still be juddering on Studio Canal stuff?

If its recorded at 24p, surely it depends how its output? If they output at 60Hz, then you'll get judder, but can't they output at 50Hz? Or are PAL DVDs normally preencoded at 25p?
 
S

spikerules

Guest
The difference is amazing on my PJ. HD-DVD far surpasses SkyHD pq by a looooooong way. You get no visible macro blocking/mpeg noise with HD-DVD, it's a superior format in every way! Sky HD has many common mpeg issues and is compressed heavily to keep much needed bandwidth to a minimum.
 

hottstuff

Banned
spikerules said:
The difference is amazing on my PJ. HD-DVD far surpasses SkyHD pq by a looooooong way. You get no visible macro blocking/mpeg noise with HD-DVD, it's a superior format in every way! Sky HD has many common mpeg issues and is compressed heavily to keep much needed bandwidth to a minimum.
Even though i haven't tried HD-DVD , this is exactly how i imagine it would be.
I watched a dvd for the first time last night since getting HD , and while the picture seemed slightly fuzzy , out of focus (lower resolution:D ) the screen noise & artifacts was so clear , i didnt notice one pixel at all , compared to SkyHD and even BBCHD.
 

probedb

Banned
hottstuff said:
Even though i haven't tried HD-DVD , this is exactly how i imagine it would be.
I watched a dvd for the first time last night since getting HD , and while the picture seemed slightly fuzzy , out of focus (lower resolution:D ) the screen noise & artifacts was so clear , i didnt notice one pixel at all , compared to SkyHD and even BBCHD.
This agrees with what people have said about comparisons in the US to their HDTV stuff. The cable stuff can get blocking and other artifacts unless a very high bitrate is used, with HD-DVD for the most part it doesn't get this.
 

neilneil

Novice Member
Why couldn't they have taken the oppertunity on drawing up a spec for HDTV that the panels can refresh at multiples of either 24, 25 and 30. That way the whole issue of differing frame rates between US, UK and film could have been solved.


-Neil
 

scgf

Active Member
spikerules said:
The difference is amazing on my PJ. HD-DVD far surpasses SkyHD pq by a looooooong way. You get no visible macro blocking/mpeg noise with HD-DVD, it's a superior format in every way! Sky HD has many common mpeg issues and is compressed heavily to keep much needed bandwidth to a minimum.
I think the problem we have is about the words we use to quantify differences. The difference between a good Sky HD picture and HD-DVD is is absolutely not 'amazing' or better by a long way.

How do you describe to someone the difference between SD and HD then?

If you see amazing differences between Sky HD and DVD-HD then I would guess there is something wrong with your display (I take it PJ means projector?). On my panel I get the best pictures I have ever seen with BBC HD material. I haven't seen an HD-DVD that surpasses that in any quantifiable way. The difference between Sky HD generally and HD-DVD is very subtle - certainly not night and day.

I get no discernable visible macro blocking/mpeg noise with Sky HD - but then I use a component connection to a panel with no digital inputs. What I see on screen is very detailed, very natural (analog looking, indeed) and has a lack of noticeable digital processing.
 

JUS

Well-known Member
spikerules said:
The difference is amazing on my PJ. HD-DVD far surpasses SkyHD pq by a looooooong way. You get no visible macro blocking/mpeg noise with HD-DVD, it's a superior format in every way! Sky HD has many common mpeg issues and is compressed heavily to keep much needed bandwidth to a minimum.
Projector would show the differences...I agree with scfg...using a 32" screen viewing at a average distance...8/9'? I think you would probably be hard pressed to notice a difference.
 

rentagas

Novice Member
HDDVD always great
Sky one HD usually mediocre (SD upscaled). Some HD stuff better than others (some is 720p upscaled to 1080i)
Sky Movies HD in general old films, mostly little better than upscaled SD, little premium content.
BBC HD consistantly brilliant, lots of repeats but when it's on it's good.
Why do I bother? Jools Holland in HD with dolby digital is worth £10 per month!-but of course is not part of the sky package!
 

scgf

Active Member
Yeah, I suppose blowing up an HD picture to a large size with a projector is going to show differences that aren't visible to those of us using average size plasma panels. That is one reason I don't have a projector!
 

IanW

Active Member
I agree, I think the key difference is not what they are capable of, but what they are set to! You just know that SKY will keep up the bit rate for a while to get some good reviews, but you know when the time comes the quality will be dropped for quantity! :nono:

HD-DVD and BLU-RAY will always be the best and most stable way to get a good HD picture.

Ian.
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
Neil Sumner said:
Why couldn't they have taken the oppertunity on drawing up a spec for HDTV that the panels can refresh at multiples of either 24, 25 and 30. That way the whole issue of differing frame rates between US, UK and film could have been solved.
This will effectively be here soon. You'll find pretty much all HD Ready TV's here in the UK support 720p, 1080i and if they do it 1080p at 50 and 60Hz. What's not yet here in many screens is the ability to do a native 24 or even 48 interlaced input. (Don't forget films are easier to put back together again, hence you won't see too many HD-A1 owners complaining at the lack of 1080p output.) However...
richard plumb said:
Ian_S, why will there still be juddering on Studio Canal stuff?

If its recorded at 24p, surely it depends how its output? If they output at 60Hz, then you'll get judder, but can't they output at 50Hz? Or are PAL DVDs normally preencoded at 25p?
PAL Standard Definition DVD's are normally encoded at 25fps, you'll see plenty of references to something call PAL speedup which is what this is. You can't output 24p stuff at 25p as the process of doing the conversion properly is a bit intensive and would require audio pitch correction as well. Doing this realtime would be very expensive.

So, ultimately 24p will IMO be a good thing, but it will take some time to get there. Of course others prefer PAL speedup because we're mostly used to it. It'll be interesting to see how it all pans out when both formats actually launch.

It would also be interesting to know if the HD films on Sky HD Movies and BBC-HD are effectively 25fps or 24fps. Perhaps someone with a decent video processor would be able to confirm that. If studios have given BBC/Sky 25fps masters for broadcast that could be a good indication...;)
 

Evil Engineer

Novice Member
richard plumb said:
Ian_S, why will there still be juddering on Studio Canal stuff?

If its recorded at 24p, surely it depends how its output? If they output at 60Hz, then you'll get judder, but can't they output at 50Hz? Or are PAL DVDs normally preencoded at 25p?
It's more difficult to convert 24fps to 50Hz output on the fly inside a player without dropping frames and/or mucking up the sound then it is to convert to 60Hz with 3:2 telecine.

Any display sporting the HD Ready logo has to be able to handle 60Hz as part of the spec and any "legacy" TV plugged into the downconverted SD outputs will handle NTSC/PAL60 if it's less than 10 years old.

So there isn't much of an incentive to bother with anything but 60Hz for 24fps masters.

The ideal solution would be to buy a 1080p24 capable display. Smooth playback and no speed up. :)

BTW, I think SD DVD is on the disc as 50i in PAL land. But that isn't much different to 25p in practical terms (for movies) if you have a prog scan DVD player.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
I also have both and think HDDVD blows SKYHD away
I'm inclined to agree. I have both and HD DVD consistently looks significantly better than SkyHD. The latter flucuates quite dramatically in quality - when it's good it's comparable but, for the most part, HD DVD looks significantly better. BBC HD sets a higher standard though and is much closer to HD DVD in performance IMHO - I'd still rate HD DVD as the best though.
 

thfccambs

Banned
Rasczak said:
I'm inclined to agree. I have both and HD DVD consistently looks significantly better than SkyHD. The latter flucuates quite dramatically in quality - when it's good it's comparable but, for the most part, HD DVD looks significantly better. BBC HD sets a higher standard though and is much closer to HD DVD in performance IMHO - I'd still rate HD DVD as the best though.

Rasczak

just wish that SKYHD could be as good as BBCHD:(
 

shaithis

Active Member
BBCHD is definatly better then SkyHD -BUT- I can still see artifacts on BBCHD that I do not see on HD-DVD.

A good example is the test loop where they fly over that huge waterfall, before the camera pans over the edge it flies above a lot of rock, the rock always has pixelisation/artifacting in it.

I never see this pixelisation/artifacting on any of the HD-DVDs I have watched.
 
S

spikerules

Guest
I can tell the difference on a smaller set too... but there you go...
 

StooMonster

Well-known Member
Ian_S said:
It would also be interesting to know if the HD films on Sky HD Movies and BBC-HD are effectively 25fps or 24fps. Perhaps someone with a decent video processor would be able to confirm that. If studios have given BBC/Sky 25fps masters for broadcast that could be a good indication...;)
They are 25fps: firstly because they are 50Hz, secondly because one can hear the PAL speed-up, thirdly check the running time (4% shorter).

One key point missed in the above discussion is that is entirely focused on 'film sourced' material (24/25 progressive frames per second) and doesn't mention 'video sourced' (50/60 interlaced fields per second). Movies and American dramas are 'film sourced' whereas sports and news and studio based shows are 'video sourced'.

'Film sourced' content is easily converted from 24fps to 25fps by 4% speedup. Converting 60Hz 1080i 'video sourced' to 50Hz is a bit more complex -- and has resulting judder that can be quite visible.

StooMonster
 

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