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So..what's your "true" opinion of Hi-Def?

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by Paul D, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. Paul D

    Paul D
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    With SKY-HD, and HD-DVD nearly upon us, i was just wondering what people really think of the HD they have seen so far.

    Until fairly recently, i had only seen (on my own setup) Microsofts WMV-HD clips etc.

    In the last few months, i have started to see more and more Hi-def stuff.
    Even my local TV shop is showing HD1! (euro 1080)

    I found a great site for demo stuff http://www.highdefforum.com/showthread.php?t=6537

    This site has a wide mixture of the available sources of hi-def.

    I originally had a hard time getting WMV-HD to look good.
    Banding ranged from subtle to severe, but always present.
    Stuttering and jumps plagued most viewing sessions.
    I was beginning to wonder how anybody could say WMV-HD was good.

    In fact i was beginning to wonder what all the fuss with hi-def was about. :confused:

    I few changes of hardware and software suddenly changed everything.
    CPU from 2ghz to 3.2ghz
    XP to MCE2005
    VGA from nVidia 5950 to nVidia 6600GT PCIe(driver 71.84/9)
    I use the custom resolution/refresh rates provided.(1280x720 @ 59.94)
    TheaterTek 1.5 to 2.1.1
    X-Mystique 7.1 D.D. 5.1 encoding soundcard(converts WMV 5.1 into DD5.1 etc)

    For the first time, i could just play a WMV-HD file without any fuss.
    The banding "totally" disappeared.
    (there is a couple of IMAX discs that still have some slight banding in the source though)
    Sunset fades where now smooth, with no zooming lines of graduations!
    With everything locked in, more detail was on offer and was very enjoyable.

    This then spurned me on to get more Hi-def stuff!

    Some of the clips from the site mentioned above are simply stunning.
    Stuff from the hi-def "video" cameras is awesome.

    But this is where i started to see a downside for hi-def "films".

    With hi-def "films"(shot on film etc), film grain is much more visible.
    On the footage i have seen so far, this can range from hardly noticeable to down right ugly!

    Even in the same film, it can vary from scene to scene.

    One minute the picture looks stunning and highly detailed, the next grainy and poor.
    One scene looks no better than DVD, the next blows it out of the water!

    Please don't get me wrong, i'm just saying that something on hi-def is no guarantee of better picture quality.

    I'm sure future film productions will have to use higher grain film, or just use hi-def cameras.(unless they want the film grain look etc)


    I was considering getting D-VHS as a temporary stop gap until they sort out the HD-DVD mess.
    But i was reluctant to build a library of tapes, only for them to be obsolete fairly soon.
    Since it is tape based, it suffers VHSs bad points.
    No instant access, and any tape defect results in ugly on screen blocks/loss of video.

    Most of the stuff i now have on my HDD, is WMV-HD and .TS. (MPEG)
    Some of this material is simply stunning.
    It has banished my fears that hi-def wasn't much of a improvement from DVD.

    Higher detail levels are what most people hope for with hi-def.
    But i have found the lack of(reduced?) scaling/aliasing/banding artifacts to be most welcome.

    Colours also seem far more natural and deep, without seeming artificial.

    I haven't seen sport with Hi-def yet.
    So if anybody would be so kind to send me some footage taken from a live broadcast, i would be very grateful!
    (Another forum member has been a great help in my quest for more hi-def, and i would like to thank him)

    All in all, the more hi-def stuff i see the more i want! :D


    What do you think?
     
  2. clever dicky

    clever dicky
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    Dont see any on the channels I usually watch, (shame)
    The reason is a lot of pro peeps dont like JVC, belong to an 'old boyz club' that stick to one brand. (sony)

    Still... I dont care what the 'Label' is as long as is good, and I've been getting lots of mags, and info in JVC's new HD camera which looks stunning.

    Lets hope Sky, Granada etc, and especially the production companies of The Discovery Channels get a glimpse, and why might see more HD content appearing.
    :thumbsup:

    http://www.jvcpro.co.uk/
    http://www.jvcproeurope.com/
     

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  3. domtheone

    domtheone
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    Only ever seen it once. Sat feed on a Pioneer 43" Plasma.

    Awesome.

    After that I watched Ep 1 via a Pioneer (HDMI) DVD player on the same screen.

    Hmmm, on a big screen, say 40" +++ the difference between HD and DVD was pretty significant..
     
  4. David Mackenzie

    David Mackenzie
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    I like that. It's a faithful reproduction of the 35mm print the movie was taken from, which must look a lot better than the noise-reduced plastic we get on current DVD. Grain is sometimes used to create a dark, gritty atmosphere (Spielberg made "Minority Report" intentionally grainy, IIRC).

    So - my suggestion is that if people don't like grain on films, they should buy players with the noise reduction capabilities to filter it. I'm all for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray delivering a reproduction of cinema film - not a sterile image.
     
  5. Paul D

    Paul D
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    Interesting point...

    Surely film grain is a compromise directors have to take when shooting dark scenes?
    Of course sometimes it is intentional to add a certain look to a film.

    I understand some people aim to reproduce a film cinema when designing there own cinema rooms.
    But even a film cinema is a compromise.
    Low brightness, damaged film stock, poor acoustics afflict most commercial cinemas.
    CRT can have better blacks than film, so does that mean they should turn up the brightness to match film?

    Just as other artifacts can spoil the viewing experience, film grain can do the same. ie it reminds you, you are watching an image.

    Although "plastic" images from noise reduction isn't the way forward, more detail is.
    Film grain masks detail, and is not something i would personally want.

    A few home cinemas i have seen, far exceed what is available from even good commercial cinemas.

    What i was really asking is.....in your/peoples opinion is hi-def worth all the hype?
     
  6. zest

    zest
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    the sony centre in leamington spa have HD running through a SONY KDLL42MRX1, looks amazing with static shots but soon as the camera pans the image was a smearing mess :rolleyes: and that lcd costs 4.5k :eek: the panny 500 running sd dvd looked better.
     
  7. Paul D

    Paul D
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    That's LCD for you! :)
     
  8. VisionOn

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    Allo, guys and girls, I'm in the US and once you've seen HD it's hard to go back. If course it's made more annoying by the lack of total-HD specific channels and the death of the only major HD package provider.

    I was looking up some info for an old TV set I used to have and came across these forums. I really can't believe you guys in the UK don't have HD yet. When I moved here a few years ago from the UK, Sky was way ahead of digital US cable in terms of interactivity and picture quality.

    Anyway at least you have the advantage of getting the "looking through a window" experience the first time you see it properly. Yes, that's the term I also used the first day I had it hooked up. :D

    Even though programming is limited and 24hr HD channels show a lot of upconverted crap, what is in HD is awesome. Lost, 24, Alias, Carnivale, Deadwood, Dead Like Me, the amazing Discovery HD Theater ... if you like US prime time drama (especially on HBO) you'll be happy to know that 90% of it is now finally HD so you'll see that soon hopefully.

    Even the weather report on local news looks cool!

    So my true opinion ... when it's good it's good, when it's excellent you'll never want to go to the sticky floored cinema again and you'll be inviting strangers in just to show them how great the picture is!
     
  9. figrin_dan

    figrin_dan
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    I've seen 3 demos:

    1) Astra - Showing HD1 on a 42" Philips Plasma - Looked like a very good dvd.
    2) Sony - Showing HD1/BluRay on a 60" Sony Plasma - Like looking out a window!
    3) HiFi Shop - Showing on a 42" Pioneer Plasma - Looked like a very good dvd. The retailer 'told' me that was a perfect picture (!)

    The idea most retailers have is to show an HD and SD side by side for us to see the difference - If set up properly this is really not necessary.
     
  10. probedb

    probedb
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    Just think that the MPEG2 TS you'll be seeing from US broadcasters is at maybe 14-16 mbps for MPEG2! We'll be seeing high bitrates but with MPEG4 so the quality should be even better :)

    I think it's brill myself. Like you say some stuff looks no better than DVD but some is simply stunning.

    I can't wait till it all kicks off....be an excuse to buy a decent display. Hopefully more 1920x1080 displays out by then :D
     
  11. chedmaster

    chedmaster
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    vision on, you mention 24 looks good? every series, to me, looks Horribly (capital H) grainy, of course this is on SD DVD/TV, but i would imagine it would get worse with Hi-Def (I assume we're talking about S1-4 as well)
     
  12. VisionOn

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    I can't remember if season 1-2 were actually HD but Fox are broadcasting 720p and not 1080i. It could be the way it's shot (going for the gritty feel) and the same issue some people have with watching movies upconverted to HD and noticing film grain. I can't say I've noticed any significant levels of grain, definitely no worse than watching a low lit night scene in The Two Towers.

    Unfortunately not all HD broadcasters offer the same level of output quality. HBO shows as you might expect looks fantastic, our local NBC station not so much. It can be HD at the beginning of the show and not HD 10 minutes later when they flick the wrong switch during an ad break! :rolleyes:

    I'm lucky in that one of our local channels (WRAL in Raleigh) has been a HD pioneer so they are well ahead. Their newscasts are excellent quality and their sports coverage is the same. Superb "being there" quality.

    It also depends on your equipment and connections as well of course. Tonight I was watching the third Harry Potter on HBOHD. Not "being there" quality but no noticeable film grain and a picture far sharper than DVD. This is also using a 52 inch JVC which does look slightly more grainy on some sources. Movies always feel like movies even in excellent HD quality, they just look a lot sharper and clearer.

    The biggest benefit of US prime time shows finally being produced in HD (if you watch them of course) is that the aspect ratio will finally match a widescreen set and you don't have to mess around with stretch and zoom modes and lower the quality even more. In fact you guys over in the UK actually have a better deal in some cases. Shows like Enterprise and Battlestar Galactica are shot in widescreen and HD, but I only get the standard versions of UPN and Sci-Fi channel and the quality of those is pretty fuzzy. When I zoom in on the widescreen the quality is VCR level. At least you guys get them on a channel with good signal quality even if it's not HD. :)
     
  13. CKNA

    CKNA
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    Enterprise has been in HD on UPN for two years now. Maybe your UPN station does not pass HD yet?. Also Battlestar Galactica is in HD on Universal HD right now.
     
  14. binbag

    binbag
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    At John Lewis at Bluewater (No hats, no hoodies) from a hard disk (WMD?) on a Sagem 50" DLP RP set. Had to ask them to let it run as they didn't want to draw peoples attention away from the more expensive flatscreens. Want it? You bet!

    My own attempts at downloading HD (including Divx) trailers have been patchy to say the least - mostly due to a weedy PC - but clearly some of the quality has been sacrificed on some of the attempts (all of which are appreciated BTW). And no amount of bitrate will make a bad film any better.

    With so much 'vapourware' being talked about (especially over Sky HD) we are currently being dangled by our own expectations. But isn't anticipation the best part of any foreplay?
     
  15. VisionOn

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    Yes I know. That's why I said in some regards the UK is actually better off since they can nearly always see at least a good digital WS image on US imports rather than a very crappy non-digital or HD WS image which I get on regular UPN, Sci-Fi, WB, USA etc.

    The UK at least has decent quality output for the majority of channels across the board, whereas in the US where you are geographically affects the quality of the broadcast you get. This is especially true of OTA HD broadcasts, as not all transmitters are output at the same power level around the country/state. My NBC17 service is spotty whereas some other NBC network could have superb output.
     
  16. David Mackenzie

    David Mackenzie
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    The grain might actually look a lot better in HD.
    On SD, there'll be fewer pixels to represent all of the light flicker it adds to the image. On HD, lots of little grain fragments won't be smushed into single pixels.

    There's a clip of Tomb Raider 2 (the movie, not the game) that has a nice amount of grain on it. It looks wonderful and not distracting at all.
     

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