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TheatreTek and multi-region/PAL/NTSC compared to most HTPC players!

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Rob.Screene, Jan 26, 2002.

  1. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I'm quite impressed with the TT player. Summary; Micro-stuttering on Insurrection pans (NTSC R1) are fine. Star Wars (PAL R2) looks generally fantastic still think I have a noise problem though... Help....

    Good news...
    DVDgenie Windows auto-region works fine if anyone was wondering. I've read RegionKiller will also work and may be more seamless, but I've not tried it.

    Installation was acceptable. I had to read the supplied .PDF manual troubleshooting section to see how I should remove and re-install the Raviscent drivers and re-boot because the installation detected and warned about the WinDVD filters but didn't set itself up properly. A few Raviscent setups, reboots and crossed fingers and if runs fine (not s/w mode=hardware mode).

    Here's the players I've tried and what I'm comparing against.

    Summary of HTPC software DVD player performance noted:-
    --------------------------------------------------------
    a) WinDVD3.0/Radeon 4.12.3063 driver/Properties|Video|Hardware decoding ON
    horrible with almost combing type noise visible around the up scrolling Star Wars prologue. I think this is known as the chroma bug. :(

    b) WinDVD3.0/Radeon 4.12.3063 driver/Properties|Video|Hardware decoding OFF
    Reasonably smooth pans. I noticed on the Matrix sub-ship scenes and then also on Star Wars I that dark background scenes fade and get darker over a few seconds. :(

    c) ATI 5.0/Radeon 4.13.7093 OR 4.13.7189 OR 7199 drivers|Hardware assist ON
    Colours and backgrounds may look ever so slightly cleaner and no darkening. Chroma noise on Insurrection red title and Star Wars prologue. No digital audio pass-thru. :(

    d) ZoomPlayer 2.3 beta 2 using c) above filters/drivers.
    Picture as above, but can use filter properties to enable pass-thru DD/DTS. Problems were; lipsync after Pausing or ff/ rew and intermittent lockups of ZoomPlayer. :(

    e) WinDVD3.0/Radeon 4.13.7093 OR 4.13.7189 drivers/Properties|Video|Hardware decoding ON
    Much less chroma type noise than seen in a) the newest official driver seemed to help. :)
    *********************************
    f) WinDVD2.8/Radeon 4.13.7093 drivers/Properties|Video|Hardware decoding OFF
    Slightly cleaner backgrounds (gamma setting?), quite smooth pans no judder. Quite watchable actually. :D

    g) TheatreTek (out-of-the-box)/Radeon 4.13.7093 drivers/Hardware decoding ON because software UNTICKED.
    Smoothest from judder and pans. Amazingly chroma noise on Insurrection red and Star Wars prologue gone.
    Nice on-screen gui. May be a slight lipsync issue, but doesn's seem to creep and get very bad. Very nice actually. :D

    h) Sony 725 domestic player S-Video via Falcon capture card/dScaler.
    *still not tried* perhaps this weekend!
    --------------------------------------------------------

    I'm still trying to work out how to properly set the overlay/gamma with 4.13.7093 (27-Mar-2001) Radeon drivers. These seem to be common for most Win9x TT users.

    My problem is that Roland calibrated the projector when I was running the out-of-the-box 4.12.3056 (19-Sep-2000) drivers and WinDVD3.0. I'm trying to keep things relative to that baseline.

    The only visual objectionable I'm trying to get rid of now, is that I can see too much banding/noise detail in stationery background scenesthe backgrounWhat I'm trying to get rid of (and I noticed on WinDVD 3.0; various Radeon drivers tried on another ghost installation). This noise seems to change/pulse about twice per second. I've noticed it on both the R1 and R2 discs above.

    I think that it must be the gamma curve somwhere because I have set the visible black-level with THX Optimode. I'm hoping it's just because it's showing too much low-level detail. i.e. perhaps Roland compensated for the low 4.12.3056 gamma curve, but now TT has also compensated and gamma is curving too high.

    Any suggestions or advice appreciated.

    Any thoughts Roland? (we knew this would happen sometime, didn't we!)

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  2. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I don't know if this is the difference, but I read over at avsforum that the WinDVD 2.6 video filter is better than the later ones - slightly sharper with no gradual darkening (pulsing?), and the 2.8 sound filter is better for passing DD/DTS.

    IWhat I did was install my WinDVD 200 copy, and upgrade it to the 2.6 version using the 'english' patch. I then renamed the video files in the windvd directories (there are two) and ran the 2.6 to 2.8 patch (here ) I then renamed the new video files, and renamed the (renamed) originals back.

    These newer audio files allow DD/DTS pass through with Zoom player too - before I was only getting DD.

    My current set-up is Zoom 2.4rc1 with ATI Player 5 video filters and WinDVD audio. With HWMC on, the DVD picture quality is the best I've seen so far. I also found that with HWMC set to on in WinDVD I get better video quality than without it, and the colour sliders functions become colour and gamma, so it's much easier to get better colour control.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  3. Ken

    Ken
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    Rob
    Why don't you just change the gamma settings in TT's video settings, and make that the default setting.
    Ken
     
  4. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Thanks.

    I has getting odd "can't initialise display, click ok to use software only decoding." errors on startup when I had pass-tru digital output enabled (using a Soundblaster Live Player card).

    I tried 4.13.7189 and 4.13.9012 (thich incidentally has a THX logo on the overlayt setting dialog) both to no avail or noticeable improvement in picture without pass-tru digital sound, so I decoded I was too close to the bleeding edge and regressed to 4.13.7075 (having; removed ATI drivers, removed ATI registry entries and re-booted, then re-install, safe mode to set 640x480, re-boot and ensure no hidden ati devices remain under dispolay sna sound groups, reboot, display to 16-bit, reboot, powerstrip re-add custom resolutions, reboot, re-install DirectX8.1 to remove 32-bit solarisation on desktop, reboot!)

    Tried a few disks with h/w dcoding and things look clean and very smooth. Insurrection's pans are a pleasure to watch, plus no chroma problems. Doesn't seem to be much picture quality difference between 7075 and later Radeon drivers to me. I noticed Digital Connection were shipping with 7075 drivers used in reviews so they can't be that bad!

    I have adjusted the TT overlay video settings, but don't know how to set gamma to a value that's correct on my display. I have dropped the gamma and saturation a little and background pulsing is still there but only just barely noticeable, so I can manage to ignore it most of the time.

    THX optimode (PAL on Star Wars R2!) and Video Essentials (NTSC) help me judge the black-level correctly, but I don't know about how to do reasonably proper gamma setting???

    My remaining issue is that I use different resolutions/refresh rates for PAL/NTSC material and the player either warns I've changed when I start it and waits for OK (check resolution change=ON) or dies not notice the resolution has changed and incorrectly positions and sizes the overlay. The defaults when it notices a change seem perfect, I just don't want the warning message.

    How do people get round this?

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  5. Ken

    Ken
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    Rob,
    Some have found that the 7093 drivers give a slightly better picture.
    As regards changing resolutions, read page 11 of the TT manual.
    Ken
     

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