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Thinking of dumping theatertek for zoomplayer

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Mr.D, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    The totally unstable bug ridden nature of TT 2 has made me consider going with zoomplayer.
    Currently I'm stuck using TT 1.5 as at least its stable but I really want to move to sRGB luminence mapping (16-235)

    Any thoughts before I plump for zoomplayer?
     
  2. KraGorn

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    You'll still need the NVidia codecs from TT, I've seen reports that when purchased separately ZP can't use them .. not sure if there's a workround. I know you can use DScaler's MPEG decoder but that's still work in progress from all reports I've seen, it's good at times but when it's bad it seems to be aweful.

    IMX ZP is okay, though 4.03 regularly hung after doing a File | Open on media files, don't recall any problems with DVDs. It's clearly a lot more twiddleable in terms of how it works, I believe it has a pretty good A/R system though perhaps not quite as easy to use as TT's. Never tried more advanced things like bookmarks etc.

    I've used 4.10 beta 2 for a short while, no problems playing DVDs, not tried .TS files yet, though using the NVidia decoders I'd expect them to be the same as in TT.
     
  3. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Well I already have TT 2.0 just uninstalled it so no problems there.
     
  4. KraGorn

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    As long as uninstalling it didn't uninstall the decoders .. you may need to keep it so you can get updates which will include future decoder patches, I believe there's already another one in the wings.
     
  5. cosmic023

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    Mr D:

    I've just updated my version of TTv2 to v2.005 with the patch, and on a clean install of WinXP Pro SP2 and it's loads better.

    But then i'm only using it for DVD playback, from DVD discs & HD-Rips.

    Cheers
     
  6. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Yep I have to say I just spent last night applying the new patch and messing about with a new audio driver and an intel INF chipset driver and I now have a stable TT 2 using 16-235 with VMR7 (I don't think the video driver I'm using likes VMR9 as last time round it corrupted the TT 2 install when I tried to use it ...fine with .ts though!!! maybe I'll try it later once I reimage my drive).

    So I may not plump for zoomplayer after all.

    Good things:

    the 16-235 rgb mappings make a big difference to the picture quality and I take back everything I said against them ( now if I can get nebula to use a suitable colourspace with digiTv I'm laughing)

    The default colour setttings for VMR7 are bang on , only requiring the display to be recalibrated mainly for the higher black point (this is with dvi).

    video deinterlacing (DXVA on smart mode) seems much improved but its still a little rough and ready compared with Dscaler ...what isn't? This is with a radeon 9800 pro rather than an nvidia card though. Running into a sony HS20 (dvi) and a panny 37pw5 (vga) 1368x768 at 56Hz and 856x480 at 60Hz specifically.

    Does the Nvidia post processing actually do anything on non nvidia hardware ? Doesn't seem to.

    FFDshow although it works I don't like very much even just using the lanczos resize with no additional sharpening ( I think mapping up to 1440x960 and down to the 1368x768 native of the projector is simply not as clean as a straight map to 1368x768) The chroma gaussian blur might be useful for CUE issues though) End result with ffdshow just looks overly edgy and noisy to me rather than sharp and I'm pretty sure you lose DXVA (hardware) in the process.
     
  7. KraGorn

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    NVPP does colour-space conversion to YV12 so it's useful with FFDSHOW, it also does 3:2 pulldown on NTSC material .. this works with or without NVidia hardware, it's unclear in if does anything more with a 6xxx card it would seem.

    Did you try scaling to native in FFDSHOW? I scale to 1280x720, albeit at present to a 1024x576 projector, but several of the more experienced guys on AVS scale to desktop size at 1:1 rather than going to the 1440x960 size.
     
  8. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    I can't get FFDshow to handle the native res, won't accept it.
     
  9. KraGorn

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    You mean it doesn't like the resolution of the projector? I didn't realise there were restrictions on the dimensions it was prepared to handle.
     
  10. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Seems so can't find any way of forcing it and seems others are having similar issues with the hs20.

    best you can probably manage is to whang it past to the nearest multiple of 8 and let the card downscale which defeats the point really and is never going to look as good as a straight one stage resize.
     
  11. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    KraGorn are you using this method to get 16-235 luminence in the overlay?
    Reason I ask is I'm pretty sure VMR uses 16-235 as a matter of course (or at least the nvidia implimentation does)

    Other thing I wouldn't mind knowing is if FFdshow linearises video material prior to scaling as this would be beneficial.
     
  12. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    'Fraid you're beyond my knowledge here Kieth .. have you seen this recent thread on AVS where there is someone who's clearly highly-skilled in image processing discussing just this subject of image scaling.

    Whilst I understand the 16-235/0-255 issue I'm afraid I really have no idea the answer to your question about the Overlay.
     
  13. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Good thread that I agree with Munsil about the lanczos being prone to ringing . I wouldn't use it out of choice unless it was for a downsize and I wouldn't touch the additional sharpening with a barge pole. The unsharp mask sharpening is about as good as it gets as at lower levels it changes the contrast on edges ( emphasises them) rather than adding ringing.

    The sRGB (16-235) vs "computer" RGB (0-255) is going to run for a while . I'm totally dubious about the information outside 16-235 being of any value but the redistribution of the curve (or rather the fact its left alone) does seem far smoother and a lot more visually appealing than stretching it out to 0-255. It does seem to put the near black detail in a more responsive place without compromising black itself (there is more seperation near black if you like).

    I'm pretty sure the only way you can use 16-235 in overlay is to remap to YV12 in an intermediary like ffdshow otherwise its 0-255 . If you use VMR it doesn't do the remap to 0-255 and uses the video values as is . So YV12 is redundant using VMR I think.

    I could be wrong though I'm just getting into this stuff .
     
  14. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Blimey - it's been only a year since I switched from HCPC to a DVD player and I have absolutely no idea what you guys are talking about! :eek:
     
  15. KraGorn

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    FFDSHOW is one of those dark corners of PCs that is full of complexity once one starts to ask "why ...?". :D
     
  16. KraGorn

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    Which up-sizing would you use, or don't you consider any of them good? From a pragmatic point of view Lanczos does improve the PQ I get if I leave the graphics cards to its' own devices .. I also use unsharp to tweak up the sharpness a bit, probably artificially but I don't like the softness of an un-processed image.
     
  17. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Well if you are watching at a higher resolution than 720x576 you are upressing somewhere along the line so its unavoidable really (even at video res you most likely have to square the pixels on video material which is upsampling anyway if they haven't just forgotten about it).

    If you leave it to the graphics card its likely to be a bicubic of some sort these days. Catmul Rom being the prefered one but I don't know if ffdshow has one of these its a good bicubic effectively. I doubt you'll get a proper one on a graphics card but its likely to be close on some and less good on others.

    I prefer an image that doesn't have high frequency scaling artifacts ( ie ringing , noise) so I'll pick an image thats slightly soft over a ringing edgey one every time but to each their own the lanczos is probably ok at lower values (some of the guys I work with prefer a lanczos over a bicubic but thats open for debate , I rarely apply much sharpening if any , some guys do it to everything).

    If I wanted sharpening I'd do an unsharp mask after the scale most likely.

    I seem to remember doing a test that if you only ever go to even integer values ie x2 x4 you are possibly even better off using bilinear depending on image but....
     
  18. Steve Bate

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    Wow i missed that thread on AVS, thanks Robin, just finished reading it but brains fried :eek:

    Steve
     
  19. KraGorn

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    My brain didn't fry .. I disengaged it after the first couple of posts. :D

    Mr. D:

    Interesting comments. I use Lanzcos 4, mainly because most people do (except those that use 8) however I struggle to see any difference above 2, which (if I understand his argument) is what Don was arguing.
     
  20. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    I haven't had any time to try this in practice but...

    In my case if I use a superior filter to scale up and hit 1440x960 say . I then have to downscale to the native panel res of my projector (Hs20 the 1366x768 weird one) . This will use the graphics card hardware and is most likely going to be a simplistic bicubic which is less than ideal for downscaling generally ( a good sinc would be preferable to even a very good bicubic).

    I suspect there will be no improvement over just using the hardware to scale directly to the panel res of the projector and not use ffdshow at all.

    Even if I over scale in ffdshow to the nearest multiple of 16 to my ideal panel res, the small hardware downscale ( even if its a couple of pixels) is still a sub-pixel downscale with a less than ideal filter (doesn't matter that its a small amount , might even make things worse).

    The only way I could get an improvement in scaling using ffdshow , assuming the 4 tap lancsoz is superior to the hardware in my radeon 9800pro , would be if ffdshow could handle the exact panel res of the HS20 and cut the hardware scaling out of the process entirely.
     
  21. JohnAd

    JohnAd
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    The way to make the overlay do 16-235 output is to mess with the overlay contrast and brightness, do not attempt to do this with ffdshow as you'll just be chucking away information.

    John
     
  22. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    But if you're already dealing with an image thats been clipped and remapped from 16-235 to 0-255 you've already crushed it even if you then raise the black point and lower the white point using the overlay controls? Unless it concatenates which I doubt .

    I'm not so worried by the clip but the crush has compromised your image somewhat ?

    I posted a question regarding this same topic on the dscaler forum too John ( I'll have a look).
     
  23. JohnAd

    JohnAd
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    Not sure what you're problem is, the video passes around internally as YV12 or YUY2 in 16-235 form until it gets to the graphics card where if you're using the overlay with default settings it will convert Y =16 to rgb = 0. This stage of the conversion is effected by the brightness/contrast settings so that you can get y=16 -> rgb=16 just by upping brightness and the lower contrast to get y = 235 -> rgb = 235.

    If at any point you find filters that expands the YV12 range chuck it, I'm not aware of any that do except ffdshow.

    John
     
  24. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Its not a question of 16 already having been mapped to 0 ? And then all bumping up the brightness on overlay does is lift an already crushed intensity range?

    Just thats what it looks like to me , all the lower intensities have been crushed together whereas if you use VMR the seperation from black upwards is much easier to disclose , the lower intensity detail seems far more obvious and smooth without any compromise to the black level itself.

    I've never been able to get overlay as nice at any setting the lower intensities crunch off far more abruptly.

    I thought I'd read somewhere that using ffdshow in YV12 remap avoided the crush down from 16 to 0 if you used overlay but I could be wrong as I've not managed to track it down. I assumed thats why Kragorn was using it.
     
  25. Paul D

    Paul D
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    Hi Keith,
    I found a bug free way of playing DVDs, but it would mean spending yet more money.(and even then there is no guarantee it would work for you!)

    I was having real problems with TT2.0 concerning stutters/judders and some very subtle banding/posterisation issues.(plus other issues!)

    I use a nVidia 5950 Ultra VGA card, via DVI to my PJ.
    I was having issues with slight banding via DVI anyway, so something had to be done.

    I decided to give MCE2005 a try after learning they had sorted out the tearing issues via VMR9.
    I then paired this with the new nVidia NVDVD 4.0 DVD codecs.

    I set decoders to smart mode and the de-interlacing to combine fields.

    Since the new nVidia VGA drivers also offer customised resolution/refresh rates you are free to play, and you can choose some of their "preset" PAL and NTSC refresh rates!

    I run at 1280x720p for 1-1 mapping, and their custom PAL setting (50hz) - (59.xxx for NTSC),

    With VMR9 the colours are spot on, in fact i found i had no need to touch ANY settings.(brightness/contrast etc)

    On first viewing, the image can appear to be a little soft. But carry on and you will realise why!
    The de-interlacing is so good, detail appears that would normally be masked by micro twittering/stairstepping.
    Its removal causes the image to become very cinematic or filmic.
    Run AVIA or DVE and you will find there is zero loss of detail, yet there is no added ringing etc.

    People who use FFDshow will NOT like MCE player + 4.0, you will used to the added (false!) sharpness and this image will look soft.(you have been warned! :) )

    I did back to back testing versus my Pioneer 868i and the only difference was the lack of de-interlacing errors from MCE+4.0.
    In fact i would say MCE player was smoother, ie less juddery! :eek:

    It passed my toughest test:-
    Finding Nemo
    Nearly all under water scenes will show banding if something is wrong, but the scene with the "Angler Fish" will show ANY banding problems. Just watch the bit with it's "Lure".
    It should be white-blue-black, with a perfect transition from each hue.
    MCE+4.0 has undetectable transitions from each hue, and looks just like a light under water would look like.
    With TT2.0 or XP (via DVI) i could detect some subtle false contouring that looked like rings on a tree trunk(with the "Lure" shot etc).

    Via MCE+4.0 it looked like film and not digital etc, meaning the grey scales are be mapped/displayed properly.(16-235 etc)

    I haven't done too much other testing, as i've just been watching film after film with no issues.
    I'm almost afraid to mess now, as i've never managed to get a HTPC to play DVDs without something being wrong!

    So...

    1-1 mapping
    Correct refresh rates for PAL and NTSC.
    No tearing
    Colour/contrast and brightness spot on.
    No obvious de-interlacing errors(since selecting smart/combine fields)
    NO stutters or judders, zero skips. (PAL)(NTSC can have panning judder only)

    With MCE2005s remote, it is as easy to use as a normall DVD.
    I have started to rip my DVDs to the HDD, and using a plug-in for MCE2005 can just browse my collection and play!

    WMV-HD is proving to be much harder to crack with the odd skip stutter.
    I am tempted to change my VGA to the new nVidia 6600 AGP card, and see if it's hardware WMV acceleration does the trick :)


    Ps, true playback @ 48hz for NTSC DVD(not needed for PAL) and WMV-HD is not as smooth in MCE2005 as it was in XP and TT2.0. (i will keep trying though!)
     
  26. JohnAd

    JohnAd
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    Again I'm not aware of any filters that output YUV space Y in the range [0-255] . the conversion in the graphics card is implementation dependant the radeons at least don't do that.

    John
     
  27. JohnAd

    JohnAd
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    Could be that there is a weird problem with YUY2 and that using YV12 bypasses it....

    John
     

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