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TT vs Xcard

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by John DB, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. John DB

    John DB
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    Here are a couple of piccys I took, one with xcard via PDI into Holo3dgraph-II and out via Rad 7500 (still awaiting aux card drivers) and the other using TT with the same Rad 7500.

    The Xcard picture is the one with the PAUSE on screen. They have both lost a fair amount whilst downsizing but still give a valid comparison I think.

    I know which I prefer but I'd be interested In hearing anyone else's opinion or tweaking advice :)

    XCARD

    Theatertek

    Cheers.
    John.
     
  2. Jeff

    Jeff
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    The TT picture looks better to me, you might want to switthing off the enhancement stuff on the H3DII. What settings do you have for TT and the overlay (bightness contrast, gamma etc)?
     
  3. MuFu

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    I agree, the TT picture looks better. Are they both properly calibrated? The green/blue level looks a little high in the Xcard pic.

    MuFu.
     
  4. John DB

    John DB
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    Jeff, the TT picture seems a lot better to me too. I really wanted the xcard/H3D combo to kick TT's ass for the ease of use factor but alas no.

    My TT settings are the ones posted by Bjoern here on your thread using a gamma of 1.1 (TT-86) with a smidgeon of ffdshow thrown in.

    Up till last week I was using a floor mounted Barco 1208/2 on a 6ft matt white fixed screen and all my calibrations are based on this setup, however the Barco has now been banished under our bed whilst we sell the house and the screenshots are of a Panny ae300 on a 5ft manual screen and I haven't recalibrated anything yet.

    I did try tweaking the xcard/h3d setup on the Barco (including turning h3d enhancement off) but still couldn't get it looking as nice as TT :(

    Mufu, yeah I agree the colours are off with the xcard set-up but even if this was corrected I'm not convinced the picture will be as detailed as the TT one?

    Plenty of people reported the xcard/h3d setup as being easily as good as TT which has me puzzled cos to my eye its not even close! I could easily spot the difference without a side by side comparison. I don't watch video-based dvd's or even dvd extras so don't really care whether xcard hardware is better with video material either.

    I will try xcard again when immersive finally get the HD-aux card output drivers/cables out and running sweet but I'm not holding my breath. I suppose what I really want to hear from someone is "I agree John, tried xcard myself and it sucked!" OR "theres something wrong with the setup, it should look much better".

    Jeff, I know you flogged an xcard lately...spill the beans!!
     
  5. Jeff

    Jeff
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    I sold the xcard without trying it, I didn't have the time or the cable. I do have an SDI player though and PQ wise it's very close. People don't pay enough attention to mpeg decodeing, it really can make a big difference and I suspect its here that the Xcard is found wanting. Hardware assisted Mpeg on Radeons is pretty good, very good on the Radeon 9500 and above. The other thing to look at are the H3DII picture enhancemnt settings, the defaults look wrong to me, too edgy. Try switching it all off.
     
  6. John DB

    John DB
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    Using ffdshow automatically forces TT to use software mpeg decoding, does this mean I'm not using the Radeons hardware mpeg assistance?
     
  7. Jeff

    Jeff
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    If your are using a 7500 then the difference between software and hardware decodeing will be less, but I always go for hardware. FFDShow works because Radeons overlay scaling isn't very good. I get around this by carefully picking what resolutions I use. I would like to see TT in DXVA mode being scaled by the HDAux card, in theory it should be killer.
     
  8. John DB

    John DB
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    I too would like to see TT thru the aux card but can't imagine it ever happening as its not going to benefit immersive inc or its resellers interests (hardware sales).

    At the moment I have a useless aux card & xcard, should I flog em both and put the proceeds towards an Mike Parker modified Radeon card perhaps?
     
  9. Jeff

    Jeff
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    This is one of the supported features. We just need the fully working drivers.
     
  10. buns

    buns
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    The difference is amazing actually.....

    Would it not be pretty tough to flog the aux card? After all, almost everyone with h3d2 bought an aux card with it, and since it can only be used with the h3d2..... there will be very few it would be of interest to.

    Well unless you were selling the h3d card as well in which case my arguement doesnt hold! You could always trade with an original h3d owner who wanted the aux card upgrade, then you could swap h3d2 for h3d card (which there isnt much difference between).

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  11. buns

    buns
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    does that mean the aux card should work with h3d I also?

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  12. Jeff

    Jeff
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    No
     
  13. buns

    buns
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    Ok fair enough then!

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  14. John DB

    John DB
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    Jeff I'm really confused about this, I thought that there was no way to process the signal from Theatertek and only passthrough was possible?

    Like this quote from Shady Bimmer on the holo forum "The Xcard is the only way to use your PC's DVD drive with the H3DII since there is no way to pass TheaterTek (or any software decoder) output to H3D."

    I sincerely hope he's talking out of his arse! Could you possibly elaborate please Jeff?
     
  15. buns

    buns
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    I think Jeff means pass to the aux card...... forget the h3d bit of it....

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  16. Jeff

    Jeff
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    You can get the HDAux card to do the scaling and post processing, also there is every chance that the DAC and filters on the HDAux are better than the Radeons. Deinterlacing would still be done by TT/Radeon.
     
  17. John DB

    John DB
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    Excellent! thats cheered me up a bit :)

    Now who wants to buy my xcard....lol
     
  18. philipb

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    How exactly would you do this? - run TT, then take the DVI on the radeon to the DVI in on the aux card, then DVI out on the aux card to the display?

    I have all the bits, just too stupid to understand how to connect it all up.

    On a Pioneer 433, my experience is that TT+ffdshow is better than xcard via H3DII, but not much (both really good).
     
  19. Jeff

    Jeff
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    That sounds about right, you wont be able to do anything until the next driver (at least), but its got to be worth a go.
     
  20. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Strange the Pause on-screen is green with my Xcard, are you running the updated Xmedia software or something?

    For me, I like the smoothness of pans with the Xcard/holo3d. I tried many refresh rates with TheaterTek and could never get things as smooth. 1920x1080i @100/120Hz is really something.

    I really noticed what TT was lacking when I watched it having seen spender's Denon 3800 progressive direct to Pioneer 433 Plasma (i.e. progressive 480p/576p, but no external scaler). On watching some things that evening, I noticed some bad pans, memerably the vertical pan down the building at the start of The Royal Tenebaums.

    This difference has to be seen and can't really be portrayed with a static picture.

    This started me on TheaterTek/ReClock, which fixed the pans, but broke the good smooth S/PDIF bitstream output.

    I tried TheaterTek/ffdshow, but got bugged by it not handling PAL and NTSC sources without an automated registry hack required. I also didn't notice that big a difference to the Radeon 7200 doing the scaling at 1440x960 v.s ffdshow 720x960 thenRadeon to 1440x960. I suspected it also contributed to occasional judder on the P4 2.0GHz I have.

    Is ffdshow smooth running and ready for prime time now?

    If we are serious about getting the best out of a source, we should have the display ISF'd after a soothing in period. (for me that's probably about a year because I'm tight!)

    What I like about the Xcard is the poor points are acceptably good, whereas TheaterTek just started to bug me.

    Maybee I should try the latest TheaterTek/ReClock/ffdshow now that I've got a Radeon9500 with RV300 DirextX9 core and am running XP Home. But I'm just not incluned to mess until I see something that bugs me enough with the Xcard!

    That'll probably be if Tony ever brings his Arcam DVD 88+ over to do an A/B against Xcard bitstream, then I'll probably want to return to TheaterTek and m-audio 2496 sound!

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  21. John DB

    John DB
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    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the input. I'm using THIS driver and application for the xcard, I think its the latest cos it looks different to the one illustrated in the manual.

    I too got perfectly smooth pans with reclock but stopped using it due to occasional audio dropouts which drove me mad! Actually I can't even get the xcard to do pans as smooth as TT with reclock.

    The TT ffdshow pal/ntsc automation wasn't too bad to sort out...the lost hair has now fully grown back :D With ffdshow I'm using a slight amount of unsharp (20) and gradual denoise (20) and have never tried the resize option.

    Can't wait to try passing TT into the HD-aux card now that it seems it will be able to scale the picture and process the image....fingers crossed!

    regards,
    John.
     
  22. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Thanks for that link John!,

    What resolution and timing are you using? PAL or NTSC?

    Are you referring to viewing with the Barco 1208/2 or Panny ae300?

    On to my Barco 808s CRT, whch has limits of Horizontal 15-75 kHz H and Vertical 37-200 Hz V. i.e just over double HDTV rates. I assume the 1208 is similar?

    For NTSC:
    Vertical Pans Lipsync
    -------------------------------------
    59.94 Hz Good Bad
    60 Hz Good Ok (1440x960p at about 70KHz H)
    71.928 Hz Bad untested
    (might be due to Faroudja 60Hz in holo3dgraph, because this was fine for TheaterTek)
    120 Hz Great Great (1920x1080i at about 67KHz H)

    For PAL:
    Vertical Pans Lipsync
    -------------------------------------
    59.94 Hz Awful untested
    60 Hz Bad untested
    50 Hz untested - probably flickers too much for me.
    75 Hz Good Ok (1440x864p)
    100Hz Great Great (1920x1080i at about 72KHz H)

    If you are using the Panny panel, then what looks smooth on the above outputs to CRT may look horrible on the panel projector as it has it's own internal resampling and rates.

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  23. John DB

    John DB
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    Rob,

    On the Barco (v.similar specs to 808s) I was using the following for TT.

    Pal: 1024x768 50.000hz
    Ntsc: 1024x768 47.952hz

    For the xcard I only ever tried ntsc - 1024x768 @ 59.940hz.

    These were using the full 4:3 raster on a 4:3 screen, I never did get round to trying exact multiples of the dvd res to see if it looked better.
    Also I never compared vertical panning only horizontal!

    On the Panny for ntsc (both TT & xcard) I'm using (I think) 952x518 60hz and a similar res for pal @ 50hz, these are reported by the PJ to be "HDTV60 & HDTV50" and I think this means they are bypassing the internal scaler?

    I'll do some more testing..

    cheers,
    John.
     
  24. Rob.Screene

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    Having pushed the holo3dgraphI/X-card calibration carefully, I think the picture is nigh identical to TheaterTek.

    As I've now got a TheaterTek and holo3d envinonment in ghost backups, I can a/b between them!

    Both do quite good pans now, but...

    PAL=holo3d wins
    One thing that dawned on me is that PAL pans are better on the holo3d/x-card where in camparinos TheaterTek gives a slight occasional jump say roughly two seconds. Not a tear, or really a stutter, just a very slight jump, noticeable on slow pans. Both at 75Hz exactly.

    Now don't get me wrong on a plasma panel, this might not be notieable as other timing limits are going on. I'm talking about looking for a glass smooth, judder free, clear pan on a device not inherently re-sampling the video feed, i.e. CRT projector.

    Or put another way TheaterTek may look as good on a plasma/lcd as it's really quite good now with cat 3.6 radeon 9500, directx9b, etc.

    NTSC=TheaterTek wins
    It seems that the Faroudja works at 60Hz for NTSC. Great for video mode titles, not ideal for film titles, where the 23.976fps are obtained by inverse pulldown, then duplicated in a pattern to 60fps, i.e. doubled and 12 per second are additionally copied making the 60fps.

    This gives a progressive version of 3-2 pulldown pudder and is what any progressive film output at 60Hz must do.

    I noticed this accidentally when I went to capture The Empire Strikes Back NTSC laserdisc and couldn't work out why I was not seeing NTSC pulldown jaggies and the capture was at 60fps not 27.97fps! It seems, if capturing NTSC with amCAP/DirectShow, it's after the Faroudja deinterlacing on the holo3d, those really are custom drivers!

    The best pans I can get is 60KHz/60Hz holo3d.
    For TheaterTek, the 71.928Hz ideal works really well
    , causing each 23.976fps to be tripled and the result is the smoothest pans now that I've ever seen.

    Features and reliability:
    While testing, flipping forward and back by chapters, TheaterTek locked on to black screens and I thought it had crashed, but chapter back/fwd quickly resolves it and then chapter fwd/back goes to the one you originally wanted!

    Ffwd/rew with the X-card is much smoother than TheaterTek and reacts instantly when play is pushed, whereas TheaterTek still has about 1/2 a sec of momentum and you're in the next scene till it's playing.

    TheaterTek now allows eject on the drive and inserting a different region dvd without complaint, as does X-card XMP.

    X-card XMP 2.0 seems to allow chapter fwd past fbi warnings/

    I still haven't heard any difference between X-card S/PDIF and TheaterTek/m-audio S/PDIF dolby digital.

    Overlay highlights on DVD menus looks jagged on TheaterTek, holo3d looks smooth, like set-top players do. I suspect this is a Windows DirectShow limitation in TheaterTek, not actually due to the holo3d's DCDi.

    NB. I'm using holo3d VMR7 mode and haven't noticed lipsyn issues with the above rates, but I haven't watched and films through since.

    cheers,
    Rob.
     

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