Upscaling DVD on a laptop via HDMI

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Qactuar, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. Qactuar

    Qactuar
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    Okay, so I have had a look around and seen some different responses regarding upscaling.

    Some feel that an upscaler works best because you avoid analogue SCART connections and use HDMI, while others say that as long as you use HDMI, the panel will do the scaling.

    In light of this, I'm wondering what the implications of using a Studio 17 laptop with an HDMI connection would be. I know 720p scales nicely when played in MPC and set to full screen (possibly not the correct way to do things, but it looks okay from what I could tell), but what about playing back a DVD from the laptop?

    I had a go with one on a Samsung 40" 1080p 24p 100Hz 6 series and it looked okay, but compared to some vivid claims that upscaling can look 'almost as good as Blu Ray', I was left either a) dubious or b) in need of starting this thread to determine if 'upscaling' is actually occurring.

    Any thoughts? It's questions central from me of late!
     
  2. mossym

    mossym
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    using hdmi doesn't mean the panel is scaling. if you send 1920 by 1080p from your laptop to a 1080p over hdmi cable, then the tv is doing no scaling, your laptop is. if you send anything other than 1080p (720p or any other resolution) then your tv is scaling. When you hook up your laptop to the tv, the tv will show up as a second display(or maybe even the primary, depending on how you set it up). the resolution you then set up for this display will dictate if the tv scales dvds or your laptop does.

    for example, if you set the display to 1080p, your laptop will scale the dvds to 1080p and your tv doesn't scale.

    if you set the display to 720p, the laptop will scale the dvds to 720p, then your tv will scale them to 1080p.

    your tv may or may not do a better job of scaling than your laptop. there are some very good codecs and post processing algorithms out there that can be applied to sd material to make it look very good. with work in my opinion you can get the scaling ona pc to be better than most tv's, but that depends if you want to go down that route
     
  3. Qactuar

    Qactuar
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    This is what I suspected. My laptop is connected at full HD res 1080p as a primary display (less distracting with the laptop screen off and less strain on the ATI HD3650), and thus I guess the software will be doing the scaling;

    My question therefore would be, what do I need to look at to get 'better' scaling on my PC/laptop? Ideally in terms of software I suppose, assuming you have some knowledge of this area. Media Player Classic (MPC) utilises a variety of codecs from the K-Lite pack and 720p playback is flawless, so I am pondering if I have the codecs to play with already.

    Reason being of course, that while DVDs looked perfectly acceptable on the panel, there wasn't a cat in hell's chance it was anywhere near 'close to Blu Ray' and I am starting to wonder a bit more if miracle upscalers are not quite what they seem. Tinkering with laptop software will help me decide I suppose!
     
  4. mossym

    mossym
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    IMHO, upscaled can't look as good as blu-ray, not even close. the detail just isn't there. That may be very dependent on screen size, but for me it will never compare.

    ffdshow probably gives the best options for video processing. it has a huge list of video post processing, from noise reduction to scaling and much more. if you want to start trying to improve the quality of video using software it's your best bet. Also, to tell you what to set is impossible. but there is tons of info on the web on what people are doing with ffdshow to improve video quality. there are some thread here, and there is a thread over on Avsforum(american version of this site) which is a few hundred pages long with tons of info on configuring ffdshow. if you really want to get into this it is your best place to start
     
  5. Qactuar

    Qactuar
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    Then it looks like I will be a busy bee fiddling with FFD Show. If I recall, MPC uses the FFD Show plugin, so probably in a position whereby I can use the MPC shell (I like it) and tinker from within.

    I just wanted to rule out having to buy an upscaling player between now and getting Blu Ray, as I feel that a 'decent' upscaling player is quite expensive at around £80. More so when I consider that a reasonable spec Blu Ray player is going to set me back over £200 at present, and I'm not willing to pay that much, when I can wait six-eight months and get something of similar spec for much less (most likely).

    This is going to be the start of a slippery slope for me, I can feel it. Time to work hard and get my payrises I think, what with plans for a receiver and another pair of Tannoy speakers as well. So much for recession.
     
  6. mossym

    mossym
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    i would think that even at £80 the scaler in your tv would be better than any dvd players..but there may be an exceptions. i'd hinestly think you could double that and still find the tv is better
     
  7. Qactuar

    Qactuar
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    Again, reassuring to read that you have this opinion. Saves me cash I suppose! I am quite glad that I deliberately chose the Dell Studio with HDMI output - I'm hoping to receive some 1080p files soon, but at 12GB a pop, I might need a new internal hard disk, as an external one will likely lag when sending over HDMI.
     
  8. Qactuar

    Qactuar
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    Okay a bit of progress. I played about with the ffdshow settings here (excluding the media player - I used MPC still),

    http://www.projecthtpc.co.uk/software3.html

    and wondered if anyone has any more input? I've got DVDs and 720p looking more than acceptable, but other guides have suggested different sharpening tools and whatnot, and they looked utterly dreadful when I tried them (and that was at AVS).

    Surprisingly decent upscaling on the whole so far. 720p Dark Knight looked particularly nice scaled up to 1080p and turning scaling off and on, while on the fly, showed obvious signs of enhancement, particularly in the opening scene on the clown masks and William Fichtner's face.

    Tomb Raider on DVD when scaled by ffdshow looked a reasonable amount better. Rather than looking muddy and almost like a grey filter had been applied (SCART), it was more vibrant, sharper and had more clarity.

    Not quite the 'Blu Ray equivalent' that people have claimed, but definitely more than watchable when scaled to 1920x1080.

    Any further suggestions? I guess it ought to be in another forum, but searching wasn't yielding much positive and definitive.
     
  9. mossym

    mossym
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    did you try playing around with blur and NR and sharpening? it's woprth enabling those to see if they have a positive effect. a lot of ffdshow setting are dependent on what your tv is doing afterwards, so you really need to play around yourself and see what works and what doesn't. what works for me may make your picture worse, so trial and error is the only way to get the picture right for you
     
  10. Qactuar

    Qactuar
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    I did indeed, but the suggested adjustments were quite poor. I guess I will have to fiddle and whatnot after saving a copy of the current presets as a failsafe.

    More long evenings ahead!
     
  11. mossym

    mossym
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    speaking of long evenings....not meaning to scare you, but there are a hardcore bunch out there that have actully gone to the extremes of having different post procedding profiles for each individual dvd that they own. the idea being that what is best for one dvd is not best for the next, so they have a different one for each dvd...


    now that's a lot of work
     
  12. Qactuar

    Qactuar
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    Well, I can safely say that I will not be falling into that category. For one, a lot of my DVDs are from backups and don't scale amazingly well anyway. Not to mention the fact that it'd get on my GF's nerves every time she wanted to watch a DVD and I have to mess with a profile! :D

    Oh, did I mention that it might also be considered anal?! Imagine if you had hundreds of DVDs (which people do)!
     
  13. mossym

    mossym
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    i guess you're assuming i don't fall into that category then...
     
  14. Qactuar

    Qactuar
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    I chose my words carefully there!
     

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