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Upscaling to HD - NTSC vs PAL?

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by Desk, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. Desk

    Desk
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    I'm thinking ahead to a time when I have a High Definition-capable display, and will hopefully be upscaling my standard definition DVDs via Theatertek or the likes, and have one simple question...

    Will film material be better upscaled from NTSC or PAL SD, or is there no advantage to either?

    Anyone know?
     
  2. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    I suspect that if you can cope with the 4% speedup that is usually introduced when film source material is transferred to 576/50i (aka PAL) then the extra resolution of "PAL" or 576/50i is worth it.

    Good 16:9 standard def component 576/50i material can look very good when scaled to 1080/50i. (There were some HD viewers in the US who thought the BBC's widescreen standard definition golf coverage was being shot in HD - mainly because the pictures were clean, sharp and didn't have a lot of aperture correction, or subcarrier artefacts...)

    If you are sourcing your material from a composite or s-video, rather than a DVD or Digital TV component, source then 625 PAL should look quite a lot better when upscaled, as it has quite a lot more chroma resolution than 525 NTSC. The differences are less marked when comparing digital component sources - though 625/50 has the edge in vertical resolution still.
     
  3. CKNA

    CKNA
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    Come on Stephen. I do not know where you read that somebody thought that BBC's widescreen golf upconverted to 1080i60 was true HD. It was only shown on TNTHD and very few people saw it. While somebody said it looks good, it in no way could be cofused with true HD. The network feed was only 4:3.

    As far as upconverting, if the source is PAL DVD then upconvert to 1080i50. NTSC DVD you should upconvert to 1080i60. Trust me when upconverted from either one you will not notice any difference.
     
  4. Desk

    Desk
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    Really? Fantastic news, if that's the case.

    I thought that film material might look better upconverted from a PAL source as the software would have more vertical information to work from.
     
  5. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    There were actually quite a few posts on AVSForum at the time CKNA asking if the coverage was HD or not.

    I'm not saying that the Beeb 576/50i 16:9 stuff looked like HD - just that some people thought it might be. This may be more a reflection on their display set-ups, or their perception (they may not be that good at telling the difference), all I'm reporting is that some people weren't sure.

    However even those who clearly saw it wasn't HD, did class it as pretty good, and amongst the better SD stuff they'd seen, and complimented it as looking better than many other SD upconverts. This may have been as much because it was 16:9 native, and probably didn't have much PAL subcarrier on it (as the BBC is moving to digital component radio cameras for as many of its radio cameras - heavily used in golf coverage - as possible) - though the extra lines in the source resolution may not have harmed, and historically the BBC run with quite low-levels of aperture correction on their cameras (unlike much of the US sports coverage I've seen in the past, much of which has had loads of AK)

    What wasn't clear was whether TNT-HD were upconverting 576/50i -> 480i -> 1080/60i or going straight 576/50i->1080/60i - the latter offering the higher potential quality, and I'd hope that was the path taken.

    I totally agree that 576/50i material should be upconverted to 1080/50i, and that 480/60i should be upconverted to 1080/60i. Whether 480/24p should be upconverted to 1080/50i with speedup (but smoother motion) or 1080/60i (with no speedup but 3:2 cadence adding motion judder) is more debatable.

    Those of us used to watching 24p as 50i with speedup really notice the 3:2 judder when 24p is displayed as 60i, but others who are used to 3:2 just don't see it as a problem, and instead find the speed up (sometimes accompanied by a pitch change) more objectionable. This is a personal choice - and may be based on what you are most used to watching.

    I suspect that the differences between the same film up-converted to 1080 sourced from 480i and 576i sources will depend as much, if not more, on the quality of the DVD mastering and the film transfer than on the video standard used. A good 480i transfer will look better up-converted than a poor 576i transfer and vice versa.

    Because 480i has slightly lower vertical resolution it may suffer less from artefacting when compressed - so look better. However some 480i transfers sometimes have more edge-enhancement (so they look "sharper" on 480i screens) added than their 576i counterparts, and in this case the 576i transfer may look cleaner and less artificial when scaled. However this isn't a hard and fast rule.

    Home Cinema enthusiasts often compare the Region 1 480i and Region 2 576i DVD releases, as well as the standard and special editions, and Superbit, releases in both territories, as well as DVDs mastered from HDTV broadcasts by enthusiasts, to see which look best when scaled to HD. There are variations between releases - but not a clear division where one is better than the other.

    However it is clear that DVD film sourced material can look very good indeed when correctly de-interlaced and scaled to HD. It isn't as good as HD - but it still looks nice - especially with DVDs mastered to a high quality.
     

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