Why do I think R1 discs look better?


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Jun 24, 2002
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Hey guys, been using a Sony 930v for a month now, and my R1 collection is growing steadily...

Comparing the R1 titles to R2, R1 seems to give a much better viewing experience, particularily the noticable lack of noise and grain...

On some R2 discs I have to decrease the contrast as it shows up poor noise levels, whereas on ALL of my R1 discs I can use a more dynamic contrast/brightness setting...

Is there any reason for this? Or have I been lucky and just bought particularily well mastered/transferred discs?

Some of the titles are: Underworld. Bad Boys 2. American Wedding. Saving Silverman. Finding Nemo.
In my collection I've always found the opposite to be true.
Yeah its weird, because I was always under the assumption that because PAL had more vertical lines of resolution it would give better definition...
consider possibly that some equipment is designed in ntsc land so pal is a bit of an afterthought, not always the case, but it does happen

In theory, PAL is the better format but it doesn't always work out in reality - it depends on a lot of factors; encoding rate/quality for one.
Throw in progressive scan and there really isn't a lot between them.
The advantage with R1 is that in a lot of cases, the discs come out first and are generally cheaper than the UK.
As Loada says it depends very much on the mastering process, i.e. how much care has been taken during that.
As well initially R2 discs, in Germany at least, were made for a quick buck - kind of copy and paste job from a VHS tape. Things are better nowadays though.
You don't say what monitor you are using. I have a Panny PW5 which has a native resolution of 852 x 480. this means that any R1 discs can be displayed on my plasma without any scaling, whereas R2 discs, being 576 prgressive lines requires scaling. This is extra processing and at this sort of price level that means an advantage to R1 discs.
Plus they don't have that nasty BBFC stamp on the covers.:smoke:
I prefer NTSC, i think it's due to my 50Hz tv.
I think it varies from disc to disc.

I have only got two R1 discs, The Mummy and Saving Private Ryan, so I can't really judge how recent R1 releases compare to R2.

But the worst R2 discs, picture quality wise, that I have in my collection are:

Final Fantasy - Extreme edge enhancement
A Beautiful Mind - Extreme edge enhancement + grain, looks like VHS. I have also seen this in a theater and the print was not as grainy.
Hollow Man - Converted from 480i60 to 576i50 before mastering with erroneous 3-2 inverse pulldown, causing excessive de-interlacing artifacts, temporal ghosting, and loss of sharpness. The only word I can find to describe the picture quality is 'fugly'.

All of these supposedly look better in their R1 releases, although I have read some reviews that complain about excessive edge enhancement in Final Fantasy.

But there are also some amazing R2 releases, like the recent re-release of The Lion King. The later of the Disney/PIXAR releases (past A Bug's Life) also look great. I can't see why Finding Nemo should have any noise in R2, since it is a direct digital-to-digital transfer. Given the quality of Monsters, Inc., I wouldn't expect a lot of compression artifacts either.

The lower resolution of 480p probably helps to conceal film grain, because the picture must be filtered heavier in preparation for DVD to reduce aliasing and compression artifacts. So, I think it is mainly because of heavier cleaning of the picture for R1 releases that they may have less noise. Compression itself can also hide noise if it determines that the changes in an overall static part of the image are so small that they can be left out.
Originally posted by figrin_dan
I prefer NTSC, i think it's due to my 50Hz tv.

I don't understand where your coming from on this one?

NTSC is 60Hz and Pal is 50Hz therefore from the perspective that your TV is 50Hz surely Pal should be better, i.e. native rate, where as NTSC will require conversion to 50Hz??

Also a standard TV will be able to show the full 576 lines of Pal compared to the SD plasmas with only 480 lines which seem better suited to NTSC's 480, so if anything your standard TV should look a lot better with Pal then NTSC?
I'm still not satisfied with any 100Hz tvs that I have seen and they show PAL and NTSC pretty similarly to me. I watch NTSC at 60Hz which is an improvement over 50 and without all that digital rubbish that gets put in at 100Hz. In theory, more lines should create a better picture, but to my eyes PAL is usually softer. This, added to speedup is more obvious to me than lines and pulldown.
Ah right so your saying you watch ntsc at 60hz, this wasn't really apparent from your initial post.
I always found the scanlines way too obvious on interlaced ntsc on a normal television compared with pal, have to say I've never noticed pal 4% speedup ever and surely unless you watch the ntsc version first how would you even know it wasn't 100% right?

The only thing that is sometimes better about ntsc releases is the quality of the transfer and the addition of dts over the r2 release.
Speedup shouldn't be an issue since often the pitch is adjusted during the mastering.
Not always though... I thought that R.E.M.'s song 'Man on the Moon' at the end of the similarly titled movie sounded like The Smurfs. I guess it might be true of the finest transfers.
the most noticeable change between R1 and R2 discs is compression.

There is less information on an R1 disc and once you factor in extras, a pal disc as has more info, thus has to be compressed further
hence reducing the quality advantage of the extra lines of info,
Add to the fact that if this compression isnt done well then you get more encoding errors (somthing that pal material tends to suffer alot from)
Why do you say it has more information on?

Although pal has 96 more lines there are only 50 interlaced fields per second, where as with ntsc there are 60 interlaced fields per second.

So in 1 minute pal will need 864,000 lines of information and ntsc will need 864,000 lines of information, hence the same amount of data.
Compression Ratio
Previously, it has been established that a PAL DVD has 20% more resolution than an NTSC DVD. This does not necessarily translate into a superior image. The DVD format relies on a lossy video compression format (MPEG-2) to allow a reasonable length of programming to fit onto a single DVD. The longer the programming, the higher the compression ratio needs to be, and the more likely it is that visible compression artefacts will be present. If an additional 20% of resolution needs to be compressed, then this can potentially result in a lesser quality image if the programming is overcompressed. Fortunately, many PAL DVDs are being produced as dual layer discs, whereas their NTSC counterparts are being produced as single layer discs, thus providing the necessary room for both versions to look their best.

so were not talking about info that is displayed on screen in any one given moment(which is a common era of thinking) but total information that is compressed to disc. Add in then a nice company adding tons of extras and it makes it worse.

this is the reason some US discs have better audio as well, as they are again less compressed.
i was told all this years ago when i first began importing DVDs.
A good pal disc is fantastic, better than NTSC, but in truth it rarly happens

Or im completely wrong:rolleyes:
Although pal has 96 more lines there are only 50 interlaced fields per second, where as with ntsc there are 60 interlaced fields per second.
AFAIK only one field (@ 24fps) is stored, the others are just a repeatition of the one stored (-> pulldown, 3:2 for NTSC and 2:2 for PAL).

Or am I mixing something up here?
I thought that the picture information stored was interlaced, otherwise why the big importance of how good the deinterlacer is on a progscan dvd player, surely if the data was stored as progressive then to display it progressively woudnt require a deinterlacer at all, it would just be fed straight out, all be in a 2:2 sequence for pal and a 3:2 sequence for ntsc?
bump, no-one with any more input, I'd really like to know more about whats actually stored on a dvd, pal or ntsc?
I think the reason is that in practice the flags stored on the disc cannot be trusted, so merely forcing progressive scan could lead to problems. That's why an expensive chip is needed for 'babysitting' the progressive output. Also, much of the other material on the disc would have a 60 Hz display rate and be interlaced, so in order to send that through the progressive output it has to be de-interlaced.

Basically, discs are encoded as effectively as possible and as correctly as the mastering engineers set it up, with everything compromised just to make it dead easy for the cheapest of DVD Video players to output it as interlaced. More of this sad story can be found in this article from 'Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity'.
But what is actually on the disc?

If as Reiner said above, it is stored as actual film frames, i.e 24fps, then if a progressive output is wanted all that should happen is the frames are slightly speeded up (for pal in this case) and doubled up, i.e 2:2:2 output, but this obviously not what is happening, deinterlacing is taking place, hence the big importance of what deinterlacer is in the dvd player to avoid deinterlacing artifacts such as jaggies, or combing. This must therefore mean that the film material is stored on the disc in some sort of interlaced manner, surely??
I used to believe (years ago) that DVD's were produced progressively, as this was technically possible and I think the original intention? However, since then it has been said this is not the case and that the film is transfered using frame pulldowns to produced interlaced fields (ie interlaced video). I assume it was easier to impliment inverse telecine (deinterlacing) processing than realtime progressive to interlaced conversion for those people without the means of displaying a progressive signal, which 6 years ago would have been about 99% of the British population and probably about 90% of the rest of the world too (discounting PC monitors). DVE and I believe the previous Video Essentials DVD were produced in true progressive formats and like to remind us of this every 60 seconds!

I would like someone to give us the definative answer about this, as I have read so many conflicting reports and articles over the years that I have no idea what is on the disc???

It's like those who say that a DVI DVD player has to convert the data to analogue and then back to digital, or that LCD projectors have to turn a digitally received signal to analogue and then back to digital. I know this is is off subject, but has anyone heard this too? It sounds wrong to me?

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