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watching 720P vs. 480P


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 09:51 PM

I borrowed my brother-in-law's Blu-Ray player (he works for Sun Microsystems on their Blu-Ray committee) and set it up at home to check out the format.

I have a three-year-old 37" Sharp Aquos LCD screen, 720P. Unfortunately, it predates the models that have HDMI inputs so I'm having to use the DVI input. The TV says it is still 720P though I'm not sure if there is any degradation going on by not using an HDMI input.

Someone on the internet said I might also have problems: "With older displays that only have DVI inputs, there's always the possibility the DVI port doesn't support HDCP copy protection protocols, in which case it can't be made to work with an HDMI output not even by using an adapter."

First I borrowed my brother-in-law's Sony Playstation 3 player because it operates faster than his Pioneer Blu-Ray player (Blu-Ray discs can be rather slow to load and play) but though I got a picture out of it, I couldn't get any audio. The PSP3 player doesn't seem to have any audio outputs that I could find and there didn't seem to be any audio travelling through the DVI input.

So I borrowed his Pioneer player instead and hooked it up, with separate audio going through my receiver. I rented "2001" on Blu-Ray since I have the standard def DVD of that movie. I set it up so that I could switch back and forth.

At first impression, I noticed that the 720P image was sharper and more detailed than the DVD's 480P image but it wasn't a radical improvement -- but then I noticed just how much more edge enhancement the DVD image had, whereas the 720P HD image was much less sharpened and had a more pleasing sort of detail, much more film-like.

After a few minutes of watching both versions, I started to dislike the DVD version more and more, mainly for this edgy look. The 720P picture was simply prettier, smoother, cleaner.

I'll probably wait six months or more before I buy a Blu-Ray player, just so that they get faster and cheaper. I guess the question is whether I really want to get a new HD monitor with HDMI inputs (and maybe even something bigger than 37" or maybe 1080P.) Or even get an HD projector instead and set-up a separate screening area just for looking at movies.
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 10:30 PM

I was considering a PS3, mostly because right now it's actually cheaper than a Bluray player. Plus I'd have the option of playing a game if I need to unwind after a long day.

My HDTV has HDMI, so I guess it'd be worth it.
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 10:47 PM

Hello David,

I rarely comment on your remarks since I rarely ever have anything worth adding to your already complete statements. However, I do agree with your assessments.

I walk through my local Circuit Cities and Best Buys and look at the plentiful demonstrators of higher technology displays. LCDs, Plasmas, HDs, BlueRays, 720s, 1080s... In many ways they are amazing to the eye. The sense of depth is sometimes profound. And I know they have so much more sheer mathematics of data and display technologies within them.

But the tech-geek in me that is impressed with this is always accompanied by the art-fag that I spent five years in college to be. And that person looks at these images and finds them, as you say, edgy and ugly. They just don't serve my eye. They don't serve my visual brain. My old JVC studio grade CRT churns out an image that doesn't require my brain to go to its definition of reality. All of the pretty toys in the electronic stores make me adjust to their reality. I just can't go there. I too will wait for those electrical engineers to catch on that their product could look like something else. Maybe, like how things really look with the eye. Or, if I may say, how things look with film.
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#4 John Mastrogiacomo

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 10:51 PM

I Unfortunately, it predates the models that have HDMI inputs so I'm having to use the DVI input. The TV says it is still 720P though I'm not sure if there is any degradation going on by not using an HDMI input.


The quality of the DVI input is the same as the quality of the HDMI input. HDMI has superseded DVI. HDMI also includes audio and has room for improvement as the specs change.

My JVC Broadcast LCD monitor only has DVI but it's no big deal. I just have to route the audio seperately.

HDMI and DVI both need HDCP (copy protection) to display Blu-Ray in Hi-Def mode with HDCP. (can you say movie studios?)

Quote from the net:
"If the FCC and MPAA have their way, any television displaying a program encoded with HDCP not connected through DVI or HDMI might be degraded ? meaning a high definition signal of 1080i will be automatically converted to 480i so you won?t get the advantages of HD or you might not even receive the picture at all. That?s a tough issue to project as public perception might play a factor in that development."

HDMI and DVI connectors and large screens (with or without HDCP) will accept Blu-Ray DVD's (home made ones) in High Def mode without any problems. I've done it and it works fine. :rolleyes:
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 10:53 PM

Well, what I like about HD over SD is the potential it has to reduce edge enhancement because you are starting out with more resolution, so you can get a sharp image that feels more like the original film, not electronic. I don't think people realize just how much edge enhancement is added to SD material.

As for CRT vs. LCD, yes, I find CRT images more pleasant but there's no way I'm going to get a giant HD CRT monitor rather than a flat panel display or a projection system, not for a 40" or bigger image.

And I suppose there is the cool idea of watching "2001" on flat screen while the astronauts in the movie watch flat panel displays...
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#6 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 11:22 PM

I've been very happy with my 42" Sharp Aquos LCD. :) Just sayin'....
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#7 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 11:48 PM

Well, what I like about HD over SD is the potential it has to reduce edge enhancement because you are starting out with more resolution, so you can get a sharp image that feels more like the original film, not electronic. I don't think people realize just how much edge enhancement is added to SD material.

As for CRT vs. LCD, yes, I find CRT images more pleasant but there's no way I'm going to get a giant HD CRT monitor rather than a flat panel display or a projection system, not for a 40" or bigger image.

And I suppose there is the cool idea of watching "2001" on flat screen while the astronauts in the movie watch flat panel displays...


I have a 46" 1080p bravia lcd, and it's purdy. Really, there's no going back. I also use it as my main work monitor (next to it, my 24" dell looks particularly weedy now!)

Also, I set it up right beside my broadcast monitor, so the colours are pretty accurate too.

and yes, 2001 looks pretty good in 1080p :)

(along with Blade runner and The Road Warrior!)
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#8 Marc Alucard

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 02:50 AM

If the player and TV have component video inputs give that a try as well. Sometimes with older LCDs you might prefer the picture.

The only hitch is the Blu Ray player won't up convert SD discs over component connections. Did you have the latest SD release of "2001"?
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#9 Thomas James

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 04:48 AM

If I were you I would get a 1080p 120 hertz television that effectively doubles the framerate as long as you have the ability to turn the auto motion on or off. That way you can watch most of the movie 2001 in the film like 24p mode but when you get to the end of the movie with the Doug Trumble fast action star gate slit screen special effects you can ramp up to 48p just to see what it looks like.

Edited by Thomas James, 23 January 2008 - 04:49 AM.

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#10 A. Whitehouse

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 08:21 AM

That way you can watch most of the movie 2001 in the film like 24p mode but when you get to the end of the movie with the Doug Trumble fast action star gate slit screen special effects you can ramp up to 48p just to see what it looks like.


Why would he want to do that? Those Auto motion features are poop. It isn't 48p, how could it be? You wouldn't believe how much misinformation there is out there in the minds of the public but more worryingly coming from the mouths of salesmen. It took a long time to start watching things in Progressive and now manufacturers want to throw it all away.
On a reverse note, does anyone else find some of the motion artifacts from Blu-ray and HD-DVD distracting? I can't really put a finger on it but there are times when Ive been watching things side by side (Casino Royale, Transformers) and I've liked the way the uprezzed dvd moved way more than the HD discs. This could be entirely due to a bad setup at my local JB hifi but something was definetly odd. Maybe I was standing too close.
I feel like early this year might be a bad time to buy a moderately expensive TV because OLEDs seem just around the corner and LCD prices might plummet even further (if thats possible) making a 3k investment look very obsolete quickly. I saw a 50" Bravia with a PS3 for $2500 AUS from the Sony store just after Christmas, it was a promotion but still. 2 years ago that would have been unimaginable.
Check out the prices on secondhand HD Rear projection sets on ebay. How the mighty have fallen.

Edited by A. Whitehouse, 23 January 2008 - 08:22 AM.

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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 10:17 AM

I'll probably get a 1080p Plasma and a Blue-Ray player later in the year. The technology should be more mature by then (especially the player) and the prices will have come down a bit as well.
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#12 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 10:35 AM

Why would he want to do that? Those Auto motion features are poop. It isn't 48p, how could it be? You wouldn't believe how much misinformation there is out there in the minds of the public but more worryingly coming from the mouths of salesmen. It took a long time to start watching things in Progressive and now manufacturers want to throw it all away.
On a reverse note, does anyone else find some of the motion artifacts from Blu-ray and HD-DVD distracting? I can't really put a finger on it but there are times when Ive been watching things side by side (Casino Royale, Transformers) and I've liked the way the uprezzed dvd moved way more than the HD discs. This could be entirely due to a bad setup at my local JB hifi but something was definetly odd. Maybe I was standing too close.
I feel like early this year might be a bad time to buy a moderately expensive TV because OLEDs seem just around the corner and LCD prices might plummet even further (if thats possible) making a 3k investment look very obsolete quickly. I saw a 50" Bravia with a PS3 for $2500 AUS from the Sony store just after Christmas, it was a promotion but still. 2 years ago that would have been unimaginable.
Check out the prices on secondhand HD Rear projection sets on ebay. How the mighty have fallen.


I have never seen a rear projection tv that didn't look poop.

I have never seen a tv in any store that wasnt set up poop.

The only way to get a good picture out of these things is to go in and turn off all of the enhancements that supposedly "jazz" up the picture. This 120HZ motion guesstimate crap is a joke. all you want is the cleanest possible signal, so the image on screen looks like it's actually supposed to.
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#13 Michael Nash

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 11:26 AM

This is one of the biggest problems with the new TV's -- they all go changing the image for you. What if you want an ACCURATE picture?

There was a time when high-end audio equipment was called "hi-fi" -- meaning "high fidelity" -- meaning highly faithful to the signal. Now everything is "dynamically-auto-simulated."

I don't want signal improvements beyond basic compensation for the shortcomings of the technology (for example, the compression circuit that keeps the blacks down in professional CRT's).
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#14 Freya Black

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 01:26 PM

If you are thinking of getting a blu-ray player, then I would probably get a PS3 because the firmware is upgradable. They are still making major changes to the blu-ray specification and I havn't heard of any stand alone players that are upgradeable yet. It seems like it's a preety straightforward choice of get a PS3 or wait for the blue ray people to get it all sorted out. I'd certainly feel safer with a PS3 in the current situation and its cheaper too!

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#15 John Sprung

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 02:01 PM

I guess the question is whether I really want to get a new HD monitor with HDMI inputs (and maybe even something bigger than 37" or maybe 1080P.) Or even get an HD projector instead and set-up a separate screening area just for looking at movies.

Definitely take a very good look at 1080p front projection. Sony had some really nice stuff for under $3k a couple years ago. I haven't looked recently, but price/performance can only be getting better. One to one pixel to pixel front projection is the only way to really QC anything. As the post workflow becomes more file-based, you may be getting stuff to look at on firewire drives.




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#16 Marc Alucard

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 02:19 PM

Definitely take a very good look at 1080p front projection. Sony had some really nice stuff for under $3k a couple years ago. I haven't looked recently, but price/performance can only be getting better. One to one pixel to pixel front projection is the only way to really QC anything. As the post workflow becomes more file-based, you may be getting stuff to look at on firewire drives.




-- J.S.


John is right. The new Sony VPL-VW40 SXRD (LCos) projector streets well under $3K. I you have a room that you can control ambient light, you can have a ten foot wide image for the price of a 52" LCD.

I have the Sony Ruby VPL-VW100 for the last 18 months, and I couldn't be happier. The projector is almost silent @ 22db

"Big screen" is redefined by front projection.
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#17 Thomas James

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 05:03 PM

I mean can't the 120 hertz automotion feature be turned off ? Nobody likes that doctored look but then again with all the advances in computer technology virtual reality will someday be indistinguishable from the real thing. With the mathematics of fractals we can synthetically uprezz any object. Objects like clouds can be uprezzed because we know their fractal mathematical properties. The texture of snow can be uprezzed because we know what typical snow crystals look like. Even the crystals themselves can be uprezzed as the crystalline structure can branch off into infinity. 2 dimensional images will be uprezzed to 3 dimenssional images. Different camera angles will be synthesized.

Now of course simple motion can be uprezzed but as soon as there is a complete understanding of motion more complex motion will be uprezzed.

Its not just a matter of interpolation because when we zoom in the detail is revealed so why can't this detail be preserved when we zoom out?
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#18 Thomas James

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 05:30 PM

Now since automotion can be turned off if one prefers a more natural look I am very suprised that no one is curious about how their favorite movie would look like if it were uprezzed to 48 frames per second. Also a photographer can gain valuable experience by knowing the look of different framerates even if that is the not the look he desires.
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#19 Matthew Buick

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 05:57 PM

After my 14'' Toshiba CRT gave up the ghost a few months ago I've had a Bush 15.4'' HD LCD in my room, which I should guess is 720p, and honestly I hate it. The pictures it gives are lousy, razor dharp of course, but with little colour depth to them, or course there isn't a HD source to watch yet, but I'd love to sell it and use the cash to repair my old Toshiba. Are portable HD CRTs available?
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#20 John Sprung

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 07:08 PM

Do a Google search for "CRT plant" and you'll find loads of stories about major CE companies shutting them down. Stories about opening new CRT plants mostly date from the 1970's thru 1990's. Samsung did open a CRT plant in Tijuana, Mexico, in 2005, but it's set up to make 27" and 30" tubes, primarily for the Latin American market.





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