DVD over DVI = :):):)

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  • Brandon B
    Super Senior Member
    • Jun 2001
    • 2193

    DVD over DVI = :):):)

    Got my Bravo D1 running last night. Those of you with an HTPC can skip this thread, or read it and say to yourself "well duh!" (Jon ).

    Did not have audio hooked up, as I used a 2 meter DVI cable to hook this to my PJ (WXGA LCD for those scoring at home, on a 10' diagonal screen), and have not made the 35' SPDIF cable necessary to reach my equipment rack. I cannot therefore tell if my unit has the audio issues (pops, noise, locking problems and dropouts) a few have reported.

    Video function was fine. Spent a few hours chapter jumping around AVIA, SW Ep II and LOTR EE, with no gltiches whatsoever.

    What did it do for my picture?

    All video noise gone. I mean all. The much maligned "fixed pattern noise" and "vertical banding" of the LCD PJ itself is still there, but otherwise the picture is soooo clean. Watching SW Ep II, Lucas uses a lot of anchored camera shots. In these shots, anything that was CGI and was not in motion looked like a paused still image. Absolutely clean and still. The top and bottom rows of pixels at the edge of the "black bars" where I used to see some activity are now dead clean, like I have masking (I don't).

    Detail is improved. When watching these movies, I always look for details inn the DVD that I noticed in the (very well run) 70mm theater where I saw these films. This is the first time I could see ALL of them.

    Color is better. In LOTR, one detail I always focus on is the blood on the black rider's horse's hoof when they first encounter him. Before it was discernible as blood, but lacked the clarity it had in the theater. That is there. As well as improvement everywhere.

    Motion-based decompression artifacts are not noticeable as such. Sweeps across things like leafy trees no longer have discernible pixel blotching, but instead read as regular motion blur just as with film. I was literally (for the first time) able to pretend I was watching film at home.

    If you have a DVI equipped display, this player or something like will almost certainly have you grinning. If you have the PJ I have or anything similar (Sony HS10 owners, I mean you) and aren't planning HTPC, this is a must have.

    Caveats: My old DVD player is a Pioneer D-F727. This is a 300 disc non-progressive unit, identical to the elite model except for case and audio DACs. The model came out about 3 or 4 years ago listing for about $1100. Consequently, it is not even last year's state of the art, but is certainly a reasonable quality player. However, based on comments in the Bravo thread at AVS, there is still a noticeable improvement over newer, more capable machines though. Layer change on my pioneer was pretty good, about 1/2 second. The Bravo beats that. It is still perceptible, but is only on the order of 1/10th second, feels like a frame or three was dropped rather than an actual pause. My component cabling was all top notch belden digital video with canare connectors, so that should have been a minimal part for the difference..

    Several people are reporting functional issues with the machine. I have not checked its audio performance as this requires me to the audio cable (weekend work). Some report noise and locking problems with the coax digital. Others have reported video lockup and skipping errors. I saw none of the video problems so far.

    Most don't like the remote. I'm kind of in the minority on this. It is very poorly thought out and very hard to see (in full light, impossible in the dark), but has many functions and once you know the buttons is at least useable .

    Lastly, DVI has some problems - noteably you may have issues if you run it over 15 or 20 feet. Many in the thread are doing 30-35 foot runs and having no problem, so maybe not. The problem is a signal timing issue, not attenuation. Some say that since we are only using 1/2 the bandwidth of DVI, greater length than the stated 5m limit is possible, but I don't understand how that can be so if it is a signal timing issue. I am locating my player by the PJ and running an audio cable instead as this is cheaper and easier for me (plus my component rack is FULL), but this is undoubtedly an UNpopular option. Cheap long copper based DVI cables are available up to 60' for about $95. If you are RPTV or direct view rather than FP, no problem.

    I was actually thinking to myself "geez, who gives a crap about HD DVD?". Now once I put some other disks in without such stellar transfers, I'm sure I'll remember that I do, but right now, I'm giddy giddy giddy. I hate daylight savings time more than ever now.

    BB
  • KS
    Member
    • Jun 2002
    • 43

    #2
    Great post Brandon! I almost picked up one of these but I'm going to wait until June to get a look at the Samsung. I think you are seeing the very near future of all players, why it took so long is beyond me.

    Ken

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    • George Bellefontaine
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Jan 2001
      • 7637

      #3
      Interesting post, Brandon.




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      • JonMarsh
        Mad Max Moderator
        • Aug 2000
        • 15209

        #4
        Very nice, Brandon.

        It sounds like this player, over a DVI output, could offer the best possible (and best existing) video performance on DVD for ~$200, and probably better than many conventional players at the $500 point. The only analog players that might be competitive in quality are those using the newest 108 MHz 12 bit DAC's (like Ayre first used in their progressive version of the D1, but which have come out in less expensive players since), and even then they might not be competitive unless running into a CRT, as the A/D in many projectors leaves a bit to be desired.

        What you're describing sounds very much like the improvements going to HTPC, where it's still analog, but we benefit from analog having 350 MHz DAC's and 10 bit resolution. Still, even with analog, you have to get the cables just right with longer runs, or you can have problems with ghosting, edge ringing, just due to cable reflections. I expect DVI either works pretty much "perfectly", or as I've heard, goes quite to h*ll, with sparklies and other very obvious artifacts.

        Now, what would be intersting would be to see a good DVI output HTPC driving your projector, )Radeon Video card or NV31 based nVidia; think MX440) with one of the better current software players, and maybe for fun, some of the 1280X720 HD WM9 demo's, like "Step into the Liquid", or "Confidence". They look pretty spectacular, all things considered- not quite ATSC, but a clear step up from the best DVD I've seen scaled to 1280X720.

        Hope you get the whole shebang running with audio this weekend, and can report back on how pleased you are- sans the audio glitches some report.

        Best regards,

        Jon




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        • Brandon B
          Super Senior Member
          • Jun 2001
          • 2193

          #5
          From me this morning in the AVS thread:

          Mine is now up with audio. Plays CDs fine over digital out and watched Lilo&Stitch last night sans problems.

          But! First, D1 would not play my copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which plays fine in my old player. Very odd behavior, it would load the disk, you would hear 20 seconds of HP music all jumpy as if being played on CD fast forward, no video from the deck at all, then it would freeze at 52 seconds. 3 power on-offs, unload /loads (machine didn't lock, it would eject the disk fine), same exact behavior each time. I will investigate further today. Had guests last night.

          Another interesting behavior. Lilo&Stitch is one one of the dual AR Disney movies where it asks you whether you want standard or wide in the menu on my old player. When the movie came up (D1 skipped the menu, or I did zapping past previews) it had small black bars on the side regardless of PJ setting about 2" wide or less (10' diag image). I am not sure if:

          1) My old player was losing bits off the top and bottom of the screen (thought I might have noticed a few details at screen top and bottom I had not seen before in MANY viewings) meaning D1 was showing correctly proportioned picture with additional info or

          2) D1 was laterally compressing a true 16:9 picture slightly (don't think so) or

          3) Old player laterally stretches image slightly (again don't think so).

          Anyone have a clue? I am leaning towards answer 1, but don't know enough about how Disney puts these "dual format AR" disks together. Do they put a single image on the disk, and crop it left and right for full screen vs. top & bottom for WS, and the D1 being digital somehow sent the full image to the PJ, which pillar boxed it to fit?

          If no one here knows, I will check with my friends in the transfer group over at Disney Studios. Also, I will check this disk in old and new player later and see if I am in fact seeing "extra " picture. Not really sure.

          Even on a movie like L&S, which has noticeable EE, wife was very impressed with the PQ, which she had not seen yet, and with no A/B. So I get to keep the D1 even if it has problems (as long as it plays LOTR)

          BB

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          • JonMarsh
            Mad Max Moderator
            • Aug 2000
            • 15209

            #6
            (as long as it plays LOTR)

            Well, I'm glad to see you've got your priorities straight on that one! :W

            I'm still waiting to watch my extended edition of LOTR until I (someday) have a new FPTV disply; I've got a whole collection of "blockbusters" on hod, and in the meantime, entertain my self with stuff like Andromeda and Buffy on my NEC 29" presentation monitor....

            Sorry to hear the player is having menu problems; DVD authoring is so complex, it's not been uncommon for some players to have quirks with a few disks.

            Best regards,

            Jon




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            • Brandon B
              Super Senior Member
              • Jun 2001
              • 2193

              #7
              Got some feedback from other owners.

              The pillar bars on Lilo&Stitch are supposed to be there, Disney features are 1.66:1 so my pioneer was sending it over sized and I was losing image to overscan before.

              On Harry Potter, others have played it no problemo, so it is either my disk or my deck in particular. Gonna borrow the neighbors' disk and try that. If it works, I'll exchange mine. Otherwise, I'll exchange the deck when they get more in stock (end of May).

              BB

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              • Brandon B
                Super Senior Member
                • Jun 2001
                • 2193

                #8
                Update. Well this deck has grown on me. It seems to have a few problems:

                One of every few disks I try don't load correctly, must be ejected and retried. Except for Potter II, all have been successful 2nd try. Potter took 6 tries.

                There is an occasional audio sync issue - audio LEADS video by a noticeable interval, but only on some material, and not consistently on that material.

                On the upside, I am not the only one to encounter this with this and Vinc has addressed the issues and promises there next production run available in 3 weeks fixes these and some other coax digital output issues. They appear to be willing to exchange the unit at that time.

                Despite these issues, I would keep this player even if they weren't going to fix it. The image quality has grown addictive. In other words, I am still giddy. Here's a kicker for you - it has allowed me to achieve better contrast and improved black level over what I had before (both calibrated using AVIA). Don't have measurements, but my black level is very noticeably lower (which is easy to discern on my rather bright LCD unit) while white level is as high as ever (in other words better contrast). Previously, that was a minor nitpick for me about my system. Now the only remaining ones are fixed pattern noise and vertical banding. Only make it through 1 in 3 movies or so without thinking about that at least once.

                Again, any of you FP guys who aren't going the HTPC route, and have DVI really need to consider this or the imminent Samsung product. I should have my repaired/replaced D1 by the timem the Samsung hits the streets so you can judge whether it's worth the extra $100 to go with the name brand.

                BB

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                • Brandon B
                  Super Senior Member
                  • Jun 2001
                  • 2193

                  #9
                  The Samsung 931 has hit the streets. They've upped list price to $399, but the few dealers selling them now appear to be letting them go for $299.

                  And it specs say it does NOT allow output of CSS material out the DVI port *edit* without HDCP applied */edit* No absolute confirmation yet though.

                  BB

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                  • JonMarsh
                    Mad Max Moderator
                    • Aug 2000
                    • 15209

                    #10
                    That would make it pretty useless, IMO. The whole point behind DVI is for protected content- I understand they might not want to have 1280X720 out of the component outputs, but even that is silly, as I can get that easily combining an HTPC and an Exetron transcoder (to produce 1280X720P component video).

                    Too many lawyeres in this business, I think.

                    ~Jon




                    Earth First!
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                    We'll screw up the other planets later....
                    the AudioWorx
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                    M8ta
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                    Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
                    Just ask Mr. Ohm....

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                    • Brandon B
                      Super Senior Member
                      • Jun 2001
                      • 2193

                      #11
                      See edit in my last post above, and give me a nice round of duh.

                      I meant to say it would not do it free of HDCP. This has been confirmed by a couple of early users. So it makes it useless to me and my non-HDCP DVI PJ, but not if yours has HDCP.

                      Also, reports are that it does add a little EE to the image (Faroudjia 2300 chip) compared to the D1. Some may prefer the look, some may not. I'll be keeping the D1 until I change PJs, at least..

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