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186 posts

Master Geek


# 73823 23-Dec-2010 07:43
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Hello!

Our trusty old cathode TV recently gave up its ghost (yeah, we were one of the last hold-outs without flatscreen), which finally made me bite the bullet and get a modern TV. In this case an LG 32 LD 460. That is Freeview ready, HD capable (1920x1080) and so on.

Imagine our surprise when we hooked up our old DVD player and found that the image quality is worse than on our old TV (which obviously only had plain PAL resolution).

I see ... pixels... everywhere! While on the old TV the DVD images appeared very crisp, I now see pixelated lines and facial features. I understand that the TV has a much higher resolution than anything the DVD was actually encoded with, but is such a distractingly obvious pixelation normal? Are we the only ones struggling with this? Are we doing something obvious wrong?

Is there some magic setting I should be looking for on the TV or the DVD player to change something? The effect is the same with an older title like "The Matrix" or somewhat more recent like "Kung Fu Panda" (even the wide-screen version). I can reduce the effect a little when I turn down the 'sharpness' on the TV, but then even lines that should be crisp end up fuzzy. 

I would have thought that a modern TV should be able to provide a decent emulation mode of sorts?

There are also different output modes available for the DVD player, including S-video or 'composite'. But I'm just using a plain old TV out thing (red and white for sound, yellow for the image, no idea what the technical term is). Did I mention that I'm a total noob with these sorts of things? I'm really not familiar with the technical terminology in the home entertainment or video field.

Anyway, I guess that considering the low resolution of the DVD, the output cable is not the issue, right?

The DVD player itself is also very old now (8 years, or so), but still works. Ideally, I would avoid having to upgrade that to something.

There are also other issues that I'm struggling with, but I will leave that for later posts.

Any help on the DVD image quality issue would be much appreciated.



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  # 420804 23-Dec-2010 08:20
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OK yes there are a couple of things that you can do. First off use the best connection option the DVD player has. Currently you are using the worst option.

From best to worst

HDMI
Component
s-video
Composite (what you are using)

If the DVD player only has composite or s-video I would honestly suggest spending the ~$50 bucks to get a current one which will have HDMI and quite possibly upscaling. Failing that even s-video will look better but not dramatically.

The next thing to do is turn sharpness to 0 it is a hangover from CRT days and has no place in a modern TV. Also turn off any other "enhancements" the TV may be performing.

Unfortunately and ironically DVD is never going to look as good on a flat pannel TV as it did on the CRT. CRT's due to the way they work are far more forgiving of a bad source.

Ideally what you want to do it spend a little more and get a bluray player. You can pick them up for upwards of $150 and they will do a good job of playing your DVD's as well as opening up the world of blurays.







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Ultimate Geek


  # 420806 23-Dec-2010 08:22
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Try using the component out (3 cables for video).  It will give you the best picture from your dvd player.  You are using composite which is the worst.

 
 
 
 


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Ultimate Geek


  # 420813 23-Dec-2010 08:35
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Is the DVD player set to widescreen? (check the menu - may say 16:9 or widescreen)

What brand is the DVD?

If it has an S-Video output - get an s-video cable and use that (replaces the yellow cable)

Even better -if it has a Component output (red/green/blue) - get a component cable and use that (again -replaces the yellow cable)

Use the Picture wizard in the menu, but adjust it to get a realistic looking picture NOT a cartoon looking one. (tip: pay good attention to skin tones - especially when adjusting colour - too much colour = red tinted faces. Look at someone else in the room with you and compare skin tones to the TV)

Turn off all picture "enhancements" on the TV - ie; noise reduction, edge enhancer, tru motion

Good luck

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  # 420819 23-Dec-2010 08:45
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All of the above. Sounds like you might be experiencing 'Dot Crawl' also, which is a side effect of Composite.




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  # 420823 23-Dec-2010 08:48
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illicit: Is the DVD player set to widescreen? (check the menu - may say 16:9 or widescreen)

What brand is the DVD?

If it has an S-Video output - get an s-video cable and use that (replaces the yellow cable)

Even better -if it has a Component output (red/green/blue) - get a component cable and use that (again -replaces the yellow cable)

Use the Picture wizard in the menu, but adjust it to get a realistic looking picture NOT a cartoon looking one. (tip: pay good attention to skin tones - especially when adjusting colour - too much colour = red tinted faces. Look at someone else in the room with you and compare skin tones to the TV)

Turn off all picture "enhancements" on the TV - ie; noise reduction, edge enhancer, tru motion

Good luck


+1 turn off any picture enhancements.

But seriously, you do tend to notice how "compressed" DVD's are with an HD panel. Older TV's just didnt have the resolution to be able to notice. I found plasma provided a better picture for DVD's and general TV on Sky digital (I bought an LCD first time round).

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Uber Geek


  # 420831 23-Dec-2010 09:02
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Buy a DVD player that has an HDMI connection - dont get suckered in to buying an expensive HDMI cable either. A short cable (say 1.5 metres) should be something like $40 or less. Some places are still trying to sell rediculously priced HDMI cables - the zeros and ones get down the cable the same on a cheap cable as an expensive cable.

Anyway - DVD player with HDMI and preferably with upscaling - shouldnt got you too much and you will be surprised how great a good quality DVD will look on your TV.

Something like this for $99 would be perfect:
http://www.noelleeming.co.nz/tvs-dvds/dvd-video/dvd-players/sony-dvpsr700hb-hdmi-dvd-player/prod1046...

Unless you want a Blu-Ray player...




Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself - A. H. Weiler

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  # 420851 23-Dec-2010 09:26
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Buy an upscaling DVD player, or upgrade to Blu Ray. DVD is pretty old and doesn't have that many pixels.

Even SD content looks good on my 55" LCD though. Not great, but good enough to watch without seeing the pixels.

 
 
 
 




186 posts

Master Geek


  # 420854 23-Dec-2010 09:28
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Thank you to all of you for your replies, this has been very helpful. I like the idea of a DVD player that can perform the upscaling for me. $99 is a good price as well.

I will work on switching off all picture 'enhancements' some time later today.

 

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Ultimate Geek

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  # 420866 23-Dec-2010 09:44
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Particularly noticeable if your mate brings round a copied DVD and tells you its just as good as original. Some DVD source is better than others, and with a decent DVD player connected via HDMI you will see dramatic improvement.

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Uber Geek


  # 420949 23-Dec-2010 12:18
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Nothing should be plugged in via composite unless there is no other option, it is that bad.

Don't buy a new DVD player when Blu-ray players aren't much more expensive. A Blu-ray player can play and upscale DVDs. The quality of Blu-rays is vastly superior to DVDs.

Most DVDs' quality is and always has been poor but it is more noticable on larger televisions and ones like LCDs which cannot display 576i natively.

Look on the back of your DVD player and see if there are plugs for "y Pb Pr" aka component. You can use the existing three RCA cables you're using now for composite + L/R audio to plug in there and try out the video quality. You'll also need to plug the RCA cables in to the yPbPr port on the TV. If the quality is good enough for you then you only need to find another couple of cables for the L/R audio and then you can hold off buying a new player until you want Blu-ray.

I would have thought that a modern TV should be able to provide a decent emulation mode of sorts?

The LCD can only do its best with the signal it has been given. DVDs are usually poor quality, composite is terrible and the picture has to be upscaled and over a large area.

Most people have a bad impression of CRTs because they've only watched analogue or low grade SD digital via composite on them but they are still a better television technology than LCDs and will be for some years yet.

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  # 421096 23-Dec-2010 19:57
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bfginger:

Don't buy a new DVD player when Blu-ray players aren't much more expensive. A Blu-ray player can play and upscale DVDs. The quality of Blu-rays is vastly superior to DVDs.


What he said!
A BluRay player + HDMI cable will probably cost... what... $220 (including an HDMI) come Boxing Day?
Why buy a technology that'll be obsolete in a few years time, when you can spend just a little more today?
Panasonic BD45 + HDMI would be my pick for the money.

1917 posts

Uber Geek


  # 421134 23-Dec-2010 21:45

I know I can be a jerk but... What do you expect? When you pay around 1k for a Tv you can only expect it to be poor quality. No Lcd tv at that pricepoint will beat a 5 yr old crt, assuming you spent 3k for the crt back in the day.

If I am looking at the wrong model and you have spent $2000, then there is something wrong.

553 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 421222 24-Dec-2010 08:13
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timmmay: Buy an upscaling DVD player


Why?!

Instead of the TV doing the upscaling, you suggest getting a dvd player to do it?
Unless its an expensive DVD player, it probably wont perform as well as the TV at upscaling.... 

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Uber Geek


  # 421235 24-Dec-2010 08:39
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Setup at home - 47" LCD + upscaling DVD player + HDMI... great picture.

$3000 for the TV / $60 for the DVD Player / $15 for the HDMI cable.

Will be giving Blu-ray a miss as most of my content doesn't come on disc anymore :)

As for TV.. the magic tv box does a great job :-)



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  # 421261 24-Dec-2010 09:51
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illicit:
timmmay: Buy an upscaling DVD player


Why?!

Instead of the TV doing the upscaling, you suggest getting a dvd player to do it?
Unless its an expensive DVD player, it probably wont perform as well as the TV at upscaling.... 


I guess it doesn't matter where the upscaling happens. I just assumed a DVD player would be better at it that a TV, especially a cheap TV, but it's hard to say.

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