I did a test yesterday with AVCHD footage encoded to the widescreen ntsc dvd template, making sure that rendering quality was set to best, upper field first, etc as previously described. I played the test DVD on a 50" 720P DLP TV and the results didn't look great. The DVD player's TV type setting had 4:3 letterbox, 4:3 pan scan, and 16:9. When I selected 16:9, the frame filled the screen, at the correct aspect ratio, but the picture was not clear. When I changed the setting to either of the 4:3 settings, the aspect ratio stayed the same, but it shrunk the overall size of the frame and it looked slightly better.
I then connected the same DVD player to a 20" CRT TV, played the DVD and it was stretched vertically. Changed the setting to 4:3 pan scan and that caused the black bars to appear on the top and bottom of the frame and the picture looked great, very crisp and clear.
1) Does the DVD look bad on the HD TV because I'm playing something that is standard def on a TV that's meant to play high def video?
2) On the CRT, isn't the 4:3 letterbox option supposed to cause the black bars on the top and bottom? Why did it work only in pan scan mode?
Do SD DVDs just not look as good on HD TVs as they do on SD TVs, something that cannot be overcome?
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I have questions for YOU.
Encoded to NTSC widescreen DVD with WHAT exactly? What bitrate did you use?
1) No. Absolutely not.
2) I have no idea. Could be a problem with the TV, the DVD player or a flag on the DVD itself.
No, SD DVDs can look very good on HDTVs. Some people actually have problems telling better ones apart from HD sources. But I don't know how your DVD player is hooked up to your HDTV and some connection types result in low quality video output. HDMI, DVI and Component (NOT composite!) are the best for picture quality. Everything else is worse to varying degrees.
In both of your examples the "better" looking picture was smaller. In most situations, the same image shown in a smaller space will look sharper.
Sorry, I thought I was posting in a different forum, can see how my post was confusing.. I was using Sony Vegas, it has a template for encoding to ntsc widescreen dvd, it was 6mbps. I tried using an S-Video cable since both the CRT and HD TVs have that port. The HD tv I'm testing on is this: http://vanns.com/shop/Toshiba-50HM67-Black-White-50-720p-DLP-Projection-HDTV/product-457236286
Does your dvd player upscale ? or are you just using composite connections to the tv?
With the latter you just send 720*480 pixels and they will have to be blown up to fill the screen and hence soften the image
With a good upscaling player and video sent over hdmi the 720*480 pixels are converted to 720p. BTW are you sure that 50" tv is only 720p ?
I'm not sure about upscaling. It's an older Sony DVD player. I also have a blu-ray player that I tested it on with HDMI:
I don't remember it looking any different, unless I had some wrong setting on the player. The specs on the blu-ray say
Super Scaler (Precision CinemaHD upscale) : Yes
Upscaling : Yes (720p/ 1080i/ 1080p) Yes (1080p (24Hz))
The specs on the TV say it's 720P
Ok. You only mentioned the s-video cable(read that after I had posted). If that is the only tested connection(for that player) then there is, obviously, no up-scaling.
On my player which up-scales, you have to set the output format. It is not automatic.
So when upscaling with the blu-ray player that has HDMI, should I set the TV type resolution setting to match the TV's 720P? I think what I did was change it to 480i since that's what the DVD is.
If I read correctly, that tv also supports 1080p so you could try that as well.
It is true that SD material, upscaled and sent to an HD TV, is going to look softer/fuzzier than true HD material. And what you have, even though your SOURCE was HD, is now, on the DVD, SD material.
Should it look crappy? No.
Should you expect it to look "softer" when blown up to HD sizes? Yes.
Without actual samples, all of us can only give vague generalities, but in general, YES, SD material "looks" comparatively worse on an HD screen than either HD on that same screen, or that SD material on an SD screen. But that is comparative. If all you had was SD material, you wouldn't need an HD screen. HD screens -or any screens for that matter - show native resolutions best, then downscaled resolutions next best, then upscaled resolutions next best. SD on SD is showing native pixels. HD on HD is (sometimes) showing native. SD on HD is almost never showing native (read on).
Your choice of encoding your material as 16:9 DVD was a good one (though I have no idea about the relative merits of your app & settings choices).
You next choice is of how to decode/upscale & display your NOW SD material.
You can upscale in a capable player, or you can not upscale and leave the upscaling to the TV. This all depends on the comparison between those two upscalers' qualities. You'll have to do a test on your own to find out.
Understand that showing a NON-upcaled SD material, WITHOUT subsequent upscaling by the TV, would result in your SD material showing in the center portion of your screen at 720x480/576 (or equivalent square-pixel values), with the remainder of the screen taken up by letterboxing & pillarboxing.
It will be small, but it will be SHARP, because now it is showing at pixels NATIVE to the screen.
Yours may not be doing just that, it might instead be upscaling + downscaling, which won't be quite as sharp, but still might look better (as I said) than just the upscaling alone.
I just checked my own TV to confirm (forcing the player to 480 and fiddling with the scaler on the TV alone). Unfortunately, it doesn't have a 1:1 (no scaling) option. On the bright side, it's upscaler is AWESOME, so I let it stay on all the time. Still, comparing SD with HD, SD is noticeably softer, even with a good upscaler. That will never change completely (though better and better algorithms can still improve on the quality somewhat).
I'm going to check the blu-ray player, which is connected via HDMI and see what the TV resolution is set on. Someone else on the forum said they got much better results by encoding to another format before encoding to mpg2, seems strange to me but I might give that a try too. Think I should buy some RW discs, lots of trial and error on the horizon I do believe!
Encoding to another format first should not lead to "better results" unless your original workflow is so bad that doing that completely unnecessary step is less bad than your original workflow.
Here's what they said:
Now in terms of a solution, what I did was render an intermediate 720 HQ 35mbps Sony .mxf file from my edited (and graded) AVCHD camera files. The resulting file was only about 20% larger than my original files but it provided a great source for my mpeg2 DVD render. The resulting DVD looked much better than anything I was able to do going directly from the original AVCHD files. And even though I had to render the .mxf file, I didn't need to do a 2 pass render on the .mpeg2 so time-wise it was about the same.
Well, for one, they don't mention the codec they used. All they say is 35mbps Sony .mxf. As we know, MXF is a CONTAINER, capable of holding a number of streams of different A and V codecs. The "Sony" and 35mbps gives one a clue that it might be their XDCAM format, which is a type of MPEG2.
So they are going AVCHD -> HD XDCam MPEG2 (@ 35mbps) -> SD MPEG2 (@ 7? mpbs?) for DVD instead of direct AVCHD -> SD MPEG2. Not a big change, rarely one for the better. Though I could see where a more direct workflow, using the wrong settings/tools, might not be optimal, whereas their multi-stage workflow, using tried-and-true PRESETS, might end up closer to optimal than the alternative.
Still, if they/you were doing it with the right tools & settings, it would be better than both those choices.
my 2c would be the 50" 720P DLP TV is crap. dlp was a cheap way to get bigger screens when lcd screens were hard to make. dlp has pretty much gone the way of the dodo bird as consumers rejected them.--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
The procedure is a waste of time with no guarantee of it fixing your problem. And still no sample so who knows?
If you're curious, here is that thread:
The TV isn't cutting edge for sure, but it's not crap either; has a good picture for watching any HD video.
Those guys are about as unclear on WHAT HOW & WHY as many are here. That's about as clear on A/B comparisons and step-by-step tutorials as
Hey! It's all ball bearings nowadays. Now you prepare that Fetzer valve with some 3-in-1 oil and some gauze pads. And I'm gonna need 'bout ten quarts of anti-freeze, preferably Prestone. No, no make that Quaker State.
I changed the output resolution in the blu-ray player player's settings to 1080p and it looks much much better now so that's what the problem was, really no problem at all, thanks!!