Assuming one captures and converts old VHS/8mm tapes (home movies) in the best way possible as discussed in this forum, at what size TV (current/popular smart TV specs) should you expect the quality to look pretty horrible, regardless of how well you captured and converted? I assume watching your digitized home movies on a 32" tv compared to a 65" tv makes a difference, but has anyone found a "threshold" where they find their videos look decent, to where they don't?
Also, all other things equal (as equal as possible), does the storage medium & playback device make a difference when viewing on a tv? Meaning, if you burn a DVD vs. stream a file off a hard drive connected via USB (assuming similar conversion codecs, or possibly h264/mp4 for the hard drive files), does one give you better viewing quality on a large tv than the other? Do DVD players do something better (or worse) when playing media as compared with what a smart TV can do streaming a file?
Besides hard drives and DVDs, has anyone opted for a private YouTube channel for sharing archived home movie collections? If so, have you run into any copyright issues if you have music playing in the background (like you would have in a wedding video)?
Any other methods worth considering?
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Let's assume a perfect transfer and digitization and lossless storage of SD material. Regardless, any way you go from there, you are going to have to SCALE it to the devices downstream*, whether immediately in preparation (so then all copies are scaled) or leaving it to a downstream device (usually either vid card or the display itself) to do the scaling automatically in realtime. So really it is just a matter of WHEN/WHERE SHOULD the scaling occur.
I am of the opinion that one should always leave media in their most native/original state for as long as possible (do least harm/change), so that favors letting the display device do the scaling.
Obvious exception to this would be if the SD material was being used in an edited piece that was primarily HD or UHD, etc. Then it should be scaled prior or during the edit stage.
Which one you choose will probably depend on which scaling method you prefer and/or whether you think it is worth the time & energy doing prescaling vs. just letting your devices doing it in realtime. This can only be thoughtfully decided after doing your own testing, as certain artifacts will affect different people differently and so preferences can't be fully borrowed ("one man's trash..." and all that).
*One way to get unscaled and SHARP reproduction is to send it to your display as-is and force your display to 1:1 pixels ("JustScan" etc). The downside here is the image will be small, in the center of the screen with letter & pillarboxing. But it will look sharp like you higher rez material.
The rest of your question should be moot, if the devices/apps are doing their job. For a given stored quality format - let's just say 2nd generation 8mbps vbr mpeg2 sd for the moment - there should be very little or no difference between whether that material is showing from a settop dvd player, a settop bluray player, a dvd player app on a pc, a general media player app on a pc/mac or even your tablet if wire connected to the display, or via the embedded usb/flash media player in the display device. It's digital, so if they are doing their job right, and NOT introducing additional functions (such as scaling), they should be very similar. Some may do better than others, however, because some apps are written poorly/sloppily, of shortcuts are taken (such as integer vs floating point math). And other ones will excel because of their full understanding of video and their attention to detail in coding.
Last edited by Cornucopia; 23rd Apr 2019 at 17:23.
Thanks Scott. More just food for thought rather than a question with a definitive answer, I suppose.
Can you speak to the question about the size of the tv, assuming playing “full screen” (not necessarily full screen but not in a little pillarboxed square as you mentioned in your reply)? I gusss another way to phrase it is, if I’m viewing my captures / conversion in whatever “best” format on a 65” tv, will I ever be happy or will the best [vhs] captures still kind of just look not that great at that size no matter what? Or does the size of the tv not matter as much as I think it may?
On the other hand a picture that looks sharp on a 16" TV viewed from 10 feet away may look very blurry viewed on a 65" TV from that same distance.
It's straightforward (if not necessarily simple) math, SD resolutions look ok from a distance or on natively small screens (or small portions of a big screen). It's based on the 1 arc-minute resolving power of the human eye.
HD either shortens the distance or enlarges the screen/frame or both. UHD/4K goes further, and UHD2/8K further still.
This link has some good info: https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/by-size/size-to-distance-relationship.
Since SD is 1/4 to 1/6 of size of HD which is 1/4 the size of UHD1 (which in turn is 1/4 the size of UHD2), you can see that sd is no longer going to be optimally viewed almost anywhere, unless you are ok with viewing as a reduced size/window. Most of us take this as it is and don't worry about it being optimal in that respect, as in a sense it is a momento/relic of the past. If I'm trying to be critical with SD, that's when I view it in reduced (aka not enlarged) size.
Keep in mind:
VHS has only about half the horizontal resolution of a good SD source (potentially the same vertical resolution).
VHS is very noisy compared to broadcast SD TV (with a good signal) and DVD.
People have different tolerances for sharpness, noise, and other artifacts.