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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #1
Got it yesterday from the Shack store (okay, Amazon). Really fast delivery, ordered Monday, here Wednesday. I was close to the shipping center, I guess.

Setup was a breeze, although the firmware update was frustrating (I wanna play with it NOW!)

Don't have an HD movie yet, but Planet Earth is on its way. Watched a regular DVD yesterday and was VERY impressed with the picture quality.

Only issues I saw were jaggies and frame problems on the "intro" or "trailer" material that led in the disc. Probably was mis-flagged or down converted to video from film. Didn't see that effect at all in the movie.

I'll be watching Cars tonight, so I'll pay close attention, but I imagine the fault lay with the DVD not the player.

More details to follow.
 

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Congrats and welcome to the world of High Def DVD movies!

Cars should look incredible. The saying garbage in, garbage out really does apply when it comes to upconversions. Some DVDs look as good as some of the lesser quality High Def versions, sometimes even better.

I actually have a little log book that I take notes in when I watch movies, especially SDVDs. I comment on how well they look upconverted. I'm not sure if this is your type of movie, but Walk in The Clouds blew me away. In fact at several points in the movie I totally forgot it was SDVD, and other times I was so engrossed I forgot to take my notes! The vineyard scenes are stunning, and when the fire starts it looks like the smoke should be billowing into the room from the screen.

And this is the A2 ;) The XA2 is even better! All in all I think you'll love your new toy.
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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Discussion Starter #4
I haven't ISF'd it, but I did perform the standard Avia treatment on it, then flipped between inputs and get it close wrt color, brightness, and contrast. I did not play around with grayscale.

As part of my business (way side job, I'm an engineer at my day job), I want to get into projector setup (I'm not, nor claim to be an ISF tech). Anyway, long story short, I'm probably going to get a Colorvision spyder setup later this year and start playing around with it. It just hasn't been in the budget yet.

But I do have Verizon Fios with the HD-DVR and have seen some Planet Earth episodes on Discovery HD Theater. Amazing stuff.
 

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Hi Anthony, you seem to like ya probably know more about calibration then I do but I do know there was a difference from calibrating my display previously to calibrating it with high def resolution. Supposedly (according to the calibrating) as long as you have the right test tools for high def it the one should cover all high def sources (HD DVD, Blu-ray, cable HD) whether or not thats true I dont know...

Since you know how to use the test tools, the HD DVD DVE disc might be something that interest you for your new HD player. As for me, I'm stilling trying to figure out how to use it... I will probably wind up having the ISF guy come back out now that I upgraded pjs.
 

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I'll be interested in hearing your opinion on the difference between a well done upconversion of a dvd with good picture quality and a hd dvd. The more opinions on this subject the better. I'm still sitting on the side of the pool, dipping my toes in here and there, but not quite ready to jump in. HBO HD boxing matches are still easily the best HD content I have seen, and I would expect all high def dvds to look that good, but I fear they won't :(

By the way, I may have missed it, but what type of display are you using now?
 

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HBO HD boxing matches are still easily the best HD content I have seen, and I would expect all high def dvds to look that good, but I fear they won't :(
You can forget that... it ain't happening right now. HD-DVD is good, but it ain't like watching live sports events such as boxing, football, etc., or many of the shows I've seen on Discovery Channel and HDNet.
 

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Sonnie said:
You can forget that... it ain't happening right now. HD-DVD is good, but it ain't like watching live sports events such as boxing, football, etc., or many of the shows I've seen on Discovery Channel and HDNet.
Just to make sure I am interpretting you correctly, are you saying HD DVDs are NOT up to that picture quality yet?
 

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Not that I've seen anywhere. Live events are different for whatever reasons. HD-DVD, while better than SD-DVD, still has that film like look to it... if "film" is the right word I'm looking for. Although it may just be movies. I haven't watched anything like Planet Earth on HD-DVD yet. I suspect it would look as good as watching it on my satellite receiver.
 

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Cable broadcasts, even high def ones are more compressed (and with older codecs such as MPEG-2) then HD DVD movies. There is definitely much more artifacting and problems with high def broadcast shows compared to upconverted titles.

In comparison I would say the upconverted dvd titles look similar in quality but much cleaner with less problems such as artifacting, blocking etc... And a full high def title is definitely much better in quality above both upconverted and broadcast high def.

Prices right now at the shack store put the HD-A2 at $238 and considering that comes with the 5 free HD DVD rebate I think thats an excellent deal even if planning only to use it for upconverting...
 

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Keep in mind that live HDTV -- like sports from ABC, ESPN, or Fox is broadcast at 720p60 which gives it a significant display refresh advantage over 24 fps film based source. But like Tommy says after watching a fair amount of HD DVD then you can get very sensitive to annoying MPEG2 (or just various bandwidth bottleneck) blocky artifacts caused by the video compression codec. The only time that I have seen any artifacts with HD DVD titles is just on a very few (<4) stop frame scenes. Cases where the video compressionist & QC may have missed. I can think of a MI3 scene when the refridgerator is being opened as a rare example. Very hard to see at normal playback speed unlike broadcast TV.

There still is normally a definate "look" difference between film versus video camera sources.
 

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Some directors and studios film with a grain for a stylized look. When transfered to high def, you still see the grain and some people misjudge this as a bad transfer.

I've been looking all morning for the comparison between broadcast High Def, and the same movie on HD DVD. It was pretty amazing the difference when you see them side by side like that. The biggest factor is the compression broadcast has to or usually uses as compared to the HD DVD/BD discs.

When I find those comparison shots I'll post them. I think there is a major difference between broadcast content and movies, sports and typical broadcast is much brighter and punchy. Movies tend to have a different look... you'll see what I mean if I can ever find this comparison!
 

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I understand and agree about what you guys are saying in regards to compression on tv, but I'm telling ya that Mayweather Delahoya fight (albeit a terribly boring boxing match) was simply awesome looking - better than Planet Earth - and the other fights since then have been too. You can make out minute facial details on audience members sitting 5 rows back. The colors are very punchy as wbasset mentioned, and the contrast appears to be better too. Maybe it's the camera HBO is using?

I hear what you are saying too Sonnie, aside from animated films, movies usually have a more subdued color pallet and dull finish to them.
 

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Yeah... I just haven't seen anything like what you are talking about with the HBO boxing on a DVD as far as the depth and clarity. They are miles apart. If DVD ever gets that good, it would be amazing.
 

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I'm not sure about cable companies, but I'm certain the satellite companies play with the bandwidth rates regarding certain events. Live sports are usually pumped up as well as much anticipated shows/series like Planet Earth.

mech
 

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I recently bought a HD-A2 as well and am quite pleased with it. I had a Samsung HD841 up-converting player before. The picture quality of up-converted DVDs is noticeably better.

It does take a while to boot up, which is something I'll have to get used to. Another thing I'll have to get used to is that when you hit the eject button from an off state, you have to wait for the player to boot up and then sometimes have to hit the eject button again. I'd say on average it takes about 20-30 seconds to boot up.

In comparing a HD-DVD to a normal DVD the PQ is much better on the former. I was lucky enough to have 3 HD-DVDs included int he box. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift has a very sharp image. It was hard to tell the difference on my 30" HD CRT but when blown up to 92" on my projector the sharpness is very apparent. Starwars Ep 3 looked very nice up-converted but had a slight softness to it. The same applied for most of the other DVDs I sampled. Exceptions are in animated features. I think the up-converter has an easier time enlarging these images.

I've rented a few HD-DVDs that look pretty bad (Monty Pythons: Meaning of Life, Army of Darkness), but I've also rented a few that blow my mind (King Kong, Hot Fuzz). I'd attribute the poor quality of some to the transfer process.
 
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