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Why aren't all HD discs significantly better than SD?

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Why aren't all HD discs significantly better than SD?

Old 01-21-08, 03:45 PM
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Why aren't all HD discs significantly better than SD?

Ok. I have been reading these forums for quite a while. One thing still puzzles me and maybe someone who is more knowledgeable about the technology can help me.

First, I am asking a generic question about HD- not specific to HD-DVD or Blu-ray. So let's keep one format better than the other out of this conversation, please.

here is my dilemma. Film stock, to my understanding, is 4k lines of resolution or more. SD is 540. HD is 1080. I am reading more and more reviews that say the HD version is only marginally better than SD. Low resolution shot films like Blair Witch, 28 Days Later, etc. put aside. How can this be?

Wouldn't the HD version, by it's very nature, hold almost twice the lines of resolution than the SD? And if so, then how can any HD transfer be only 'marginally' better than SD?

If the studios are not transferring 2x the lines of resolution, why not? Certainly not space? : ) But even if space was a limiting capacity, surely the lines of resolution ratio should be what - 1.5x better? And thus still significantly better?

Regarding older films- I would think the same film stock used for the SD transfer would be used for the HD transfer, wouldn't it? In that case while the HD version wouldn't be as crisp as a modern film, it would significantly better than it's SD counterpart, right?

What am I missing? Why isn't EVERY HD disc blowing away it's SD counterpart?

I am still on the fence on this technology and everytime I read an "eh- okay" HD transfer it makes me wonder what is going on.

Would appreciate serious comments, please.

Thank you.
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Old 01-21-08, 03:56 PM
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what's going on primarily is that the assessment of a hi-def transfer is:

1. largely subjective (one guy will think it's way better than SD, while another will think the same transfer is just "a little" better).
2. dependent on a number of factors for the viewer - most notably, viewing equipment and distance
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Old 01-21-08, 04:23 PM
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At this point I have watched hundreds of BD and HD DVDs. I've watched them on a 1080i RP CRT, 720p RP LCD and now on a 1080p LCD and in most cases the HD transfers are a major improvement over DVD.

There are a handful of exceptions. Taladega Nights for instance looks very flat and and in some shots doesn't look HD at all. Some older films like Meaning of Life are very blurry and do not look HD.

The reasons could be many. Bad transfers, bad film elements for the older stuff and in most cases like Deer Hunter or Ocean's 13 they are style choices by the director. Many times they intentional soften or deteriorate the image to get the look they want. This is definitely going to keep the image from popping in HD.

However, these are rare exceptions. Most films looks amazing in HD. Casablanca and Adventures of Robin Hood are revelations in HD and show that old films can look breathtaking if restored and properly transfered. Newer films have the most pop and the detail and color you can see blows away DVD.

I have many friends that are happy with DVD, but when they come over and actually watch a film in HD they are impressed and they usually can tell the difference.

The biggest thing that jumps out to me is color. Sure the detail is better in HD, but you see colors in HD that are flat out impossible to reproduce on standard DVD. There is just no comparison.
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Old 01-21-08, 04:27 PM
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Pure Laziness on the part of the studio. They just don't care.
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Old 01-21-08, 07:54 PM
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film has no lines it is not digital
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Old 01-22-08, 02:05 PM
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I haven't seen an HD disc that isn't tons better than SD-DVD, personally.

The small stuff jumps out at you on a huge (115" in my case) screen.

Not that SD is unwatchable, far from it, it looks great, but I've yet to see an HD disc that doesn't impress.

I might understand this whole "not a major upgrade" thing if all I had was my 37" (which is the case a lot lately since I've had bulb troubles in recent months).
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Old 01-22-08, 04:03 PM
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I have a 37" Vizio, a PS3, and about 10 Blu-Ray movies. To be honest, I don't see a big difference btw DVD and Blu-Ray. As Darkside stated, the biggest difference to me are the colors. I have the LOST season 3 blu-ray and I have to say there are certain scenes in that that look amazing ( mainly the scenes outside) but other than that, I don't notice a huge difference at all (Some movies I own...Memento, Big fish, Simpsons, Superbad)
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Old 01-22-08, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by kefrank
what's going on primarily is that the assessment of a hi-def transfer is:

1. largely subjective (one guy will think it's way better than SD, while another will think the same transfer is just "a little" better).
2. dependent on a number of factors for the viewer - most notably, viewing equipment and distance
There should not be any more responses after this one.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:23 PM
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largely subjective (one guy will think it's way better than SD, while another will think the same transfer is just "a little" better).
I don't really agree with this. Most people seem to agree when an HD disc doesn't look very good.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by firteen88
I don't really agree with this. Most people seem to agree when an HD disc doesn't look very good.
sure, most people generally agree when an HD disc doesn't have a good transfer, but the degree to which it is bad is often disputed and that's when subjectivity rears its head, in particular when it comes to drawing a comparison with SD DVD. the phrase, "it looks like SD DVD!" is thrown around far too flippantly (in my opinion, of course) when an HD transfer is not up to par.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by kefrank
the phrase, "it looks like SD DVD!" is thrown around far too flippantly (in my opinion, of course) when an HD transfer is not up to par.
I very much agree there.
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Old 01-23-08, 12:33 AM
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I haven't spent much on HD movies as I have most of the movies I want in DVDs and would not like to double dip unless it's a great price. That being said, HD done right is amazing and wil blow away SDs. But it has to be done right. Try comparing Planet Earth HD vs SD. You just need to be choosy in HDs you buy. I mostly rent the HDs. Read lots of reviews if I'm interested in buying specific titles. Transformers is one such example. A good TV set and a good HD movie is a movie watcher's heaven.
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Old 01-23-08, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by kefrank
sure, most people generally agree when an HD disc doesn't have a good transfer, but the degree to which it is bad is often disputed and that's when subjectivity rears its head, in particular when it comes to drawing a comparison with SD DVD. the phrase, "it looks like SD DVD!" is thrown around far too flippantly (in my opinion, of course) when an HD transfer is not up to par.
I agree also.

I've not seen any HD disc that looks like an SD. For that metter, I hear complaints about 300 which I thought is one of my most fantastic discs - it looks very much like it did in the theatre.
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Old 01-23-08, 11:18 AM
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1. Incorrect connections

2. Noncalibrated displays

3. Small TV screens and/or long seating distances

4. 720p

5. Poor eyesight

6. Not knowing the difference between film and video

7. Not knowing the quality of the source

8. Expecting current-day CGI magic from 10-30 year old films

9. Director's intent

10. Shoddy mastering process by the studio(s)

I have yet to see a properly mastered HD-DVD or Blu-Ray that wasn't better than its DVD counterpart (exception being early Blu-Ray releases, e.g., The Fifth Element, House of Flying Artifacts, due the studios rushing things to market and not giving a damn about the quality of the release).

Even if the source isn't the sharpest in the world, the colorspace advantages over DVD alone usually are noticeable.

I've read some people say that there isn't any benefit to having older films in HD, to which I say "BULLSHIT!" Blazing Saddles and The Road Warrior look pristine and razor sharp, not to mention Casablanca, which is just inspiring on HD-DVD.
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Old 01-23-08, 11:28 AM
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btw - just saw this. best example of SD vs HD I have ever seen.

http://xylon.haloapplications.com/bl...domofheaven/05
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Old 01-23-08, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve
btw - just saw this. best example of SD vs HD I have ever seen.

http://xylon.haloapplications.com/bl...domofheaven/05
Interesting...
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Old 01-23-08, 12:26 PM
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I'd guess conversion/compression process is still somewhat of a black art. On a consumer level you can produce utter crap or decent-looking digital video using the same analog video source. It depends on the software and settings. Surely there are similar considerations in mastering HD media. With current sales it makes a lot of sense to spend resources on producing good quality DVD releases since that affects immediate returns for mainstream titles, while resources invested in HDM are largely spent to invest in future consumers.
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Old 01-23-08, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve
btw - just saw this. best example of SD vs HD I have ever seen.

http://xylon.haloapplications.com/bl...domofheaven/05
Interesting is right. If you go up a couple directories, there are more movies (on both HD DVD and Blu-Ray), and even Mission Impossible 2 with a Blu-Ray/HD DVD split.

http://xylon.haloapplications.com/
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Old 01-23-08, 01:41 PM
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I think this must be the most staggering difference between HD and SD I have seen:

[URL=http://xylon.haloapplications.com/hddvd/serenity/02/]
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Old 01-23-08, 02:37 PM
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Wow, the edge enhancement on the SD is horrible. I don't remember it being nearly that bad.
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Old 01-23-08, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Frozenhamster
I think this must be the most staggering difference between HD and SD I have seen:

[URL=http://xylon.haloapplications.com/hddvd/serenity/02/]
That's why I just don't think those comparisons are correct. I am a supporter of HD but sorry, those standard DVD scans look ridiculously blurry. I still watch standard dvds and if any of mine looked as blurry as all of their comparison shots, I would be going to get my eyes checked tomorrow.
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Old 01-23-08, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dharding
1. Incorrect connections

2. Noncalibrated displays

3. Small TV screens and/or long seating distances

5. Poor eyesight

6. Not knowing the difference between film and video
Man, especially that last one. I've quit reading most reviews since many of them have the ill-informed caveat "there's more grain than I'd like" or "there's a significant amount of noticable grain, but not enough to ruin the picture altogether kyuk kyuk". Just stupid.
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Old 01-23-08, 07:28 PM
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Why would the studios go to all the trouble of creating a great HD version of a movie the first time? They have to leave you wanting more, so you buy the "Enhanced" version of the same movie that will come out within a year.
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Old 01-23-08, 11:59 PM
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I trust those comparisons. The DVD shots just seem bad when compared to the HD version, which is often what hammers home the advantage of HD. Go back and do your own comparisons with captures from the DVD (making sure to scale the image to the larger size, which is just what an upscaling player will do) and see for yourself. You're just not used to scrutinizing a blown up DVD image so closely.

Now, whether you'll see such a dramatic difference at your normal viewing distance or not is another story.
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Old 01-24-08, 12:14 AM
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I got Species on Blu bc of hte 5 free deal and the picture quality is horrible. It doesnt look HD at all
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