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Standard DVD's on Blu Ray player/HDTV

Old 02-15-09, 02:07 PM
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Standard DVD's on Blu Ray player/HDTV

So I'm trying to figure out which titles I'm going to buy on Blu Ray and which ones I'll stick with the DVD and I'm scanning them on my Panasonic BD35 through my Toshiba 42XV545U and here's what I'm seeing...

I just went through some random titles and some of them look pretty darned good (Peter Jackson's King Kong, Mobsters, RKO 281, Gladiator Extended Edition), some look OK, and some look awful (A Bridge Too Far, Battle of Britain, Windtalkers Director's Cut).

(FYI, I bought the new King Kong Blu Ray because even though the standard DVD looks good, there was enough video noise present that with a film as visual heavy as that one I wanted to have the best picture possible.)

All of the titles that I've been sampling have been anamorphic widescreen DVD's. But a lot of the ones that have the most obvious edge enhancement and haloing are the older MGM titles (before the Sony or Fox deals).

I just found it interesting how the picture quality is all over the place on standard DVD's. From quite good to just bad - all major titles from major studios.

Are there any examples that you have of really good or really bad standard DVD's when played through a Blu Ray player (and watched on an HDTV)?


edit - Master List added below (post #6) per request.

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Old 02-15-09, 07:48 PM
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Re: Standard DVD's on Blu Ray player/HDTV

I just watched Duel in the Sun and the DVD looked pretty good. Some scenes looked very crisp and clean, others were soft - but that really comes down to the original film elements age. Now this was a movie from 1946, so it's full frame. I don't know if that has anything to do with it, but this was an MGM release that looked good.

Like I was saying, basically, it seems to be real hit or miss with DVD releases. Some look good through the high def equipment, and some look like crap.
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Old 02-16-09, 12:44 AM
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Re: Standard DVD's on Blu Ray player/HDTV

It's the same old "garbage in, garbage out" situation...
A DVD that doesn't look all that great already is going to look just as bad or even worse when all of its flaws are amplified with upscaling....
The better the source is that the machine is working with, the better the outcome....a personal favorite of mine is the TV show "The Office"....while it has not yet been released on Blu-ray for a true comparison, I have found the DVDs upscaled to look very close to the quality of the HD broadcasts...
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Old 02-16-09, 08:37 AM
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Re: Standard DVD's on Blu Ray player/HDTV

Originally Posted by WMAangel View Post
It's the same old "garbage in, garbage out" situation...
A DVD that doesn't look all that great already is going to look just as bad or even worse when all of its flaws are amplified with upscaling....
The better the source is that the machine is working with, the better the outcome....a personal favorite of mine is the TV show "The Office"....while it has not yet been released on Blu-ray for a true comparison, I have found the DVDs upscaled to look very close to the quality of the HD broadcasts...
Boston Legal looks outstanding, too.

I was just surprised to see just how poorly mastered some major releases turned out to be (as opposed to the ones that were done VERY well). Before I had the HDTV/Blu Ray player I had no idea - you can't really see the difference on a CRT.

That means for the long term I need to go through the DVD collection title by title to see which ones are even worth keeping (there are a lot of titles that I was not planning on upgrading, but may end up doing so as Blu Ray prices fall over the next 4-5 years - the quality on some of them is just so poor that it almost makes them unwatchable).

Of course, with some of those titles they may never see a Blu Ray release, so I'll be stuck with crappy SLP/EP VHS looking picture quality.

I'd love to know how it is that some people mastering major studio releases could do such a crappy ass job while others did outstanding jobs. Where was the quality control??
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Old 02-17-09, 05:36 PM
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Re: Standard DVD's on Blu Ray player/HDTV

I would be interested in seeing an ongoing master list thread like this of DVDs people thought looked good/poor on their HDTV's.

A good portion of the professional DVD reviews at various sites were done with SD TV's and don't always do a good job at articulating which transfers hold up better than others.
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Old 02-17-09, 10:56 PM
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Re: Standard DVD's on Blu Ray player/HDTV

Originally Posted by abintra View Post
I would be interested in seeing an ongoing master list thread like this of DVDs people thought looked good/poor on their HDTV's.

A good portion of the professional DVD reviews at various sites were done with SD TV's and don't always do a good job at articulating which transfers hold up better than others.
That's not a bad idea.

I'll update this list as I go - your input is definitely welcomed to add to the list.

The good:

Mobsters
(Peter Jackson's) King Kong
RKO 281
Gladiator (extended edition)
Duel in the Sun
Boston Legal
Justice League: The New Frontier

The OK:
Battlestar Galactica Season 4 - Some shots look pretty darned good, but the (intentionally) grainy ones look extra grainy.
Star Trek The Motion Picture: Directors Cut 2 Disc SE - Hit and miss. Some shots look really good, some look really poor.


The Bad:
Battle of Britain (SE)
A Bridge Too Far (SE)
Windtalkers (Director's Cut)

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Old 02-18-09, 04:37 AM
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Re: Standard DVD's on Blu Ray player/HDTV

King Kong does look good, but it's a perfect example of the hd-dvd/blu-ray making it look crap.
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Old 02-18-09, 08:44 AM
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Re: Standard DVD's on Blu Ray player/HDTV

Originally Posted by steelpotato View Post
King Kong does look good, but it's a perfect example of the hd-dvd/blu-ray making it look crap.
Which is why I bought the Blu Ray.

Unfortunately, I can't replace every DVD in my collection, so I've got to be picky about which DVD titles I replace with Blu Rays.

Those MGM war titles are definitely getting replaced (or augmented - the Blu Rays don't have the bonus features from the 2nd discs for Battle of Britain or A Bridge Too Far).
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Old 02-18-09, 12:56 PM
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I thought Stargate: Atlantis looked pretty good for SD DVD. I don't really pay much attention to keeping track of good/bad upconversion of DVDs, but I do notice it at the time I am watching them.
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Old 02-20-09, 09:30 AM
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Re: Standard DVD's on Blu Ray player/HDTV

Originally Posted by lizard View Post
I thought Stargate: Atlantis looked pretty good for SD DVD. I don't really pay much attention to keeping track of good/bad upconversion of DVDs, but I do notice it at the time I am watching them.
I just started noting titles so that I could decide whether or not I wanted to replace them with Blu Rays.

There are a number of titles that because of the rewatchability or exceptional visuals that I will definitely buy on Blu Ray, but some titles are marginal and I may only watch them once or twice over the next 20-30 years, and if I don't have to buy the Blu Rays for those titles I won't. And by, "Have to," I'm talking about replacing titles that look like VHS at SLP/EP when played on an HDTV.

(Who has the money to replace an entire 1,000 DVD collection with Blu Rays anyway? Or even just the titles that will find their way to Blu.)

Again, if you watch a standard DVD on your Blu Ray player/HDTV and notice the quality one way or the other feel free to post your thoughts about it on this thread.
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