Author Topic: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?  (Read 6297 times)

Santa's Boyfriend

  • 'S all in the game, yo
Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« on: January 01, 2010, 10:32:02 PM »
Having just aquired a HD TV, I found it overwhelming at first.  To be fair I came down with flu just after I got it and was a bit feverish, but I found it a bit mental.

Now I'm at the stage where I'm watching a Blu-ray film and I'm more interested in how beautifully crisp and clear the mountains are in the background than in the zombie chasing the girl or whatever is going on.

So yeah, it's nice, but already I'm finding myself wondering: does it really improve the actual experience of watching the movie?  I think in one particular way it does:  The extra detail allows for more subtlety in movement and facial expressions, meaning good acting suddenly seems even better.  For a tv technophile like me, it's great, but are regular folk really going to give a fuck, or even notice the difference for that matter?  (It fucking amazes me how many people have widescreen tvs with a fullscreen signal setup - meaning everything is stretched, even the shows that are actually supposed to be in widescreen.)

What do you think of HD?  Are you bothered at all?

Talulah, really!

  • O, belike it is the Bishop of Carlisle
Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2010, 10:36:28 PM »
What do you think of HD?  Are you bothered at all?

Bid me to live was pretty good I thought.

papalaz4444244

  • And Lo! he spaketh, and the thread dieth off
Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2010, 10:48:18 PM »
You would be surprised by the number of people I've spoken to that can't actually see ANY difference at all but the  most common reaction I've seen is "the picture is slightly sharper, so what?"

Have you seen those demos they show in shops/malls to sell Sky HD? The picture they show as being normal Freeview quality is like a 15th generation VHS tape! It's scandalous!

The difference between PAL and 720p is actually fairly negligible. I'm sure the change from NTSC to 720p must be considerably more pronounced.

As far as BD is concerned, I don't personally know anyone that has bought any disks as they are very happy with their massive DVD collections. :P

Lee

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2010, 10:50:37 PM »
I'm definetely an HD convert. You don't realise how much you're missing until you see something in HD. I'm currently working my way through the new Werner Herzog Natural World box-set on blu ray on a 40" Sony Bravia, and Encounters At The End Of The World in particular looks fantastic. Anything shot on film will instantly be enhanced, due to blu ray's ability to run at 24fps. That last point is what finally convinced me to upgrade, and it definetely seems worth it. Also, most blu rays are multi-region, which is a bonus. And it's not just videos either - HD gaming is incredible. I completed Grand Theft Auto IV on my old SD TV, and then replayed it on the HDTV, and it was like playing a different game. Playing Wipeout HD for the first time was one of the most exciting experiences I've ever had in front of a screen.

The only downside to HDTV is that any SD inputs (most digital television, anything running through SCART or composite leads) ends up looking a bit bleary by comparison, which is annoying if you don't have an HD TV receiver (as I don't) or a DVD upscaler. But for all the benefits of HD I'm willing to take that.

Rowlands

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2010, 10:51:04 PM »
I remember the Daily Mirror ran a feature on how HDTV was going to expose all the wrinkles our stars have, with pictures, half HD, half 'normal'.

They had Gordon Ramsay, and the 'normal' one looked like it had been smudge brushed on photoshop and then blurred! The other half was Gordon Ramsay as he actually looks on normal television- lined as hell.

biggytitbo

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2010, 10:57:41 PM »
I watched The Dark Knight on Blu ray earlier and you can sit right in front of the telly and really soak in every incredible detail. The Children of Men blu ray is particularly amazing. I was sceptical at first but if you cant see the difference between HD and normal dvd you're blind - its night and day. When I switch back to normal telly after watching a blu ray its like ive gone half blind.

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2010, 11:13:21 PM »
The Sky TV demos are borderline illegal in my book, but the difference is there. You have to have a larger TV capable of 1080p to really see the difference, but it is there.

I got a 37" Panasonic last January, but only recently upgraded to Sky HD and got a Blu-Ray player. After getting Sky HD I did spend a lot of time watching the Luxe HD channel (surely the only point of Luxe is the HD picture). I also spent a lot of time flicking back between BBC 1 and BBC HD when they were simulcasting and you really can see the difference. After a while all SD pictures look like you're watching through a bit of gauze. I'm just about getting beyond the point of watching the High Definition simply for the HD and getting back to watching the actual programmes.

Even with a 37" set I find I have to sit fairly close to get the full effect, but it is worth it. When everything has gone HD (even old SD stuff upscaled like on Channel 4 HD is better) an even bigger set will be feasible. At the moment SD just can't cope with a set that's too big, the artefacts and compression blocks are just far too obvious.

Blu-Ray is a step above HD broadcasts just like DVD is above SD broadcasts (though the gap isn't quite as big). As good as Blu-Ray is it is never going to replace DVD like that replaced VHS. The difference between an upscaled DVD and Blu-ray is nothing like the yawning chasm between VHS and DVD.  I've no intention of replacing my DVDs with Blu-Rays, but I do plan to buy only Blu-Rays (when the option is available) from now on.

The Japanese are already working on Ultra HD which is planned to have a resolution of 7680 × 4320 pixels as opposed to 1920 × 1080, which is the maximum HD is capable of. But they don't expect to see anyone broadcasting in that format for another decade at least.

Blumf

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2010, 11:14:37 PM »
It's not that big a deal, crisper picture but plots still the same. Yes the picture quality can be better (seen too many ropey BlueRay releases though) but it does little for 'the experience' unless all you watch is Generic Hollywood Action Flick #14 - #127

What's really galling is how much they've ramped down the quality of terrestrial broadcast, it's barely above YouTube now on most channels, got better quality from a crappy 21" CRT in the 90s than now. They're even squeezing the HD broadcasts.

Santa's Boyfriend

  • 'S all in the game, yo
Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2010, 11:29:28 PM »
I find HD really comes into its own on big expansive wide shots and in extreme close-ups.  I think that's why wildlife films like Planet Earth look so good in HD, they used a lot of those.  But there's other stuff that just gets missed in SD that you wouldn't notice if you didn't know it was there.  A great example:  in Pulp Fiction, when Bruce Willis has just escaped from Zed's basement and is trying to get his girlfriend to get on the motorbike, his girlfriend simply stands there and starts to cry.  In the SD picture you don't actually see her do that, as there isn't enough detail on her face.  In HD there is.  A small detail perhaps, but little things like that add up.

One thing:  I don't understand what the big deal is with 24fps on Blu-ray.  Why would that produce a better picture?  I would have thought the difference between 24fps and 25fps wouldn't be noticeable at all.

biggytitbo

  • WHAT ABOUT THE GODDAM JAFFA CAKES ASSWIPE
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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2010, 11:30:10 PM »
The difference between an upscaled DVD and Blu-ray is nothing like the yawning chasm between VHS and DVD.  I've no intention of replacing my DVDs with Blu-Rays, but I do plan to buy only Blu-Rays (when the option is available) from now on.


I disagree with that, the difference between blu ray and dvd is far greater than dvd and vhs in my opinion. Literally I think, in that the resolution difference is bigger. Blu ray also has far far better colour reproduction than dvd, and if its your thing the sound upgrade is enormous.

I've had a policy for years of not buying films on dvd, just sd tv shows. Now I've got blu ray that's what I buy all films on, certainly in terms of future proofing as buying all my favourite films twice is something I want to avoid. In 5 years time I might have an enormous telly and films on dvd are going to look absolutely shite.

Blumf

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2010, 11:40:02 PM »
One thing:  I don't understand what the big deal is with 24fps on Blu-ray.  Why would that produce a better picture?  I would have thought the difference between 24fps and 25fps wouldn't be noticeable at all.

Films tend to be shot at 24fps, so there's a bit of a mess when trying to force that into 25fps output (speed it up a bit? Do some kind of frame interlacing? None of the solutions are pretty)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24p#Converting_24p_to_PAL

presta didwicks

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2010, 11:49:46 PM »
5 and a half years ago I bought a reasonable home cinema set up.
The telly was the top end Panny (36 "CRT)  and as I've mentioned here before, I just cant justify replacing it yet, it still blows me away even now.
Having said that, when I look what I can buy today , for what that beast cost me, it breaks my heart.
Santa bought us a PS3 and using component connection I cant tell the difference between mine and a friend`s HD picture on gaming.
I`m intrigued at the comments on deteriorating SD quality cos I really noticed it at my father - in-laws today.
I`ve decided to stick with my telly for another year, get a Humax free-sat box and spend the money in Blockbuster.

wasp_f15ting

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2010, 12:14:20 AM »
I love blu-ray..

I think the biggest testament to blu-ray is space 2001. That film shows what we have missed in the VHS, DVD versions up to now. I really could not get over how crisp that film was, I rate it visually above most of collection.

But all this makes me wonder what is next.. the 4K tech being shown off in Japan is rather scary.. Since 35mm is supposed to be 175 Million Pixels* (So 70MM is 350 Mpixels) and 1080p equates to 2.07Mpixels

So we can expect far better to come in the future I guess. I know the example above is a bit loopy, and velvia is obviously not film / film. But I wonder when the technology revolution will stop with regards to TV technology.. there is always room for improvement. Let alone not seeing what SED and OLED have to offer in a few years.


*http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/film-resolution.htm

chand

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2010, 12:37:45 AM »
I disagree with that, the difference between blu ray and dvd is far greater than dvd and vhs in my opinion. Literally I think, in that the resolution difference is bigger. Blu ray also has far far better colour reproduction than dvd, and if its your thing the sound upgrade is enormous.

In resolution terms you're probably right, although the big difference with DVD, extras aside, was that videos would wear down and would have more picture faults on them. I remember when I got DVD it was nice to watch stuff without the kind of artifacts you could get on video, a lot of my videos were knackered.

But yeah, I can definitely see a big improvement with Blu Ray, only bought a few so far but 2001 and Planet Earth are the most impressive I've seen.

Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2010, 12:39:39 AM »
I'd much rather the evolution of dvds was towards something that didn't get scratched and ruined so fucking easily if you lend it to one fucking cunt.

Mr_Simnock

  • BREXIT? what brexit
Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2010, 02:05:45 AM »
I love Blu-Ray, its reinvigorated my interest in films. A lot of not so commmon films that are being released on Blu-Ray have had a lot of work done to them, cleaning, scratch removal, colour balancing etc and I now feel I'm trully getting the best version, best picture, best sound with every blu-ray bought. I find the extra detailed gained with a 1080 picture gives everything a much more realistic appearance and thus I become more engrosed in what I watch. If you only have a small tv though, say 28" and under stick with your DVD's you won't notice that much extra detail but with any TV over that I think the picture quality over DVD becomes more apparent the bigger the TV. I don't think we will be buying sets with the HD ultra that the Japs have worked on as you wont see all the extra detail over a 1080p image unless you have at least a 70' set which is far too large for most living rooms. I recomend this site for bl-ray reviews and news, I check it everyday http://uk.blu-ray.com/

An tSaoi

  • The Prodigal Cunt
Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2010, 02:22:24 AM »
To me the jump in quality from DVD to Blu-Ray is almost the same as the jump from VHS to DVD. I was skeptical at first ("How could they make the picture any better than DVD? What madness is this?!") but I own a few Blu-Rays now and they look great. When I put Blade Runner on I was blown away; you can make out every tiny window of the Tyrell building, and every bead of sweat on Harrison Ford's brow. It was like watching a new film, to the point where I spent the whole time marvelling at the visuals. I had to watch it again just to appreciate it as a film. So I agree with Santa's Boyfriend that Hd sometimes looks so good it becomes distracting. But it's worth it overall.

Of course some films, particularly older ones, aren't going to look that much better on Blu-Ray than they do on DVD. But when I play my Chaplin DVDs on the Blu-Ray player they look better than I've ever seen them. So even if you don't want to switch to Blu-Rays, at least get a Blu-Ray player for your DVDs; it upgrades them a little bit. The DVD version of 2001 A Space Odyssey looks so great that I don't know if the Blu-Ray is worth getting. (Edit: Er, that slightly contradicts my opening sentence).

My only problem is that the sound is lower on Blu-Rays. I had to turn Wrath of Khan up to 99!

Glebe

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2010, 09:04:08 AM »
I actually got 2001 off my bro for Christmas, haven't watched it yet.

Film grain is a big issue with some people. Personally, I prefer an authentic picture. Close Encounters is very grainy in places, but otherwise it looks superb.

An tSaoi

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2010, 02:20:34 PM »
Some films look better with the grain, like The French Connection.

Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2010, 02:45:58 PM »
My only problem is that the sound is lower on Blu-Rays. I had to turn Wrath of Khan up to 99!

Isn't that caused by playing 5.1 Surround Sound through stereo speakers? You can usually adjust the audio settings in the DVD menu to counteract this.

If you do have a proper 5.1 amp, there may be an 'Auto Volume' setting (this is certainly the case with my mate's LG system) which causes all sorts of daft problems. Turning this off should beef up the sound considerably.

Santa's Boyfriend

  • 'S all in the game, yo
Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2010, 05:02:55 PM »
Does anyone know if those sound bar things are any good?  I'm considering getting one as a cheap alternative to a new digital 5.1 system (my old system is analogue and isn't compatible, dammit) but I'm concerned about the effectiveness of virtual 5.1.

batwings

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2010, 05:53:26 PM »
Improved picture and sound quality aside, another advantage Blu Ray has over (PAL) DVD is that the audio doesn't have to be sped up to compensate for the difference between film and the UK's video system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAL_speedup#576i_speed-up

This used to really annoy me on PAL dvd, especially when familiar music was played on the soundtrack. 4% percent difference may not seem much but I like to hear a film at the right speed. Tony Soprano is less menacing when his voice is pitched up. I also wonder how PAL speedup might impact timing, especially comedic timing?

biggytitbo

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2010, 05:57:32 PM »
One thing about blu ray when I was watching CHildren of Men, apart from it looking stunningly beautiful, the production team spent quite a lot of time mocking up detailed newspaper front pages and clippings for various scenes, for example the clipping as Michael Caine's character keeps about his wife. On dvd, they're just a blur, on blu ray you can actually read them as they pan across and it really does add an extra depth to the story.

Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2010, 09:13:52 PM »
Film grain is a big issue with some people. Personally, I prefer an authentic picture. Close Encounters is very grainy in places, but otherwise it looks superb.

Folk who gripe about Film Grain are idiots but there's sadly a whole lotto folk who think of it as an imperfection rather than an element integral to the director's vision.   I'll certainly be saddened if too many films are retro-actively purged of grain in a bid to satisfy pixel happy idiots, which I seem to recall is what Lucas has done with the original Star Wars films now.

Being broke it'll be a while yet before I buy any kind of HD TV system but I have shot a few things in HD and from a film-making perspective it's a huge fucking game changer.    For one thing it makes it easier to get awesome visuals on a budget - yes you still need a decent cinematographer and what not, but the difference between shooting a short film or micro-budget feature on regular digital video  and doing the same on HD is considerable.   Aside the leap in the resolution the colours are so much richer and more vibrant too. 

An tSaoi

  • The Prodigal Cunt
Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2010, 09:33:49 PM »
Isn't that caused by playing 5.1 Surround Sound through stereo speakers? You can usually adjust the audio settings in the DVD menu to counteract this.

Thanks, I'll give that a go. I've discovered that putting Theatre Mode on makes it louder.

Alberon

  • His heart is an empty fridge
Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2010, 12:27:15 AM »
I do think Blu-Ray is a big jump over DVD (even upscaled DVD), but I still feel it's not as big as the jump from VHS to DVD. I've been copying over a few VHS tapes to DVD before binning them and the quality is shockingly bad. Admittedly when I used to watch VHS it was on a 20" square telly, not the 37" widescreen I have now, but still.

Talking of 2001, that is one of the few films I have on DVD I probably will upgrade to Blu-Ray at some point. Also, being the new year I finally bought a Blu-Ray copy of 2010 (nowhere near as good as 2001 of course, but I still like it). I had it on VHS, but never bought it on DVD as it wasn't anamorphic so while the Blu-Ray transfer isn't supposed to be that great it will be far better than what I've got right now. Got my fingers crossed for a Blu-Ray version of The Abyss before too long for the same reason.

We went to the cinema tonight and watched Sherlock Holmes and while I was enjoying what was a good piece of nonsense I did notice that I didn't think the picture was as good as a Blu-Ray would be, though I know that isn't really true in regards to picture information. I've never seen one of the digital projection cinema screens, but the old style projector with a picture that jitters ever so slightly and isn't in perfect sharp focus is really looking its age now and is one big area where even DVD has a significant advantage over a cinema screen.

Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2010, 12:35:55 AM »
I've never seen one of the digital projection cinema screens, but the old style projector with a picture that jitters ever so slightly and isn't in perfect sharp focus is really looking its age now and is one big area where even DVD has a significant advantage over a cinema screen.

That's more to do with the level of care and attention given to such things at that cinema.  Granted there are some shockingly shit cinemas in my locale which I avoid for such reasons but there's literally no excuse for a movie being projected on 35mm being out shown of focus.   And unless the print itself and the projector are both knackered there shouldn't be any noticable judder.     

biggytitbo

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2010, 12:46:25 AM »
I don't know what people are talking about when they say 'upscaled' DVD. There's no such thing as upscaled dvd, it's just marketing bollocks. If you put a dvd on on a HD set, either the telly or the DVD player has to enlarge the picture to fit the screen resolution. Every DVD player in the world attached to a HD telly 'upscales' one way or the other, otherwise you'd be watching the picture in a little box in the middle of the screen. All it does it make the image larger, you don't get one single pixel of extra resolution whatever the marketing bollocks says.

unky herb

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Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2010, 01:24:27 AM »
There's no such thing as upscaled dvd, it's just marketing bollocks.
[.....]
All it does it make the image larger, you don't get one single pixel of extra resolution whatever the marketing bollocks says.

Reszing algorithms... blah blah.. stuff about interpolation which you know about anyway....

Re: Blu-Ray and HD - is it really all that?
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2010, 01:37:54 AM »
I don't know what people are talking about when they say 'upscaled' DVD. There's no such thing as upscaled dvd, it's just marketing bollocks. If you put a dvd on on a HD set, either the telly or the DVD player has to enlarge the picture to fit the screen resolution. Every DVD player in the world attached to a HD telly 'upscales' one way or the other, otherwise you'd be watching the picture in a little box in the middle of the screen. All it does it make the image larger, you don't get one single pixel of extra resolution whatever the marketing bollocks says.

I don't think any manufacturer claims that their DVD upscaler magically converts SD content to HD. However, a decent upscaling algorithm will eliminate a lot of the blurriness and blockiness resulting in playing DVD content on high-def screens. It's a bit like the graphics filters you can fiddle around with in Megadrive and SNES emulators to allow you to play old games at modern screen resolutions without feeling like you're playing a Piet Mondrian painting.