DVD Video Quality

Discussion in 'Home Theater & Video' started by ConradH, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. ConradH

    ConradH AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm really a noob at this, usually just putting Netflix DVDs in my $29.95 Sony player and watching them on an ancient Sharp flat screen. They look good enough and any video shortcomings are made up by my decent sound system.

    I recently upgraded my PC to a fast machine running Windows 10. My video card is designed for CAD work because that's what I do, not gaming or video, but it still has (I think) decent specs for video. It's an Nvidia K1200. The monitor is a Viewsonic VP-2468. I chose that for my photo editing work, and it's great. When I play those same DVDs on the PC system with VLC Media Player, they just don't seem crisp or bright.

    I can make adjustments in the player, but they don't seem to help much. It's like the dynamic range is limited. What got me to thinking about this is I was watching some YouTube videos that were crystal clear and bright, and my DVDs don't seem to compete.

    Can anybody suggest things I should look at to improve the DVD video quality?
     
  2. faber12

    faber12 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Your PC may be playing HD video from Netflix, and DVD just is not as high resolution. I find it hard to imagine a video card are in the last 10 years that could not play a DVD properly.
     
  3. WobblySam

    WobblySam Active Member

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    I'm not familiar with that Nvidia card - but as you noted it's optimized for CAD/vector use. This is not a great combination for motion raster video. It could be that the lack of detail or sharpness is due to motion. I also don't know anything about your monitor - is it intended for vector graphics or motion graphics?
    Most CAD systems I've seen in the past (albeit older ones) were quite bad at any sort of raster display.
    If you have an older PC with a regular screen or monitor, try your DVDs there. You don't need a super fast machine to decode MPEG-2. An old Pentium 4 machine would suffice.
     
  4. ConradH

    ConradH AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm having trouble thinking it's hardware because I've seen it do very well, just not with DVDs. The on-line video I watched is this- https://theageofaerospace.com/discovery/watch/ep2/ch1 Warning- it does start off with a lot of old nazi footage.

    It's WWII history and much is fuzzy, but the new footage of the narrators is crystal clear and sharp. I don't seem to get that same quality from a DVD. DVDs all seem to be darker as well, but maybe it's the type of thing I watch. BTW, it's a great multi-part aviation documentary if you like that sort of thing.

    What's the technical difference between that piece, and a Netflix DVD? Is the DVD resolution just plain worse than the documentary?

    edit- I wonder if part of the effect is just going from ancient fuzzy footage to modern?
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
  5. WobblySam

    WobblySam Active Member

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    Well, if it's not the hardware, then it's likely the player software. I've used VLC to play MPEG2 video and it works quite well. I've not used it for watching DVDs - I used one of the older commercial apps (like WinDVD) in years past. The DVDs being "darker" remind me of the old Macrovision protection used on VHS tapes and DVDs. The difference in the online video and the DVD is the codec used. The online stuff may be H.264 or HEVC or variant, perhaps in a particular wrapper. The standard DVD uses variable rate MPEG2. Perhaps try another piece of player software that properly handles the copy protection on DVDs.
    Good luck
     
  6. Wildcat

    Wildcat Spring ain't here... Subscriber

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    Yes, actually. DVD's resolution is at best 720x480 pixels in 60Hz regions (720x576 in 50Hz regions). If you blow that up to full screen on today's typical computer monitors (mine is 1920x1080), the image will get fuzzy. VLC can tweak things like sharpness, contrast and saturation, but IMHO it just makes the video look even worse. Leave it in a small window at its native resolution and it will look better. (Some video players automatically play at the native resolution of the source--I think VLC may do this.) I see this most when comparing DVD to BluRay, the latter being much sharper on a computer monitor in fullscreen mode. The BluRay is often razor-sharp, in fact. Your monitor and video card are plenty good enough to view video. :) There is just no making up for resolution that is not there.

    One thing you can safely correct in VLC is interlace. If you see horizontal lines during playback, you can turn on the de-interlace feature with its default settings and it will look fine.
     
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  7. Hipocrates

    Hipocrates Anti-Muppet Subscriber

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    You hardware is more than capable to play HD as Mr. @Wildcat said
     
  8. ConradH

    ConradH AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm beginning to understand this better. It's almost like the better the playback system, the worse a DVD looks. I did improve things by changing the video settings using the Nivida utility rather than the settings of VLC. I think my living room system, old as it is, does a really good job of upconverting DVDs to look decent on a small (by today's standards) TV. The computer, however, is merciless. I'm also much closer to the monitor than the TV.
     
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