HD DVD vs Standard Def DVD Comparison Photos: 'Seabiscuit'

Posted Thu Oct 5, 2006 at 09:19 AM PDT by

One of the most common requests we receive from our readers is for a visual comparison between standard def DVD and one of the high-def disc formats.

And while anti-piracy safeguards have thus far prevented anyone from taking true screen captures of the display from either of the high-def disc formats, AVSForum member xradman recently captured a series of more anecodotal SD DVD vs HD DVD comparisons, simply by taking high-res photos of the projected image from his home theater system.

Again, while purely anecdotal, the difference in picture quality between upconverted standard def and high-def as captured in these images is striking. Originally posted on AVSForum, xradman has kindly agreed to allow us to repost his photos here.

Cropped photos of three frames from 'Seabiscuit' appear below -- click each individual image to view the entire photo. Information about xradman's home theater set-up, his method for taking the photos, and a detailed list of caveats follow below the images.

Comparison #1: 'Seabiscuit' 00:05:38

Comparison #2: 'Seabiscuit' 00:28:51

Comparison #3: 'Seabiscuit' 02:11:48

Notes about these photos from xradman:

The pictures are taken from projected image on my HT. The screen is ~12 feet wide (150" diagonal for this 2.35:1 film) and painted in light grey color. The specifics are as follows:

Projector: Dukane Image Pro 9000D D-ILA (Same as JVC G10) 1365x1024 native resolution
HD-DVD Player: Toshiba HD-XA1 FW 2.0 connected using component output at 1080i
SD-DVD Player: HTPC running ZoomPlayer and FFDSHOW (2005-11-15) with following parameters connected using VGA (resolution 1360 x 850 via Powerstrip and perfect 1:1 pixel match)
WinDVD Video Filter
VMR9 Renderless
HQ Denoise 3D Chroma 2.0 Time 4.0
Resize 1360x850
Multiply 2.00
Lanczos 2.00
Luma Sharpen 1.20 Chroma Sharpen 0

The projected images were captured with Nikon Coolpix 8800VR at 3264x2448.
The image was then cropped in Photoshop and resized to 50%. The image was then saved in JPG (High Quality 8).

The caveats with this method are as follows:

1. Projector is unable to fully resolve HD-DVD resolution
2. The 1080i image is somewhat cropped (overscan) compared to HTPC image (no overscan)
3. The colors have not been correctly calibrated
4. The image is a photo that has been resampled and reduced in size
5. Unclear whether paused image on HD-DVD is at full resolution or half since it's 1080i
6. Finally, it's very difficult to find an image that is not in motion; the moving image looks much better than the still image

For an idea of how some of these factors may have affected the photos captured for this comparison, these images (using baseline source material) may be helpful.

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Tags: Comparison Photos (all tags)