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wago70
11-12-2003, 11:35 PM
I'm thinking of getting a widescreen set. The only deciding factor is: how do Laserdiscs look on them? I want a non-HDTV as I have heard horror stories about LD's looking rather bad on HDTV sets. Anyone have any advice, opinions?

Dave
11-12-2003, 11:50 PM
I have a 16x9 HDTV and my lasers look decent on them. Mine is only 45", however. There are a number of factors that come into play.

First and foremost, you need to have a decent player. I'd say CLD-D606 (my player) or above. The CLD-D504 is a good player but I don't think it would hold up well on a 16x9. Next, try both S-Video and also composite outputs for video. Many times the TV can have a comb filter that is superior to the LD player's filter, resutling in a better picture. Or, they could be very similar and you don't notice much of a difference at all.

HDTVs are digital and obviously lasers are analog. The result isn't always pretty. But, with a decent player the resulting image can still look acceptable. Certainly not DVD quality, but acceptable enough.

Here's a clip I found from alt.video.laserdisc


The basic facts are correct. The laserdisc format is analog composite
video and somewhere in the video chain there must be a Y/C separation
filter. Some type of comb filter is usually used as the Y/C separation
filter (although there are other less satisfactory alternatives). However,
the generalization that a composite connection between the laserdisc and
the TV or VCR "will do fine" is much too broad of a recommendation and is
very often the incorrect choice. In many instances the proper choice will
be to use a Y/C connection from the LD player to the TV (or VCR) for
several reasons.

1) The LD player (unless it is quite inexpensive) will most likely have a
digital 2-D Adaptive Y/C Separation Filter (2-D Digital Comb Filter) and
there is a huge installed base of TV's and VCR's (as well as current
models) with CCD comb filters or worse. (For example, Sony only upgraded
to 2-D digital filters in their XBR's in the last two years, although all
XBR^2 have had digital filters). So it is quite likely that the LD player
will have a digital 2-D Adaptive Y/C Separation Filter vs. a TV monitor's
inferior CCD comb filter. In these cases the Y/C connection should be
used.

2) If the LD player and the TV both have digital 2-D Adaptive Y/C
Separation Filters then a case by case decision must be made on which
component has the better filter and therefore whether to use the composite
or Y/C connection. It has been my experience that most LD player filters
perform at least as well or better than the TV's. This is a generalization
with several notable exceptions. But the key point is that all digital 2-D
Adaptive Y/C Separation Filters are most definitely NOT the same in terms
of performance. There are many different algorithms that can be used for
this type of filter and their artifacts vary greatly. Therefore, the
choice of Y/C vs composite connection must be made based on the specific
combination of components in use.

Some important example cases at the high end: The top end of the
Mitsubishi monitor line uses a very advanced form of digital 2-D Adaptive
Filter that generally out-performs most other 2-D filters found in LD
players (or other TV's for that matter.) If you own one of these TV
monitors you are probably better off with a composite connection. However,
in my opinion, the high end Pioneer CLD-97 LD player's digital 2-D
Adaptive Y/C Separation Filter has less objectionable artifacts than even
the Mitsubishi filter. In this case I would again use a Y/C connection. I
will acknowledge, that this is a very close and subjective call since they
have different types of artifacts from their very different algorithms.

3) In addition, even if both the TV and the LD player have digital 2-D
Adaptive Y/C Separation Filters, quite a few LD players separate the
composite signal using their internal filter and then perform digital
noise reduction on the Y/C signals. The Y & C signals are then recombined
to create a new composite signal. This composite signal, not the original
composite signal, is provided at the rear panel composite output. This
creates a very complex situation.

In theory, the artifacts in the Y and C signals after comb filtering can
be cancelled in the recombined composite signal. However, this depends on
the topology and execution of the internal comb filter and the noise
reduction circuits. Cancellation may not occur and residual artifacts from
the LD player's comb filter may be passed along in the regenerated
composite signal. If a composite connection is used the final picture will
contain both these residual artifacts and artifacts from the monitor's
comb filter.

4) The Pioneer CLD-99 LD player is the first and only LD player to my
knowledge that has a digital 3-D Motion Adaptive Y/C Separation Filter
(now there's a mouthful). This is a much more advanced type of Digital Y/C
Separation Filter than the 2-D designs. A Y/C connection should always be
used with this player. (It also regenerates its composite output signal
after the internal Y/C filter and digital noise reduction).

5) There are several TV's that finally have digital 3-D Motion Adaptive
Y/C Separation Filters. (I predicted that 3-D filters would SOON show up
in consumer products in a comb filter tutorial that I posted in these
newsgroups TWO years ago! They finally showed up but they are not exactly
pouring forth!) One product available is the Sony 32XBR100 (XBR^2) model
and also the earlier 16:9 rear projection Toshiba model (sorry I don't
have the model number handy.) Obviously a composite connection should be
used between all LD players (other than the CLD-99) and these monitors.
This assumes that the 3-D filters, which are very complex designs,
actually approach their theoretical performance potential and surpass the
performance of the 2-D Digital Filters.

Notes: I have not seriously evaluated the Toshiba product and therefore I
have no opinion on its performance. I have briefly examined several Sony
32XBR100's and I hope to secure one for a complete review soon. I will
share my opinions at that time.

I have just concluded evaluating a Pioneer CLD-99 Laserdisc Player and I
will be writing an in depth article comparing the CLD-99 and CLD-97 very
soon. This article will be available to everyone on the Internet in March.

Agent Z
11-13-2003, 09:40 AM
I'm thinking of getting a widescreen set. The only deciding factor is: how do Laserdiscs look on them? I want a non-HDTV as I have heard horror stories about LD's looking rather bad on HDTV sets. Anyone have any advice, opinions?

Don't forget that there is more to HDTV than just plasma and projection screen monitors. Have you considered looking into a 34-36", flat, widescreen CRT HDTV? Properly calibrated, CRT still offers a better picture quality (direct view is just sharper and brighter) than projection screens (although I'm not sure about plasma vs. CRT). Of course, if you are looking for something above 38", then you will probably cross CRTs off the list.....(although there was a 70" CRT in Japan a few years back....believe it or not).


Obviously, the bigger the screen, the greater the flaws in the image quality are going to be brought out anyway. I think getting any monitor above 36" and expecting the laserdisc output to be reference quality, regardless of the player, is asking for alot.

Sure there are exceptions....as in investing in a line-doubler...which is costly and may give you a 15% increase in video quality (which isn't much).....if you are lucky.......

Break down all your options: crt, projection, plasma, projector...and so on.....
and then decide how much you want to invest and which format (dvd, ld, ect) will get the most attention on your new set...and go from there......

On a personal note, I bought a Panasonic 47" 16X9 HDTV Projection Screen monitor sometime back and while it was great for dvds, it made my laserdiscs look like VHS....really bad....and I never felt comfortable with the burn-in issues. I ended-up selling that set and I am currently looking at some CRT HDTVs...and am I probably going to settle on a Toshiba 34" HDTV 16X9. The lesson here: don't always assume that the bigger the screen, the better, because it isn't always the case. Regardless of whether we are talking about viewing HDTV, laserdiscs, or anamorphic dvds. I would rather scale back myself and enjoy a better picture, but that's just me.....

Whatever decision you make:research, research, and research some more........


Oh, and if you have the room, why not keep the old set after the new one comes in, as you're not going to get any real money out of it trying to sell it......and, it could end-up being your laserdisc viewing set................ :)

wago70
11-13-2003, 04:22 PM
Thanks guys! The one I was looking at is a Philips 30" which is the perfect size since I don't live in a large space and it has to fit in the cabinet that houses my home entertainment.
I currently watch movies on a 27" Proscan which I bought in 1996. I don't know what people think of this set but it has spoiled me. Some laserdiscs rival DVD in some instances and it looks a lot better than my parents' Sony Wega which they bought last year. My LD player is an imported Japanese Pioneer player and it has me spoiled, too. It offers a really good picture and serious solid blacks.
I will look into all of your suggestions and wait more as well!
Thanks!

Paff
11-13-2003, 06:36 PM
Why so down on the Wega?

That could be a great option for you, since the Wegas have the 16x9 option. You could use the 4x3 option for LDs, then switch to 16x9 for DVDs. You'd get the best of both worlds, since Vegas are technically both widescreen AND 4x3

Dave
11-13-2003, 07:34 PM
Thanks guys! The one I was looking at is a Philips 30" which is the perfect size since I don't live in a large space and it has to fit in the cabinet that houses my home entertainment.
I currently watch movies on a 27" Proscan which I bought in 1996. I don't know what people think of this set but it has spoiled me. Some laserdiscs rival DVD in some instances and it looks a lot better than my parents' Sony Wega which they bought last year. My LD player is an imported Japanese Pioneer player and it has me spoiled, too. It offers a really good picture and serious solid blacks.
I will look into all of your suggestions and wait more as well!
Thanks!

Which Japanese player do you have? I used to have the LD-S9 - great machine.

wago70
11-13-2003, 10:17 PM
I'm sorry - the Wega I was referring to was a standard square one. It's good, but I much prefer my Proscan square TV. I would work the Wega widescreen, but it's out of my affordability range. Once I get out of my studio apartment, then I'll shoot for a more advanced set...still nothing over 40 inches, though. The stuff I watch on laserdisc and DVD can be far removed from the quality of studio products and I'd just hate to amplify their graininess on such an advanced set.

Paff
11-13-2003, 10:56 PM
Do you know what I mean about the Wega widescreen though?

It's a standard 4x3 screen, which means you'd be able to watch your lasers as is, no "zoom" mode or windowboxing. But for anamorphic DVDs, you select 16x9 mode, which means the image is the same size it's always been (letterboxed), BUT, you get the additional 33% resolution that anamorphic DVDs provide.

Have you ever noticed "flickering" on the closing credits of a DVD? The white letters on the black background flicker as they scroll up. That's due to the downconversion from anamorphic. If you have a widescreen TV, or a 16x9 enhanced Wega, that goes away. All the while, you still have the same laser quality.

I've seen lasers on a widescreen TV. The "windowboxed" mode is just too annoying, and the zoom mode looks like shit.

At the very least, if you get any 4x3 screen, insist on the 16x9 enhanced mode. I haven't TV shopped in a while, so I don't know if anyone other than Sony is doing it. It's available on Wegas size 27" and up, so it won't break your bank.

wago70
11-13-2003, 11:27 PM
You have me almost sold on one of these. Thanks for the informative replies!

Dave
11-14-2003, 04:55 PM
I don't know why Paff is so hung up on Wega's. Him and I have had this conversation before.

If windowboxing on lasers is a bad thing, doesn't essentially the same thing happen on a Wega when running a 16x9 DVD? I mean, to make a 16x9 image fit on a 4x3 screen, it has to reduce the size of the image by adding more/larger black bars. Yeah, it's true 16x9 - increased resolution and all. But you'll need some binoculars on a 27" Wega.

My 16x9 Toshiba handles zooming on lasers pretty good. But yeah, I have to admit there is some quality loss. Fortunately, with my 'If it's on DVD, I get the DVD. If it's not, I get the laser' mentality, a large chunk of my lasers are full frame to begin with. For examples, all these Full Moon lasers I've been getting are full frame, so windowboxing / zooming doesn't matter. And many others lasers are only kept to compliment the DVD. DVD for movie playback, and LD for extras. Examples: Howling, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Halloween. When I watching the LD for extras, I don't care so much about the quality.

I'm considering getting another Japanese player now that my LD collection is actually growing again. I wouldn't go so high end as the LD-S9, but there was one other model below the LD-S9 that had the same 3D filter the S9 has. It's significantly cheaper too. May be something to get with Uncle Sam's tax refund in a few months....

Things have to be done to bring an existing LD collection into this century. You can build a HTPC with a scaler and all that jazz (expensive), or you can just get a better player to get the best image for the least amount of trouble.

dwatts
11-14-2003, 05:21 PM
I want to talk about the different connection types, S-Video etc. I have a widescreen TV, and I have a projection system. Since I am currently in Europe, they default connector type is SCART. However, I've tried this in the US too.

The point is, I **read** about say, S-Video being better than SCART. But when I try it, I don't see any difference at all - nada, zilch.

As I have said, I've done it in both the US and Europe. Maybe the difference is so small, my poor old eyes can't tell what's going on. I just thought it might be worth mentioning.

Paff
11-14-2003, 10:40 PM
If windowboxing on lasers is a bad thing, doesn't essentially the same thing happen on a Wega when running a 16x9 DVD? I mean, to make a 16x9 image fit on a 4x3 screen, it has to reduce the size of the image by adding more/larger black bars. Yeah, it's true 16x9 - increased resolution and all. But you'll need some binoculars on a 27" Wega.

No, you still don't get it. It's simple letterboxing, the same as what you've always been getting on 4x3 sets. If you're ok with watching letterboxed movies, then you'll be happy with the Wega, and appreciate the increased resolution.

If you're going to watch a fair amount of
1. Broadcast TV
2. DVDs
3. Laserdiscs
you want a screen that will maximize all three formats. If you're just going to watch DVDs, then a 16x9 TV is essential. But most broadcasts are still in 4x3, and LD (the focus of the discussion) was always intended for 4x3. I've seen broadcast and LD on a 16x9 screen, and it suffers, because the screen is really not compatible with the older, outdated formats. But old and outdated aside, if LD is going to remain an option for you, you want something that will handle it good, as well as modern formats. That's why I always say the Wega (or any TV with the 16x9 option) provides the best of BOTH worlds.

And you don't HAVE to buy a 27" Wega, you can naturally buy larger. I was just making the point that the 16x9 function is available on all sizes of screens, even the smaller ones.

I have a 27" set, and do just fine. No binoculars necessary.

Perhaps a diagram is in order. Let's say that in the following diagram "O" equals picture, and "X" equals black or grey bars

Widesceen LD on a 16x9:

XXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXX
XXOOOOOOXX
XXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXX

Same thing on a 4x3

XXXXXXX
XXXXXXX
OOOOOO
XXXXXXX
XXXXXXX

Clearly, the exact same thing. Where you lose it is on DVDs.

Widescreen DVD on a 16x9

XXXXXXXXXXX
OOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOO
XXXXXXXXXXX

Same DVD on a 4x3

XXXXXXX
XXXXXXX
OOOOOO
XXXXXXX
XXXXXXX

Dave
11-14-2003, 10:49 PM
Yes, yes, I understand. But YOU will have bigger black bars than I. On my true 16x9, I have no black bars or small black bars depending on the aspect ratio. You won't.

Also, are WEGAs high def? IF not, aren't you just delaying the inevitable? I mean, some day (3-5 years, maybe), HD will be standard. You can't WEGA forever.

Why not make LD look good on a true 16x9 now? Research on AVS Forum and find the proper 16x9 TV that can zoom better than the others. There are tons of LD owners over there. And my Toshiba does zooming pretty damn good. Your basing your opinion on one set that you saw zoom an LD.

Another thing I did, which certainly helped my LD display, was feed it through my DVD recorder. So it goes into the DVD recorder via S-Video and out to the TV via composite cables. This results in an improved picture. The recorder has some sort of filter in its analog to digital conversion that results in a sharper picture. Cheap and easy trick, for those with recorders anyway.

I'm also going to start researching scalers and line doublers over at AVS. I know little about these, but people on AVS are using them to enhanced their LD viewing significantly. These can be pricey, but older models can be purchased next to nothing on ebay. Plus you can go the HTPC route, which saves money.

I think my 2004 project is the Japanese LD player and some sort of scaler/enhanced to feed the picture through. I'll keep you guys updated.

wago70
11-15-2003, 04:33 AM
Word. Great info, guys!

wago70
11-16-2003, 03:42 AM
Okay looking for some more advice here, folks. For a TV with: 1 Component input, 1 S-Video input, 2 regular RCA video inputs.
Now, how should I arrange the hookups for my: Region free DVD player (with S video and component capability), Region 1 DVD player (with S video and component capability), Laserdisc player (no S video out) and VCR (I still love tapes).

Paff
11-16-2003, 06:42 AM
That one's simple. LD and VCR go into the regular RCA inputs. I would put the Region free DVD player into the S connection and the Region 1 into the component. Although, if you watch a LOT of non-region 1 stuff, you could switch the last two.

Just make sure the TV allows this. One of my video input channels has both S-Video and RCA, but if you plug into the S, it de-activates the RCA.

Agent Z
11-16-2003, 11:11 AM
Another option....that I kinda alluded to earlier: If you are going to start talking about line doublers and other costly devices...and spending a couple hundred of dollars to salvage a laserdisc image on a digital output.....why not just take that money and invest in a nice flat-screen analog tv and be done with it? Or keep the analog set that you currently own, if that set is enough for you? Many people have stand-alone analog sets just for their laserdisc/videotape collection and old school videogames. You can find 36" flat screen analogs on eBay and such for around $500. With an extra analog set dedicated to laserdiscs and such, you can cancel all that talk about line doublers and the annoying framing that results on a 16X9 monitor.....

wago70
11-21-2003, 11:13 PM
I thought I'd give y'all an update on my new purchase. I went out and purchased a Philips 30" widescreen TV. It's not HDTV (as I prefer - at least for now). I have all my machines hooked up to it: 2 DVD players, 1 LD player connected to my VCR (I'm always dubbing flicks for friends). I am very pleased with the set so far.
First off: the ease of use. It's amazing. My old TV had so many unnecessary functions (a step by step menu search just to turn off the speakers, for example). Also, after a quick set-up courtesy of Video Essentials I tried out the visuals:

DVD 1 (with S-Video) - "PIRANHA" region 2 anamorphic enhancement: looks great. Not as remastered as the Region 1, but not as over-saturated either. The rectangular image is striking to me - Piranha never looked so "cinematic" as before.

DVD 2 (with Component) - "FATHOM" with anamorphic capabilities. Looked AMAZING. The color, picture...everything. And the transfer always looked dull to me. This really looked great.

LASERDISC (using Monster cable THX composite) - Image's "THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM". 1.) centered with black bars on all sides. A little smaller than my 27" set, but man...the blacks and color look GREAT. Very clear, too. 2.) Using ZOOM to fill up most of the screen. Impressive - I was expecting the worse. I can't even tell there is loss of detail due to the blow-up image. Seems only the very tops of heads and a little of the sides is gone. Still you can't really notice and it looks awesome. LD looks pretty good this way - think I'm sold on the zoom function. Also, the image still looks sooooooo much more cinematic than a standard square TV.
All in all, I'm completely satisfied and impressed.
Thanks all for your input - and, well...what do you think?