DVD vs next-gen DVD: pictorial comparisons

http://blog.pcformat.co.uk/?entry=hd_dvd_and_blu_ray

Click on the pics to expand to full size. If you open up two browser tabs side by side you’ll be able to see a good comparison.

(Apparently the regular DVD screencaps were upsampled to 1080p in Photoshop, so they might be more analagous to what you’d see from an upscaling DVD player.)

I’ve got dual 24" LCD panels on which I compared those screenshots. There is definitely some detail enhancement on the HD-DVD and a smidge more perhaps on Blu-Ray. The decided winner, however is the underwhelming nature of hi-def DVD’s compared to upscaled Standard def. Definitely makes me feel that this is the format generation to skip, in favor of waiting for pure downloadable content.

That’s handy.

I bet it would take a really good up-sampling player to equal the scaling Photoshop can do on a single DVD frame; that one is probably not entirely representative of what most people will see with that DVD. It makes for an interesting reference, though. Especially if you set these up in tabs on a single HD display and flip between the DVD and the Blu Ray image, which show the most difference. The Blu Ray has more detail and contrast than the HD, and perhaps more noise; looks like processing choices to me, given the file size statement. I wouldn’t expect any substantive difference based on the tech.

I don’t know why they upsampled those images at all; most people don’t have upsampling players so those pics are probably being a bit too favorable to regular DVD.

I can see why they did it, but they should have provided the reference DVD image as well. Having them all the same size makes it easier to flip among them for comparison purposes without having your perception skewed by looking at images of different sizes.

Your DVD player doesn’t have to upsample; a lot of TVs do it itself. I know my Samsung LN-S3251D HDTV upsamples the 480p signal from my dvd player so well, there was no need for me to even consider an upsampling player.

Wow. The difference is pretty damn stunning to me. The DVD looks awful - most noticable for me is the uneven look to the pavement and the chain link fence in the second shot. The Blu-Ray transfer is noticably sharper than the HD-DVD and there’s more contrast and vibrance to the colors overall. The writing on the back of the van is much cleaner looking on the Blu-Ray shot.

Granted, this is looking at the pictures with 1:1 pixel mapping on a 65" 1080p screen. I imagine most people are looking at the pictures on screens that are the size of what the thumbnails directly off the blog page appear like to me. If you can tell an appreciable difference in a screen cap between 480 lines of resolution and 1080 lines of resolution on a 19" screen I’d be surprised, but believe me, on a big screen it’s night and day.

I’m stoked about the next-gen formats - they make home theaters happy.

Yeah, Photoshop isn’t upsampling in real time like a player needs to.

I’m doubtful about how noticeable the difference would be in a moving picture vs the single still frame.

Precisely. Different demands entirely. Although I don’t think it would surprise me all that much to see modern dedicated hardware pull something like that off by now, given the limited source resolution.

Erm, if I zoom in lots to the HD images I see that there are about 4 transition pixels between one colour and the other. Presumably the camera should have perhaps one pixel of transition, if it was being filmed at a resolution equal to or higher than 1080, and is in focus.
Compression shouldn’t produce this much blurring, but what would cause it would be like this is if the HD data is acquired by taking the DVD stream and upscaling it, or by using film source that wasn’t all that clear in the first place.
If so, then this comparison doesn’t prove much. If the source is low-res then HD isn’t going to magically make it a higher res. OTOH it might very well show that Hollywood isn’t as HD ready as one might hope.

You could just be seeing the chroma subsampling, when it’s blown up that much.

You guys really trying to tell me there is a substantial difference there? LMAO. I would not spend one penny for that “improvement”.

There is a noticeable difference between HD movies and regular DVDs in motion. More than is apparent in those stills, I think, but it’s nowhere even close to the jump from, say, standard def programming and HD. With good upscaling, regular DVDs look quite good on an HDTV already.

So while I’ll probably buy some sort of HD player when it comes time to replace my current DVD player, I’m not in any particular hurry to do it. And the gain in quality is not worth the premium they are charging for standalone players right now ($500+ for HD-DVD, $1000+ for BluRay). Not even close.

Yep, it’s noticeable alright. But for some reason films don’t look dramatically better in HD than SD. They’re higher resolution, sure, but they don’t have that sharpness, clarity, and color depth that just jumps out at you and says “I’m HD!”. Probably due to the film grain or some such AV nut topic.

TV shows on the other hand look much better in HD.

The sharpness only applies to objects that are in focus. Much of a film frame isn’t in focus anyway – it’s not like a Windows desktop where every single pixel has been precision-placed by GDI. Look at the trees at the top of those second images, for example. No difference between DVD and the high-definition formats because they aren’t in focus.

Oh, especially those that were letter-boxed in SD. I can’t stand watching BSG over broadcast after seeing it both in HD and, believe it or not, iTunes – which while only VGA res in the current season is still much better than the Comcastic SD.

I don’t see a big enough of a difference to make me want to switch with any urgency. That being said, blu-ray does appear slightly better than HDDVD, though I’m not sure that the color is a function of the storage so much as the transfer.

Still, going to wait until there’s either a winner, or they move to the next technology. Not a big enough reason to switch, IMO.

Agreed. I’m actually willing to fall behind on the regular BSG programming just so I can catch up to it on the Universal HD channel and watch it there. Either there or on DVD, which is also a big improvement on the shitty Sci-Fi Channel SD broadcast.

Where’s K0NY to complain that the DVD signal was upscaled through some sort of fakery and therefore the whole comparison is dishonest?