Blu-ray Adoption Still Sluggish, HDTV Sales Up

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News Posted: Sun, Jun 21 2009 8:58 PM

It's a tough time for Blu-ray to be really hitting its stride. Many consumers are still wary due to the battle with HD DVD, and frankly, many are still content with DVD. In too many cases, upscaled DVD looks "good enough" for consumers, and only those with oodles of disposable income are willing to fork out for Blu-ray. Blu-ray player prices are still relatively high, and the actual movies are way expensive compared to the same titles on DVD. Plus, the install base of DVD is so high, it's tough for many to start building another movie library on another format.

Those reasons and more are what is keeping the interest in Blu-ray rather low according to a new study by Harris Interactive. Currently, one in ten (11%) of Americans own an HD DVD player, while just 7% own a Blu-ray player. Crazy, right? More Americans own HD DVD right now than the "winning" format, Blu-ray. To be totally honest, we aren't so shocked by the news. When HD DVD was around, it was far and away the "budget" format for high-def. The players were cheaper, the films were cheaper. In other words, it was a format more ready to thrive in a down economy. Blu-ray was always viewed as a niche format for those absorbed in A/V, not the common man's format.



Today, BD is still fighting that stereotype, but the prices aren't helping it win many folks over. Of course, many folks own a Blu-ray player in that their PS3 will play them, but people are still not jumping to join the BD bandwagon. The lag in adoption can't totally be blamed on the economy, though. During this same time period, HDTV ownership is up. In the survey, nearly half of respondents stated that they own an HDTV, which goes to show that HDTV ownership isn't necessarily a prerequisite for Blu-ray adoption. With HDTV stations becoming more and more the norm, many folks are spending their TV watching time on high-def programs, not Blu-ray. Compared to May of 2008, some 12% more people own HDTVs.

The survey also found that on average, consumers purchased approximately 6 Standard Format DVD’s in the last six months compared with 1 in HD format (HD DVD .7 vs. Blu-ray .5). Take a look at these PS3-specific findings below to put an even clearer spin on things:


Source:  Harris Interactive

When Blu-ray player or PS3 owners are asked specifically about standard versus Blu-ray format purchases, the results suggest a mixed bag of behaviors with some price sensitivity indicated:

  • Only one quarter plan to switch to Blu-ray completely (25%), while one third of Blu-ray or PS3 owners claim that most of their movie purchases are now on Blu-ray format (32%);
  • Two in five are waiting for Blu-ray format prices to come down before they buy more (43%) – and a quarter buy Blu-ray regardless of price (25%); and,
  • Only 1 in 5 appear to be replacing or duplicating their existing standard format DVD library with Blu-ray format (21%), and over a third say they only buy movies on Blu-ray format that they currently do not own on standard definition (37%).


All told, we still see Blu-ray adoption a long ways from taking off. The economy isn't helping matters, and Blu-ray just doesn't provide a good enough incentive to convince users to switch from DVD. We'll ask you: have you switched to Blu-ray? Are you holding off? Do you think DVD is "good enough?"

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realneil replied on Mon, Jun 22 2009 6:28 AM

Sony blew it the same way with the BetaMax video format years ago. They didn't license the technology to other companies who would have sold it cheaper to the public, resulting is the VHS format wiping the floor with them,.......*HINT*-The BetaMax format was far superior to VHS but that didn't matter then as it doesn't matter now. But the SONY blinders are still on. They want to make a killing on us no matter what the consequences. The players are way too expensive compared to what they cost to build and the movies are better, but way too expensive in today's repressed markets.

They could lessen their prices and the costs related to producing the movies and make the same killing with volume sales.

We, the people realize the greed, while living in the harsh reality of a bad economy, and are having none of it.

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The bottom line is price. I had intended to only buy BD after I got my equipment, but price has made me very stingy and particular about which films I will shell out $25+ for. The result is that some films I had meant to buy in BD I've bought used to take the sting out of the price, or else I've bought in DVD because it's cheaper, where the quality isn't spectacularly great. The result is that I've only bought six BDs since I got the the BD player and the HDTV, and four of them (the ones I bought new) were classic films I already had in DVD; the other two were excellent films I didn't already have, but I bought them used. But right now, the BD format is just too expensive to feel good about impulse buying minor films. I'm only buying classics which have been remastered and/or restored, cinephile stuff.

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Dave_HH replied on Mon, Jun 22 2009 7:50 AM

Well said realneil and Kevin, you're right on too. I also think a major issue folks have with going BD right now is that they're waiting for the realtime streaming on demand of HD content, which will render Blu-ray and all other formats useless. BlockBuster is out of biz for a reason and Netflix has "Watch Instantly" and a Netflix Player for a reason. It's almost game over for the majority of hard copy media format, at least in the mainstream and no one wants to shell out extra dollars for something that will be a passing in between technology.

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Bill B replied on Mon, Jun 22 2009 1:32 PM

I think the issue with BD is the fact that people have already updated their home videos twice already, and are not willing to pay to do it again.

Video tape was exciting, as it brought the ability to watch a movie anytime you wanted in your own home. People did not care if the standard was VHS or Betamax, as it was the content that they were buying. While the initial video licensing schemes resulted in video rental model, the studios eventually realized that they could maximize their sales buy lowering prices and selling them to individuals.

DVD came along and solved the issues that individuals had (tapes that wore out, poor video quality/quality that degraded with repeated playbacks) and offered vastly improved playback quality. This was such an improvement, that consumers went out and replaced their entire libraries, as they had when LPs gave way to CDs.

Now we have BD, but it's not the advance that DVD was. The benefits *to the consumer* are minor (somewhat improved playback quality), whereas the benefits *to the content provider* are more significant -- improved copy protection, improved ability to (let's not mince words here) spy on the consumer's viewing history and to push more targeted ads to them.

However, the consumers have already bought their favorite movies twice now, and they're unwilling to do it a third time, as *based on their experience* they are pretty sure that in a decade or less they will be asked to do it again, and again... The consumers have taken the position that it's probably better just to skip this (BD) generation of technology, and wait until something comes along that provides a significant benefit *to them*.

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terjeber replied on Mon, Jun 22 2009 1:45 PM

Here are a couple of clues for you

The PS3 is a Blu-Ray player. The stats say more PS3s than Blu-Ray players. That's like saying that there are more Chevrolet Automobiles sold in the US today than there are cars sold. Please. Let's at least try to get some reason into this.

Now, that was not good, but it wasn't the reason for the "rubbish" comment. That was the HD-DVD stats. Toshiba was the lone supplier of HD-DVD players. Toshiba sold quite a few, but nowhere near enough players to cover 11% of the US market. 2% - a big "perhaps". The quoted article implies that HD-DVD players have discovered sex and gone forth multiplying.

No need to do in-depth research. There is always google. You should stop posting absurd drivel though.

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First, I'm tired of hearing bad things every time I come across a blu-ray article. Anyone can write an article and slant any information to suit thier agenda. Let's just compare Blu-ray to DVDs. At the 3 year mark DVD had about 15% penetration, or about 14 Mil. With the 9% from PS3 and 7% from stand alone players, it seems to me that Blu-ray is on track and even a little further along then DVD was at this point in its life. Yes, I am counting PS3 in the numbers as I'm sure they counted the PS2 for DVD sales. Give a hard times with money right now and the expensive nature of this technology Blu-ray does have a lot going for it.

Second, from the articles I have read all over the internet they aren't making a killing off of sales. From what I understand they are loosing money still on every PS3 sold, due to the cell processor and expensive blue laser. So considering the stand alones are at least 100 dollars cheaper or more if you buy the on sale I don't think they are making the killing you think they are. And Blu-ray movie sales, I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think DVDs used to cost about that much.

Third, for the streaming fans out there. I only wish that streaming and HD-streaming were close enough to a reality that it would be a viable option to most people. Broadband adoption in the US is horrible. The fact that FAST internet here, where i live, is 6Mbps or maybe 8 if you are willing to really pay for it means that HD streaming will not be a reality here for a long time. Our 6Mbps connections will peg out at 3.3 and then ATT and Comcast will slow your connection the longer you stay streaming. Netflix checks our connection, which at best starts out at 2 bars on their little meter, and then after about 5 min or so has to stop and lower our quality once the internet companies start to meter our connection. I haven't even tried any of their HD material because its just no use, streaming on our 20 in works ok but on the 65 in its a no go. Until internet here in the US gets a massive speed overhaul I don't see streaming, especially HD streaming, becoming a reality to the majority of the country.

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albrnick replied on Mon, Jun 22 2009 4:45 PM

Wait, wait. There has to be something wrong with this study. 30 Million people own an HD-DVD player? (10% of 300 Million)

Obviously their sample size either isn't high enough, or over sampling a particular group. At the time of the sales, PS3 sales eclipsed both stand alone BluRay and HD-DVD players, and *now* it is what, 6 Million? And back when HD-DVD players were being produced, certainly less than 6 Million.

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terjeber replied on Mon, Jun 22 2009 6:35 PM

Just for the record, there are not 300 million HOUSEHOLDS in the US, not even close. You still have a point though. Toshiba made 1.3 million HD-DVD players. Total. Ever. Even if ALL of them were sold in the US, there is no possible way they would be in 11%, or 2%. If ALL HD-DVD players ever sold in the world were sold in the US only, they would have a penetration at just above 1% of the households (a little over 110 million households in the US).

The article was written by someone with less clues than than an average snail.

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connor replied on Mon, Jun 22 2009 10:15 PM

Blu-ray is overrated. I have a Windows Media Centre PC and with an Nvidia graphics card and Nvidia Decoder that upscales my DVDs so that they look fantastic. Looking at blu-ray players in the stores, I really cannot tell the difference between what I have and Blu-ray, it is easily 75-85% the same, if not higher.

Why should I pay such a massive amount in terms of player, and again for the movies on Blu-ray, when DVD is a perfectly good format? I have just finished doing that from video, I really don't want to do it again.

HD-DVD and Blu-ray were both dead before they launched, they are not good enough to justify the expense. People compare them to beta max, but I think they are more like the Mega-CD; a pointless and belated add-on, right before the whole system is superseded.

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albrnick replied on Mon, Jun 22 2009 10:25 PM

Re: terjeber

 

Excellent point!  While the article said Americans, every person in a household would say yes to that question, so households is a much better number.  :)  

 

Re: Conner

 

Consider yourself lucky to be unable to tell the difference!  In that case, you already have the ultimate format for your viewing: DVD.  No need to bother with HD sources, HD cable or other such things, you are set!

 

Best Wishes,

 -Nick

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terjeber replied on Tue, Jun 23 2009 1:18 AM

@connor: I have an excellent BD player and I have a good sound system. My BD player is very good at up-scaling DVDs. On my rather large 1080p TV and in my 7.1 sound system the difference between DVD and BD is like night and day. I'd recommend you try it your self, but I would guess you are the kind of person who wouldn't let facts get in the way of your opinions.

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connor replied on Tue, Jun 23 2009 7:54 AM

terjeber:

I guess it is possible that I am missing out, but I have a 50inch 1080 HDTV screen and a dedicated GPU upscaling my DVDs, which, as far as I know, is the best possible way to do it, and it looks good enough to me. I have thought about getting a blu-ray player, just to see the difference, but once I have done that, I will have to keep getting BDs just to justify the expense and space taken up by the player, regardless of how much better it looks.

Upscaling may not be pixel perfect and BD may look slightly better, but should I really be expected to pay $1000+ to view my DVD collection again but looking slightly better?

As it is my money, I don't let anything get in the way of my opinion.

Blu-ray is great for backing up PC data, but even in that respect it is being superseded already. I always recommend to anyone that asks me about Blu-ray, just to get a very good upscaling DVD player.

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Brolix replied on Tue, Jun 23 2009 10:10 AM

I love Blu-Ray. I'm building a collection and have been purchasing about 4 or 5 a week (depending on how many decent movies are released every tuesday). People say they cost too much, but alot of people can spend 60 dollars a week on lunch/dinner instead of making and brining food to work? Bring your own lunch to work, and that's 2 Blu Rays a week right there. I was an HD-DVD fan until the day it died :-( But since blu-ray won, that's what i get.

BTW Upscaling will never come close to High Definition. Depending on the TV, an upscaling dvd player might not even yield a difference (since higher end hdtv's provide video upscaling already)

People buy what they like. I wouldn't suggest a run of the mill soccer mom or dad to go buy 500 Blu Rays, but for someone with the hd gear, and a love for home theater, it's simply the best way to get a home theater experience.

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albrnick replied on Tue, Jun 23 2009 10:29 AM

@brolix

I agree with you.  There is 6x as much data in HD than in SD.  If you use the best algorithms to blow up a picture to 6x the number of pixels, you aren't going to be adding any real data, just interpolating existing data.  It's like when you take a SD background and make it full screen on your HD monitor, the thing looks blurry, etc..  You can't get all those details that are lost, and what makes HD are all those details.  But let's face it, some people can't see that (Much like I know people who don't appreciate 5.1 sound over 2 channel sound), and to them more power I say.  They don't need anything more than they have now.

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connor replied on Tue, Jun 23 2009 11:55 AM

albrnick:

I guess it depends on what is used to upscale, just looking around the internet there seems to be mixed views of upscaling. Some even saying that it looks worse or no better than standard DVD.

I still have a standard DVD player and have done some comparisons, upscaled DVDs have a far better range of colors and much better definition. I could never go back to just watching plain DVDs, they look flat and bland now. I don't like going to the cinemas as much now as the DVDs look much better. For me the biggest difference are people faces, eyes and skin especially. Pockmarks and freckles. Megan Fox didn't look quite so flawless on DVD as at the cinema.

But I guess the most common single chip up-scalers just can't cut it; a PC graphics card however is built for that kind of frame by frame upscaling, recreating the picture using existing data, is not that different from running games. If anyone has a Media Centre PC I would recommend this route first.

I may still get a Blu-ray player, one day, but there is no way I am going to upgrade my whole DVD collection to Blu-ray when the difference appears to be negligible. I will most probably sit Blu-ray out and wait for the next format in about 3 years.

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albrnick replied on Tue, Jun 23 2009 12:48 PM

Re: connor

Yeah, definitely different scalers will do better and worse job.  So may guess better at what to fill in.  But from an informational standpoint, you are trying to create an image with only 1/6th of the data.  When you compress something by 1/6th you are going to lose the little details, the facial details are what I notice the most, the imperfections with the skin.  One of the first thing people say is that they can see the pores on someone's face when they look at HD sources.  That's the sort of thing you get with 6x as much information.

Perhaps those scalers are adding noise/sharpening to the images.  It's like the sharpness on a TV.  People intiially think that there is so much more there, but after you get used to having the sharpness down on a TV, you can't stand going back to it being there, cause you see what you are seeing is just added noise, not actual image fidelity.

And IMHO, it less the amount of horsepower you have on a PC vs other one chip solutions.  They are all just running some software algorithm in hardware.  But no software alg is going to be able to get back all the data lost with 1/6th of the info present.

I would say that it is definitely different than running games.  In games your source material is kinda infinite/and you are just sampling it at higher and higher rates. (Obviously most textures aren't infinite, but things like polygonal edges, etc.. essentially are)  What you are doing in PC games is taking this very very high resolution source, and sampling it down to some resolution for your monitor.  Like 640x480 or 720x1280, etc..  

What games don't do is sample the scene at 640x480 and then try to upscales/guess the bits needed for higher resolution.  And that's exactly what an upscaling DVD player is doing.

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rodriro replied on Tue, Jun 23 2009 6:11 PM

I got a good deal on my Samsung Blu-Ray home theater system and works awsome. You don't have to start you library all over...come on... just get your favorites (Animations) on Blu-Ray and leave everything else such drama, comedy , etc... on DVD. A normal person doesn't care about data and games like most us do. Blu-Ray looks good on Samsung...END OF LINE

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albrnick replied on Tue, Jun 23 2009 6:22 PM

@rodriro

Yeah, good point! I only rebought a couple of my DVDs (stuff I'd watch over and over), other than that, I just buy Blu Ray for the new stuff only.  I mean, I have this beautiful HD TV, why would I want to buy just a DVD?  = )

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terjeber replied on Wed, Jun 24 2009 11:46 AM

@Connor: upscaled DVDs have a far better range of colors and much better definition

I have a very good up-scaling DVD player, and it does not even come close to an HD source. You seem to claim that up-scaling your DVD adds definition. That's impossible. The information isn't there in the movie and the up-scaler can not add it. Up-scaling results in macro-blocking and the best you can expect of a good up-scaler is that it evens those out. It can not add information that simply isn't there.

If you see a much "sharper" image with better color definition when you up-scale your DVD that would be the up-scaler doing edge enhancement to make the image look sharper. It is generally considered a bad thing for image quality, but it seems a lot of people thinks it looks better. I think it looks bad, and I doubt you'd find many videophiles who likes edge-enhanced and up-scaled footage.

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connor replied on Wed, Jun 24 2009 12:13 PM

terjeber:

You seem to be saying, again what some others say on the internet, that upscaling just basically adds extra blocks, like stretching an image. But that isn't the case, sure it is not a direct replacement for High Definition but DVDs are pretty close, at 720x576 the quality is already there, upscaling enhances this quality to re-create the image in higher definition.

How else can I see the pocks, freckles and other imperfections on Megan Fox's face? They weren't there at the cinema (or at least visible) or on normal DVD, yet they appear upscaled.

As someone else mentioned, I also see the pores on people's faces, again if this is just blocks added, surely that isn't possible? Another thing I really notice are people's eyes, much deeper and richer colors. Another example is the movie Transformers, at the cinema I found it hard to tell the robots apart, on DVD I realized that they, most notably Prime, were richly colored, Prime was a rich blue and red, rather than the dull blue he was at the cinema.

I think you are seriously underestimating what a dedicated GPU upscaler is capable of.

I wish there were some way of showing you what I see. I may not be a videophile, but I know what I see. Believe me I have spent countless hours wandering around electrical stores viewing Blu-ray Vs DVD comparisons. My DVDs always look more like the blu-ray than the DVD.

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albrnick replied on Wed, Jun 24 2009 12:30 PM

@conner

To be honest, probably the best way to show what you are talking about is to upload a still of the screen shot in question.  Since it is on the computer, can you do that easily?

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connor replied on Wed, Jun 24 2009 2:50 PM

albrnick:

I've done some screenshots but that doesn't seem to work as well as I thought it might, not sure whether it is the saving them as jpeg's but they have lost a little definition. Anyway:

http://yfrog.com/eqscreenshot4mj

http://yfrog.com/e3screenshot3yeij [added another Megan Fox shot]

Megan Fox - Transformers. This is the movie where I really noticed the difference between the cinema and upscaling. Not really clear in the picture but there were pockmarks visible on her forehead and right cheek.

http://yfrog.com/6fscreenshot5qijj

Another Transfomers screenshot - again looks a little flatter than it did on screen.

http://yfrog.com/e6screenshot1rj

Gemma Arterton - Quantum of Solace. Again she had more freckles and s few spots on screen!

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albrnick replied on Wed, Jun 24 2009 3:27 PM

That first shot is great!  Does anyone else have a blu ray on a computer that they can capture a screenshot of the same or nearby frame?  (I fear I don't :(  )

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connor: I think you are seriously underestimating what a dedicated GPU upscaler is capable of

If some data is not present on the DVD image, it can not be conjured into existence by any GPU, no matter how fantastic. It simply isn't possible for the GPU to magically know what was there in the original image but removed by the conversion to MPEG for the DVD production.

An upscaler will first create a direct up-scale, which gives you macro blocks. Then it will try to remove said blocks by smoothing them out, that is done by comparing the data in several blocks and attempt to make as smooth transitions between these as possible.

Again, an up-scaler can not add information that simply isn't there.

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connor replied on Wed, Jul 1 2009 7:13 AM

Again you are underestimating what an upscaler can do.

If line A has certain information, C different information, it is possible to to create a line B using information from A and C. It doesn't just make it up, the information is already there. B has to be a combination of A and C and it only has to make one extra line between each two.

It isn't a case of simply adding in pixels. As I have said I have been in many electrical stores and watched their displays of blu-ray, examples such as the battles scenes in Lord of the Rings where on DVD it is difficult to make out individuals, but on Blu-ray you can. On my DVDs I also see the individuals.

I have already posted some screen shots of what I see. I have also downloaded High Definition examples from the internet and watched them, to me there is no real difference between those and my DVDs.

"It simply isn't possible for the GPU to magically know what was there in the original image but removed by the conversion to MPEG for the DVD production."

Again I have to ask, if that is the case why do I see people's freckles, spots, pock marks and other imperfections on their faces when it was not there on the original DVD? Do you seen them on the standard DVD? Do you seem them upscaled? I am not lying or exaggerating, I have posted screen shots, which, whilst not precisely what I see, at least given an idea of the sort of details that I am seeing, the kind that isn't on a standard DVD.

Also, how to you explain the colors? I see more colors than on standard DVD.

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albrnick replied on Wed, Jul 1 2009 10:06 AM

Hello Conner!  :)

Just some quick thoughts before the meat.  Yeah!  Interpolating lines, etc.. is definitely doable, the issue is the smaller details. When you are taking an image and saving it to 1/6th the resolution/data, the bigger things like outlines, etc.. are not going to be too hurt.  It is the little pores, and smaller details that won't fit into a single pixel on the lower sampled image that will be lost.  Less the big things that exist on many pixels on the lower sampled image.

Let's imagine a 2x2 pixel image.  The upper left pixel is black. The other 3 pixels are white.  If we sample it down to 1 pixel (1/4th the image), we can either make the resulting picture all white (since the majority of the data was white), or say 25% black/a shade of gray, since there was some black.  Now suppose you take that single pixel and now upscale it to a 2x2 image.  You are not going to get the original image.  You will get either all white (losing that bit of information), or all gray (smearing that bit of information).  

So there is definite data lost there, now most times a single feature will cover more than 1 pixel/they are large enough that you can sample it multiple times, and when you enlarge it back again you cn have a better approximation, but again, there is going to be data loss.

Or let's go the other way, and say that downsampling the data to 1/6th its size got you no real data loss.  Well, why couldn't you then downsample that resulting image to 1/6th it's size?  And do that again and again, until you were left with 1 pixel?  And then from that one pixel just up sample it however many times, and get the original picture.

Heh.. But enough theory, let's get an exmple.  Your image you uploaded was 720p, so I have tried to take approx the same image of Transformers at 720p. (Only 2.5x as much data at 720p, vs 6x as much data at 1080p)

Your upscaled image: http://img530.yfrog.com/img530/2680/screenshot4m.jpg

The HD 720p image: http://img517.yfrog.com/img517/4915/dk8.jpg

And highlights of the differences: http://img43.yfrog.com/img43/8622/ubv.jpg

What you'll see most of is the smearing of data talked about above.  The earring is definitely not as crisk/you can't make out the beads as clearly.  

In the 2nd set, you can see that there is a greater fidelity on the skin imperfections.  It is less about say the larger brown spot just left of her nose, and more about the little details/pores scattered everywhere

In the 3rd picture, the eyelashes really standout.  And in the 4th, it is making out those strands of hair. Again, the upscaling has done a good job, it is just blurred due to having less data. The details are lost.

Now this is just at 720p, if we were to upsample to 1080p and take a look at a native 1080p image, you'd see this on a larger scale.  Things would be even more blurred/there would be even more data in the 1080p image.

Again, the key thing is what you see/like.  If you are fine with the results, then there is no need to get Blu Ray.  I personally have not rebought most of my DVD collection. However, any new movies I don't bother buying on DVD, as I can get the better Blu Ray version.  Esp in say 10 years there will be a new/better resolution outthere (4096p? :), and then I'll be upscaling my Blu Ray disc already, and upscaling the DVDs would be that much worse. = )

I hope that helps illustrate some of the differences!  Thanks for the great conversation!

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connor replied on Wed, Jul 1 2009 4:01 PM
albrnick:

Great comparison. The side by side comparison really does show up the differences.

Just a couple of points however. The first is that moving images are different to just plain images, I had difficulty getting a screenshot as pausing the DVD caused problems (blurry and not as crisp and it should have been). I have noticed this a lot pausing upscaled DVDs, the normal crisp clear perfect pauses that DVDs were once famous for are no longer there. I guess this is because it is much easier to fool the eye with an upscaled moving images rather than an upscaled still image.

Also during the capture of the image to pasting from the clipboard some definition definitely seemed to be lost, what I was seeing on screen didn't quite match up, maybe it couldn't capture it fully upscaled, I'm not sure but it was still pretty close.

Finally, you have to remember that watching TV isn't like viewing pictures on a monitor, you're (or at least I am) sat 6ft away from the screen so the blurriness you noted isn't so apparent, indeed I'd say that what I see is more like the smaller image here:- http://img530.yfrog.com/i/screenshot4m.jpg/

Rather than the slightly blurry full size one. Obviously up-close the true high definition image is always going to be clearer and crisper. From 6ft away and with a moving image the eye is much easier deceived and I am not sure the difference would be so great. Do you have the smaller image so that I could compare those?

All that said though, I am surprised at the difference. It is much, much clearer than I expected. It isn't the night and day that I have read about, they are far closer when viewed on a TV as normal, but still it makes me wonder about 1080p, if 720p is that detailed, that close, then 1080p may well be the night and day that I have heard about.

I guess I am going to have to get a Blu-ray player to make a true comparison. I still say that a proper upscaled DVD can produce a fantastic picture, I am certainly enjoying viewing all my DVDs again with a much better picture, but I guess that whilst it may be 80-85% 720p, it may not be as close to full high definition as I thought. I think that I may have been so pleased with the difference between standard and upscaled DVDs that I didn't realize that there might be even bigger improvements to be had.

Still, my DVD drive is making some odd noises lately, maybe when it gives up the ghost I'll get a Blu-ray drive instead and get the best of both worlds.

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Well, there is definitely a difference between moving and static images ie, when moving fast you don't want clear crisp images per se, it looks weird.  At 30 frames per second, for fast motion, you want "blur" that represents where all the objects were during that 1/30th of a second.  However, for the image we were comparing, there wasn't alot of movement in 1/30th of a second, so you wouldn't want alot of "blurring".

And even when you have motion and bluring, you still want that high definition data/all the sample points, to give that motion as much definition as exists.  So regardless of motion blur, high fidelity/resolution is good!

You are absolutely right on the viewing distance!  The further back you are, the less data you need.  Here is a great chart discussing that:

http://s3.carltonbale.com/resolution_chart.html

from this article: http://carltonbale.com/2006/11/1080p-does-matter/

However, from 6ft away, any TV say 20" or larger larger is going ot benefit from 720p.  (approx based on that chart)

For reference, the scaled down image is: http://img517.yfrog.com/i/dk8.jpg/  I'd say the earring is still noticable definitely.  And harder to tell about the pores.  But that's like a 6" screen and me sitting say 2 ft away. (prolly not accurate since not alot of people will be viewing from a 6" screen :)

Yeah, nothing wrong with good upscaled DVDs IMHO/Blu Ray for me wasn't a good enough reason to rebuy my stuff.  However, knowing there is better versions out there, I can't buy DVDs anymore.

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Connor >> From 6ft away and with a moving image the eye is much easier deceived and I am not sure the difference would be so great.

I can only speak from experience. I have an excellent up-converting DVD player since there is no way I will, and no reason to, update my entire DVD collection. From my experience, from sitting at a normal viewing distance, the difference between an up-scaled DVD and Blu-Ray is significant. Enough so that there is stuff I really do not like to watch in standard def.

Another great example is Planet Earth. Several scenes in there are in standard def. When they switch between them, to me it is a jarring and unpleasent experience. I have had guests over to show them and they do not notice, so it probably depends a lot on what you look for in a movie.

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