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Thread: DVD/Blu-ray equipment and media

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Default DVD/Blu-ray equipment and media

    Almaviva speaking, here:

    Since we had a thread on NTSC vs. PAL and another one on brands of DVD+R, I thought that just like the Hi-Fi subforum, we need a space for discussions of the equipament we use to see or record operas on DVD and Blu-ray.

    Here we'll ask technical questions, recommend models to buy, talk about pros and cons of players, inquire about the technology of high definition, etc.

    ----------------------------------------

    I have started by moving Annie's thread about PAL vs. NTSC here. I had to edit her original post to do it in the right order, because anytime we move posts, they get arranged by chronological order, so, the only way to get this introduction here was to insert it into her post.

    -----------------------------------------

    Annie (sospiro) said:

    -----------------------------------------

    Would be grateful for a bit of advice.

    This Mefistofele is NTSC Region Free & I got it new. It seemed a bit fuzzy but I put that down to age (1989)



    In a couple of places it jumped a second or two but not enough to want to return it. The jumping got worse but by then it was too late to return. I love this opera & decided to get another copy & found this quite cheap on Market Seller. It's PAL & Region 2 & 5 only.



    I played it through tonight to check for faults & it's fine. But what struck me was the vastly superior quality of the PAL version. Is this usually the case or was my NTSC version a poor quality edition to start with?

    What I'm really asking in a round about way is - is there a difference in the quality between NTSC & PAL?
    Last edited by Almaviva; Mar-07-2011 at 03:05.
    Ann

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Annie, the NTSC system uses 525 vertical lines versus 625 for the PAL system so yes, the PAL system has superior vertical resolution. However the NTSC system has faster refreshing rate and is better for fast moving images, since it refreshes 60 times per second while PAL, depending on the sub-standard used (M, N, L, etc) has a refreshing rate of 25 to 50 frames per second.

    The bottom line is that each system has advantages and shortcomings, but yes, the PAL does have better resolution. However the difference is not huge, so if your PAL version is that much better, it may be a question of a better transfer to DVD, which will vary according to the company that produces the DVD.

    In terms of your disc jumping, make sure you clean the surface very well with a microfiber cloth, sometimes this is enough to correct the problem.

    And yes, it's a good opera, isn't it?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    To add to Almaviva's very informative post, you can also suffer from judder if you choose a format that refreshes at a different rate than your display. For example, in the US all LCDs refresh at 60 fps (or higher multiples of the same). This is great for media recorded at 30 or 60 frames per second, since it divides evenly into it. However, American films and PAL media are not shot at 30 or 60 fps, so the problem becomes of how to fit 24 frames per second (film) or 25/50 frames per second (PAL) into the 60 frames that an LCD refreshes per second. For Film, they use what's called 3:2 pulldown, which means Frame 1 is displayed for 3 frames on the monitor, frame 2 for 2 frames, and so on. This allows you to map the movie correctly time-wise, but at the cost of smoothness and continuity in the image.

    For PAL, I believe the issue is generally resolved by actually lowering the framerate to 24 and then using 3:2 pulldown. This not only introduces judder, but actually shifts the audio down by roughly a semitone. For the reverse (NTSC on PAL displays), the issue would be reversed -- the audio would be pitched up by about a semitone as they make each frame display for slightly less time so they can fit 25 frames of 24 fps media into one second.

    In short: for best and most accurate picture and sound quality, find out how fast your display refreshes and then buy media appropriate for it.
    -Ian

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    A former co-worker of mine who had been in broadcasting for a number of years always said that NTSC = Not Too Sharp Color.

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    A former co-worker of mine who had been in broadcasting for a number of years always said that NTSC = Not Too Sharp Color.
    Oh yes. I forgot to mention to Annie that indeed colors are sharper on PAL.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    I'll echo the same sentiment ..

    I noticed this after purchasing a DVD of Ian Tracey playing the Liverpool Cathedral pipe organ. It is in PAL format ... and the clarity of the picture is far superior to my best NTSC formatted DVD.s

    Kh

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgz View Post
    To add to Almaviva's very informative post, you can also suffer from judder if you choose a format that refreshes at a different rate than your display. For example, in the US all LCDs refresh at 60 fps (or higher multiples of the same). This is great for media recorded at 30 or 60 frames per second, since it divides evenly into it. However, American films and PAL media are not shot at 30 or 60 fps, so the problem becomes of how to fit 24 frames per second (film) or 25/50 frames per second (PAL) into the 60 frames that an LCD refreshes per second. For Film, they use what's called 3:2 pulldown, which means Frame 1 is displayed for 3 frames on the monitor, frame 2 for 2 frames, and so on. This allows you to map the movie correctly time-wise, but at the cost of smoothness and continuity in the image.

    For PAL, I believe the issue is generally resolved by actually lowering the framerate to 24 and then using 3:2 pulldown. This not only introduces judder, but actually shifts the audio down by roughly a semitone. For the reverse (NTSC on PAL displays), the issue would be reversed -- the audio would be pitched up by about a semitone as they make each frame display for slightly less time so they can fit 25 frames of 24 fps media into one second.

    In short: for best and most accurate picture and sound quality, find out how fast your display refreshes and then buy media appropriate for it.


    I wish I understood

    This is what I do to play a DVD - switch on TV & DVD player, insert DVD into player, select sub-titles 'English', select 'resume'

    Sit back & laugh, cry, drool as approprate
    Ann

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Oh yes. I forgot to mention to Annie that indeed colors are sharper on PAL.
    Yep - that's the first thing which struck me. The Ramey Chest was even gorgeous-er.
    Ann

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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post


    I wish I understood

    This is what I do to play a DVD - switch on TV & DVD player, insert DVD into player, select sub-titles 'English', select 'resume'

    Sit back & laugh, cry, drool as approprate
    Sorry, didn't mean to bludgeon you with boring technical stuff.
    In short, unless you bought your TV in North America (and possibly South America? Not 100% certain) you'll get the best picture and most accurate sound by buying a PAL version of the dvd. For the US and Canadian citizens here, most accurate sound will be with NTSC versions, with the possibility of sharper image and better colors with the NTSC version.
    Last edited by rgz; Mar-04-2011 at 13:24.
    -Ian

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgz View Post
    Sorry, didn't mean to bludgeon you with boring technical stuff.
    In short, unless you bought your TV in North America (and possibly South America? Not 100% certain) you'll get the best picture and most accurate sound by buying a PAL version. For the US and Canadian citizens here, most accurate sound will be with NTSC versions, with the possibility of sharper image and better colors with the NTSC version.
    I know that Brazil is PAL-M.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Yep - that's the first thing which struck me. The Ramey Chest was even gorgeous-er.
    So it means that Anna Netrebko La Bellissima's chest will be boobier?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    I recently bought my first Sony 3D TV. I watched Tangled (Disney cartoon movie) and I was blown away. As far as I know, there are no operas in 3D. Anyway opera will not benefit as much as cartoons or sport from 3D. As for opera, I have only one blue ray (Traviata with Angela Gheorghiu). Most operas that are wide screen, are upgraded by my receiver to a crystal clear image and sound. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth buying opera in Blue ray. I have older productions I love and their image is 3:4 and quite poor by comparison, but they are better then other fancy new DVD.

    PS: Imagine Anna in 3D!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrina View Post
    I recently bought my first Sony 3D TV. I watched Tangled (Disney cartoon movie) and I was blown away. As far as I know, there are no operas in 3D. Anyway opera will not benefit as much as cartoons or sport from 3D. As for opera, I have only one blue ray (Traviata with Angela Gheorghiu). Most operas that are wide screen, are upgraded by my receiver to a crystal clear image and sound. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth buying opera in Blue ray. I have older productions I love and their image is 3:4 and quite poor by comparison, but they are better then other fancy new DVD.

    PS: Imagine Anna in 3D!!!
    Yes, there are operas in 3D. There was a recent Carmen in 3D. And more will come.
    Yes, absolutely, it is more than worth buying opera on Blu-ray. Not only the image is far superior, but the sound is, as well.
    I wouldn't start replacing one's collection, but if you want to buy a new product and it comes both on DVD and blu-ray, absolutely, buy the blu-ray! They are often the same price or a few bucks in difference, and the quality of a good blu-ray more than justifies a couple of dollars more.

    Anna in 3D - you bet! The first time she gets an opera released in 3D, you can be sure that I'll rush to the store and upgrade my TV.

    My problem is that I bought a fairly high-end TV right before the 3Ds were released and I think it's still early to upgrade, I'm still very satisfied with it. I'll wait longer when we get more 3D channels and more 3D media, especially opera. Then I'll upgrade. But yes, I can't wait for Anna Netrebko La Bellissima in 3D!!!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    I also regret as I bought a 52 " Sony Bravia XBR LCD a few months before this 3D technology struck the market. Even on sale it was very expensive. "Regret" is not the best word, because the TV is simply awesome, only it's not 3 D.
    The new 3D TV is "only" 40" but it has LED technology so it's almost like paper thin. I also love it.
    Where did you find that Carmen 3 D?

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    The Carmen 3D was from either the Liceo or La Scala, I don't remember. It was broadcast to theaters, I assume it's just a matter of time until it makes it into a 3D disc.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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