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Why do movies look like crap?

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November 3, 2006 7:30:02 AM

So Ive never really given it much thought until now, because i may purchase a 46" HDTV, which then will make me want to build an HTPC. BUT the question is when ever i play movies, dvd's etc... on my pc and any other pc i have ever owned it always looks like crap is it just because of the res. diffrence? or what, and if so will an htpc even be worth building for an 1080 hdtv?.

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November 3, 2006 8:02:09 AM

For example lets say every movie is made in 640x480 and lets say the monitor res is 1920x1080 now scale the 640x480 and see how blicky and pixilated it looks. Even high def movies as far as i know arent made for 1920x1080 they are made at something a bit over 1280x1024 now obviously i havent used any wide screen resolutions aside the 1920x1080 but its just a example.
November 3, 2006 4:53:21 PM

Quote:
So Ive never really given it much thought until now, because i may purchase a 46" HDTV, which then will make me want to build an HTPC. BUT the question is when ever i play movies, dvd's etc... on my pc and any other pc i have ever owned it always looks like crap is it just because of the res. diffrence? or what, and if so will an htpc even be worth building for an 1080 hdtv?.
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Your image quality problems are coming from the upconverting required to show the video on your 1280x1024 LCD monitor. LCDs always display images at the monitor's native resolution. The video card or sometimes the monitor itself will change the image to meet this requirement. How the image get's changed causes much of the problem. Different aliasing and interpolation schemes can create good and bad results for different types of video. If you pipe that same video to your TV instead of looking at it on your PC monitor, it would look perfect since the resoultion would match.

In your HTPC, your video will be stored at 1080p and then played on your 1080p bigscreen. There is no up or down converting and the video looks perfect.

If your video feeds are mismatched with your hardware (480, 720, 1080), you will have converting going on and might get lesser results depending on the quality of the image converters involved. This is unavoidable and will be a concern even if you are not using a HTPC.

A good idea is to make sure you see what different video sources look like on the screen before you buy. The video store will be showing a canned video feed that is a perfect match for the monitor. Make sure you get the salesman to show you some mismatched feeds to see how good the converters perform. Even bring some movies with you so you can be sure that you are seeing typical results instead of a factory prepared demo where everything is canned to hide any flaws.
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November 3, 2006 4:59:46 PM

I know this is a little off-topic....but i am building an htpc. So i am looking through the classifieds and a guy down the road has a 46" Mitsubishi HD-Ready TV (its the "1080 series") the guy said he would let me have it for 500 bucks, (he just got a 65" plasma) is it worth it...its a rear projection TV and I just want to know what you guys think before i make a move because i am not an expert on hdtv...

Thanks
November 3, 2006 5:18:31 PM

Hard to say if it's a good deal. If it's more than a few years old, it might be due for a new bulb which could cost you. Get the exact model number and year and look it up on the mitsubishi website to see the full feature list.

It will certainly not have the latest picture quality enhancements, but $500 is a good price to get your feet wet.
November 3, 2006 5:34:13 PM

I totally agree. A bulb replacement may be pricey around 200 for some models, but heck at 500 dollars you can't really go wrong (given that it works and it's not banged up). I doubt it's 1080p though. I would check the resolution, if it's not 1080i, I'd try to talk him down even more.

Warning off subject: Consumerreports.org has saved my a$$ plenty of times. I highly recommend that site to everyone who is planning on buying anything over 200 dollars.

Thanks for your service to the country,
Howard
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