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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:05 pm 
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From what I've heard, this is generally pretty expensive to do in order to get acceptable results. It seems the cheaper programs that do it yield a questionable outcome.

The reason I bring this up: I have a few PAL titles that I'd like to be able to watch on a standalone NTSC player that doesn't do conversion. The current NTSC to PAL standalone unit that I have access to (that *does* do conversion) looks pretty bad - improper anamorphic resizing, sub-standard picture. It would be nice to somehow get these into the NTSC domain without the above issues. But again, I've heard there are other issues at hand when attempting to do it through software and re-burning. (frames dropped, etc.).

Let me ask this: When I play my PAL discs back on my computer DVD using WinDVD they look beautiful with no real issues to speak of (other than the usual 4% PAL speedup). So, could a person take the composite video output of a computer video card (it is NTSC at this point, post-conversion, correct?) and pump it in to, say, an NTSC standalone recorder via the analog inputs? Would this yield fairly good results...at least similar to what I'm watching on my computer?

Dave


Last edited by David R. Modny on Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:59 pm 
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I don't think it's NTSC at that point, is the thing. The way I understand it (and this...well, may not be very well, frankly) computer monitors are some sort of super-evolved species that doesn't care one whit of PAL vs NTSC, and can display both of them just as easily.

So your output, presumably, would still be in PAL format, which wouldn't help you at all.

(As an aside, I can't believe we still have the PAL/NTSC issue, which somehow seems like it should've vanished with VHS tapes. Worse, as computers can easily play both formats, I have the unsettling temptation to track down a lot of British movies in their PAL DVD forms, to presumably get closer to source...I"m looking at you, 28 Days Later)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 2:44 pm 
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That's what I was afraid of. I'll probably just break down and get a better standalone player at some point.


Last edited by David R. Modny on Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 5:44 pm 
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Yeah. One thing I don't like about dvdcompare.net (which otherwise has some good information) is that they tell people to go for PAL in certain cases where the PAL might have slightly more extras/DTS soundtrack...ignoring the speedup problem.

Does the idea of tracking down the PAL versions of native UK movies make sense? I.e. would the PAL "A Hard Day's Night" be preferrable to the NTSC? That sort of thing?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 5:47 pm 
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Xenu wrote:
Does the idea of tracking down the PAL versions of native UK movies make sense? I.e. would the PAL "A Hard Day's Night" be preferrable to the NTSC? That sort of thing?


I guess I don't see why it would. UK films are still shot at 24 fps, are they not? Except of course special cases like the TV studio shots in AHDN...

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 6:08 pm 
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Xenu wrote:
Does the idea of tracking down the PAL versions of native UK movies make sense? I.e. would the PAL "A Hard Day's Night" be preferrable to the NTSC? That sort of thing?


No. As Luke pointed out, British films are shot at 24 fps just like they are everywhere else. You're always going to have the 4% speedup, along with the possibility of additional artifacts produced by the PAL > NTSC conversion in a typical inexpensive DVD player.

With most DVD's, things like "generational loss" rarely come into play. It's standard practice to create telecine transfers from the best available materials, even if those elements are located halfway across the world. The only time you're likely to see a US DVD made from a scratchy, worn print rather than an interpositive or whatever is when the distributor is some budget-priced, fly-by-night outfit.

You can be reasonably sure that the Miramax DVD of A Hard Day's Night looks at least as good as any British variant (or possibly better, since there's no speedup). PAL technically has higher resolution than NTSC. However, it's still being converted and played back on an NTSC monitor so I don't think that really makes any difference for us Yanks.

The good news is that once Blu-Ray or HD-DVD (or whatever) takes over and everything is truly "Hi-Def," the whole PAL/NTSC issue will be laid to rest once and for all. Of course, us mere mortals won't be able to afford any of that stuff for a few years.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:23 am 
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Xenu wrote:
Does the idea of tracking down the PAL versions of native UK movies make sense? I.e. would the PAL "A Hard Day's Night" be preferrable to the NTSC? That sort of thing?


Luckily, the only times that I've had to force myself into the who PAL arena is when an essential title for me is MIA here in the States.

On a related note, I also have to chuckle at these cottage companies that make a living doing region hardware "adjustments" to players and then reselling them with a pretty big markup.


Last edited by David R. Modny on Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:07 pm 
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David R. Modny wrote:
On a related note, I also have to chuckle at these cottage companies that make a living doing region hardware hacks to players, and then reselling them for a big markup. A person could easily do this on their own considering all the sites dedicated to it.


That is amusing. I made my Samsung DVD-HD841 region-free by pressing a couple of buttons on a cheap universal remote.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 1:52 pm 
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I can top that. I made my Samsung DVD-HD841 region-free *and* DivX-compatible by installing the Region 2 firmware.

(I can also now choose PAL or NTSC output, though I have no reason to.)

Ryan

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:18 pm 
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Have either of our two Samsung owners tried playing back a PAL disc on that unit? If so, what's the image like? Anamorphic re-sizing? The Cyberhome that I'm using is pretty bad. Even the NTSC composite image looks compromised. My 2nd generation Toshiba player, which doesn't play much of anything, looks much better.

I've heard some fairly decent things about the JVC units as Region-free/PAL machines.

What about the Yamaha Universal machines, the 1500 or 2500's, that play everything? DVD-A's, SACD's etc. I've heard they do PAL output...but are they region hackable? If I could pick one up on closeout, it might be a one-stop solution for a few dollars more. I've heard picture quality is stellar.


Last edited by David R. Modny on Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 3:15 pm 
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The only PAL stuff I've ever played back on mine have been home-burned DVDs sourced from SVCD BitTorrent downloads. So I really have no idea how good the conversion actually is. It was not anamorphic, but looked about as good on the TV as it did on my PC monitor. Given the source, though, that doesn't prove much.

For the money, though, it's a great little player. (Even more so mine, which was a free hand-me-down from my father.) Mine's got an annoying glitch where the component outputs freak out about every third time you use it, and everything either goes black or the colors go nuts. Putting a little pressure on the back of the top of the case fixes it. So I figure it's got a wonky solder join in there. It spent several months in Dad's attic, though, so I don't blame Samsung.

Ryan

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 3:38 pm 
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PAL discs look excellent on mine. I've played several anamorphic PAL discs on it, and there are no resizing problems. Other than what appear to be a few dropped frames here and there (which could just be my imagination), PAL discs look identical to NTSC discs.

I give the DVD-HD841 my highest recommendation. It does DVD-A and Sack Dee too, if you're into that sort of thing. It originally retailed for over $200, but you can find it just about anywhere now for $100 or less.

Ryan, can you give me some info on the DivX patch?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 4:19 pm 
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I notice occasional dropped frames on converted PAL material whether I play a PAL disc in the Samsung or have Nero convert a PAL file to an NTSC DVD. Doesn't seem to be noticeably better or worse either way. (Could be that the source files are glitchy, too.)

Ess Ay, go here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ZoranDVD

and join the group. In the files section, there's a hacked version of the European firmware. (There's also instructions there on how to hack the stock European firmware yourself so it will load on a US player, but you can ignore that since the copy there is pre-hacked.) There's instructions there in case you haven't done a firmware load before, but basically you just burn two files to a CD-R and load it in the player. (Note that the player will automatically eject the disc when it's done reading it. It will sit there for a few minutes until it closes the tray and shuts off. It always takes long enough that I start thinking something's wrong. Be patient.)

When you fire the player back up, it'll be in PAL mode, so it's a good idea to write down the steps to get into the video setup menu so you can set it back to NTSC. You can sort of see what you're doing on an NTSC monitor, but it's not easy. Once you get it back in NTSC mode, note that there are now DivX settings in the menu.

Now, to get region-free:

1. Turn on player with no disc in the tray. "No disc" appears on screen.
2. Press the "Repeat" key on the remote.
3. Press "57538" on the remote. A number should appear on screen, indicating your player's current region (which will be "2", since this is the European FW).
4. Press the number for the desired region, or press "9" for all-region. The number will appear on screen, replacing the previous number (from step 3).
5. Press "Open/Close Tray" and leave the tray open for a few seconds.
6. Press "Power On/Off". The tray closes automatically and the player turns off. Next time you turn it on, it is region free (or whatever region you selected in step 4).

It worked great for me.

Ryan

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:48 pm 
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Rspaight wrote:
(I can also now choose PAL or NTSC output, though I have no reason to.)


I have a few discs I would like to try on your player.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 8:04 pm 
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Ess Ay Cee Dee wrote:
No. As Luke pointed out, British films are shot at 24 fps just like they are everywhere else. You're always going to have the 4% speedup, along with the possibility of additional artifacts produced by the PAL > NTSC conversion in a typical inexpensive DVD player.


Actually, I think that I was remembering something I read about "28 Days Later", which *was* shot at 25FPS on digital video. So it may hold for some cases.

I realize that there's no generational loss, but I guess in most cases I'd want to avoid the PAL--->NTSC and vice versa loss. So for special things, like stuff made from TV shows (i.e. the Bowie DVD), would it make sense to go for the PAL version?

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