Are laser discs better than blurring

The best picture for the noble tone

For veteran home cinema fans, the picture quality has developed to an almost unbelievable degree over the past twelve years. Until the start of DVD, the LaserDisc was regarded as a high-end image medium and provided a resolution of around 500 x 576 pixels. Blu-ray discs bring it to 1920 x 1080, which is around seven times more. It is important to maintain this gain in quality.

It starts when the signal leaves the player. A decent HDMI cable is the only virtually lossless way of transporting the disk's signal. Limit the cable length to the bare minimum, because the signal attenuation increases dramatically with the image resolution and the cable length. The endurance test: Switch off the 24-Hertz playback in the player menu and start a movie that then runs at 1080p in 60 Hz, the highest data rate that can currently occur. If the transmission works without visible interference, such as light flashes in dark parts of the image, everything is fine. Don't forget to reactivate the player for 24 Hz.

Tip: Smooth movies

There is still a problem with the 24 frames per second, because not all displays can process it properly. Some models (also from brand manufacturers) accept the signal at the input, but process it internally at a choppy 60 Hz. You should find out about this before buying from the dealer.

Tip: maximum sharpness

For perfect Blu-ray enjoyment, you should only buy full HD devices, which means that the imager uses the same 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution as the films on Blu-ray discs. Only when pixels meet pixels exactly do they display the full image sharpness. Problem: Most TVs and projectors show an overscan, ie an image that is enlarged by a scaler over the edge of the display (against unclean image edges from analog image sources). Blu-rays do not need this trim. Worse still, the scaling significantly reduces the sharpness. Only buy imagers with overscan that can be switched off. Tip: Even the public HD programs (so far Arte HD, soon the entire ARD and ZDF) benefit from full HD devices, because the broadcast resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels is close to the usual grid of 1345 x 768 pixels currently not -Full HD displays. Small scalings such as the one required here lead to stronger artifacts and blurring than large factors. 720p from the transmitter can therefore be extrapolated to 1080p more sharply and with fewer artefacts.

What applies to televisions should be just as important to projectors. In particular, avoid electronic keystone correction. This also represents a scaling process and costs a lot of valuable sharpness. Always position the projector horizontally and center the image using the lens with its lossless lens shift.

Tip: correct colors

The correct color representation is still a challenge for digital displays today, because all standards relate to the properties of analog picture tubes. The LCD, the plasma screen or a DLP chip must emulate these properties in a complex manner. There are three parameters that stand out with which current imagers are struggling. Color space: This describes the hue of each basic color - red, green and blue - from which the picture is mixed. An enlarged color space results in cheesy, colorful pictures, since the basic colors are too saturated. The fact that the manufacturers have been selling this to us as customers for years as an advantage is just as absurd as offering a turntable that rotates LPs faster than 33 1/3 revolutions. As with the turntable: There is only one correct color space, only then are each of the basic colors correct. The next point: the basic colors must be in the right proportion. The color mixture ex works is usually clearly bluish because it looks lighter. Here, too, the following applies: There is only one correct value, and that is the color balance with which all images are created. The technician calls this color balance "D65", which corresponds to a color temperature of 6504 Kelvin, a neutral midday sun in summer. Gamma is the name of the last important parameter, and it describes the brightness reproduction in relation to the extreme values ​​between black and white. The image correctly follows the inverse gamma curve of the cameras and thus a logarithm of the number 2.22. Only if this value is adhered to (tolerance is between 2.1 and 2.4), the shades of all colors and gray levels are correct.

Tip: adjust correctly

At the factory, practically no parameters comply with these standards. The manufacturers adjust the displays so that they shine like neon advertising on the shelf of a wholesale market. More and more manufacturers are offering a preset mode for correct TV and film transmission that you just have to find. Usually this is called "Film", Movie "or" Neutral ". It is often helpful to take a look at the instructions or ask your specialist dealer. Even better and worth every penny: Have your television or projector professionally calibrated on site Appropriate measuring equipment and specialist knowledge. Good specialist dealers and some independent service providers offer this service. A correctly calibrated picture looks cinematic, naturally in the colors and wonderfully three-dimensional. With a given budget, it may even be worthwhile to buy a cheaper device with calibration than that more expensive product, uncalibrated, applies to TV sets and especially to projectors.

Tip: pointless features

As a rule, imagers offer dozens of supposedly automatic image enhancers. Unfortunately, most of them do more harm than their sonorous names promise. Frame rate multipliers (100 Hz and more) make sense with LCD technology. Almost everything else (noise suppression = DNR, contrast enhancers, black level enhancers and many other automatic functions) should be switched off for Blu-ray as much as possible and, if necessary, used selectively and carefully. Most of this nonsense is found in the devices only for marketing reasons, as it turns out that products with more features in the equipment list sell more easily than fewer gimmicks. Therefore, most of them are only good for switching off after their use as sales aids.

Tip: speak the same language

The remote control functions in the HDMI signal Consumer Electronics Control, or CEC for short, are practical. Too bad that apart from a few basic commands like "On", "Off", "Start" and "Stop" only a few commands under different brands are compatible. But if you combine devices of the same brand, such as a Panasonic player with a Panasonic plasma TV, you no longer need to worry about the correct input selection and the like, the devices negotiate this between themselves, and the use of a single remote control remains for both then not a dream. This applies to almost all combinations of the same brand, but unfortunately only to a few brand mixes. Confusing: The manufacturers call CEC differently, Panasonic calls it VIERA-Link. If necessary, you should ask your specialist dealer to what extent your desired combination of devices communicates with one another.

Tip: TV tip

Another important tip regardless of Blu-ray Disc: For a large TV display and especially for projection on a large screen, you need the sharpest TV picture you can get, and that is currently coming from satellite. Analog reception does not make sense for large-format playback, it looks washed out and cheesy. Digital cable connection and DVB-T are sharper than analogue standards, but the unbeaten quality winner remains satellite reception, where high-quality receivers can definitely achieve DVD quality with a good receiver. A DVB-S2-HD receiver also equips you perfectly for the start of the public HD programs, all of which should be on air by next spring, and that includes all ARD and ZDF programs.

Tip: best recommendations

stereo plays Sister magazine Video-HomeVision tests televisions and projectors monthly, which is why we asked our colleagues to recommend two current projectors and two televisions, which both objectively technically and subjectively conceptually stand out from the crowd and offer a perfect complement to the good sound. You can find them on the previous pages.

stereo play Checklist: keep your eyes open when buying a display

- Full HD - 1920 x 1080 pixels: For maximum sharpness, the display must show as many pixels as the Blu-ray. - Use good HDMI cables: do not lay the HDMI cables longer than necessary. 1080p / 60 as an endurance test - Real 24 Hz: Pay attention to continuous 24 Hz processing - Overscan can be switched off: What makes sense for analog signals costs uselessly sharpness of detail for BD playback.

- Switch off shop mode: Select the correct mode for film playback at home. Nonsensical features: picture deterioration, DNR etc .: switch off! - CEC control: CEC offers pleasant comfort for players and TVs of the same brand. Note the name. - Calibration is worthwhile: You will only get the best picture after your display has been calibrated by a specialist.

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