DVD with USB vs. MacBook Pro with DVI

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by daleremote, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. macrumors member

    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I'm wondering if anyone has noticed this with their home theater set up, and if so, why this is so.

    1) Rip DVD to MPEG4 or divx, MOV or AVI, whatever.
    2) Play that video file (in QuickTime or VLC) on the MacBook Pro, DVI to S-video, to standard def tube TV, flat screen.
    3) Play that same video file on an up-rezing DVD player via that DVD player's USB input (USB flash drive), component out, to same TV.

    **The video looks much better in step 3, using the DVD player. Why?

    For example, in dark areas especially, there's more and blockier compression noise coming off the computer.

    Obviously, there's going to be some difference between S-video and component, but it's a crappy compressed AVI. I've seen S-video and component signals that look basically the same. Also, component isn't going to clean up compression noise.

    My speculations:
    • The DVD player, being a piece of dedicated video playing hardware, is just capable of outputting better than the MacBook Pro's graphics card (RadeonX1600, 128 MB).
    • The DVD player's black and white levels are adjusted to accommodate NTSC video whereas the computer's aren't. Blacks appear blacker off the DVD player and thus compression noise in dark areas is hidden.
    • The DVD player's up rezing cleans up some of the compression noise.

    Sorry for the long winded post, but this is hard to explain. I was considering buying a Mac mini to make a home theater system, but not if my DVD player can do such a better job.

  2. macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2007
    component vs s-video would be the key, i believe...
  3. macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    Agreed. If you connected your MacBook Pro to the TV via RGB, VGA or Component you would notice a large difference.

    S-Video is the next step up from Composite, which produces a frankly poor image.
  4. macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2007
    I don't think that it is the connection. I have a Mini that is hooked up though by HDMI through a a DVI - HDMI converter. I have the same blockyness in the dark areas.

    Maybe if I had a true DVI to HDMI cable it might be better, but I have not tried this.

    I think that it is the digital conversion of the file from the disk......

    I would love to learn more myself

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