DVDs on MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MarkW19, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. MarkW19 macrumors 65816

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    #1
    My new MBP arrived today (spec in my sig), but I have a couple of issues with it:-

    -DVDs don't look too good - they look washy, not fully sharp, with lots of artifacts (that you'd expect with a compressed video, but this was from original DVDs playing from the drive). In contrast, DVDs on my Powermac G5 and 17" Apple Studio Display look fantastic.

    -Thankfully, no dead pixels so far, but the backlight seems uneven towards the bottom and top, so that if the screen is a solid colour (particularly black), the screen looks very uneven and all over the place. Also, the screen sort of fades slightly darker towards the bottom of the screen (ie on a web page, the top half is crisp white, with it fading slightly greyer towards the bottom), but I had this issue on my Powerbook G4, so I guess it's laptop screens in general? Viewing angles, etc. I also have some sort of dark ridges in my screen, that follow you round as you look at the screen from different angles. It seems like it could be normal though...

    -When closed, the screen has a slightly larger gap at the right, than the left, meaning you can sort of 'rock' the screen by pressing on one side, as it's not completely flat/lined up when closed. Is this normal?

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. ergdegdeg Moderator emeritus

    ergdegdeg

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  3. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Edited :p
     
  4. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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  5. TheStu macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Have you tried playing them in VLC to see if they look any better?

    Have you tried messing with the color profiles in case maybe yours screen needs to be calibrated?

    In DVD player, what setting are you using for De-interlacing? I have read that when it is set to Better, it looks incredible, comparable to some of the best upsampling DVD players out there.
     
  6. gothamm macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #6
    you know what...i think you may be on to something. I popped in my favorite movie of all time yesterday (fight club) on my macbook and the image quality was subpar. or maybe i've been watching hdtv too much. but still, i don't remember the image quality being that bad.

    i'll pop the DVD in my friend's compaq lappie and compare the image quality.
     
  7. BigPana macrumors newbie

    BigPana

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    #7
    That's funny because Fight Club is the movie I always use to test a screen and get the blacks right.


    And yeah, have you calibrated your screen?
     
  8. gothamm macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    how would you calibrate the screen?
     
  9. zirkle2007 macrumors 6502

    zirkle2007

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    #9
    System Preferences -> Displays -> Color (Up at the top)

    Then on the right hit calibrate. Then you get to squint and all sorts of fun stuff! It walks you through it.
     
  10. elberggreno macrumors member

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    Jan 8, 2008
    #10
    Just remember that the higher the screen-resolution the ******** dvd's will look, another "weird" thing, the better the screen the ******** the dvd's will look (shows all the faults, upscaling etc).. Dvd's look better on my old 12" ibook then newer Macbooks.. Now HDTV is a completely different matter..
     
  11. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #11
    I calibrated my screen, and DVD player is set to 'better' deinterlacing.

    Still the same, although it's a bit better after changing the deinterlacing, but still nowhere near the quality of my G5 and old 17" display! Particularly backgrounds are all blocky, and colours not as vivid and sharp from what I'd expected from all the reviews I read about the MBP LED-lit screens...

    I've tried VLC too, and messed around with the settings, but it's no better than DVD player. Can anyone suggest the best settings in VLC for me?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  12. BigPana macrumors newbie

    BigPana

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    Jan 18, 2008
    #12
    What was the resolution set at on your old screen?

    Like elberggreno said, In newer higher resolution screens, dvd quality looks pretty crummy. Since it has to be blown up more.
     
  13. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    1280*, my MBP is 1440*.

    I'll try lowering the resolution for DVDs then, see how that looks...

    What about my other issues with the screen - the uneven backlight at the top/bottom, strange dark ridges in the reflection of the glossy screen, slightly fading colour towards the bottom of the screen. Are all these issues normal? Perhaps I'm being too picky? :)
     
  14. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #14
    See if you can reproduce the problem via screenshot. If you can, post it.

    No blockiness with MBP 17" that I remembered. Will test later.
     
  15. El Phantasmo macrumors member

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    #15
    the video resolution for your dvds is 720x480 pixels, your MBP screen native resolution is 1440x900 , so basicaly what you do when you play a dvd in full screen you are stretching the image to double its original size... this is why you see the image as being "not sharp".. try this, open a 720x480 image in photoshpo and blow it up to 1440x900... you will notice how it looks less sharp than the original... thats also why HD video looks really sharp, HD is 1280x720 or 1920x1080 and requires less (or zero, depending on your display) stretching...

    try using the video out of your mbp and hook it up to a standard def tv and play a dvd, you will notice that it looks really sharp...thats because regular tvs are much lower res than computer screens...

    so in some way higher resolution screens are not always better, it depends on your content resolution

    hope that helps...
     
  16. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #16
    I just tested all resolutions, and they're all the same. It's blockiness mainly in darker parts, on backgrounds, and lines are jagged instead of sharp/straight etc. It's not "bad", but I just expected it to be crystal clear and very sharp/vivid...maybe I was expecting too much?
     
  17. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Hmm, interesting...so does that mean that if I set my MBP to a res closer to 720*, that I'll get an improvement?
     
  18. El Phantasmo macrumors member

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    #18
    no.

    if you use a resolution other than 1440x900 (the native resolution of your mbp display) the picture will look blurry...

    basically we are in a point in technology history where computer displays are more advanced than the old standard definition resolution for regular tv and dvds, hence the development of High Definition video standards, but unfortunately we are not quite all the way there yet and we don't have blu ray drives on our macs to get HD video content. I guess iTunes HD movie rentals will be the way to go in the near future. And also some day, hopefully soon, we will have blu ray drives on macs.. but it seems that Apple is pushing towards the abolition of physical media which is kind of interesting if you follow that kind of stuff...

    So to kind of sum it up: DVD quality sucks. you can still watch movies on your computer... just pop in the disc and put the computer a few feet away from you, don't watch the movie sitting in front of your computer. Or get an iTunes account and rent hd movies and embrace the future...

    good luck and enjoy your super nice computer!
     
  19. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Thanks :)

    Yeah, it's no problem if I'm a few feet away. It's just odd that my 6 year old Apple Studio Display looks a lot sharper for DVDs - in dark scenes, the difference is massive.



    I was thinking of getting a 23" Cinema Display to go with my MBP, but I'm having second thoughts now!

    If someone brings out an external Bluray drive, the quality will be much better then, even though my display isn't HD?
     
  20. TheStu macrumors 65816

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    #20
    Your screen is better than 720P in resolution, just not quite as good as 1080P. I really hate the term HD. It has become this all encompassing buzzterm that people throw onto everything. "This cereal is HD" "This monitor is HD" "This photo is HD". And people feel like if the item didn't specifically say that it was HD, then it must not be. Sorry, I am not saying that you are one of those people... I am just ranting.
     
  21. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #21
    The 23" ACD is "HD" apparently anyway (the 20" isn't), so I guess HD content would look awesome on it, but not standard DVDs?

    Is anyone using a 23" ACD to watch DVDs? If so, how do you find the quality?With it being much higher res than my MBP screen, does that mean standard DVDs will look even worse?!
     
  22. design-is macrumors 65816

    design-is

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    #22
    Your display is HD, so it will be fine.

    HD is a term used for TVs when a TV, traditionally really bad resolution, has a better resolution due to its size etc. HD TVs don't come close to the resolution or quality of decent monitors.

    If you have a large monitor with high resolutions, you will always be ahead of DVD/Blue ray technology and it will always need to be upsampled. Blue ray just means that it wont be upsampled as much because the original size is larger than DVD so it will look much better in comparison.

    I rambled a bit, but hope it helped.
     
  23. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Well, at least I know why they look (relatively) poor now, anyway. Thanks for all the help. It's still disappointing that DVDs don't look as good as I'd hoped on my brand new high-res screen, but it's catch 22 I guess.

    Looking forward to the HD movies on the iTMS, when it comes to the UK.
     
  24. El Phantasmo macrumors member

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    #24
    I agree with TheStu in that the term "HD" has been over-used and miss-used and now is just plain confusing to the average consumer... let me give you some numbers...

    Native resolutions:
    MBP 15": 1440x900
    20" ACD: 1680x1050
    23" ACD: 1920x1200
    30" ACD: 2560 x 1600

    This means that the displays have X amount of pixels horizontaly and Y amount of pixels verticaly.

    Video Standards:
    standard definition NTSC: 720×480
    standard definition PAL: 720×576
    high definition 720p: 1280x720
    high definition 1080p: 1920x1080

    This means that the video content is X pixels wide and Y pixels high.

    Now, as you can see the 23 ACD is really close to the 1080p standard. So close in fact, that it gets the HD term slapped on it on marketing documentation... this is because it can display 1080p HD video without any stretching (or upscaling) at all. But you will, however, get black horizontal bars at the top and bottom, because the video is 1080 pixels high and the display is 1200 pixels high. So 1200 - 1080= 120. 120 divided by 2 = 60. You get a 60 pixels high bar at the bottom and a 60 px bar at the top... and a really nice sharp picture in between.

    Now, why do huge 42 inch HDTVs can give you crisp bright vibrant colors with the same video content if it is so much bigger? Thats because the HDTV is 1920x1080 (Full HD). The 42 inch tv has almost the same resolution as the 23 inch monitor... How? Bigger pixels. Why? because TVs are built to be watched from a distance, not sitting inches away from them.

    TVs use different methods to achive their brightness levels, contrast levels, viewing angle, etc. They also use advanced technologies to upscale your video content without much distortion, so if you want to watch a regular dvd on your HD TV, it will look really nice. not because the resolution per se, but because it does a great job of upscaling your dvd video (blowing it up to twice the size or bigger without artifacts or distortion).

    Bottom line. Computer monitors are designed with one purpose in mind: displaying things at their native resolution with the smallest pixel size possible. This is because we use our computers up close. The smallest pixels, the sharper image we see. High Def TVs are built to be seen from a distance, pixel size is not as important because the human eye can't see that much detail from a few feet away, but color, brightness, contrast, viewing angle, etc IS important. so they focus on making them look really bright with high contrast ratios and exelent upscaling abilities.

    A 30" ACD will probably look like crap playing a dvd. A 32" 720p HD TV will probably look awesome playing the same dvd. The tv has lower resolution than the ACD, even if it is physicaly almost the same size as the acd, so it has to stretch less the dvd video, and on top of that it will do a better job of stretching it because it was built for that purpose.

    If you want to see movies, watch them on your TV. If you want to do work or read or watch pictures, do it on your computer. Yes, you can watch movies on your computer and you can work on your tv. But that is not the best way to go.



    Hope this helps and not confuses you more lol
     
  25. MarkW19 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #25
    That's helpful, I understand clearly now :p

    So, the reason my Apple Studio Display looks "better" for DVDs is because its native resolution is a lot closer to the standard DVD resolution?

    And, playing "HD" content (from iTunes, Bluray etc. if there's an external drive that someone brings out) on either my MBP or 23" ACD will look fantastic and a lot sharper than a standard DVD, but it's having to "reduce" the size if anything, not upscale it a lot like it has to with a standard DVD?

    So, I either have to put up with the artifacts etc. if I want to watch normal DVDs on my Mac, or I play "HD" content for a much better picture.

    Correct? :)
     

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