Whta is 2:3 pulldown, and does it affect me?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by marcosscriven, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. marcosscriven macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2006
    Hi there

    I've got a Pioneer PDP504HDE plasma, and I'm thinking the 1.66GHz Mac Mini Core Duo is just the ticket to play downloaded HD programmes/movies (the BBC HD Planet Earth for instance). I'll be connecting by DVI->HDMI, and also getting the latest EyeTV for DTT dongle and software...

    However, I read with horror :

    "Apple didn't include 3:2 pulldown processing as part of its video-out specifications, resulting in image quality that's quite degraded. This processing is necessary for high-def screens playing video from film sources and is found in even low-cost components. The Mac Mini's DVD- and video-output quality, which was marred by false contouring (banded or splotchy colors), moiré patterns (line distortion), and jagged diagonals. We've seen $50 DVD players perform better."

    From: http://reviews.cnet.com/Apple_Mac_Mini_Core_Duo_1_67GHz/4505-3118_7-31762058-2.html?tag=nav

    This appears to have been discussed on:


    But appart from bashing CNET, no one has actually provided an answer. So my questions are:

    1) Should I worry about this 2:3 pulldown issue before I buy?
    2) Is the playback of HD (H.264 TS) excellent, or just mediocre?
    3) Will DVDs look good?
    4) If the Mini doesn't have this so-called 2:3, will the processing circuitry in my plasma take over ok?
    5) Basically, am I going to get awesome 1080p and DVD playback?


  2. marcosscriven thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2006
    Hmmm, anyone know the answer to this, or where I might find out please?
  3. marcosscriven thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2006
    erm, thanks, but I fail to see how that answers my question on the Mac Mini!

    Of course, I am able ot look up things on Google. Your step by step guide seems somewhat patronising.

    Sometimes I wonder why I bother asking questions online...
  4. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Im no expert here but doesnt the TV do the pull down thing? Im looking at buying a plasma and most of the ones ive seen have 2:3 pulldown listed as a selling point. :confused:

    EDIT: BTW how frickin confusing is it nowadays buying a TV? Its more straight forward buying a computer. Basically with a computer the bigger the numbers the better.
  5. marcosscriven thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2006
    What I'm really trying to get to the bottom of here, is why those comments in the CNET review?

    The question was asked before, but no one seemed to answer :(

    If my plasma does do the conversion, then I guess I'm ok
  6. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    no where in your whole life should you, as a consumer, give a rats butthole about 2:3 or 3:2:2 or any of that.

    worry about how you are gonna spend your money.

    because in all honesty, if you have to ask about pulldown, you dont need to know about it.
  7. marcosscriven thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2006
    erm, no need for the bold type!

    And I really don't take the view in anything that if you don't know about it you don't need to ask; quite the contrary.

    It's precisely because I don't know about this pulldown stuff that I am asking.

    And let's not forget, for the 3rd time, this is with reference to another post on this very board, about the performance of a Mac Mini I'm considering buying.

    You easily brush the question aside, but you don't actually seem to know the answer, unfrotunately :(
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Okay, this thread is clearly on the verge of flame-war territory, but I'll try for you. From what I understand about what C|Net is talking about, I agree with the poster in the other thread (why didn't you just reply there, anyway?) that it sounds an awful lot like the signal was pushed to SVideo or something similar at some point in this process. If you use an LCD television in its monitor mode -- that is, if it's being fed a signal via DVI-D, then what you'll see on the screen will be similar in concept to what you'd see on any computer monitor with the same resolution, and I don't think pulldown is an issue. Pulldown becomes an issue only when you are broadcasting an analog signal, AFAIK, and you have the mismatch issue in frames and speeds.

    I don't know if that helps you or not, or if you even really want help or just want to start a flame war, but I think the point is this: If you've seen what a Mac playing a DVD on a computer display is like, then that's what you're going to get if you have an LCD that supports a digital signal at a resolution the Mini can drive. Not particularly better or worse, modulo the quality of the two screens in question. If you have to use S-Video, be prepared for the possibility that the video will stink to high heaven coming out of a Mini.... Since you are talking about using HDMI, from my understanding what is being discussed in that article should not be a big issue to you....
  9. marcosscriven thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2006
    Hi mkrishnan

    Thanks for the answer. Unfortunately I'm using a plasma screen, and even when plugging through DVI to HDMI, it's still a video signal, albeit digital. I guess the only way I'm going to find out, is to try it myself. Nowhere here in Germany have I seen a Mac Mini plugged into a plasma screen.

    And for the record - I'm really not trying to start a flame war!

    I didn't post in the other thread because it was quite old, and noone had answered there the first time round. I figured maybe the topic wasn't quite right. Plus, if you look at the answers, I don't think I was the one being sarcastic or making statements in bold letters!
  10. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    The OSX built in DVD player app is pretty horrible. It doesn't properly do bobbling and weaving, and so you tend to see a lot of interlacing type artifacts where on a Windows based DVD player, or an actual hardware DVD player, you would see none. There was a review on Anandtech.com that mentioned this too and I believe even had some screenshots of the problem - which Apple will probably never fix.

    I don't believe files played through Quicktime such as H264 content is affected. But the DVD playback quality certainly leaves a lot to be desired.
  11. dex22 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2003
    Round Rock, TX
    Well, I'm going to try, as a filmmaker, to give a reply that a layperson will understand.

    TV works as 60i, which means there are 60 interlaced images per second. That's 30 even + 30 odd. So TV is 30 frames per second, where you see the even lines in one image and the odd lines in the next image. This 'sort-of' doubles the frame rate and is intended to appear like smoother motion.

    Film works at 24p, which is 24 complete frames per second, and each line is displayed in order.

    2:3, 3:2, 2:3:3:2 and 3:2:2:3 are all names for 3:2 pulldown, which is generally used to refer to converting one to the other, but usually with consumers refers to taking a 24p image, and repeating frames to get a 30p image, which is easy to split on alternate scan lines to get 60i.

    It only affects frame rate, and has no impact whatsoever on image quality. The comments on image quality do not arise from conversion of frame rates, which is trivial.

    DVD players do it automatically. TVs do it automatically. Sometimes, a DVD will upconvert from 24p to 60i and the TV will then downconvert from 60i to 24p starting at a different point, so there is frame repetition, but that's not very common.

    A lot of DVDs of films are actually encoded 24p which you watch as 60i in America, 50i in most European countries.

    Pretty much, pulldown is something you do not have to worry about.

    However, the Apple DVD player is... substandard. Artifacts. Macrovision affecting dark levels in the displayed image. I could go on, but I'm sure Apple will fix that in 10.5.

    Hope this helps...
  12. marcosscriven thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2006
    thanks for the info.

    so what you're saying is for that CNET review to mention it in the first place is wrong.

    That's what I wanted to know :)
  13. dex22 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2003
    Round Rock, TX
    Yes. Their review is wrong. They are misunderstanding why what they see is inferior.

    Honestly, for the average joe, the Apple DVD player is fine. There are issues with using DVI->HDMI, and the issues are artificial. The signalling is identical, but as I understand it, HDMI has a couple of extra lines which, if missing, make the display unit choose to not display the image. DVI->HDMI converters are available - they just add in the missing signals. They don't do anything to the digital image signals, or degrade them in any way.

    When all is said and done, the Mac Mini is a good choice because you can treat it like a DVD player. It draws little power and is very quiet. It's tiny. It has a remote control. It can do lots of other things...

    Chances are, you'll just watch movies with friends or by yourself, and as long as it works and looks crisp, you won't care about the details, once it's set up.

    Anyone got a nice MythTV package ported for Macs yet? :) I'd love to replace my DirecTivo...

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