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It's a forgone conclusion that many (most?) ballet dvds are not especially well-mastered. Lots of them (notably from KULTUR) are straight VHS dumps and show all the video and audio problems of vhs mastering; though to be fair, many of the videos they have are archival videos and are inherently problematic. Many of the TDK releases are much higher quality and owe much to being newer recordings.

I just bought a 50" Samsung 16x9 DLP HDTV and connected it to my Yamaha separates and my B&W 801S3 speakers so that i could see how good (or not) some of my DVDs looked.

I spent the first 20-30 minutes calibrating the levels on the television as "out-of-the-box" mode was pretty awful. Then I went on to watching (sampling) some Ballet Vids.

I put in ABT in SF (Kultur). The video quality was very much VHS-level and the extreme size of teh tv in addition to the 720p resolution exagerrated the video problems. The digital nature of DLP converted the scratchiness of the analog video into highly visible digital artifacts. This is a big problem as it was very difficult to pay attention to Fernando Bujones' incredible dancing b/c the image quality was so bad. Eg. imagine going to ABT, having great Orchestra-level seats, and then as the show begins, you have to watch it from behind a sheet of glass with thousands of mini-facets in it. In addition, the video was a 4:3 aspect ratio, which meant that it was "side-letterboxed" to fit within the 16:9 viewport. Watching these videos on an analog tv (my 32" Sony Wega CRT), although still showed the aged of teh video, was infinitely more enjoyable. Conclusion: older videos do not view well on a DLP and should be watched on an analog set if possible.

I then watched two Kumakawa DVDs: COPPELIA and DON Q. These were anamorphic 16:9 videos so they filled up the entire viewport of the DLP TV. Colors were vibrant and clear and the video was amazing sharp and had a beauteous presence. Ina darkened room, the image just filled the space and almost engulfed me. It veyr much changed teh viewing experience for the better, almost a couple steps closer to actually being there. On a large screen like this, so much of the subtleties and teh nuances are easier to see; it's also easier to study a dancer's technique when the image is so large. In one variation, we noticed that the ribbon on the dancer's left pointe shoe was coming out just a bit!

The one notable problem is the White Levels on a DLP. White Levels on a DLP tv saturate rather quickly; this is the nature of DLP and is generally not problematic. What saturation means is that a certain level of white becomes the max white and then anything that is supposed to be "whiter" than that is still maintained at that same white level. So if you have lots of high levels of white, then the image will have just a spot of blank white screen. it's very jarring. In normal viewing, ie movies and tv, there normally aren't these white levels. however, in Ballets, white White costumes and bright stage lights, these whites are in abundance, even occuring in teh highlights on a dancer's face. COPPELIA was notably full of white saturation. I turned the white levels of the tv to lower than calibrated settings and although it helped a bit, it was still a bit noticeable.

Another fundamental problem with DVDs which are enhanced by DLP is Macroblocking. Macroblocking is a term that describes the digital artifacting that occurs when there is a patch of flat color which appears as large shfiting blocks. a Big blank wall, a night sky, a darkened seascape all are prime examples. In these cases, often you will see black and green blocks that seems to shift places back and forth. In normal DVD viewing, this is a moderate problem. In Ballet, it's afundamental one as the backdrops of Ballets are generally flat-colored screens which exhibits macroblocking in a major fashion. Once your eye is drawn to macroblocking it veyr easy to be painfully distracted by it.

So, while the DLP tv does make for a far improved viewing experience, it also goes a long way to showing flaws in mastering as well as in technologies. That Ballets in particular challenge teh DLP technology at its weakest point is of particular note. Not to try to dissuade you from a purchas (if you're thinking about it), but i would highly recommend that you bring in a ballet DVD to a store and have them play it so you can see fo ryourself. There are two competing technologies which may (or may not) be more effective for viewing ballet dvds adn they are LCD and LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon; an Intel technology), as well as a Motorola technology taht is in development.

All in all, I'm very happy with the tv. it adds new life to viewing a dvd, but with the way it reveals definciencies in poorly mastered DVDs, i doubt I'll be able to watch any of my older vids on it and my first impressions of new DVDs is likely always going to be regarding image quality!


(btw, the just-released Kumakawa Don Q is absolutely wonderful. [snip])

Edited by hockeyfan228
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I know what you mean: I have a 42-inch EDTV widescreen Panasonic plasma with an external scaler (Lumagen HDP) fed from an SDI-moded Denon 2900, and it can be painful to watch many dance videos, especially since almost all are sourced from video, so the deinterlacing is a total guess. The productions sourced in HD, and distributed as anamorphic DVDs (eg. the stuff from Opus Arte like the Dutch National Ballet's Sleeping Beauty) do make up for the dodgy deinterlacing, but the resolution is still well below something shot in film like most normal movies. The sound on some of the newer stuff is pretty good, but seems to be a secondary concern.

No macroblocking problems on my end, probably because the Lumagen doesn't use a Faroudja chip.

Have you looked at the Algolith Mosquito as a way of cleaning up some of the digital artifacts? I'm looking forward to seeing a Terranex-based deinterlacer, like the Denon DVD-5910's, to see if the video deinterlacing gets any better. It's fundamentally an unsolvable problem, but I hope improvements come soon.

Driving B&W 801s with a Yamaha? Seems like quite a mismatch.


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