Quality Choices With MyDVD?

Discussion in 'TiVo Home Media Features & TiVoToGo' started by HDTiVo, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Nov 27, 2002
    Has anyone done much experimenting with different quality (EP-HQ) output settings against input quality (basic-best)?

    There is also the question of transcode quality level (faster-medium-best). How does that affect results and time?

    I tried a High quality show at all four output levels and found I liked LP the best for its soft, smooth look. SP and HQ introduced a sharp edginess and verticle lines or columns (as best as I can describe.) EP was less detailed than LP.

    Are there any rules helpful to know about resolution formats, etal. between the TiVo recording levels and the DVD levels?

    Would it be desirable to have alternative transcoders to MyDVD's?
     
  2. rlcarr

    rlcarr Member

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    Jan 18, 2003
    Arlington, MA
    That's exactly what I've seen.

    I don't think the MyDVD transcoder does a good job of turning 480x480 (TiVo "Best")
    to 704x480. I think TiVo "High" is 352x480, which is a DVD-compliant resolution. MyDVD's
    LP setting uses 352x480. Transcoding still happens (since MyDVD has its own idea of what the bitrate should be), but it "damages" the picture less. TiVo "Medium" also looks best at MyDVD LP for the same reason, IMNSHO.
     
  3. Mr. Stinky Pants

    Mr. Stinky Pants New Member

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    Sep 15, 2004
    Thanks for the above information. I guess I'm just wasting Tivo's HD space if I record in Best quality then.
     
  4. audioscience

    audioscience OG Lurker

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    I notice more pixelation in Tivo High quality versus Best, especially if there is a lot of action and movement.

    High quality seems to be almost less quality than my SVHS in SP.

    However I have not tried different transcoding qualities in MyDVD. I usually record in Best Quality on Tivo and burn in HQ to the DVD. It's interesting that it would "smooth" out the video in LP. Seems kind of counter intuitive and that it would pixelate it more do to higher compression.
     
  5. blibman

    blibman New Member

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    Oct 23, 2001
    Houston,...
    I recorded in BEST on my Tivo. I did the Best Quality/Slower transcoding feature and "fit to disc". It was a 40 minute show, and if you look at the burn section it took up most of the DVD, so I assume it did HQ. The final DVD video came out VERY blocky--it looks much worse than the original.

    I took the same source and burned it with NERO. The picture was much better from the DVD than the Sonic DVD.

    NERO has its issues with large videos and my NVE is running VERY SLOW, so I had hoped that Sonic would work better.

    From the above, it seems we should just record in HIGH and burn in LP with Best Quality/Slower transcode?

    I would like a "one stop shop".
     
  6. audioscience

    audioscience OG Lurker

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    I think I will try this next.

    I just burned two episodes of Deadwood which were recorded at Best Quality. The DVD was burned using Fit-to-DVD which landed it in between HQ and SP with the transcoding set at medium.

    The result was very block with very pixelated edges. I would compare it to a Medium quality tivo recording. I hadn't noticed it this bad but I haven't been watching my archived DVDs either.

    I will burn the same thing at LP with high quality transcoding settings and see how it compares.
     
  7. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    To get a better feel for this subject we need some detailed experimentation, as well as some technical data like rlcarr posted.

    What I did as reported above was burn the same High quality show at all four DVD quality levels (EP-HQ) and compared (watched on my TVs) various scenes (with varying action/content) to get an opinion of what I preferred.

    In theory, I could make 12 burns: 4 Qualities X 3 Transcode settings. There are at least 48 possible combinations of input/output: 4 TiVo Qualities X 4 DVD Qualities X 3 Transcode Settings.

    Fit to DVD might be used to compare to the other DVD Qualities too. Other posts elsewhere have spoken unfavorably of Fit to DVD, for what that may be worth without serious review.

    One more thing: I searched around for the specs on the resolution that TiVo uses for Basic,Medium,High&Best and couldn't find them. Can someone come up with that from long ago in the Forum? Also does anyone have the correct resolutions for EP,LP,SP&HQ?

    Finally, while I started this, I can not be of much help for a while because I am away from my equipment for more than another week. Sorry about that...
     
  8. audioscience

    audioscience OG Lurker

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    It doesn't seem that resolution would be the issue, but rather compression for the Tivo qualities.
     
  9. Mr. Stinky Pants

    Mr. Stinky Pants New Member

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    Sep 15, 2004
    Actually, I think resolution would be part of the issue because if the resolution is not DVD compliant, then myDVD would have to transcode (i.e. reencode) the video so that its resolution is DVD compliant. This means that the video has undergone two encodings which degrades the picture quality.
     
  10. Mr. Stinky Pants

    Mr. Stinky Pants New Member

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    Sep 15, 2004
    I just burnt a DVD from material recorded at Tivo's Medium setting and myDVD's LP setting and the result is much better looking than I expected. When I played the raw .tivo file, I saw a lot of pixellation but the resultant DVD looked like it was "smoothed" out. I think from now on I will only record at Medium or High and burn using myDVD's LP setting.
     
  11. Das Achteck

    Das Achteck Member

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    Mar 8, 2005
     
  12. Mr. Stinky Pants

    Mr. Stinky Pants New Member

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    Sep 15, 2004
    Das Acheck,

    Thanks so much! I was looking for this info too!
     
  13. Mr. Stinky Pants

    Mr. Stinky Pants New Member

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    Sep 15, 2004
    Rats, I recorded Justice League Unlimited at High -- I guess this means it won't look so good when I burn it to DVD. I should have recorded it at Medium. :(
     
  14. audioscience

    audioscience OG Lurker

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    Just curious, what are you all replaying your burned DVDs on?

    On my computer the DVD's look horrible, blocky and such (because of my higher resolution LCD).

    On my 25" TV however I can't see any of the blockyness at all. It looks fine.

    I was just wondering what you all are viewing your DVDs on for your comparisons.
     
  15. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Nov 27, 2002
    I have had a chance to make a few more experimental ISOs.

    This time using a 1/2 hour medium quality recording (animation - the other was 1 hour Sci-Fi at High) so the source is lower quality this time.

    I've made LP,SP,HQ versions, skipped EP: since it looked lower quality than my prior favorite LP I did not bother.

    I still prefer the softer, smoother LP level, however there is apparently some more detail in the SP&HQ versions. The annoying aspects of SP&HQ mostly disappear at "normal" viewing distance, but up close the differences between them are marked.

    It is difficult to say what is best because there may be some finer details lost in LP in certain scenes that I might wish I had on an SP/HQ version. However, if I had no reference points (and therefore knew no better) I would be more comfortable and happy at LP at normal distance than SP/HQ.

    I am also going to set the transcode quality up to Best and do an LP&HQ version...more to come.
     
  16. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Nov 27, 2002
    Now I have compared the LP&HQ DVD's in Best transcode mode.

    One note. LP Best transcoded in virtually the same time as LP Regular - 24 min vs. about 22 min. There was only a 1-2 min difference in the context of a 50+ min overall process. However, HQ Best took 42 min vs about 30 min for HQ Regular - a 12 min difference in a 70+ min process.

    Both Best DVDs looked slightly better than their Regular counterparts, with HQ seeming to have more benefit. But I can't say this was impressive nor can I really quantify it. I would say HQ Best seemed a little less of the bothersome edgy/sharp that HQ Regular suffers from.

    I would still say that LP Regular looks about as satisfactory as HQ Best. I did pay careful attention to detail this time, and HQ clearly has much more sublte detail.

    So the issue at this point for me is a tradeoff between details and visual comfort. HQ Best is almost as comfortable as LP Regular, with all the detail added; however is it really worth the extra size and time? Probably will depend on the situation. At this point I expect to generically use LP Regular (or Best) and use HQ Best when I think the detail/other content aspects are going to call for it.
     
  17. Mr. Stinky Pants

    Mr. Stinky Pants New Member

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    Sep 15, 2004
    On Sunday I made a DVD containing two programs. One was Battlestar Galactica recorded at Tivo Best. The other was an episode of 4400 recorded at Tivo Medium. I used myDVD's SP setting to burn the DVD. It took about 2+1/2 hours. The Tivo Best came out pretty good. There was some slight aliasing effects on edges but overall I was okay with it.

    The Tivo Medium did not look that good to me. Lots of pixelation at fast moving scenes.
     
  18. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Nov 27, 2002
    It may be that the extrapolation to higher resolution that MyDVD does when a lower quality .tivo is transcoded to higher quality DVD is rather poor. We need lots more data.

    As an aside, 2.5hrs for a 2hr SP DVD doesn't sound bad. You must have a pretty good system. I had another thread with experiments on time vs. quality choices which no one picked up on, and is pretty far back in history now; but the results were interesting. Look it up and maybe rejuvenate it if you like.
     
  19. photodyer

    photodyer New Member

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    Mar 30, 2005
    I have a non-TiVo experience that may be of help here . . .

    I downloaded the Sonic trial for burning TiVo to DVD; seemed to work okay going from Best to HQ (if you ignore crappy signal from our cable!)

    But I've been messing around with Divx conversions and hit on something . . .

    I had converted a bunch of Divx files to DVD files with Divx2DVD and needed a way to combine them all into one DVD (had strange region code issues trying to combine them with DVD Shrink). Since the Sonic trial was installed, I used it to import the converted-to-DVD-format files and build a DVD. Considering the double-transcoding, the quality was quite good.

    But here's the part of interest! I knew that MyDVD could transcode, so I decided to try building a DVD straight from the Divx files without the Divx2DVD conversion. Sonic imported the Divx files much faster than it did the converted files--I was pumped that I would be able to shortcut my time! However, this process of encoding directly from Divx to MyDVD introduced HORRIBLE pixelation!

    Sonic transcoding overall may be the problem; or alternately, my double-transcode might have somehow maintained a smoother image. Bottom line, where we need comparison is between Sonic transcoding of TiVO files and that of other programs. I have a feeling that our frustration may simply be due to the Sonic transcode engine . . .
     
  20. audioscience

    audioscience OG Lurker

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    I recently transcoded and burned the 2 hour season premiere of Alias. I think it was in Best or High quality, I don't recall. Anyways, I edited out all of the commercials and made chapters where each comercial break was. The transcode/burn took about 2 1/2 hours but when I went to play the DVD the audio goes out of sync with the video after 1 minute into it.

    Has anyone else had this problem before? This is the first time I have encountered it. I have made several burns of other programs and usually test watch the first couple of minutes to make sure they burned okay.
     

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