Originally Posted by iDave
The resolution of iTS TV shows is 640x480. Tell me how you can scale 480 up to 720 and retain the same quality. It can't be done. Resolution is fixed; not scaleable as some people believe.
No, it's not that simple. Rez is not fixed.There are (so far) 18 different standards in digital Tv, any of them can be converted (and are!) into any of the others. Proportion CAN be fixed, but even that is often changed. If you've ever used PS, or another program, that allows you to interpolate up and down, you know how this is done.
Case in point. Many widescreen Tv's automatically widen 4:3 to 16:9 by widening the edges of the content while leaving the middle third, or so, untouched. Most people actually prefer that. You concentrate on that middle, but your peripheral vision doesn't pick the distortion up, unless you look for it.
You can scale to any point, up or down. This is being done all the time. I'm surprised you don't know this!
Look at the specs for almost any DVD player capable of "p" output. You will see that they will scale SD DVD's to 720p or 1080i. The more expensive models will even go to 1080p.
The widescreen Tv's themselves will scale SD to the native rez as well.
Check that out.
When I watch a DVD on my Mac, through my Sony 24" crt, at 1920 x 1080p, scaling is involved. Despite what some say, it looks great!
You can buy scalers separately, if you wish. They go from about $300 to $50,000, depending on what the scaling factor must be, and the quality needed.
I agree, it seems like something must be wrong. I experimented with an episode from the second season of "Lost" of which I own the DVD. I purchased the episode from iTS after the resolution upgrade announcement in August. Then I ripped the same episode from my DVD for comparison. The ripped file looks far, far superior. Details such as people and trees on the beach in the distance are much sharper in the ripped DVD file. This is the case even though the iTS file is about 500MB and the ripped file is 350MB. Perhaps only that "Lost" episode is of particularly bad quality on iTS. I haven't felt like wasting money comparing any others.
It's odd. But there can be reasons for it.
Tv's have a sharpening control. When these controls are set to the middle, so that one side says "softer", and the other says "sharper", one is led to believe that the center position is set of "none". Not so. "None" is almost all the way to the end of "softer". On my Sony 36" XBR, it turns it off alltogether. Similarly on my Hp 65" 1080p model. When you do that, the "video" appearance of the content changes to a more film-like look. Not as sharp, but far more natural. Many people prefer the sharp, hard edges. I don't.
I bring this up because it's very likely when you are doing the transcending from the already compressed, sharpened, file on DVD, the program is not only re-compressing, but giving it additional sharpening to overcome the natural degradation that occurs from any compression.
Now you have double compression, and sharpening over sharpening. As most companies believe (correctly) that most consumers are not sophisticated enough to understand that less sharpening is actually better, and want the sharpest image possible, the sharpening applied is rather high. Often it is not adjustable. They may not even mention that is is being done! Why worry you with little things like that?
That, as well as our unconscious desires, affect what what we see, and think we see.