More ugly news re: PS4 DVD/BD playback (interlaced)

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#1 Posted by Dreams-Visions (26569 posts) -

Blu-Ray Playback

Unlike the Xbox One, the PS4 happily played back our recordable Blu-ray Discs containing our custom test patterns. BD-R playback isn’t a killer issue for most people who are only watching store-bought movies on factory-pressed discs, but blocking it is such a comparatively useless anti-piracy measure that we wonder why Microsoft bothered.

In any case, we were effortlessly able to confirm top-notch, totally accurate, unadulterated playback of Blu-ray movies against several other known-good reference players. That’s a small advantage over the Xbox One’s very good Blu-ray playback, which has a small (but generally not noticeable) lightness inaccuracy in its output.

There’s no noise reduction or other unwanted processing, no loss of resolution in the luma (brightness) or obvious loss of resolution in the chroma (colour) channel, pixel cropping, chroma upsampling jaggies, or other nasties to spoil the party with 24p content, which accounts for the majority of footage on Blu-ray. With 24p content, you provide the disc, the PS4 dutifully reproduces it. This alone will be enough to make the Sony PlayStation 4 a very usable BD player for most gamers.

That’s the end of the good news, however. If you play 1080i content on the PS4, you’ll find that the system deinterlaces it, and does a poor job of it. There doesn’t seem to be any semi-advanced motion-adaptive deinterlacing on the PS4 at all, with the entire screen (and not just the moving areas) being deinterlaced with a fairly crude algorithm. Visually, that translates into fine details flickering slightly. Of course, it’s more obvious in test charts than it is in content, but the resolution is being lost either way.

Nearly all films are stored at 24p so don’t count on seeing any issues with those, but if you play a video-based concert or documentary on the machine, you’ll be getting lessened vertical resolution compared to what you’d get from a better Blu-ray player such as the PS3, or nearly any standalone player.

Don’t think about setting the output to 1080i to send 1080i discs out in their native format, either: this compounds the problem. Even with the output set to 1080i, all 1080i content is deinterlaced internally and then output. There’s no native path for 1080i Blu-ray content on the PS4 (yet?), everything goes through the sub-par 1080p conversion process.

The diagonal interpolation test (which tests for a player’s ability to smooth jaggies during interlace to progressive conversion) didn’t return good results either, with jaggies being obvious on steep angles.

Unsurprisingly with all of this in mind, there is no provision made for film mode deinterlacing (detecting the presence of film content stored in an interlaced signal). Just so it’s clear, here are the tests from the 60hz tests on the Spears & Munsil disc:

  • 2-2 (30fps inside 60i): Fail
  • 2-2-2-4: Fail
  • 2-3-2-3 PF-T (24fps inside 60i with MPEG metadata): Fail
  • 2-3-2-3 (24fps inside 60i): Fail
  • 2-3-2-3: Fail
  • 2-3-3-2: Fail
  • 3-2-3-2-2: Fail
  • 5-5: Fail
  • 6-4: Fail
  • 8-7-8-7: Fail
  • Time-adjusted: Fail

Likewise, for European users watching European content (BBC TV shows are an obvious example), it’s worth knowing that the Blu-ray format does not have provision for 25p, so all of this content is encoded at 50i, and accordingly falls foul of the PS4's lack of deinterlacing capabilities. With 1080i HD content, this is actually not a gigantic problem, and we imagine most users won’t notice owed to the high HD resolution masking the resolution loss. It’s still poorer quality than many standalone players, however.

It’s a strange decision on Sony’s part, because when first launched, the PS3 system simply output 1080i content as 1080i (natively), meaning that the other components in the user’s AV system (AV receiver or TV) would do the deinterlacing. We’d hope this is something Sony addresses with a system update – either give us good deinterlacing with film mode detection, or just output the 1080i content as pure 1080i and let another device that has the same capabilities take care of it.

DVD Playback

The PS4's lack of deinterlacing prowess is a much bigger problem in the standard definition realm, where there’s much more interlaced content, and where every last drop of available resolution is precious.

The good news is that progressively flagged content on DVD is fine. That means that almost every American NTSC DVD containing a film will play back without any obvious artefacts on the Sony PS4. Film content that’s been encoded as interlaced, where the studio has passed the duty of interlace-to-progressive conversion onto the consumer’s playback hardware, will display with the aforementioned jaggies, of course magnified owed to the lesser SD resolution. As with HD, there is no film mode detection at all beyond the common reading of MPEG metadata (repeat field flags).

Adding to the PlayStation 4's suitability as a DVD player – for American/Japanese-centric NTSC content – is its high quality scaling. The PS3's spatial interpolation (literally how new pixels are created to fill the HD resolution from the low-res SD source) was novel for its time, and the PS4 appears to follow much of the same lead but without quite as much a synthetic finish (diagonal edges appear slightly less smoothed over, and you’ll likely never see a hint of aliasing even if you do find one of the few DVDs that has any sharp high frequency detail in it to start with).

That’s fine for the NTSC territories, but European users will not be too surprised to hear that PAL DVDs are not optimally handled by the Sony PS4. There are several esoteric features inside the DVD spec that allow a disc and the video on it to be marked as interlaced or progressive, but the long and short of it is that none of the PAL discs we tried played back optimally even if the flags on the disc were properly set (in PAL-land, almost none of them are). There is no 2:2 cadence detection for PAL films – in this area the PS4 is beaten by the Xbox One, which does do correct film mode deinterlacing.

The bottom line: the Sony PlayStation 4 treats all standard-def DVD content except for NTSC progressively flagged DVDs as interlaced, and its deinterlacing is not good. At least, the PS4 doesn’t make the Xbox One’s mistake of outputting 50hz content as 60hz, so doesn’t create judder. Instead, its lack of film mode detection means that PAL DVD – and we imagine many of our readers do have significant DVD collections – displays with lessened vertical resolution when compared to a good standalone.

TLDR: PS4 struggles with interlaced content of any kind, DVD or BD. It doesn't create judder like the One does when it tries to output 50hz content in 60hz, but it does create flicker and some other small imperfections in the video. PAL users (Europe) in general are going to get poorer results on either system than NTCS users.

Hopefully both will get better with OS updates over time.

#2 Posted by Desmonic (13197 posts) -

So both players (as in the ones on both consoles) are crappy? Mmkay. Should be stuff that get's easily fixed by patch/firmware updates on both sides no?

#3 Posted by joel_c17 (2826 posts) -

TLDR - im sure all these probs will be fixed when i pick up my ps4 around the middle of next year :) let all you guys beta test it for me

#4 Edited by ShadowDeathX (10564 posts) -

Meh, I haven't used an interlaced resolution in over five years so it's whatever to me. None the less; it's funny how the PS3 is a better Blu-Ray player in most regards than the PS4. XD

I'll just use the Blu-Ray player on my PC and not be hindered by all these limitations.

#5 Posted by Dreams-Visions (26569 posts) -

@Desmonic said:

So both players (as in the ones on both consoles) are crappy? Mmkay. Should be stuff that get's easily fixed by patch/firmware updates on both sides no?

That's correct.

#6 Posted by Jankarcop (8893 posts) -

I'll just use the Blu-Ray player on my PC and not be hindered by all these limitations.

PC the real ultimate device

#7 Posted by Desmonic (13197 posts) -

@Desmonic said:

So both players (as in the ones on both consoles) are crappy? Mmkay. Should be stuff that get's easily fixed by patch/firmware updates on both sides no?

That's correct.

Cool. I'll just check it as "temporary problem / growing pains" :P

#8 Edited by Telekill (4351 posts) -

Since my PS2 gave me crap reading movies I decided to never use a console as a primary movie playback device. That hasn't changed.

Besides, I have two stand alone Bluray players in my house. I don't need to use either of my PlayStation systems for movies.

#9 Posted by soulitane (13418 posts) -

Doesn't bother me, I'll continue using a dedicated blu-ray player to watch movies.

#10 Posted by masiisam (5717 posts) -

That kinda sucks...the PS3 was praised for it's BR playback...wired it has gone backwards...doesn't really matter..i will still use my PS3 for BR playback

#11 Posted by Chutebox (36460 posts) -

PS3 BD player is awesome, so I"m good.

#12 Posted by ninjapirate2000 (3001 posts) -

Crap I use the ps4 as my blu ray player since I disconnected my ps3.

#13 Edited by farrell2k (5745 posts) -

Whoa! People still watch movies on disc???

#14 Posted by lamprey263 (22873 posts) -

why waste discs when you can just watch that stuff off an external HDD

#15 Posted by clyde46 (44204 posts) -

Meh, I haven't used an interlaced resolution in over five years so it's whatever to me. None the less; it's funny how the PS3 is a better Blu-Ray player in most regards than the PS4. XD

I'll just use the Blu-Ray player on my PC and not be hindered by all these limitations.

All HD content in the UK is either broadcast in 1080i or 720p. (They are one in the same).

#16 Posted by handssss (1809 posts) -

Whoa! People still watch movies on disc???

blu-ray > streaming video

#17 Posted by psymon100 (6138 posts) -
@handssss said:

@farrell2k said:

Whoa! People still watch movies on disc???

blu-ray > streaming video

fidelity? sure.

convenience? no.

They have different strengths and weaknesses.

#18 Edited by Gue1 (9456 posts) -

this is 2013 not 2004. Who in this day and age watches 1080i content when even 720p looks better? This thread is only making a storm in a glass of water.

#19 Posted by XBOunity (2981 posts) -

@Gue1: i used my xbox one blue ray player once, to see if it doesn't make that sound people were complaining about. to be honest it might be the only time i ever use it again, all digital for me, that includes movies.

#20 Posted by GunSmith1_basic (9750 posts) -

just one more reason among many against being an early-console purchaser

#21 Posted by ReadingRainbow4 (13152 posts) -

Who the fuck watches 1080i content anyway? It's always been either 720p or 1080p for me.

#22 Edited by gago-gago (9274 posts) -

Right now before any updates, best game console BR player goes like this: PS3 > Xbox One >>> PS4. PS3 is still the best overall Blu-ray player I think.

#23 Edited by hoosier7 (3777 posts) -
#24 Edited by 2Chalupas (5001 posts) -

@clyde46 said:

@ShadowDeathX said:

Meh, I haven't used an interlaced resolution in over five years so it's whatever to me. None the less; it's funny how the PS3 is a better Blu-Ray player in most regards than the PS4. XD

I'll just use the Blu-Ray player on my PC and not be hindered by all these limitations.

All HD content in the UK is either broadcast in 1080i or 720p. (They are one in the same).

Keyword, broadcast. Blu-Ray != broadcast. Like 99.99% of stuff on a blu-ray disc is going to be 1080p (aside from SD special features, which might be 480p or at PAL resolution).

There are 1080i exceptions of course, I know some silent movies use 1080i for some reason because they may have unique framerates that don't play well with 24p framerate (I didn't understand the technical jargon as to why 1080i was "better" to use for those special case movies than 1080p). Also I'm sure some stuff that is ported from TV broadcasts end up in 1080i on blu-ray disc, but it's hardly important in the grand scheme of things.

That being said, it is disappointing that the PS4/XB1 are not even as good as the PS3 was for playing blu-ray movies. I would have assumed "next gen" consoles would have all the best of everything for movie playback, and been competing with a top of the line Oppo player to be the best playback device. That seems far from the case.

#25 Edited by 2Chalupas (5001 posts) -

Right now before any updates, best game console BR player goes like this: PS3 > Xbox One >>> PS4. PS3 is still the best overall Blu-ray player I think.

That article basically said the PS4 was slightly better for normal 1080p/24p movies than the Xbox One, as well as for DVD playback. Except it has major issues with 1080i and PAL content. Which might effect Euros a bit more, but in the U.S. is a virtual non-issue for blu-ray.

That being said, I wouldn't drop $400 or $500 on a console to play blu-ray movies at this point. I wouldn't even want to waste the disc drive of the console to play movies, when a average $100-$150 blu-ray player can do a better job.

#26 Posted by dxmcat (1121 posts) -

Who the fuck watches 1080i content anyway? It's always been either 720p or 1080p for me.

This. haha. WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL TALKING ABOUT INTERLACED?

Interlaced died with SDTV. If you have interlaced content, its your loss/problem.

That's like saying the PS4/XB1 are terrible because they cant control your VCR.

#27 Posted by slipknot0129 (5484 posts) -

I'll just use my PowerDvd 13 to play Blur-rays. It even lets me use my Iphone as a remote. Better than smartglass

#28 Edited by blackace (20082 posts) -

@Chutebox said:

PS3 BD player is awesome, so I"m good.

That's what I usually use. I did try the Xbox One Blu-Ray and the picture quality was still great for me. This news doesn't seem like a big deal.

#29 Posted by Phazevariance (10934 posts) -

@blackace said:

@Chutebox said:

PS3 BD player is awesome, so I"m good.

That's what I usually use. I did try the Xbox One Blu-Ray and the picture quality was still great for me. This news doesn't seem like a big deal.

Well for those who don't have ps3 hooked up or an xbox 1 then its a big deal. Me on the other hand.. i dont even use discs anymore. Takes up too much physical space.

#30 Posted by weisguy119 (3355 posts) -

Cool story, bro. When I do get a PS4 sometime next year, I'll be sure to just play games on it like I always intended.

#31 Posted by EnviousEyezOnMe (260 posts) -

This will get fixed with fw upgrades. Til this day, because of fw upgrades, the PS3 is still considered one of the best BD players around. I can't believe neither company included 3D playback with their drives from the get-go...that right there is strange to me. I could really care less since I use a 3D blu ray receiver with my surround to watch movies or I stream through the trusty ol PS3 Media Server.

#32 Posted by foxhound_fox (87396 posts) -

tl;dr

I assume these slight differences only mean something to the most ridiculous of technophiles.

#33 Edited by Chutebox (36460 posts) -

@blackace said:

@Chutebox said:

PS3 BD player is awesome, so I"m good.

That's what I usually use. I did try the Xbox One Blu-Ray and the picture quality was still great for me. This news doesn't seem like a big deal.

Well for those who don't have ps3 hooked up or an xbox 1 then its a big deal. Me on the other hand.. i dont even use discs anymore. Takes up too much physical space.

If you have a PS4 I don't see why you'd watch in anything but 1080p. If you do and it's a big deal, there are REALLY cheap BD players out there.

#34 Posted by FireEmblem_Man (8594 posts) -

Who cares? Sony is more focus on giving the PS4 games and not care about its extra features this time around

#35 Posted by ShepardCommandr (2320 posts) -

Don't care.

I watch all my blue rays on my pc and at 60fps.

#36 Edited by Heil68 (43273 posts) -

@Chutebox said:

PS3 BD player is awesome, so I"m good.

#37 Posted by kuu2 (6888 posts) -

Discs are so last gen. I definitely don't buy movies on disc anymore. Way to much trouble to get it on all of my devices instead of just going digital through Amazon.

#38 Edited by lhughey (4222 posts) -

@Desmonic said:

So both players (as in the ones on both consoles) are crappy? Mmkay. Should be stuff that get's easily fixed by patch/firmware updates on both sides no?

Yeah, it kinda sounds like it. Looks like I'll be keeping my PS3 hooked up even after I get a PS4 (got an XBone already). I needs more HDMI inputs!

#39 Posted by emgesp (2041 posts) -

I own over 50 Blu-rays and not one of them is encoded in 1080i, About 99% of Blu-rays are encoded in 1080p, so calling the PS4 a horrible Blu-ray player is nothing but hyperbole.

#40 Edited by aeon44 (1 posts) -

nice to see that there's a topic like this.

at least i know one of PS4's not so great features but this doesn't really matter to me coz i got a laptop to watch movies on, all i had to do is connect my laptop to my TV.

it should be fixed with one of the future updates.

and don't forget that Sony has a big announcement on E3, hopefully they'll release an update during or after E3 2014.

#41 Edited by EducatingU_PCMR (544 posts) -

Who even watches interlaced content anymore?

If they do, then it's probably a shitty quality content already, that they shoildn't even watch on an HD screen.

Probably old DVDs, that don't have the same problem as Blu-rays according to the article. So everything's ok.

If you're worried then don't watch your wedding videos on the PS4 and problem solved.

#42 Edited by AM-Gamer (3532 posts) -

@lamprey263: Because i don't want to waste 30gb of HDD space.

#43 Posted by littlestreakier (2895 posts) -

Doesn't bother me, I'll continue using a dedicated blu-ray player to watch movies.

this