HDMI questions

Computer, TV, digital projector connectivity and associated slideshow, framing, AV/DVD creation software
Mikef
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HDMI questions

Unread postby Mikef » Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:17 pm

Can anyone help with the following?
On the A350 and A700, when using the HD viewing mode.
Can RAW also be viewed in HD or can this only be done with jpegs?
If files ae converted to DNG, will the HD viewing work?

If viewing on a big hd screen, does taking/saving pictures at one of the larger sizes give better quality viewed pictures?

If files are post processed, is the imbedded HD file lost or altered at the same time?

And finally. What recommendations are there for current best ways to store/transfer files for viewing on HDtv
Many thanks

David Kilpatrick
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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:44 pm

Sony's enhanced A700 HD viewing only works from the in-camera JPEGs, on the card you shot them on, not copied or processed in any way. It's quite limited, if you are talking about connecting the camera to TV using HDMI. You can view anything without enhanced HD on any HDMI set but not benefit from the remote controller's functions. The A350 has no special enhancement and you can view any JPEG.

A700 raws are stored in HD format if shot in HD, and the embedded preview file allows viewing via Sony's system. But DNG files will not, and other TVs may not recognise the embedded profile.

It's all a bit involved, and limited, which is why you do not hear people discussing it. The A700/remote system is best used on an HDTV to review your shots after shooting them, before the card is used for downloading, or altered in any way.

David

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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:15 pm

Sonolta, did you read my post? I said that raw files work - the HDTV system reads the 1920 x 1080 embedded preview. But .DNG files won't work as they are not Sony .ARW files.

Secondly, you are not viewing using Enhanced HD. This is only available on recent Sony Bravia TVs and only when using a mini HDMI to HDMI cable. Anyone can play back the files via the video connection - you just get the benefit of the same HD resolution.

I do not view my photos on TV, or possess an HD TV, but I've had this demonstrated to me and the difference between playing files through the video lead (as on any DSLR, nothing new) and playing the true HD format via HDMI is considerable. There is some benefit with non-Sony or older Sony TVs, but the additional shadow to highlight detail (completely different tonal rendering for stills) is only obtained using an all-Sony set up. I'm still debating whether to get such a set-up, because the Sony Bravia models are considerable more expensive than other makes, and don't always look the best in comparison displays of large flat screens.

I'm prepared to believe that IDC edited files may work using the HDMI to Bravia connection as well as your video connection, but I can't confirm it. The thing you have apparently missed in my posts is 'Sony's enhanced A700 HD viewing'. This is not the same as 'viewing the files on any old TV via the video output'. One complaint levelled at the system within days of the launch was that you could only get the enhanced HD viewing if you left the files on your card. Apparently it wasn't even recognising files taken off a card, stored elsewhere, then put back on to a card for playback via the camera.

David

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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:59 pm

Don, check out Sony's information on the Enhanced HDTV function with Bravia and Alpha 700.

I can only repeat here what was demonstrated, using a Bravia HDTV, at the launch of the Alpha 700. The Sony TV contains firmware which recognises the camera and the file, reads the colour profile correctly, can address a range of JPEG preview images which are contained within the raw .ARW file (one reason for the unusually large size of the Alpha 700s raws), and applies a tone curve and sharpness enhancement to the image. These functions are not present in any other TV, or in some older models. We were shown the result of a normal HDTV image, compared to the enhanced image, and it was quite dramatic.

Page 90 of the user manual - requires Sony 'Video-A' compatible TV for the enhanced mode; compatible with the Photo TV HD standard (which presumably your set supports).

I'm going to have to find a friendly local TV dealer with Sony in stock alongside other models and see if there really is a difference, and also see whether resaved or copied files are recognised.

The original question was whether .DNG files would be recognised, and they won't be, and what was the best format for storing files for HDTV showing (the answer is, as said, the orginal JPEG). And I do not know, and nor do you, whether the Sony Video-A system recognises files processed through IDC (it is already established that it may not recognise files processed by other programs). The HDTV preview is only stored in raw files, as far as I know there is no special instruction contained within JPEG files to identify the crop, that's done automatically. But the raw file contains a full size JPEG, an HDTV 1920 x 1080 JPEG, and a 1X preview for the rear LCD screen. When you zoom in on the rear screen, you are zooming in on an embedded full size preview, not the actual raw data; the same happens with your HDMI playback. It's the hidden 12 megapixel JPEG you are zooming in on. At least, that is what I have been told by Sony to explain the extremely fast review functions of the Alpha 700.

It is easily confirmed anyway by common sense - the preview even when zoomed to the max uses DRO, WB, contrast, sharpness etc. The raw file uses none of these.

To clarify for the original poster:

Your original in-camera JPEGs or RAW files will play back.
The Alpha 350 does not have an HDMI connector and can only play back via a normal video input from its USB/video port.
Assuming you shoot full size JPEGs, you will get the benefit of full zooming in. If you use smaller JPEGs you may not be able to zoom.
If the files are post-processed, the embedded HD image is lost (this should only affect the Sony Video-A function).
If you shoot raw, you also get full zooming in.
If you convert to .DNG you won't be able to play back.
You will see the A700 image best if you use a 1080p HDTV fitted with 'Photo TV HD' interface - 1920 x 1080 true pixel resolution - not one with a lower true resolution.
Colour, textural detail and shadow brightness will be best with a Sony Bravia equipped with Video-A (A700 only, not the A350).
You should be able to copy your JPEGs on to your computer, then back to your camera-formatted memory card, without loss of playback but some users have reported problems.

David

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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:51 am

Don, I'll take your several hundred words for it that your Circuit City HDTV (I guess that's equivalent to Tesco own brand here, Teknika, or something similar) produces stunning results. In the UK, trying to get a genuine 1080p HDTV is surprisingly difficult - it's amazing how many 720p models have no labelling to say what they are, and 75 per cent of a typical TV display with 15-20 models will be 720p.

Right now there is a Samsung 40 inch which looks far superior to the Sony, we've been looking at it for several weeks, the price is low - only $1200 in your money against $2500 for the Sony - but the labelling omits to make it clear whether it supports 1080p, and I'm a bit concerned about buying anything except the fully compatible Sony Bravia, because of the time and effort Paul put into explaining the benefits when the A700 was launched. I do not trust the store setups for each TV, you don't know what presets they have used, and the Samsung looking twice as bright as everything else and much sharper and more stable could just be an adjustment difference.

As for 'breathtaking' I would expect that, we do view stuff on a very large (52") plasma system though that is now pretty old, widescreen but not HD standard. Our daughter has it rigged up to a Mac Mini and a media server. What impressed me most about the A700 images on the Sony screen was the absolute flicker-free stability - not a hint of the sort of slight quiver on sharp edges you often see. Very fast refresh rate and very stable, and more intense than any of our Mac screens. Somehow more three-dimensional.

This is a real dilemma - big Samsung for £549 from Tesco, could pick it up tomorrow - but never be able to check out the claims made by Sony for the latest Bravia compatibility with the A700, and presumably the A900.

David

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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby Javelin » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:46 am

/me takes Sonolta's coffee maker away.

:shock:

Mikef
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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby Mikef » Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:38 am

Umm!!! As the OP, I didn't realize what I was opening up here. I sort of imagined this would lead to some quick straightforward answers. I'll work through the points and counterpoints slowly and try to digest this. Then I'll play around with my tv (a Samsung 32" lcd) and see what happens. I was a bit misleading in my last point. I was really looking for advice on the best way to store the photos for easy playback in HD on the TV. Obviously if they can only be shown from a card in the camera, this will be a bit inconvenient. I have seen that a new netbook computer has an HDMI out put and I thought perhaps that I might be able to store photos for HD presentation on this.
Thanks to one and all for the input. Interestingly, I had thought this was a straightforward issue. At first I put virtually the same post on DPR. Nobody responded, which puzzled me, so I passed it to you guys.

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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:24 am

OK, your final question is easy. I don't tend to do slide shows myself (I view my pix via iMac 24 inch using a photo library management system) but our daughter/her boyfriend use iPhoto on the Mac. They bought a Mac Mini just to connect to their big plasma TV which has computer inputs and can also act as a monitor. They have got it set it so that on the wireless network, their laptops can take control. They have a 1TB server disk as well, and thousands of HDTV movies stored on it along with all their music and all their own photos. Everything they have, by way of 'media', lives on this network server and Mac Mini.

There are many other ways of doing this, PC-based or even using dedicated media server (I just bought an Iomega StorCentrer networkable HD and find that it has functions I don't need, to play media on TVs). I think that a laptop with an HDMI output would work fine, you just need a suitable browsing program - or use Windows file browser. Because I am Mac based I have used three different ways to show images using a projector, which is a similar set-up - iPhoto (converts the image files to a small, fast format and keeps its own copies), iView Media Pro aka Microsoft Expression Media Pro (a very good choice if you intend to catalogue and keyword your pix, so you can find one instantly out of many thousands), and the easiest one in the world - Firefox. It's very easy to create web slide shows, nearly every editing program will do it, and just use your web browser (Explorer, Safari, whatever) to navigate.

Sony's own Image Data Lightbox SR does not include a slideshow function, which is an omission. It only functions as an organiser/lightbox/browser. Even Adobe Bridge and Elements have slide show functions.

David

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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:42 pm

Don, not all their movies are HD (in fact it's possible that none are HD - just widescreen). They download them. I have no idea how it works, I'm sure it's illegal, but most of the young computer-employed generation get all their entertainment stuff on line. They seem to be able to get new releases almost within days of them appearing. They also buy cinema tickets and go to see some movies several times. The one thing they don't do is rent or buy DVDs/videos, or pay for downloads. And all the movies are probably not on the server as they have shelves full of them saved on to DVD.

And I do not recommend the Iomega NetStore Center, either. It was a waste of money compared to any other plain 1TB HD. It takes 72 hours to back up my workstation and attached HDs (not all of them either) and the result is a compressed archive snapshot - I never liked Retrospect when we used tapes, and I still don't like it now. When my 640GB Iomega is back running with a new powersupply, the NetStore archive will be trashed, I'll install the latest Mac OS, and use their Time Machine function instead. The NetStore HD will become a shared plain old HD on the network for dumping stuff which clutters up my local HDs. From reading the manual, I would not recommend one these for serving media to a TV either.

David

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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby DGJ » Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:09 am

Hi all

Unlike Sonolta I'm not an expect on televisions, however I was able to see the A700 demonstrated on a Sony full HD panel last week. The TV automatically went into photo HD mode when the A700 was connected the picture was superb. We then put the TV out of Photo HD into Full HD and while the image was still excellent it wasn't quite as good - it appeared slightly over-sharpened and the detail in dark areas wasn't so good after seeing the photo HD made it was obvious this was the best way to view images on this particular TV. We were also told by the Sony guys that only the Full HD Bravias had this mode and an HD output from the A700 to any other make of TV would look similar to the Sony TV in Full HD mode.

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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:58 pm

"The BRAVIA™ E4000 series blurs boundaries"

In my experience most HDTVs over-sharpen boundaries :-)

David

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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:43 am

Here's a website explaining why digital TV is inferior in some respects:

http://www.aerialsandtv.com/digitaltv.html

and advising people to hang on to their analogue CRT sets...

My region is the first in the UK to drop analogue TV entirely - it turns of in November. Because we are the least populated region between Edinburgh and London, they can experiment with 110,000 people living in 15,000 square miles. Digital reception is bad - programmes can disappear entirely or become impossible to watch just because there's a rainstorm five miles to the west of us or the cloud is low. We have an aligned aerial and booster and all the stuff but on a river haugh with heughs surrounding, we're in a reception shadow area for terrestrial digital. We are not allowed to fix a satellite dish to the house as it is 'listed' (of historic/architectural value) even though it is impossible for anyone to see the facade. But - it is also impossible for the enforcers of that ruling to see the facade too, so we may just go ahead and fix a dish.

Right now, Sony does not have an HDTV with Freesat (the BBC/ITV free reception satellite HD service) and there is no terrestrial HD, and we have no intention of watching videos (never have done, not likely to start). Panasonic has the only models with built-in Freesat but they are $2500+. Our existing Sony Wega CRT 32" has done four years and it shows no sign of deteriorating so for the moment that's what we use for TV. And my iMac 24" is, in effect, a perfect 1080p screen - I won't get any better image, just a larger image, from an HDTV.

Nearly all the sets demonstrated in supermarkets/electrical chains have visible edge artefacts which I could not live with - like JPEG compression affecting sharp boundaries. I would need to be shown something which positively persuaded me I would not under any circumstances see these compression artefacts appearing. They are not receiving live transmission either, they are playing HD DVDs.

David

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Re: HDMI questions

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Thu Aug 28, 2008 12:05 pm

Your situation in the US is different from ours in the UK. We do not have cable in many places - nowhere in my entire region. I have seen what I am told is the best HDTV, demo-ed by Sony, in their European HQ and of course for the last several photokinas in a row I have visited the massive TV/video halls and seen the showpiece stuff on screens of all types and sizes. And you can't get away from HD video games because that is how they are demonstrated.

I am not entirely sure why we are having this discussion, it all seems to stem back to one thing - whether or not the Sony Bravia special HD still picture mode, invoked on suitably specified Bravia sets when an Alpha 700 is connected, is worth having. It's quite funny because you have spent a lot of time accusing me of never having seen HDTV, but you yourself have never seen the Bravia picture mode used with the Alpha 700 and compared with a standard 1080p viewing - and I have! And so has at least one other forum member.

Don, you need to get your Alpha 700 hooked up to a current Bravia before you can comment on whether this is snake-oil or a genuinely worthwhile function.

As an aside, my eyesight without specs is most comfortable around arm's length. With specs, at about 2-3m. I'm never likely to settle down to watch a large screen from 1.5m. My iMac 24 inch is perfect for me, every pixel clearly defined at about 0.5m distance, in comfort. Any TV seen from the other side of my living room demands that I wear specs to benefit from quality, which I very rarely do as I like to read when watching TV.

For the cost of a good HDTV, it's getting possible to find an HDTV projector. I mothballed my 5.1 sound system as it's just plain annoying on a TV but it would be worth rigging up again for screen projection. This would be a far better investment for me, and provide a 6ft+ image which is big enough for comfortable distant viewing. We've got an XVGA Epson projector which is OK for movies but not for stills. At the weekend we dropped into to the iMax cinema at Rheged and that is perfect for me - fantastic resolution on a huge screen 30 feet away!

David


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