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Nat Crosby 01-18-2008 08:56 AM

Combing when watching through Apple's DVD Player
I have a new iMac 24, which I bought thinking I would use it mainly for music making, although it turns out to be mostly used for watching DVD's, particularly by my kids who watch Cbeebies' "In the Night Garden" etc.

When watching some DVD's thru Apple's DVD Player, there is some fairly bad horizontal combing. TV series released on DVD are often hard to watch, especially programmes like "In the Night Garden" where there are bursts of locomotive action (you can get a headache trying to follow the Ninky Nonk!).

I have tried using the deinterlacing option, but whilst this does seem to stop the combing, it causes the black borders above and below the picture to flicker, plus there is some pixelation.

Can anyone suggest some troubleshooting ideas? Or maybe recommend a DVD player I can use with the iMac?

northy124 01-18-2008 10:53 AM

Use the VLC Player it should solve your problems

Nat Crosby 01-18-2008 11:18 AM

Thanks for that--
I googled the VLC, and although it does have some deinterlacing filters, I also found the extract below, which says in the last sentence that the VLC still shows up the same defect (unless I'm misreading?).

"One quality issue that really bothers me is that __all__ video-sourced DVDs seem to have rather severe deinterlacing artifacts when played on a Mac. By video-sourced I mean DVD material that was produced for TV or that was originally recorded on video rather than film. Products like music and concert videos, PBS documentaries, classic TV programs, etc. The lack of quality varies somewhat from DVD to DVD, but it appears the same on every Mac I've tried (G3 desktops, G4 PowerBooks, G4 towers).

The sad part is that these very same DVDs look fine on my home DVD player and they also look particularly __outstanding__ on my Celeron PC running the PowerDVD player software. I've also seen similar deinterlacing defects on a few film-based DVDs (which also look fine on my PC). The problem appears whenever there is any subject or camera motion or during scene cuts. What you see is a horizontal combing effect that can really degrade the image quality. On some DVDs it is so distracting that it makes the viewing experience somewhat uncomfortable (i.e. you become engrossed in the picture quality and then combing, combing, combing). All of the DVDs in question are U.S. retail releases (i.e. no DVD copies or pirated material).
[I see this issue at times - the ATI march 2002 retail card driver update has an adaptive deinterlacing option for DVD, but it only seems to be available if you have a retail card installed. (That control panel option did not appear in OS X with a PowerBook G4 and onboard ATI Radeon mobility chip, but is an option with the retail cards - see my 8500 Radeon review's OS X software page for a pix of the control panel, etc.) The ATI cards in my experience have better DVD image quality and lower cpu usage than the Nvidia cards, at least with the current OS X/DVD player software.-Mike]

A number of users have complained about this problem over on the Apple forums. However, just as many have responded that they've never seen this problem. Admittedly it doesn't happen on all DVDs and if you typically view your DVDs over the computer's S-video interface while connected to a small and/or low-quality TV display you might not even notice the problem (unless you look very carefully). Nevertheless, I'm certain that this problem does exist so I'm hoping that someone has a solution or that a future software release from Apple will provide a fix .

By the way, VideoLan shows this same defect and considering that I've seem this same problem on both ATI and NVIDIA graphics hardware I'm certain that it is only a software limitation in the Mac DVD players."

northy124 01-18-2008 11:51 AM

Well i have loads of TV shows on dvd dont see a problem VLC Player is what i use so it might be worth a try

Nat Crosby 01-18-2008 11:59 AM

Thanks, I appreciate your advice.. Last question -- someone on another forum said rather bluntly, "get your DVD drive replaced". Not want I'd hoped to hear, being a Mac newbie, and I was wondering if you think something so drastic might be the only solution?

Nat Crosby 01-18-2008 12:00 PM

Not *what* I'd hoped to hear. sloppy typing!

charliecrosslan 01-18-2008 12:01 PM

How do you start a new post??????

Nat Crosby 01-18-2008 12:05 PM

er.. click on New Thread, above Thread/Thread Starter page.

charliecrosslan 01-18-2008 12:08 PM

wheres that??

Nat Crosby 01-18-2008 12:11 PM

Go to Home, Click on Switcher Hangout, and it's roughly in the top left section of the screen: "New Thread".

charliecrosslan 01-18-2008 12:12 PM

yer cheers

Nat Crosby 01-18-2008 12:15 PM


So, my last last question -- someone on another forum said rather bluntly, "get your DVD drive replaced". Not what I'd hoped to hear, being a Mac newbie, and I was wondering if you think something so drastic might be the only solution to this problem?

northy124 01-18-2008 02:38 PM

I dont think so just yet take it to the apple store first before you go and buy a new DVD Drive.

Charliecrossian dont hijack other peoples threads and you have 48 post how can you not know how to start a new thread???????????????????

Nat Crosby 01-19-2008 10:09 AM

Thanks! For anyone who googles this, I've actually sorted it now.

Strangely, the black border only flickers when I deinterlace the In the Night Garden DVD. As an experiment, I've tried deinterlacing other DVD's (even films, where video wasn't the source, and when there were no interlacing artifacts to remedy), and the black borders are stable.

So, my solution was simply to zoom in the height of the In the Night Garden picture, so that the border is no longer in view.

I guess some DVD's are less compatible than others with Apple.

Wow, that must have been a stultifying question to read through.. I need a bit of ninky nonk to snap me out of my stupor!

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