Do you know the difference between DVD and Blu-ray, HD vs. Standard Def? With so many formats and ways to share photo slideshows nowadays, we thought it would be good to interview an expert and get the straight answers about slideshow playback quality.
We sat down with Josh Green who heads up Photodex’s Quality Assurance team. Photodex is the leading publisher of DVD slideshow tools for professionals and consumers. Take a look at the great advice and tips Josh shares below.
Q: If I burn my slideshow to DVD, will it playback in high definition on my HDTV?
A: HDTVs are just too good for DVDs, they really are. The video on a DVD just doesn’t have enough pixels to take advantage of an HDTV resolution and that makes things look less than crisp. A DVD has a resolution of 720×480. Compare that to an HDTV resolution of 1920×1080 and you’re looking at a TV display that has approximately 2 to 6 times more pixels than the DVD it’s displaying.
Q: But when I playback a Hollywood DVD on my HDTV, it appears to be a high-quality.
A: Yes, motion picture DVDs appear to be high quality but they actually aren’t. For example, ProShow DVDs show the same amount of data per second as a Hollywood DVD, more in some cases. The real difference between the two is content. A motion picture video has lots of non-linear edges moving in natural motions with a relatively great deal of visual density. Pause one of those DVDs and give it a closer look. Those frames can be pretty blurry.
Q: So, what are the best (and easiest) ways to play an HD slideshow on your HDTV?
A: If you want something nice and portable I’d go with Blu-ray. Players for that format are becoming more and more popular all the time. You can also create an HD video of your slideshow and play it back through your laptop or computer directly to your HDTV.
Many laptops nowadays come with an option to feed directly into an HDTV. That probably gives the widest range of playback options since you’re only limited by what your computer supports. You can also do this wirelessly now with some USB based devices that connect a computer to a TV but the technology does have its limits, primarily broadcast range.
Q: Do you suggest a certain type of media to better ensure a playable disc? DVD+ or -? Are there brands that are better than others?
A: Historically we’ve seen the best success with Taiyo Yuden DVDs. I haven’t seen a big difference in playback support between +R and -R formats but I know that +R is technically more compatible with the average DVD player. I can say from personal experience that the +R format is easier to burn onto. This is especially true when you’re dealing with +RW versus -RW, which I strongly recommend if you’re going to be doing any disc based proofing.
Once you get into the Blu-ray realm my experience is primarily with BD-RE media and the difference between manufacturers has been pretty negligible. Again, if you’re going to be proofing on disc be sure to us the BD-RE format. It’ll save you a mint.