Learn how to get the best out of your Blu-Ray player with mCable.
Learn how to get the best out of your DVD player with mCable.
Learn how to get the best out of your Set Top Box with mCable.
Marseille mCable - Streaming Getting Started
Inside the mCable: the VTV-122X processor family
The VTV-122x family are high performance video processors, certified by Technicolor. Read more.
Configuring your source device
What we recommend for the mCable is the same as what any expert recommends today for a high-end HD or UHD TV: provide content in native resolution and frame rate to your mCable and your TV. Read more.
Tips on fine tuning your television
Just purchased a new 4K or HD TV, or wondering why your current HD TV has the “soap-opera” look? Check out our expert tips on how to fine tune your TV. Read more.
What is unique about mCable?
There are two types of visual benefits you can observe using mCable. Read more.
mCable Gaming Edition
Marseille’s proprietary Contextual Anti-Aliasing (CXAA) algorithm, created especially for enhancing and repairing video game graphics. Read more.
This article is meant to give you enough background information so you can be an expert at home and understand the main concepts around video. Read more.
Inside the mCable: the VTV processor family
The VTV-122x family are high-performance video processors certified by Technicolor to meet the rigorous standards of Technicolor's "4K Image Certified" process. The processors enhance and up-convert standard-definition and high-definition 2D/3D video to 4K resolution. The VTV-122x family of devices are HDMI certified to ensure interoperability and compatibility with the widest possible range of A/V sources and TVs.
The VTV-122x family is built around Marseille's proprietary contextual video processing engine that incorporates a collection of state-of-the-art technologies in video, graphics, and image processing that work together to bring incredibly life-like image details to your TV screen.
Stunning visual quality for any content on any display
Contextual image enhancement and up-conversion detect the important characteristics of the incoming video, graphics and text and automatically enhance and up-scale any input to fit your display, while preserving and enhancing the smallest picture details discernible by the human eye.
Photographic quality text, menus and graphics
Contextual Edge Restoration technology ensures that graphics, text, and menus appear sharp and crisp like a printed page. The contextual engine automatically detects edges in video content. The proprietary edge-restoration engine processes edges digitally to guarantee a pleasing appearance and high legibility for text and graphics.
Sharp, crisp video so you don't miss a detail
The VTV video processor enhances image quality by detecting and processing image details in any video sequence. Today's video can appear blocky and lacking detail when displayed on a large screen due to the difference between the video source and the TV resolutions (e.g. watching a DVD on a UHD TV). This effect is especially noticeable on TV screens measuring 50" and above. The VTV video processor has embedded digital technology to preserve and enhance video displayed on larger screens. The result is a picture with outstanding fine detail preserved regardless of the content or display.
VTV-122x Family Key Features
4K Video Processor
- Up-conversion of 2D/3D content up to 4K 30Hz and 1080p 120Hz
- Contextual processing
- Adaptive edge enhancement of lines and curves for improved video and user interfaces
- Adaptive sharpening and noise reduction to refine video content
- Sub-1ms latency processing keeps video game players in the action
- Brightness, contrast, saturation, color mapping
HDMI Input and Output
- Integrated HDMI receiver and transmitter with 4K and 3D support
- Resolution: 480i up to 2160p
- RGB,YCbCr 4:4:4 and YCbCr 4:2:2, 8/10/12-bit
- 2160p 60Hz YCbCr 4:2:0 pass-through support
- 120Hz / HFR (High Frame Rate) support
- HDMI 2.0 Interoperability Safeguard
- Enhanced Device Interoperability
Configuring your Source device
What we recommend for the mCable is the same thing as what any expert recommends today for a high end HD or UHD TV: provide content in native resolution and frame rate to your mCable and your TV.
mCable is a companion to your TV, which will allow you to achieve better picture quality with the same content.
When feeding native resolution to mCable, you allow it to first enhance the content in its native resolution, and then do all of the upscaling.
When feeding mCable native frame rate, you allow mCable to also upscale 24Hz HD movies all the way to 4K resolution on UHD TVs, getting Technicolor's "4K Image Certified" experience.
DVD player configuration
To get the most out of your mCable, you must configure your DVD player to output 480p60 (or 576p50 in Europe).
WHY: mCable has a better upscaler than your player, and it also boasts a processing engine that repairs DVD content in its native resolution. You will see great improvements on content with jagged edges (such as DVD subtitles).
Blu-Ray player configuration
When playing a DVD on a Blu-ray player, follow the same recommendations as in "DVD player configuration" above.
When playing a Blu-ray disc, you must configure your player to output native 24Hz frame rate.
Most players will have a setting for automatically sending 24Hz output when applicable. This is what you want for mCable.
WHY: a 120Hz or 240Hz TV can do a very good job of converting 24Hz to its native refresh rate, but a Blu-ray player will do a poor job of converting 24Hz to 60Hz (using 3:2 pull-down which creates judder on motion).
Set-top box (broadcast) configuration
Some HD channels are broadcasted in 720p, others in 1080i.
If your set-top box allows it, your best option is to configure it to output native resolution (720p output for 720p channels and 1080i output for 1080i channels).
WHY: 720p channels will be greatly improved by mCable. 1080i channels will be passed as-is through mCable (your TV usually has a good de-interlacer).
If your set-top doesn't offer native output, then you are forced to choose one static output, i.e. 720p or 1080i. 720p is typically better for fast action content and live sports. If you choose 720p, then all channels that are natively 720p will benefit from mCable's enhancement and upscaling.
For 480i channels, Marseille recommends that the source de-interlaces the video and outputs 480p.
Streaming box configuration
We recommend you to configure the output resolution of your streaming box (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV) to match the native resolution of your TV:
- 720p for a 720p TV
- 1080p for a 1080p TV
- 2160p for a 4K TV (Roku 4 only)
If you are watching 720p streaming channels (e.g. Hulu), or you know that you do not have enough internet bandwidth for the 1080p Netflix and Amazon content, we recommend you to configure the box to output 720p, even if you have a 1080p or 4K TV. If you do this, you will stream content that is suitable for your internet speed and let the mCable enhance and upscale the content for you.
TiVo Roamio configuration
Configure your TiVo box to output native resolution (1080i output for 1080i channels, 720p output for 720p channels, and 1080p for 1080p channels). The only exception is 480i: configure the TiVo box to convert it to 480p.
To do so, follow the steps below:
- Press the TiVo button on the remote to go to TiVo Central.
- Select Settings & Messages (or Messages & Settings) > Settings > Video > Video Output Formats.
- Checkmark all formats except 480i, i.e.: 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p (60fps) and 1080p (pass-thru). Make sure you press Continue in the menu, then the Thumbs-Up button 3 times on the TiVo remote.
Enabling the 1080p Pass-thru format allows content at 24Hz to be output as such to the mCable.
Fine Tuning your TV
By fine tuning we mean adjusting display settings like color, sharpness, brightness...
Here is a list of tips for fine tuning your TV for the best visual experience. Some of these tips can be found on other web sites, they are fairly common knowledge.
While mCable is truly a plug-and-play device, if you want to get the best picture quality out of your TV you may have to adjust your TV settings. Not all TVs will need tuning, but some will benefit from it.
If you have never tuned your TV and you are connecting an mCable to it, now is a good time to look at some of the settings on your TV.
If you have already tuned your TV in the past, chances are most of your settings are already good, but you should go through this tuning exercise, simply because mCable was not there when you last tuned your TV, and you might like things another way now.
When you take your new TV out of the box, the picture quality is typically not ideal for home viewing; the picture is usually too bright. Also each manufacturer gives their TVs a personality, some like warmer colors, some like them colder, others emphasize on extra sharpness. Once the TV is in your living room, what matters is what you like.
To fine tune your TV, you will need to open the TV's menu system and find the menu options that control the picture, color, sharpness and contrast, which can often have different names in different TVs.
If you only have time to follow one tip here, choose the sharpness tip (tip 2).
Tip 1: Select the most accurate picture mode
In most TVs, this is the Movie or Cinema mode; in others, it might be the Standard or Calibrated mode. After selecting this mode, the image may at first look dim, but allow yourself some time to get used to it and you will find that the picture looks more natural and realistic.
Beware that on most TVs a picture mode is just a name for a group of preselected settings. So you can start by selecting the picture mode you like best, and then go and tune individual settings, but not the other way around (you would most likely lose your individual settings when setting the picture mode).
Tip 2: Tune down sharpness
mCable is providing to your TV what we have found to be the perfect amount of sharpness. Now TV manufacturers have very different behaviors when it comes to sharpness: on some TVs the default mode is not to add or remove any sharpness, while other TVs add a lot of sharpness out of the box.
So if you have a TV that is already sharpening the picture, now with mCable feeding an enhanced and also sharpened image to it, you may find the resulting images over-sharpened because they are sharpened twice. Marseille recommends that you play with the TV sharpness, usually turning it down until you find the setting you like best.
Tip 3: Select the warmest color temperature
In most TVs, the color-temperature settings are often labeled Cool, Normal and Warm, or High, Medium, and Low. The Warm or Low setting is usually the closest to reproducing what the content creators intended.
Tip 4: Beware of enhancement functions
These are features like noise reduction, filters, dynamic contrast, motion adaptation...
Each TV manufacturer has its own way of doing things, usually under very different names.
These may be great features, or they may do more harm than good to image quality. You are the best judge of this, see for yourself and choose what you like best.
Tip 5: Display the video in its original size
Most TVs by default displays in a mode called "over-scan". The over-scan mode crops out images portions close to the edges and scales the remaining to fit the screen. The loss of the content can range from 3% to over 10%. And because of the additional scaling, your picture quality suffers. It is a legacy feature from the old CRT TVs which modern TVs don't need but it's kept there to be backward compatible for some broadcast contents in case they send miscellaneous signals on the border regions. We recommend turning off over-scan especially when you are watching contents that are not from broadcast, such as blu-ray, DVD and streaming box. The "non over-scan" setting has different names for different TVs, for example "Screen Fit" for Samsung TVs or "Full" for Sony TVs.
Tip 6: Evaluate frame interpolation
This function is present in high end TVs with a refresh rate of 120Hz or 240Hz. It synthesizes artificial frames between the actual frames in the input video signal (for instance converting 24Hz or 60Hz input into 240Hz). This feature is more or less efficient depending on TV models and manufacturers, but oftentimes while it works well on some sequences, it creates unwanted side effects on others (e.g. "soap opera" effect, making movies look like they were shot with a handheld video camera). This parameter goes by many different names: in Samsung TVs, for example, this function is called "Auto Motion Plus".
Again you're the best judge here. If you like what it does, keep it, otherwise turn it off.
Tip 7: Adjust brightness
Adjust the backlight (LCD) or cell-light (plasma, OLED) control according to the amount of ambient light in the room. The image should not be too bright to watch comfortably over extended periods.
Tip 8: Color and tint
With digital TVs, the tint control rarely needs adjustment. In general, if you decide to adjust the color and tint, we recommend using video content with natural skin tones and adjusting the settings so that the skin does not look sunburned or sickly green.
Tip 9: Save your preferences
Once you're done, save your custom settings if your TV allows it.
What is unique about mCable?
There are two types of visual benefits you can observe using mCable.
Repair is the first great benefit. It works most effectively on DVD content, SD broadcasts, and 720p HD broadcasts. The repair capability removes compression artifacts, restores text and subtitles, plus cleans up lines, logos, and graphics, all while bringing back the details. The effects are very unique in the industry and we haven't seen another video processor with similar quality and performance.
Enhancement is the second great benefit. It works most effectively on Blu-Ray disc and 1080p HD streaming. The observed effects are enhanced detail visibility without the amplification of noise. This capability is what some other video processors claim to have, but in our opinion they usually fall short with respect to balanced picture quality.
Every pixel deserves special treatment
mCable analyzes each pixel in its context to determine the most suitable processing for the pixel.
First reason is human perception is non-uniform for pixels in different regions. A suitable enhancement for one pixel could look disastrous for another.
Secondly, edges are one of the most important visual cues, influencing the perception of resolution, depth and realism. Special care on edges is a must for a pleasant, natural-looking image.
Last but not least, compression exists in the entire content pathway, from creation to viewing, and pixels are not compressed equally. Artifacts are more pronounced in certain areas than others. Therefore a careful examination of local compression is a must in order to provide restoration.
The perfect balance, Technicolor 4K Image Certified
Typically there are two types of TV video processors in terms of picture quality.
One type of processor emphasizes the "naturalness" of the image and thus gives out a smoothed movie with blurry details, but without visible noise & artifacts. While the lack of sharpness masks the artifacts, the overall picture looks dull and unappealing to the viewer.
The other type of processor highly emphasizes the "sharpness" of the image. But while it sharpens, it unfortunately amplifies or enlarges both the compression artifacts and the film grain of the movies. The resulting picture may seem clear at a distance, but just sitting a little closer would reveal many unnatural and annoying artifacts to the viewer.
mCable avoids the mistake of the previous processors. Our processor strikes a neat balance between sharpness and control of noise. We provide a picture that shows enhanced details with minimal artifacts. In the end, mCable provides a naturally-sharp image that viewers will find most pleasing.
Marseille's contextual processing technology makes this possible. In simple terms, the mCable processor treats each pixel specifically according to its local context. Therefore, textures are enhanced, but not the noise. Edges are repaired, but without losing their resolution or detail. The power of contextual processing enables mCable to provide visual benefits more adaptively and more consistent with human perception.
This philosophy is also in line with the intention of many professional content creators. As an endorsement of our professional quality, Technicolor, one of the production powerhouses for Hollywood, has certified the quality of our mCable processor as part of their 4K Image Certification process.
mCable Gaming Edition
Aliasing: a pixel resolution problem
In graphics rendering, mapping contiguous lines into finite pixels creates a problem called "aliasing". Aliasing is commonly characterized by visibly annoying symptoms like jagged edges, crawling along edges, and shimmering in texture.
Aliasing is made worse by limited GPU resources in current game console platforms. Rendered resolution achieved in the console is not sufficient.
- PS3/XBox 360 games mostly rendered at 720p.
- PS4/Xbox One games rendered at 1080p or below.
There is not enough processing power left inside the console to mitigate aliasing. An outside-the-box solution is needed.
mCable coming into play
mCable Gamer Edition brings an advanced graphics post-processing engine on a HDMI cable. The benefits are eye catching:
- Contextual anti-aliasing: removes jaggies without noticeable blur.
- Adaptive resolution scaling: scales native rendered resolution to match display.
- High frame rate support: support frame rates up to 1080p120.
- Sub-1ms lag: game at your dreamed speed.
Contextual Anti-Aliasing (CxAA)
Post-rendering anti-aliasing techniques tend to cause blurring in graphics, especially on sharp edges and small textures. Though available, in most cases, these methods are avoided due to the low-level of visual acuity.
The mCable does not suffer from the blurring problem. The anti-aliasing approach used by the mCable takes into consideration the context where each pixel element is in the rendered image. In fact, from an image restoration perspective, anti-aliasing for edges and textures needs to adapt to their context to provide both natural smoothness and high-resolution details. That is what makes Marseille’s Contextual Anti-Aliasing (CXAA) so special.
Edge blurring actually can be minimized if edge orientation is taken into account. In addition, texture blurring can be avoided if anti-aliasing is adaptive to texture.
The following pictures show the remarkable difference on the approaches:
CXAA Compared to other Anti-Aliasing Methods
CXAA on the mCable is truly a game-changer. It brings additional capabilities to your gaming console platform without impacting your game play. See how it compares to existing methods:
|Methods||Stage||Quality||Typical FPS* drop||General Availability|
|Super-sampling (SSAA)||@rendering||Best||~50%||Not affordable|
|Multi-sampling (MSAA)||@rendering||Rate dependent (typical: 4x)||~30%||Standard method|
|Morphological (MLAA)||Post-processing||Blurs||5-10%||PC with Radeon card|
|Fast Approximate (FXAA)||Post-processing||Blurs||<5%||PC with Nvidia card|
|Sub-pixel Morphological (SMAA)||Post-processing or Mixed||Good||6-14% (for PP)||No native support|
|Temporal (TXAA)||Mixed||Blurs||~20%||PC with Nvidia card|
|Contextual (CXAA)||Post-processing||Good||None||Through mCable Gamer Edition|
CXAA Performance Benchmark
See it for yourself how CXAA compares visually against results from known AA methods published in . CXAA produces cleaner images without significant blur.
Display lag (latency between input and actual display) is critical to gaming. Less than 40ms is considered good. With sub-1ms latency, the mCable does not have any impact at all on the lag.
TV's Game Mode:
- Largely reduces display lag
- Causes some image degradation
TV's Game Mode + mCable:
- Adds no lag
- Improves graphics quality
Display Lag (measured in ms):
|Mode \ TV||Samsung 4KTV (UN55JU7100FXZA)||Sony 4KTV (XBR-55X900A)||Samsung HDTV (UN55EH6000)|
|Game Mode OFF (Default)||115.7~116.2||141.0~141.1||56.6~56.7|
|Game Mode ON||21.3~21.5||40.8~41.0||40.0~40.1|
|Game Mode ON + mCable||21.4~21.6||41.0~41.3||40.3~40.4|
Test drive on Game Consoles
GAME CONSOLE SETUP:
Set console to display the rendered resolution of the game without upscaling.
- PS 3: Settings -> Game Settings -> PS Upscaler = Off
- XBOX 360: Settings -> Console Settings -> Display Settings = 720p*
* Look for info on disc back cover. Usually 720p for most XBOX 360 games.
Cropped 480x436 side-by-side comparison from PS3 as viewed on a HDTV:
Cropped 480x436 side-by-side comparison from XBOX360 as viewed on a HDTV:
This article is meant to give you enough background information so you can be an expert at home and understand the main concepts around video:
- Frame rate
- Progressive Vs Interlaced
- TV and source devices ecosystem
It also discusses how to configure resolution and frame rate to get the best picture quality out of your video ecosystem at home.
|AVR||Audio Video Receiver|
|FPS||Frames Per Second|
|Full HD||Full High Definition (1080p)|
|HD||High Definition (720p, 1080p)|
|HDMI||High Definition Multimedia Interface|
|SD||Standard Definition (480p, 576p)|
- Pixel: a picture element, usually made of 3 color components/subpixels (R: red, G: green, B: blue). If you look at your HDTV at home with a magnifying glass, you'll see a myriad of red, green and blue subpixels, each RGB triplet representing a pixel.
- Frame Rate: this is the number of frame per seconds in a video signal (also expressed in units of Hz which is the same). Note the frame rate may vary as the signal is going from its source to a TV: for instance a movie may be streamed at 24Hz by Netflix, but then output at 60Hz by your AppleTV to your TV, and last but not least displayed to you at 120Hz by your TV.
- Resolution: the number of pixels in an image, expressed as width x height. E.g. 1920x1080 is Full HD, and it contains 1920x1080=2,073,600 pixels (~2 megapixels).
- Upscaling: converting video images from a given resolution to a bigger resolution. There is a wide range of available algorithms to perform this conversion, not all of them implementable in real-time in a consumer electronic equipment.
- Source device: an equipment you use at home to send video to your TV. For instance a set-top box, a streaming box, a computer...
Scan Mode: progressive / interlaced
Interlaced is a legacy technology slowly disappearing. It is only found today in TV broadcast as 480i and 1080i.
Interlaced consists in filming and transporting video as a sequence of fields. Each field is half an image, with half of the lines missing.
If you compare 1080p to 1080i at 60Hz:
- 1080p is 60 1920x1080 frames per second
- 1080i is 60 1920x540 fields per second, even fields contain even lines (0,2, ..., 1918) and odd fields contain odd lines (1, 3, ..., 1919)
If you read somewhere that 1080i and 1080p are the same resolution, that's not exactly true, and if you read that they are the same quality, that's definitely not true. Vertically 1080i has only half the resolution of 1080p (in fact broadcasting/streaming 1080i takes exactly half the bandwidth of 1080p, which is why it was chosen by some broadcasters originally). De-interlacing algorithms are used to convert interlaced content into progressive content: they can do a pretty good job when there is little motion in the content (achieving almost the same perceived quality as 1080p), but usually fail with content that has a lot of motion (some high end de-interlacers handle motion better, but the result still falls short of real 1080p quality).
Old CRT TVs use an interlaced scan pattern to display content to you, they display even lines, and then on the next scan they display odd lines, and so on. So on a 60Hz CRT you would get a half image (vertically: odd or even lines only, alternating on every scan) every 1/60th of a second.
All TVs made today are progressive. They may be able to accept interlaced content as input, but the display technology is progressive. If an HDTV is a 60Hz TV, then you get a full 1920x1080 image every 1/60th of a second.
Most common resolutions, by order or increasing size:
|Progressive or interlaced|
|little HD||720p||1280x720||Progressive only|
|Full HD||1080p, 1080i||1920x1080||Progressive or interlaced|
|4K / UHD||2160p||3840x2160
Bigger resolution is always better, but it always needs to be kept in check with screen size and viewing distance. What really matters to people is pixel density.
It is obvious that the more pixels you have per square inch of your TV panel, the more details you'll be able to see, and the closer you'll be able to sit in front of your TV without pixelation (when individual pixels become visible).
Now you also need to be aware that the resolution might vary depending on where you are in the video path.
For instance DVD content has a resolution of 720x480 (DVD standard). Most DVD players will output a version of the content upscaled to 1920x1080 when sending it to say a 4KTV over HDMI, then the 4KTV will actually display an upscaled image of 3840x2160 resolution to you.
The native resolution of a TV is the number of pixels it physically has on its panel. When you're watching some show or movie on a 1080p TV, you are always watching a resolution of 1920x1080, no matter what input resolution came in through HDMI (or Ethernet if you have a smart TV).
When you are the end of the video chain like the TV, for a given input resolution like 1920x1080, not all signals are equal in picture quality:
- Your 1080p may be pristine, if it was shot in 1080p or higher, edited as 1080p, then carried to the TV without ever being downscaled.
- Your 1080p may be in fact coming from a DVD source or even worse a resolution smaller than SD from YouTube.
Why have a bigger resolution TV if you're only giving it lower resolution content? Now this is an old debate that was quickly ended by good SD to HD upscaling.
Back when HD came out, there was no HD content available. People argued that if you took an SD TV and an HD TV of the same diagonal size side by side and you fed the same SD input video to them, you would not really be able to tell the difference, because you "can't create what is not there to begin with".
Well this concern has been proven wrong by good upscaling technology. Even with no HD content available, HDTVs had two big advantages: better picture quality, which in turn allowed for bigger TV sizes (due to the increase in pixel density).
Today the exact same thing is happening between HDTVs and UHDTVs, and the feared lack of 4K content. There is no question that a 4KTV will give you better picture quality, even with 1080p content.
The world is split into 50Hz (e.g. Europe) and 60Hz (e.g. U.S.A.) countries. This is the base frequency for TV and broadcasting infrastructure in these countries.
|Frame Rate + Scan Mode||Description|
|24p||Film, movies de-facto standard since the 1920s|
|25p||Derives from the PAL television standard of 50i. Film and television companies shoot in 25p in 50Hz countries for better compatibility with television field and frame rates.|
|30p||Some films are shot at 30FPS, which offer less judder than 24p in 60Hz countries.|
|50i||standard video field rate for PAL and SECAM|
|60i||standard video field rate for NTSC|
|100p/120p||High end HDTVs, UHDTVs|
|200p/240p||High end HDTVs, UHDTVs|
TVs have a native frame rate, e.g. a U.S. TV may have one of these native frame rates: 60Hz, 120Hz, 240Hz.
|Provider||Content resolution and frame rate|
|HD Broadcasting (DSL, cable, satellite)||
720p and 1080i. Some HD channels are broadcasted in 720p, others in 1080i. Both resolutions have their positives and negatives, and many people will argue that one is better than the other. There is no clear answer, except for the common agreement that:
Only Dish and DirecTV offer 1080p24 for Video on Demand.
Netflix and Amazon use dynamically variable compression bitrate and resolution (they change almost seamlessly while you're watching your show) which means you'll get the best quality you can given your internet bandwidth. You can get all the way to 1080p if you have a good bandwidth (above 4.5 Mbps) but ISP speed index in U.S.A. published by Netflix is below 4 Mbps.
So most people are getting 720p at best.
Hulu uses static 720p.
Frame rates are always below 30Hz.
Some common source devices:
|Source device||Output resolution and frame rate|
Most set-top boxes only let you chose statically between 720p50/60 and 1080i50/60 output.
Some boxes offer a 1080p output. If you're only watching 720p and 1080i, you're better off letting your TV convert them to 1080p, it will most likely do a better job. 1080p output only makes sense for those set-top boxes that can receive 1080p24 for Video on Demand (Dish, DirecTV).
Better boxes give you the ideal option of automatic or native, meaning 1080i channels are output as 1080i, and 720p channels are output as 720p. That's hands down the best solution.
|Roku box, AppleTV, FireTV||
Depending on the model: 720p60 or 1080p60 (or 2160p24 for Roku 4).
But this is a static choice. This means the output resolution and frame rate once configured will be the same no matter what channel you're watching.
The unfortunate thing is that content is most of the time streamed at 24Hz, yet output at 60Hz, creating judder on the TV.
|Roku stick||Can do 1080p24|
This box lets you choose to output native frame rate and resolution, while converting 480i to 480p.
This means for instance it will output 720p for Hulu but 1080p for Netflix.
Who should upscale, when applicable?
When the native resolution of the content is smaller than the native resolution of the TV, someone has to upscale the resolution somewhere.
Traditionally there are 3 possible places:
- The source device may have an upscaler
- If there is an AVR in the setup, it may have an upscaler as well.
- The TV has an upscaler
Whoever has the better upscaler should be used for upscaling.
This will require configuring some of your equipment, for instance turning off the upscaler in the source device and AVR if you want to use the TV's upscaler only.
Who should perform frame rate conversion, when applicable?
The answer is easier here: always let the TV do the frame rate conversion.
All U.S. source devices capable of playing movies are by definition capable of converting 24Hz to 60Hz through a process called 3:2 pull-down (60 = 24 x 2.5). Indeed until recently, 60Hz was the only frame rate of TVs sold in the U.S. This method introduces significant juddering in the video (even frames are repeated 3 times, odd frames are repeated twice).
Today, TVs with a refresh rate of 120Hz or even 240Hz can do a much better job of converting 24Hz content to their display refresh rate because it is an integer multiple of 24Hz:
- 120 = 24 x 5
- 240 = 24 x 10
Due to limits of HDMI, and of HDMI implementations, 120Hz and 240Hz frame rates are almost never used over HDMI (with the exception of 120Hz for gaming).
A normal Blu-ray player for instance will not send 120Hz to a TV. In fact most 120Hz and 240Hz TVs, while they clearly can refresh the physical panel at this rate, may be incapable of receiving such frame rates over HDMI.
TVs have much better algorithms as well as simpler solutions (given that their native frame rate is a multiple of 24) to perform the best frame rate conversion.