I did quite a bit of standby and call out (and a little overtime) in November and December and due to various timings, all my claims got stacked up and paid in February. Which was good news because I needed to pay off the dental work on the visa card and think about organising the rest of it. But it also meant we had a little spare cash, and that was added in to the reduction of my mortgage by £100 and not having to pay council tax this month. So I decided to do my bit to end the recession by spending and not saving1.
After wavering a lot recently about Blu-Ray, and deciding not to get a PS3 when I finally did go for Blu-Ray but to get a dedicated player, I did a complete about-face this morning. Playstation 3 bought from Tesco (proof that supermarket points schemes work, price was roughly the same as other places, but we get points at Tesco that we can buy food with when the vouchers come through). I also bought the Matrix Blu-Ray set (needed something to watch on it), and we got LittleBigPlanet free with the PS3.
Got it all home, disconnected the optical audio from the Sky+ box and plugged it into the Playstation2, and it was all up and running. The PS3 did some updates (two, I think), and LittleBigPlanet tried to do some, but it got a big confusing, and then finally worked.
We watched bits of the Matrix and were awed by the clarity and the colour and the detail. I also put our original DVD Matrix in and tried it with and without the PS3 upscaling. I even took some photo’s to try and show people how clear Blu-Ray is, because I can’t find any good examples online. While I was looking at the photo’s I noticed the Matrix Blu-Ray pictures were a totally different colour to the DVD. Seriously, much more blue and green. I was a little worried, was that normal?
Then I played LittleBigPlanet for an hour or so – looks like it might be fun. Between levels the screen goes fully white though and after that hour I was getting a headache.
We eventually settled on watching the Matrix tonight to really see how good Blu-Ray was, and to try and convince myself the colours were okay.
And then I remembered – our TV sets preferences on a per-input basis, so the HDMI2 channel we were watching the PS3 through was set to all the defaults. Those defaults include Backlight set to 100, Contrast and Colour are also pretty high. On my regular setup I run Backlight set to 20 (yes, 1/5th of the default) and Contrast and Colour differently. In fact, I don’t use any of the TV defaults. I set them through a lot of playing around when we first got the TV and again recently using a THX calibration section of the Star Wars DVD’s, so I’m pretty happy with how they look, and they don’t give us headaches.
Setting those values on HDMI2 has left us with a much kinder Blu-Ray image and none of the retina burning sensation that the defaults give you. Also, some searching online showed that the 2004 DVD for The Matrix (and also the Blu-Ray print) have a different colour setup compared to the original DVD release which is the one we own. So, those two things together make me much happier, the on-screen image is now less obviously different, and where it is different I know it’s because the print is different this time around.
If you were ever wondering, can upscaling DVD players really give you Blu-Ray quality images – the answer is no. Maybe with newer DVD’s that were created with upscaling in mind they may come closer, but comparing the original Matrix release and the Blu-Ray release is like comparing the granularity of gravel and sand.
Really pleased with it. Also glad I bought surround sound first, rather than Blu-Ray.