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Author Topic: Theatrical blu-ray issues
Elmer Makkinga
Film Handler

Posts: 1
From: Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, The Netherlands
Registered: Jul 2018

 - posted 07-11-2018 01:14 PM      Profile for Elmer Makkinga   Email Elmer Makkinga   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey everyone, after some equipment changes at my cinema I've been having difficulties getting blu-rays to work properly.
Our setup used to be like this:
Blu-ray player: Denon (don't know the exact type but that doesn't matter) with HDMI and analogue (RCA) video out and 7.1 RCA audio out.
Dolby DMA8+
Dolby CP650
Barco DP2K-15C

The projector hasn't changed, but the CP650 was on the verge of dying, so we replaced it with a Datasat AP25 (slightly newer version of the AP20). We swapped out the Denon blu-ray player for a multiregion Sony BDP-s7200. The plan was to run the sony into the AP20 via HDMI and run a HDMI-DVI cable from the HDMI-out of the AP20 directly into the Barco and use a HDMI-splitter to split to also rout the video into a monitor (a computer screen we had lying around) for the projection booth. Those of you more knowlegable than me have probably already noticed that this wouldn't work, and indeed it did not. It is impossible to get a picture on the monitor and the cinema screen simultaneously this way.
Our better, but still flawed, setup now looks like this: we run the HDMI-out of the AP20 into the Barco ACS-2048 (a video scaler) and connect the two DVI-outputs to the projector and the monitor. Most blu-rays work now, but not all: some have no sound and no picture this way (I suppose that's due to framerate differences?).
Also, the cinema I work for has a strange organisational structure, which means that we work with a lot of inexperienced projectionist with limited training. Therefore, the blu-ray setup must be as reliable and easy to use as possible.

So my question basically comes down to this:

What is the most reliable way of connecting a blu-ray player with only one HDMI output and nothing else to an AP20 audio processor and a digital cinema projector while maintaining the best possible sound and image quality?

Should I buy a HDMI to twin HD-SDI converter and hook that up to the ACS-2048 and an old professional CRT-monitor we still have lying around? (but where will the audio go?)

Should I buy a blu-ray writer and hook it up to decently powerful laptop and use VLC to play blu-rays?

Should I just buy a more professional multiregion blu-ray player? (which one?)

Any other suggestions?

Any help is very much appreciated!


We used to have an Oppo, but the motherboard got fried after an indirect lightning strike
[Frown] [Frown]

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12027
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 07-11-2018 02:17 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Have you asked Oppo if they will repair the old one?

HDMI is a tricky beast at best. The more things on the party line, the greater the likelihood of failure.

You are probably pretty good going from the Blu-ray player to the AP25. If you have an HDCP compatible monitor and plug it directly to the HDMI output of the AP25, things ought to be working that far.

The Barco ACS2048 is an absolute terror on HDCP. When it doubt, it clamps down. So, unless you NEED a scaler for DVDs or something, I'd lose that. The ACS2048 does NOT pass audio and will request, "no audio" too.

So step two is to see if you are clean and reliable from the AP25 to the projector by a direct HDMI to DVI cable. It should be reliable.

Next comes the preview/confidence monitor. You would need a proper HDMI distribution amp and you'd want a monitor that is good with 1080p/24, 1080p/60 and 1080p/60. The Blu-ray player is going going to output the one rate based on the least common denominator and you don't want the monitor sucking down the picture to accommodate.

Not all DA's are alike. Ideally, you would want one that acts as a sink and a source. That is, from the Blu-ray's point of view, the DA IS the monitor/projector and then put the burden on the DA to verify HDCP/EDID. In this way, the Blu-ray (or any source) never has to handle security beyond the DA.

An example of such a DA is Extron's DA2 HD 4K PLUS but it is very expensive, for what it is. There are others as that was just an example. We've had some luck with some Monoprice HDMI DAs that are quite value priced.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3610
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009

 - posted 07-11-2018 05:59 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Make sure your monitor supports 1080p/24 - most computer monitors do not.

Get a small 1080p TV, one that e.g. includes a tuner. Doesn't matter for which TV system, but it needs to be a 'TV', not a computer monitor. Then try the splitter solution again.

The best way for you is to go into the AP25 through HDMI, and from the AP25 out to the Barco. The AP25 does the best job decoding DVD/Bluray Audio in that configuration. We never had HDMI stability issues with our AP20. Make sure you force the Bluray player into necessary formats, that is, disable all auto functions. Going through these player menus and finding useful settings for those exotic parameters can be a pain in the ass, but you should do it.

We have a similar setup, but decided to use an HDMI A/B switch, not a splitter - the idea being that by using an exclusive switch, we make sure that while fiddling in the players menu on the monitor, we are sure that none of that ever reaches the screen. When we want the player image on screen, we activate the switch. After that, we usually have little need to watch the image on the monitor, we see the screen through a porthole from the same position.

As common HDMI switchers/splitters etc. are cheap, we do of course have some on site, but we only use them for special applications. Note that there are some Bluray players with twin HDMI outputs as well. Some of the better Panasonic players allow to shift vertical subtitle position. Otherwise, their GUI is awkward..

- Carsten

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2419
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012

 - posted 07-12-2018 01:29 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've had problems with computer screens that do support 1080@24p, but didn't really support HDCP. Then there were splitters that messed up the HDCP.

So, for screen splitting purposes I'm now mostly using a small LCD TV (Samsung) and the ST122HD4KU splitter from StarTech.

In our screening room we have a somewhat different setup for Blu-Ray presentations, as we want to support HDR and 4K. We're using the AP20 as the sound processor, but since we do have a separate, non-DCI 4K projector and our AP20 doesn't support 4K, we use two HDFury Vertexes:
- The first one splits the signal, one signal gets passed thru, the other one gets downscaled to 1080p. The pass-thru signal goes into the second Vertex, the downscaled signal goes to the monitor TV.
- The second Vertex splits the sound from the signal and passes it to the AP20* and the video signal to a HDMI switch.
The HDMI switch can be controlled via serial and supports 4K.

We use a bunch of scripts to control the OPPO BluRay player, AP20 and HDMI switch in such way, that no menus end up on screen or intro sounds blast through the speakers.

* Disclaimer: There is actually a second HDMI switch there, because we don't only have an AP20 but also an Integra DHC60.7, a bulky, non-rackmountable sound processor that also supports the home cinema versions of Atmos and DTS-X. Unfortunately, the CP-850 doesn't support the home cinema version of Atmos yet and neither does the AP20 support DTS:X...

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12027
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 07-12-2018 06:58 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How sure are you about the CP850 not supporting home-atmos yet? That is not what I've heard.

Note, I've recently run into issues from Atlona switchers and HDBaseT extenders with 4K at 4:4:4 and 12-bit depth. It all claims to do it but in reality, it can't. Each device seems to have its own limitation and when combined Output of the switcher to the HDBaseT extender (both Atlona) forces one to reduce the signal to less than what either could handle on their own.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2419
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012

 - posted 07-12-2018 01:53 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Steve Guttag
How sure are you about the CP850 not supporting home-atmos yet? That is not what I've heard.
On paper it supports "home Atmos" via HDMI. And, to be honest, I haven't tried it for a while now. It is supposed to work since, which was released somewhere back in 2015.

Still, I've tried it a few times with our model once we got it (which was in 2017) and I only ever could get it to detect Dolby TrueHD, but not the Atmos track, whereas the "home cinema receiver" did detect the Atmos track.

Now, the other pickle: The HDMI ports on the CP850 aren't HDMI 2.x ports, so there is no 4K or even HDR. The only Blu-Rays we usually ever play directly from Blu-Ray are the 4K HDR ones.

The Vertex setup is pretty recent, so I could retry it with the Vertexes. But to be honest, I doubt it is really worth the effort to reprogram everything, at least not for a screening room setup. For a fully fledged theater with e.g. 40 or more speakers, the CP850 would obviously outperform any home cinema decoder.

And psst... Generally speaking, although I like an object based sound format as a "delivery vehicle", the net-results of Atmos and DTS:X (compared to "plain old" 7.1 done right) are a little bit overrated. [Wink]

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