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Windows 7: File quality worse in 7MC than WMP/MPC

30 Oct 2009   #1

W7 Pro x64
File quality worse in 7MC than WMP/MPC

Short version: When I play files in 7MC, they look less detailed, less sharp, and the colors are more muted, than when I play the exact same file in WMP or MPC-HC.

Longer version and backstory: I installed Gabestís Matroska Splitters for x64 and made the registry changes to get .mkv files to work in 7MC, per this. First thing I noticed was that my 720p AVC file looked not HD. I then booted up MPC-HC and resized the window to the same size as my 7MC window, and switched back and forth between the two. In 7MC, the colors are flatter, less vibrant, and the image looks softer, and not as sharp, while MPC has really vivid (almost too vivid) colors, darker blacks, and the most important part, the image just looks sharper. Like higher resolution. Like what I should expect out of 720p content. With the frame paused, in MPC, I can see pixel edges and jaggies, but not in 7MC, so it looks like perhaps some post processing or anti-aliasing is going on. I also want to note that it appears this problem also occurs with XviD .avi files, but NOT live HD TV (that looks sharper than the 720p files). Finally, I decided to test out WMP, and the image looks much, much more closer to MPC, than 7MC (the image is clearly sharp. The colors are not identical, but fairly close. Perhaps there is a color profile difference between the two players).

So, any idea how to get 7MC to make these files look as good as the other players?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2009   #2

W7 Pro x64

Found out the color difference. It's a 0-255, 16-235 issue there. I can't get MPC to show the 16-235 range without changing the output to EVR Custom, and when I do that, it seems like hardware acceleration turns off as the picture gets choppy and laggy. But that is a different topic.

Back to the point, anyone know why 7MC is still less sharp than MPC and WMP? Any idea how 7MC renders file playback?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2009   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

I realize you prefer a minimalistic approach.

Should you ever decide to verture into the darkside the Win7codecs has a builtin Media Center tweak for 0-255, 16-235 issues which is activated upon openning the settings interface using administrative rights. It isnt active by default because the application needs to detect that you have Media Center. If you output to a TV you would be required to make that adjustment on the Config TAB accordingly. Also specific to Media Center is another feature found on the Config TAB for Sharpening Media Center output as depicted in the attached pic. To use the Win7codecs you would be required to undo your minimalistic install(s) to the best of your ability before installing the codec package.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

05 Nov 2009   #4

W7 Pro x64

Issue isn't getting 7MC to show the right colors. It is MPC. But that's off topic here. I may get desperate and try your codecs (after I make a backup image of my current drive configuration), but it isn't clear to me that it will fix the problem. Seems odd that this is only happening to me. I'm thinking it may just be my average integrated graphics (HD 3200/780G). I'm considering getting a stand alone card due to a couple other issue, and this may help 7MC (and most likely make EVR customs not slow to a halt in MPC). A faster processor may also help in lieu of a graphics update, but I really don't want a processor that consumes more energy than what I already have (Athlon 64 X2 5400+ 65W black edition). Plus my scythe ninja 2 heatsink fan was a pain to get on.

So is there any chance that what I'm seeing (the lower quality file playback in 7MC) is a hardware issue? The other hardware issues I have are choppy live TV HD playback when I have a guide or menu overlayed, 1080p and other really high quality files are choppy in MPC (when they played fine in MPC XP SP3), EVR Customs output is choppy when default works fine. I am under the impression that either a processor or graphic upgrade will help those issues, and perhaps 7MC is somehow scaling back the detail or something based on these average hardware components. Is that plausible? or is it more likely a codecs issue? or something else?

I'll get some screenshots for comparison purposes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2009   #5

W7 Pro x64

Here are 4 screenshots. It may help if you open them in tabs, and go back and forth so you can see the difference. At least to me, it is obvious the detail is a lot less on the 7mc files (less sharp, blurred, lower seeming resolution). It isn't dramatic, but it is very noticeable, especially when scaled up fullscreen. Has anyone else even noticed this on their setup? Can it be replicated, or am I the only one having issues (that would be odd, but not unheard of)?

Attached Thumbnails
File quality worse in 7MC than WMP/MPC-7mc-capture2.png   File quality worse in 7MC than WMP/MPC-mpc-capture2.png  
Attached Images
File quality worse in 7MC than WMP/MPC-1.7mc-capture-1.png File quality worse in 7MC than WMP/MPC-1.mpc-capture1.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 File quality worse in 7MC than WMP/MPC

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