Superbit Upconversion with the Toshiba XA2

I was curious to see what a “Superbit” (high bit rate SD) movie would look like on my XA2.

A little history here, first:

Sony marketed the “Superbit” DVD format back around 2001-03 as a way to view SD DVD at higher (improved) bit rates. To use the higher bit rates, the “extras” on most DVD’s were eliminated in order to give the increased bit rate more room. The sound was also improved utilizing Dolby 5.1 Surround and DTS surround. Both modes sound great. The end result was an improved picture, some quite dramatic, with quality audio.

“Lawrence of Arabia” was my first purchase ($10 bucks, new). The intro sound I chose was DTS, 5.1 surround. Absolutely killer! The picture was absolutely stunning at 1080p up converted on my XA2. If you are a “Lawrence” fan, “Superbit” is the best way to currently view the best picture (Oscar) of 1962!

I’ve since purchased a number of other Superbit titles, with the end result being a near HD quality picture/sound/experience. Pretty cool… :cool:

Sony discontinued the “Superbit” titles in 2003, as they did not want it to compete against their Bluray format. (Thanks, Sony…:sad:)

While “Superbit” is not “HD”, it can give you a tremendous viewing experience if you have a decent SD upconverting DVD player to take advantage of the improved bit format. My HD XA2 fills this need really well. Check out the “Superbit” titles on Amazon. They are CHEAP! :slight_smile:

Here is a chart explaining the difference between Superbit vs standard DVD.

Basically Superbit optimizes DVD space by adding more bitrate to the main movie and eliminates extra features.

But I’m one that believe bitrate can make a difference. By DVD specs, the video bitrate is max 9.8 mb/s but in reality Superbit reaches 7-8 mb/s (while most dvd ~ 5-6 mb/s). Compared to HD DVD max 29.4 mb/s and Blu-ray 40 mb/s, and in reality we see around 20 to 30-ish mb/s, the Superbit is no where near the hidef format especially in a large screen system. Also if you have the right sound system, the difference between multi-channel PCM and other High Definition audio is significant to your ear compared to max DD or DTS 5.1 offer by Superbit or DVD.

Nevertheless, Highwayman101, I would be interested if you can compare the same movie tiitle both in Superbit and HD DVD on your XA2. :wink:

I think that Superbit really pre-dates most of the current variable bitrate compression tools. So the visible difference between a superbit and any well-mastered current DVD is small or non-existent. I’ve seen bursts of 10Mb/sec on lots of DVDs that were well mastered and compressed.

Like anything else, it has more to do with the skills and equipment of the people making the DVD than it does with the total bitrate. Granted, there are some examples of longer films, or high-action films that need higher average bitrates, but these are the exception. We also see some films released in 2-disc versions that eliminate the extras on the movie disc.

I’d expect to see examples of non-Superbit movies that exceed the PQ of some Superbit films, and vice versa. The question of upscaling to 1080 does present more of a challenge though, and the Superbit may in some cases have more to work with, though this is not a certainty.