Tests for clarity on PULP FICTION show what I call the VERTICAL BLIND
effect. You see distortions in small patches of that movie in different
scenes. They resemble blurry lines on an image that are like looking
through vertical blinds on a window. PowerDVD also shows these about
equally to VaroDVD. Cinemaster and WinDVD are a bit cleaner. To see the
effect for yourself, go to the scene where Travolta calls up Lance to
say Uma Thurman has OD'd and he is coming over. While Lance is talking
on the phone, look at the CEREAL BOWL he is eating out of. Watch it as
the camera moves. That is one of several scenes that shows the effect
even on set-top players. Some show it more or less, but it caught my eye
more on VaroDVD. The effect is actually a flaw in PULP FICTION. It is a
great movie, but a poor DVD. A lot of focus and DE-interlace issues on
it. The other PULP FICTION test is the GOLD-WATCH scene. It was
generally OK in that scene, but the BLIND effect shows on Walken's chin
some, along with some focus loss.
The Playback controls are one area of video performance that I can't
fault. The Fast-Forward and Rewind are flat out beautiful. Smooth,
clear, and good even on problem titles. The RIGHT-CLICK option I
mentioned in the INTERFACE section is really neat for FF/RW control.
With it, you can select speeds ranging from 1/8 normal (slow forward)
on up to 8x normal (Very fast)! And the playback is smooth and fluid
in all of them.(Note: You MUST use the right-click to get the SLOW
speed settings. Left clicking will only cycle the FAST settings).
Prior to this review, I thought the Cinemaster players would stay as the
undisputed Playback controls champion. VaroDVD positively blows away
all others, and it does it without Hardware Acceleration! One can only
wonder how good it would be with some good Motion Compensation smoothing
out the playback.