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[RELEASE] Aeon Nox 2.0 (deprecated) - Printable Version

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- Mindzai - 2011-06-02

Well for what it's worth I run Aeon Nox on 2 different TVs, 2 different monitors and a laptop and it looks great the way it is on all of them. I would personally be against brightening the whole interface up, the darkness is part of what makes the skin so nice. A second theme would seem like the best alternative perhaps?.

@AeonNoxFan. There's not really any need to be so rude is there? This is a public forum, everyone has as much right as you to post their opinions.

- BigNoid - 2011-06-02

@Aeon Nox Fan: It's okay if you think the panels are too dark, you're welcome to improve them and I'll be happy to include it as a theme.
That being said, I'm not going to brighten the panels as I know that on a properly calibrated tv everything looks exactly as it was meant to look. I'd appreciate it if this discussion ends here.

- AeonNoxFan - 2011-06-02

Edit June 2nd, 2011: Turns out that the extreme darkness is due to an Intel graphics output bug under Linux, causing it to output the desktop as 0-255 instead of 16-235, leading to crushed blacks and overly bright whites, which together with an already dark skin makes the graphics incredibly dark; if this affects you, see the discussion on page 163 for details (in particular this post).

@Mindzai: The only reason for my rude response to Choque was that he questioned what I was saying and called me out, saying I should "calibrate my TV", without him understanding what he was talking about whatsoever.

@Big_Noid: It's not an issue of calibration.

Let me quickly explain it:

Computer monitors display colors in the 0-255 range; they are mapped so that 0 is the darkest black and 255 is the brightest white.

TVs display colors in the 16-235 range (7.5 ire black, 100 ire white); they are mapped so that 16 is the darkest black and 235 is the brightest white. Colors that are darker than 16 or brighter than 235 are *guaranteed* to be crushed by the TV, and displayed as all-one-color; either pure black or pure white. This is the color range used for all broadcast TV, all movies, etcetera.

To compound that issue, all TV sets, projectors, plasmas, etc, usually have further crushed blacks to bring up the contrast and make the image "pop". This can be lessened with calibration of course, but it's another issue to compound the problem.

When you set up your Home Theater PC for movie playback, those movies are *all* in the broadcast range of 16-235.

For that reason, my projector calibration is properly set so that 16 is black and 235 is white. That way, I get consistent brightness whether I switch my input to my TV, a games console, the HTPC, a DVD/BD player, or anything else. These devices *all* output colors in the 16-235 range. You can read more on it here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1090642

Right color range (16-235), TV/video/movie colors, note how everything below 16 is pitch black and everything above 235 is 100% white:

Wrong color range (0-255), computer colors:

The black theme was designed by someone that doesn't understand this, and the brightness range is therefore illegal and will appear crushed on any display calibrated for the proper 16-235 range used by broadcast TV, movies, games consoles, DVD/BD players, etc. It's as simple as that.

Now, as for the suggestion that I fix it, I have no time right now to get into the XBMC skinning specifics, even though it looks easy. Fixing this design issue should be as simple as finding out how to extract the xbt textures, opening all of them in Photoshop, closing the ones that don't have anything to do with dialogs, then applying a batch processing to the rest that clamps their color range to 16-235 (via the Levels tool, as I described in the previous post).

This will be the last thing I say on the subject. At least everyone can read this and either learn from this or ignore it, either one is fine by me. Wink You can even (rightly) call me arrogant and a giant <insert curse word here>. I am fine with that. But you can't call me wrong.

Oh and nVidia's Linux driver actually has a setting for 16-235 output of a 0-255 desktop, which automatically corrects the output to 16-235, but that's only for nVidia. I'm on Intel. The thought *has* crossed my mind to switch to nVidia though, since they take video vastly more seriously than Intel. nVidia has support for fractional framerates such as 29.97 (NTSC 30), 23.976 (NTSC 24p) and so on, which leads to completely judder-free playback without any need to duplicate/drop frames to stay in sync. They also have better LPCM-over-HDMI-out (digital surround sound over the same cable as the one you connect to your receiver) and less driver bugs. The latter is about to change with Intel though, as I've got one of the Intel graphics guys working on better autosensing of HDMI-1.3a Audio ELD-EDID data and better autodetection of EDID refresh rates. I'll announce when that's ready. The Intel driver will become vastly improved when that's done, and all Intel users will be able to enjoy multichannel LPCM surround over the HDMI out, instead of having to resort to third-party soundcards or nVidia cards.

- BigNoid - 2011-06-02

What you are saying is correct, for standard definition material. All hd material is 0-255 and all hd players have an option to enable full rgb range.
Also your htpc should have an option for this and it should be set to 0-255 color range, provided that you have an hd tv.

- AeonNoxFan - 2011-06-02

Big_Noid Wrote:What you are saying is correct, for standard definition material. All hd material is 0-255 and all hd players have an option to enable full rgb range.
Also your htpc should have an option for this and it should be set to 0-255 color range, provided that you have an hd tv.

Blu-ray is encoded at 16-235 just like all other video. It's part of the spec. It has support for the 0-255 color range, but you won't find any studios releasing movies like that since the extended 0-255 range is not intended for video material, it is intended for driving computer displays. All standalone BD players output in 16-235 by default.

As for the output setting to make the HTPC output as 16-235, not sure you saw my post before I added the note at the end about nVidia being the only people on the Linux side that have a 16-235 output mode for the graphics card. Undecided Such a setting does indeed fix the problem and make the HTPC output conform to the standard of what the receiver and projector expects. It's kind of bad though, adding a power-gobbling standalone graphics card to solve something that's fixable by slightly brightening the graphics resources. The graphics would still be very dark for those users that want it dark and already like it how it is, but it wouldn't be so dark that you can't see controls when the display is calibrated for 16-235.

It's possible that autosensing drivers on the Windows side will automatically output as 16-235 when it detects that you've attached a "TV-type device" to the HDMI/DVI port, which would indeed ensure that users with such a setup don't even notice any problems, since the 0-255 desktop range will be transformed to 16-235 when it leaves the computer, thereby ensuring that blacks are not crushed.

- AeonNoxFan - 2011-06-02

Here is the HDMI/DVI 1.3a specification:


Look on page 96:

"Black and white levels for video components shall be either “Full Range” or “Limited Range.” YCBCR components shall always be Limited Range while RGB components may be either Full Range or Limited Range. While using RGB, Limited Range shall be used for all video formats defined in CEA-861-D."

It explicitly states that all video content must be in the 16-235 range.

- AeonNoxFan - 2011-06-02

Oh gee, I know what's going on now. I read up on what Windows does, and it's indeed as I suspected:

* Graphics cards under Windows will auto-detect that they are not hooked up to a Computer monitor, and will output the proper 16-235 range instead. Result: The 0-255 range of this skin will be compressed to 16-235, so that black is at 16 and white is at 235. This ensures that your TV/receiver/projector/plasma/etc will get the proper color range and you won't see any problem with crushed blacks in the skin.

* Under Linux, only nVidia offers that feature. Therefore the skin is being output as 0-255 for me, and this of course leads to the completely crushed blacks. Solutions are either 1) fix the skin, 2) get a nVidia display adapter instead (not gonna do that, it draws up too much electricity for a 24/7 system, and for very little gain), 3) poke my guy at Intel to add a 16-235 output mode for the Linux driver.

I recently migrated from Windows to a low-electricity, powerful Linux HTPC for 24/7 operation as a media center and fileserver. It's been great apart from just finding out that the Intel drivers output in full range when they should output in 16-235 range.

I am gonna try #3 in a few weeks when I talk to him again.

- BigNoid - 2011-06-02

This is starting to look like avs forum Wink
I always thought hd material had full range, looks like I was wrong. But that shouldn't matter if you have calibrated your tv. The whole purpose of calibrating is to avoid having crushed blacks and too bright whites.

- Japaja - 2011-06-02


- AeonNoxFan - 2011-06-02

Big_Noid Wrote:This is starting to look like avs forum Wink
I always thought hd material had full range, looks like I was wrong. But that shouldn't matter if you have calibrated your tv. The whole purpose of calibrating is to avoid having crushed blacks and too bright whites.

Haha, I'm an AVSForum member. You seem to have some sort of AV-geek-radar. Big Grin Okay it was pretty obvious, hehe.

Anyway, calibrating the projector's brightness and gamma for 0-255 will mean that all my standalone consoles, DVD/BD players, TV tuners, etc will look incorrect (gray and washed out) since they are in the 16-235 range.

However, as it turned out, I figured out why you have no problem on your display. Windows drivers automatically transform the output to 16-235 when they detect a non-computer-display hooked up.

On the Linux side, there is no such thing. This is the situation for Linux:
* nVidia: Offers a manually selected 16-235 output mode in their configuration tool.
* Intel Integrated Graphics BEFORE HD2000/HD3000-range (meaning the old Intel iXXX-series): Offers 16-235 output via the setting: "xrandr --output HDMI[12] --set BROADCAST_RGB 1". This defaults to 0 (0-255 mode), and should be set to 1 when the output is connected to an non-computer display.
* Intel Integrated HD2000/HD3000 range: Lacks the BROADCAST_RGB setting in the driver, and does no autosensing either, so it always outputs in 0-255 mode, which leads to the crushed blacks and no way of fixing them.

I'll be poking the Intel graphics coder about adding back BROADCAST_RGB, as well as autosensing and setting it to 1 automatically if the display is not a computer monitor. That way it will do the right thing and match what Windows does, and properly output the HTPC stuff in the correct 16-235 range. When that's done, the skin will render nicely and won't look crushed.

In the meantime, I'll have to live with the problem of not being able to see the skin checkboxes/switches/etc at all. Hmm, actually, I'll set up a projector preset that brightens everything and switch back and forth when going from HTPC to other devices. It'll tide me over while waiting. Wink

Oh and if the skin hadn't used such dark blacks, I wouldn't have discovered this Intel 0-255 driver problem on the Linux side. No bad news that doesn't bring good news, I guess? Big Grin

- Choque - 2011-06-02

Even though you were such a jerk you could try the following. Add the following to your xorg.conf under the "Screen" section
Option         "ColorSpace" "YCbCr444"
Don't forget to restart your HTPC after doing that. That will force EVERYTHING (not only the movie but also XBMC itself) to be outputted in the 16-235 color space. You could at least try that. But then again, I talk about stuff I don't understand...

- SpectreX - 2011-06-02

bad post

- Choque - 2011-06-02

SpectreX Wrote:You can select the output range for both Nvidia and Ati under Windows from the Nvidia Control Panel / Ati CCC.
He's using Linux

- fional - 2011-06-02

Choque Wrote:Calibrate your TV and everything is fine. Of course if your TV is not calibrated and the black level is way off you could have problems. I don't have any problem seeing the up/down selectors or checkboxes or whatsoever.

I don't have a problem either. Nox is definitely my favourite skin, after playing with most of the popular ones. It works for me and my needs, I like the dark colours too!

- SpectreX - 2011-06-02

Yeah, i noticed that, that`s why i edited the post. I thought he was originally talking about Windows, but then he said that he made the switch from Win to Linux.
The only solution is to get an Nvidia GPU since those support outputting both 16-235 and 0-255 under Linux.

And the people who are saying that they don`t have any issues with Nox, that`s probably because you have a TV set that supports a 0-255 input (like mine and many others), and that`s the way it is set by default. Windows drivers only switch to 16-235 if the TV does not support 0-255, as far as i know. The drivers on my Zacate platform were on 0-255 from the beginning, no crushed blacks.