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VIDEO TEST PATTERN DVD

The test pattern DVD available on this site turns an ordinary DVD player into a fairly sophisticated video test pattern generator. The disc contains most of the classic test patterns used to align and adjust TV sets back in the "good old days". As such, it can be used to obtain the best picture possible from your vintage television. Getting the disc is easy-you simply download a file containing all the components necessary to make the disc, and then burn those components to a blank DVD disc with your computer.

A BIT OF HISTORY.......

I first tried to make a similar disc available about two years ago, but the whole effort turned into a bit of a fiasco. The original disc I had made was a very nice disc, with test patterns, video clips, and sine, square, and triangle wave audio tones at various frequencies. The finished disc worked fine in all my home disc players, and I offered to send it for free to anyone who provided a large envelope with postage. Several people took me up on this offer, and I sent two or three discs out to the earliest requestors, and gave a couple more to fellow enthusiasts who I knew locally.

A couple of these people soon reported back to me that the discs they were given did not work properly. I then tried a sample disc on all the DVD players at a local consumer electronics store, and discovered that the disc did not work properly on about 40-50% of the players I tried it on. Damn!

To make a long story short, I was forced to halt distribution of the discs and after some research, ultimately came to the conclusion that: (A) There were a significant number of disc players out there that could not reliably play DVDs made on a computer, and (B) There were features on the disc I had created that were not compatible with some DVD players (I later discovered that this was due in part to some bugs in the software I had used to author the DVD).

As a result, many people who had requested the discs never got them, and some of those who did get them couldn't use them. What a mess! I put the project on the back burner, with the intention of fixing all these problems.

Now, it's two years later, and things are different. New DVD players are now a lot more compatible with writeable discs made on a computer, and the authoring software used to create the DVDs has gotten quite a bit better as well. Almost every new computer sold now has the capability to make DVDs. Everything in general has become less expensive and better.

With that in mind, I've taken another stab at this, and have ironed out all the difficulties that I experienced a couple of years ago. I have simplified the disc, taking out the video clips and audio features, and have tried it on many players, and can definitely say that all the incompatibility issues are gone now. Gone too is the clumsy distribution-by-mail method that I tried to do previously.....Anyone with a computer equipped with a DVD burner should be able to make as many of these test pattern discs as they want with the files downloaded from this site!

 

REQUIREMENTS:

PC or MacIntosh with a drive capable of burning DVDs.
Software loaded on the above PC or Mac capable of creating and writing video DVDs and/or DVD ISO image files.
At least one blank writeable DVD disc.
The video test pattern DVD file(s) downloaded from this site.
A stand-alone DVD player with up/down/left/right navigation controls, capable of playing writeable DVD discs (Almost all DVD players made in the last two years or so will meet these requirements)
A TV to test the finished disc on.

HOW TO MAKE THE DISC:

First of all, you will need to download a file containing all the disc components from this site. The file is about 7 MB in size and can be downloaded in about an hour if you have dial-up internet access, or in just a few minutes if you have broadband. There are two different files available, only one of which you will need to download. The file you use will depend on your circumstances and preferences. If your DVD burning software is capable of making DVDs from ISO disc images, then you will probably want to select file #2-that is easiest way to do it in most cases. If you don't have the capability to burn ISO images, or you are uncertain, then you will probably want to download file #1 instead-It will work with almost ANY software that can make video DVDs.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FILE #1

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FILE #2(ISO DISC IMAGE)

PROCEDURE IF YOU USE FILE #1:

The file that is downloaded is a zip file that contains all the components that are to be burned to the disc. You need to unzip the file using your preferred unzipping program. (Windows XP has the unzipping capability built-in) If your unzipper has an option to preserve the directory structure, make sure it is enabled when you unzip the file.

Once unzipped, you should then have a folder named VIDEO_TS. If you open the folder, it should have a whole bunch of files with names beginning with "VTS"

The disc writing software that you use will determine the exact procedure for making the disc. You will need to use the procedure for making Video DVDs that is relevant to the software you have. I will describe the procedure using "Nero Express" which comes as a part of the Nero 6 Ultra Edition software package. Other software packages will work in a somewhat similar way.

Start the DVD burning software. Select the option to make a Video DVD.

You will then be presented with a window that looks something like this:

Drag and drop the VIDEO_TS folder from the unzipped file to the window. The size should increase to reflect the added folder as shown below:

Click "Next". Although not required, it is a good practice to give your disc a meaningful name, as shown below.

Insert a blank DVD into your drive, click "Burn", and allow the software to write to the DVD:

In a few minutes the software will finish writing the test DVD:

You can now eject the disc from your burner and try it on your DVD player. If the disc is readable on the player, you should get a screen that looks like this after the disc is inserted:

If you have gotten this far without problems, then your disc is good and you can proceed to the "How to use" section

PROCEDURE IF YOU USE FILE #2:

The file that is downloaded is a zip file that contains an ISO image of the disc to be burned. You need to unzip the file using your preferred unzipping program. (Windows XP has the unzipping capability built-in) If your unzipper has an option to preserve the directory structure, make sure it is enabled when you unzip the file.

Once unzipped, you should then have a single file named TP_DISC.ISO .

The disc writing software that you use will determine the exact procedure for making the disc. You will need to use the procedure for making DVDs from ISO images that is relevant to the software you have. I will describe the procedure using "ImgBurn" which is a free software package that can be downloaded here. Other software packages will work in a somewhat similar way.

Start the DVD burning software. Select File/Browse from the top menu:

Select ISO as the file type, and TP_DISC.ISO as the filename.

Insert a blank DVD into your drive, and click the hard-drive-to-disc icon.

Allow the software to write to the DVD:

In a few minutes the software will finish writing the test DVD:

You can now eject the disc from your burner and try it on your DVD player. If the disc is readable on the player, you should get a screen that looks like this after the disc is inserted:

If you have gotten this far without problems, then your disc is good and you can proceed to the "How to use" section.

HOW TO USE:

Insert the disc into the DVD player and press "Play". After a few moments, the following screen will appear:

The disc is designed to be easily to navigate using only the up/down/right/left arrow, enter and menu buttons on the DVD player's remote control. There are a total of seven pattern selection screens, each of which permits the selection of one out of nine different test patterns (56 different patterns total for the whole disc). To select the pattern you want on the screen, you merely move the up/down/right/left arrow buttons on the DVD remote until the icon of the pattern you want is highlighted in amber, and press the enter button. The selected pattern will then appear on the screen and stay there until one of the two menu buttons on the remote control is pressed.

The rightmost finger icon, when it is highlighted and the enter key is pressed, will move on to the next pattern selection screen. The leftmost finger icon, when it is highlighted and the enter key is pressed, will move on to the previous pattern selection screen. Note that each of the pattern selection screens is set up so that the rightmost finger icon is highlighted by default. This allows quick navigation to the pattern selection screen you want by repeatedly pressing the enter button.

I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about what each pattern is intended to be used for; a detailed explaination of the purpose of each one would consume many more web pages. Some of the patterns are useful for adjusting linearity, some for adjusting convergence, some for pincushion correction, some for resolution and focus adjustments, and some for assessing purity, brightness and color accuracy. A few of the patterns have multiple purposes. Each individual using this disc will develop his or her own personal set of favorite patterns to use when fiddling with vintage TVs.

It should be noted that most of these patterns are "classics" and as such have likely been superceded in the "professional" video world by more contemporary and demanding test patterns as the quality of equipment has gotten better over time. The indian head pattern for example, has a resolution that maxes out at around 400 lines. All modern TV sets that I tried that pattern on displayed every line distinctly-not a very demanding test by contemporary standards, but still good enough for vintage TVs.

The patterns available on the disc:

FIRST MENU:

Multi-function pattern from "Television Analyst" signal generator

Later revision of the above pattern, with more subtle greys

1956 EIA resolution pattern

Test pattern used in much of Europe

Same as above, with greater luminance

Test Pattern used in the UK

RETMA registration pattern

Circular starburst pattern

Orientation pattern from "Television Analyst" signal generator.

SECOND MENU:

Circular Grid Pattern, White

Circular Grid Pattern, Green

Circular Grid Pattern, Blue

Circular Grid Pattern, White

The famous RCA "Indian Head" monoscope test pattern w/ Grey-scale indian head

The famous RCA "Indian Head" monoscope test pattern w/ Monochromatic indian head

Pure Blue

Pure Red

Pure Green

THIRD MENU:

Outdoor photo

Indoor photo #1

Indoor photo #2

Resolution test pattern

Color test pattern

Linearity/Pincushion pattern

Brightness/Contrast adjustment pattern

Horizontal/Vertical linearity alignment pattern

Horizontal/Vertical linearity alignment pattern

FOURTH MENU:

Black and white photo pattern

Grey scale pattern

Convergence alignment pattern

Horizontal/Vertical Linearity pattern

Repetitive resolution pattern

Multiple circular starburst pattern

Greyscale pattern

Black and white photo

Burst pattern

FIFTH MENU:

Color pattern

Grid pattern, white

Grid pattern, red

Grid pattern, green

Grid pattern, blue

Checkerboard pattern

Grid pattern with dots from "Television Analyst" signal generator

R-Y B-Y pattern from "Television Analyst" signal generator

Small/Large dot pattern from "Television Analyst" signal generator

SIXTH MENU:

Cross-line pattern from "Television Analyst" signal generator

NTSC color bar pattern #1

NTSC color bar pattern #2

NTSC color bar pattern #3

NTSC color bar pattern #4

Brightness/Contrast adjustment pattern

Dark to light pattern

Pure white

Pure Grey

SEVENTH MENU:

Repetitive indian heads #1

Repetitive indian heads #2

Large RCA indian head

Pure magenta

Pure yellow

Pure cyan

Negative RCA indian head pattern

Negative EIA pattern

Pure black

Since most DVD players don't have built-in video modulators, you will have to use some sort of external modulator to send the patterns to a vintage TV without video inputs. The most obvious and available source of such a modulator is a VCR, which almost always has video inputs and RF-modulated outputs. A more compact solution is to purchase a modulator designed for home video game consoles from a toy store or video game accessory source and hook it between the DVD player and TV.

The indian head pattern, rendered on my old JVC-built Commodore 1702 monitor.

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