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433MXE SKY+ via S-Video, Component and VGA Tests

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by DJP, Feb 17, 2003.

  1. DJP

    DJP
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    I've been doing some comparitive tests between these inputs when using SKY+.

    I was going to wait until I'd had chance to perform the same tests using DVD and also with the 3803 amp (if it ever turns up) before posting these but given that I've been rather busy recently I'd better get down what I've seen so far before I forget ;)

    Okay the set-up;
    Pioneer 433MXE - Calibrated by Gordon (great job Gordon - Thanks)
    SKY+ box
    Denon AVR-3801 Amp
    JS Scart - VGA box
    JS Scart - Component Box
    Assorted reasonable quality leads - mainly Ixos and Profigold.

    Test material was pre-recorded Shrek and Jurrassic Park 3 - both Widescreen versions - and Text services from BBC.

    S-Video - Test was direct connection from SKY+ to S-Video input of the 433MXE.
    S-Video gives suprisingly good results. Some colour bleed was noticed on Text and slight blurring/ringing especially around regions of high contrast change. Overall though very watchable and, unless you really look hard, perfectly acceptable considering the state of most Sky transmissions.

    VGA - Test was Sky+ to JS Scart to VGA box, JS box to VGA input of 433MXE.
    This really gives very good results. Almost no colour bleed or blurring/ringing seen. Pin sharp text. Very slight bleed noticed when the movies were paused around the Sky+ Paused ring.

    Component - Test was Sky+ to JS Scart to component box, JS box to component input of 433MXE.
    Super results. No colour bleed or ringing. Pin sharp text, no bleed noticed around the Sky+ Paused ring.

    Same tests were repeated with different contrast settings just to check that they were valid over a contrast range.

    Same tests repeated when switching through the AVR-3801 amp. In theory there should have been some small degradation but I must admit that I couldn't see it.

    Same tests repeated with Low and Medium contrast setting on the Sky+ box, same result. I know that someone (StooMonster IIRC) commented that Low was better. This may be true but I need to do further tests to compare this. Changing the contrast ratio did not change the order of the three tests above.

    I deliberately tried to avoid looking at Chroma bug issues as this is an artifact of MPEG rather than the inputs and screen. Of course none of these inputs/boxes can cure this issue.

    End result, the winner by a hair is Component. I must admit I was suprised by this as there should be less processing in the Scart to VGA box than in the Scart to component box. In addition there is normally slightly lower bandwidth in UV in comparison to Y or RGB. Thus, the result is counter to what I would have expected.

    Final notes. All of the above were great watchable pictures and should not put people off using any input or either of JS' excellent boxes. In addition, component tolerances may differ between panels resulting in other people obtaining a different result. The differences between VGA and Component were very small. So what have I ended up with, well I'm currently using component switched through the amplifier.

    When I get the 3803 I'll compare the results of upconverting the S-Video to see how this looks.

    Feedback welcomed.

    Derek
     
  2. ncpl

    ncpl
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    Hi Derek,

    Great report again. Thanks for taking the time to a) do it, and b) tell us about it.

    Incidentally, I can now see why you went with the MXE. I popped in to Nexnix this morning and got some great help from the friendly folks down there (Thanks guys).

    However, I didn't come away (just yet) with a purchase as I'd planned to. Why?

    Well, the MXE had been ruled off the list a couple of weeks back when I'd seen a third one that disappointed. I went to Horsham to see the Hitachi 400 and Platara and just sanity check them against the MXE. Only problem was that I thought the MXE looked pretty damned good, even with the S-VHS feed. Their JS RGB-Component feed was not working properly. Obviously, yours must be.

    The Hitachi, contrary to how I had seen it in 7 Oakes, looked somehow wrong. Using DVD, albeit fed with different signals, the guys pointed out some interesting comparisons e.g. slightly better (?different?) colours, maybe a fraction more detail, strangely more/wider picture (more cropped on the MXE) etc But, it was a bit 'grainy' to my eyes.

    However, with SKY RGB, I thought the picture was poor. Maybe it was just revealing the poor source, but, both screens are similar in resolution. therefore, I'd expect both to show the problems. The Hitachi was demonstrably better in some examples using just the composite feed.......very strange. As 95% viewing is Sky, this was not good.

    Lastly, the real killer was........wait for it.....the fan noise. At first, it was OK but the screens had all just been switched on. However, half an hour later, it started up. Whilst I can understand that some folks won't be bothered by it, I could hear it whilst we talked and I was maybe 10ft back. Sure, if you have a loud movie on, you won't hear it, but, low level/late night TV viewing when your whole house gets pretty quiet....no chance.

    Therefore, the MXE is now back on the list. As it is similar money to the new Fuji, I'll still have to check that out more thoroughly before I buy.

    [Joe, have you received yours yet and do you have any feedback ?]

    So, bringing this back to your original thread....thanks again for your notes. If I do end up with an MXE (which is at least 50/50 now), using a VGA converter for Sky, I shall expect good results.

    All the best

    Nick
     
  3. saggio

    saggio
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    Nick, strange about the fan noise on the MXE.
    Mine is on about 3 to 4 hours every evening, the room is at 21deg and in 2 months that I have had the screen the fans never switched on....
    They are set on Auto.

    Giorgio
     
  4. ncpl

    ncpl
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    Giorgio,

    Sorry, my post was not specific about which screen was doing the noise....it was, of course, the Hitachi.

    To demonstrate what the Pio would sound like with fans on, we set them to max on the menu (although it's running temp was way down at the start of the green bar). Sure enough it sounded like a hovercraft, but, it didn't look like it would ever need to come on. The screen itself was warm.

    Therefore, I have no noise concerns with the Pio.

    Thanks for checking that

    Rgds

    Nick
     
  5. DaveCheltenham

    DaveCheltenham
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    Thanks Derek for taking the trouble and the report which gets away from pre-conceived/fashionable notions of what is good/bad but of course everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    I have a Panasonic Series 5 42" and did a much less comprehensive series if tests comparing S-Video with RGB. I did find that some S-Video sources were very dodgy but Sky+ was not one of them. My computer S-Video output from an ATI All-in-Wonder 128 graphics card was also excellent.

    In my opinion, RGB was better but only by that hair and on my panel; S-Video was improved by reducing the sharpness from the default setting of +10 to 0.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. DJP

    DJP
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    Hi All,

    thanks for the feedback. I've now received my AVR-3803 amp and I'm able to do upconversion from component and S-Video to component using this.

    I hope to do some more tests to see how this compares against direct connection of the S-video source. However, due to family commitments I won't be able to get around to this until next week sometime.

    The delay option on the 3803 helps tremendously on Sky broadcasts. The only problem is that the delay on Sky varies somewhat between channels and I haven't found a quick way of changing it on the Amp yet...more work to do here.

    ncpl - With regards to the differences in the performance of the MXE's you saw I can't really offer much of an explanation.

    One of the things which we ensured when testing was that the panels were initially set to their defaults at start up - Nexnix confirmed this for us. It is really easy to change the settings of the Pio panel and if someone in one of the other shops had put the display on Mode 2 (without the benefit of Gordon setting it up) it will look relatively poor from a contrast perspective even thought the contrast color etc. ranges are set to their defaults.

    I think that there are always going to be compromises in demo'ing these things. However, I think that you are going about it the right way by viewing as many as you can before making a decision.

    DaveCheltenham - I must admit that I only tried Sky+ as the S-Video source. If I get time I'll try to repeat using my S-VHS VCR but I don't think it outputs RBG so I may have to rely on the upconversion of the 3803 and I'll check this out before I do any comparisons on this.

    I have tried altering the sharpness settings on the MXE but I must admit that it makes very little difference. Gordon (of Convergent-AV) mentioned that in the previous models wide ranges of sharpness could be set on the Pio displays but that this had now been reduced on the current models.

    Finally, Gordon mentioned to me that he is going to try to set up "Event2". He was hoping to get a couple of panels (Pio, Panny etc) and calibrate them to his standard so that people could compare and contrast. I hope that when he sets it up he can bring along one of the KeyDigital cards as I would like to see a demo of that.

    Derek
     
  7. whistlingDogg

    whistlingDogg
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    A little bit off topic...

    I have a 3802 connected to my mxe. I use rgb to svideo from the sky and my dvd player and xbox use component via the denon amp.

    I'm interested in getting sky rgb to component but I'll run out of inputs on the amp.

    any suggestions
     
  8. taimur

    taimur
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    Derek

    can you set up a macro on a programming remote to automatically take you to the delay option?

    Taimur
     
  9. DJP

    DJP
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    whistlingDogg - You may want to consider getting one of the JS Scart to VGA boxes and running the Sky box through this.

    Although I didn't find it quite as good as the component input the difference was very small.

    I'm sure that there must be some component switch boxes out there but I'm afraid that as I've not needed them I haven't researched this.


    taimur - Yep, that's one of the things I'm looking at. I just haven't had time to program it yet. I may require 2 macros, either;

    one button to increase the delay (say by 50ms) and another to decrease or,

    one button to go to the menu option, manually change the delay and then another button to get out of the menu. Can't remember at the moment if pressing the setup button again takes you completely out of the menus. If it does then this would probably be the better option.

    However, what would be really nice is just an increment/decrement option rather than having to go through the macro stuff. I've been wondering about using the remote serial connector of the amp to do this. I know a bit about electronics so if I can think of an easy way of doing this it may be a relatively simple add on box. However, I'm not really sure of the protocol of this connector or if it is a true I/O...more research required.

    Derek
     
  10. symanski

    symanski
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    The component converter has been designed slightly differently that how most would do. Rather that buying in an off the shelf conversion IC, I did it with discrete components - a lot more complex. Advantage here is that I can make a converter which has a much higher bandwidth than the off the shelf IC has. End result is a sharper picture.

    Excellent review, but I thought I should say that I already looked U&V bandwidths!

    All the best,

    Dr John Sim.
     
  11. rsvman

    rsvman
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    I am just starting to setup my home cinema.

    I have ordered Denon 3802 and mission speakers, i have Digital sky box (not +), pioneer dvd 454 dvd player, Digital vhs player and ps2.

    And am about to order the Pioneer 433mxe

    Can anyone produce a simple drawing/instructions to show how to connect all this up, ie what cables go where, what type of cable etc...

    The information above is really helpful, but it would be nice to have a drawing etc..

    Best Regards

    A beginner ....
     
  12. DJP

    DJP
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    rsvman any chance of you changing your order to an AVR-3803 rather than the 3802? The master audio delay on the 3803 is a real help with lip sync issues on Sky broadcasts.

    I'm not sure what the pioneer dvd 454 dvd player, Digital vhs player and ps2 have as outputs but if I were setting this up then, assuming you can get component (YUV) out of the dvd454, I would do the following;

    DVD to 3802 DVD component video in (requires 3 way phono/RCA leads)
    SKY to JS Scart to Component box (fully wired Scart to Scart)
    JS Box to 3802 component TV/DBS component video in (requires 3 way phono/RCA leads)
    3802 component out to 433MXE BNC component inputs. (requires 3 way phono/RCA leads plus 3 x RCA to BNC adapters or 3 way phono/RCA to BNC lead)

    Digital VHS to 3802 via S-video lead.
    3802 S-Video monitor out to 433MXE S-video input. (Note that IIRC the 3802 only outputs its menus on S-Video and composite).

    If the Digital VHS recorder has RGB output then you could link this through the Sky box using Scart to Scart so the S-Video lead from the Digital VHS to the 3802 would not be necessary.

    PS2 to 433MXE VGA input. (Someone better qualified than I better check that the PS2 can output a proper VGA signal).


    Audio leads - (2x Phono/RCA) will be required from the Sky box or the JS box to the 3802.

    If the Digital VHS recorder is going through the Sky box connect the audio from the JS box to the amp. That way both will use the same audio input on the amp. If the Digital VHS is using the S-video connector then you will require an audoi lead for the Sky box and for the Digital VHS.

    An audio cable of some sort will be required for the PS2 - sorry don't know what this outputs.

    Either a digital co-ax or an optical lead will be required for audio from the DVD to the Amp.

    Of course, lots of speaker wire and cable clips :D

    Now that I've types it all out it doesn't seem that simple. There are other ways in which you could set this up. You could go for an all S-Video system which may be cheaper - not sure about the PS2 though.

    Hope this helps.

    Derek
    PS you may want a spare S-video lead or composite lead for setting up the DVD. In the setup above, if the DVD is set to RGB output you won't see anything on the display until you change it to YUV. This can be tricky if you can't see the menus. I used a spare composite lead to the MXE composite in to achieve this.
     
  13. symanski

    symanski
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    Currently working on a mini-guide. Available soon from my website.

    All the best,

    Dr. John Sim.
     
  14. rsvman

    rsvman
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    Much appreciated guys.... i will take your information and try to digest it...

    DJP I would like the 3803, but its a bit more than the £499 i paid for the 2802.. Is the lip sync that bad from sky, and what causes it ??

    Is it going through the amp, or is it the plasma that causes it ??

    Symanski... can't wait for the mini guide.. whats your web site address...


    Next subject ... cables... where is the best place to get the JS Scart box, how many do i need, and what spec/quality scart cables etc do i need... this also goes for speaker cables, as there seems to be many different types, flat/bi etc


    Sorry for asking these boring questions..

    Best Regards


    Paul
     
  15. sparkz

    sparkz
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    Press the WWW button beneath the posting. Something I never noticed before.

    Mark
     

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