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aconda 32" - is it worth getting a prog scan dvd player

Discussion in 'TVs' started by matmum, May 17, 2005.

  1. matmum

    matmum
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    hi

    i currently have a pioneer dvd-717 (connected with a scart in rgb mode) to a loewe aconda 32" tv and i just wondered if it was worth getting a new dvd player that has progressive scanning (using the component connection.)

    i heard that progressive scan is more benficial to a plasma screen - but i'm wondering if my tv is capable of a better picture than my current player has to offer.

    if upgrading is the way to go - could i please have some suggestions on players that would be worth getting.

    thanks alot.
    :)
     
  2. spocktra

    spocktra
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    I have recently purchased an arcam dvd player and using progressive scan it is fantastic.A marked improvement over interlaced.
     
  3. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    matmum,

    No, it isn't, because the Aconda is unable to accept a standard progressive-scan signal.

    You can actually make it produce a progressive-scan picture, but only if you purchase the VGA upgrade and drive it from a Home Cinema PC. (The results of doing this, particularly using a PAL DVD and driving the screen at 1024x576, are apparently stunning, but there's no way you can make a regular DVD player produce that kind of signal).
     
  4. matmum

    matmum
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    thanks for the replies - sounds to me like it is better to wait for the next generation dvd players and get the vga upgrade then.

    cheers
     
  5. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    No, that won't do you any good either.

    First (so far as I am aware) the resolution that Aconda TVs can reach maxes out at 1024x576, refreshed at 50Hz. If you want to feed it a 1280x720 high definition image (let alone a 1920x1080 image) you will have to downscale it, and that not only will cause a loss of image quality (compared to a native high-def device) it will also require an HCPC or stand-alone video scaler. It's unlikely that any player will offer 1024x576 output resolution.

    Second, any actual high-def source (Sky HD probably, and almost certainly any next-generation HD disc player) will only output an HD image via a digital output, and with HDCP encryption. In order to view it in Hi-Def (and probably in order to view it at all) you'll need a display device with a digital, HDCP-compliant input. There may be devices capable of stripping off HDCP encryption and converting to VGA analogue, but such devices will be illegal to manufacture or use.

    Third, the timing parameters you need to get a Loewe TV to synch at 1024x576 are extremely precise. No illegal HDCP-stripping device is going to allow you to tweak the timings of its VGA output precisely enough to get the TV to actually produce a picture at that resolution. So you would need a horrendous chain of equipment: player -> illegal HDCP stripper -> separate video scaler/processor -> TV, which would include a double digital->analogue conversion along the way.

    There's a chance, I suppose, that there may be an illegal HDCP-stripping method available that is HCPC-based, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

    Basically your only useful option is to get the VGA upgrade now, sell your current DVD player, and switch to using a Home Cinema PC as both a DVD player and scaler/deinterlacer. That will result in a fairly significant improvement in picture quality. (Or you might be able to get the TV to synch using a stand-alone scaler such as an iScan HD or a Lumagen Vision DVI. I don't know if anyone has ever tried that, but I can't see any reason why it shouldn't work if you're patient.)
     
  6. matmum

    matmum
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    thanks for the detailed reply - i will do what you suggest, i have to confess that i dont know the first thing about home cinema pc's - would i be able to use my existing computer (pentium 4) and upgrade the graphics and sound card. i have a pioneer dvd drive installed already.

    wondered if someone could suggest what i will need (i.e. cards, cables, software etc.) and roughly how much i will need to spend.

    cheers
     
  7. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    You may need a new sound-card, but probably not to begin with, so long as your current one has a digital output. You'll need a reasonably recent (but not necessarily expensive) graphics card such as an Nvidia GeForce 6600GT. And you'll need some DVD playback software, and a shareware utility called Powerstrip.

    And that's all, basically. Your existing video card may work okay: only more modern video cards can be tweaked to custom resolutions using Powerstrip, which is crucial, but your current card may be one of them.

    Farther down the line there are countless refinements you can get into. For example, you can buy a video capture card and install a utility called DScaler - you can then capture from an external video source (such as a sky box) and deinterlace and scale it before feeding it to the TV. There are also higher-quality sound cards (so you could use the PC itself to decode Dolby Digital as nicely as an external homer cinema processor can). There are various gizmos one can use to control the whole thing more easily (wireless mice and keyboards, or software designed to work with an infrared remote control). You can make the PC work like a Tivo box (instant recording and playback). Some people like to use specially selected components so the PC makes less noise when it's running (fan noise, for example). All sorts of options.

    To be honest, I'm not the best person to ask about HCPCs, but this site has an entire forum dedicated to them, so you should be able to find lots of info there. :)
     

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