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AVToolbox AVT-3700 £300 scaler - First impressions

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by NeilMcRae, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    I've been looking for a quality solution to enable me to play console games on a VGA monitor. I was getting to the stage where I was about to import a Samsung VGA LCD monitor with component inputs when I came across this box.

    I order from Scancom, who I would use again, very fast in responding and delivery:

    The box arrived and after opening I found the following:

    1 Scaler Unit
    1 Manual
    1 IR Remote inc 2 AAA batteries
    1 AC Adaptor and mains lead
    1 VGA cable
    1 VGA -> component cable [BNC] [Note this is +not+ a RGBVH cable BNC]
    1: Svideo mini-din cable
    1: composite cable.

    All in all everything you need except component input cables, in my view companies shouldn't provide any cables other than the power cable as most of us buy high quality cables to replace them anyway and this would enable an even lower price.

    Here is a picture of the box:

    [​IMG]

    and the inputs at the rear:

    [​IMG]

    Its about the same size as a DVD case and as deep as the Harrow and Brent Yellow pages:
    Size: 1.75" High x 8.1" Wide x 6.2" Deep (45mm x 206mm x 157mm). It has a cooler than cool blue LED to indicate its powered up.

    Using an Eizo 19 inch CRT VGA monitor I connected up my Nintendo Gamecube and booted up Shigsies excellent Pikmin. By default a number of Nintendo games will try to put the output into progressive mode- the box will not accept a progressive signal, it must be interlaced. One other thing I noted is that this box doesn't like the cables to be connected / removed whilst its powered up. With Pikmin running I started the game and the introduction started, the text is very sharp.

    The box has several display resolutions, in RGB mode it uses VGA resolutions:

    PC-type Outputs: VGA 640x480, SVGA 800x600, XGA 1024x768 and SXGA 1280x1024 Or if you flick the switch and use the supplier cable it will output in component mode the following resolutions:

    HDTV-type Outputs: 480p (576p in PAL), 720p, 1080i

    When watching the pikmin introduction in all modes the space rocket hitting the moon looks beautiful with no obvious artifacts/issues that I can detect. When Captain Olimar falls out of the space craft and the stars flyaround his head, the detail of the colours is excellent, comparing it to the PS display on my Panasonic Plasma I'd say the colour reproduction on this device is very good, no ghosts or after images in 640*480, and in my view the picture is great in all the resolutions although in the top resolution 1280*1024 I did notice that things are a little more pixalated and I intend to look into this more. Switching the settings brings on a very non-intrusive onscreen display. You can also change aspect rations from 4:3 to 16:9 although as I'm using a 4:3 at the moment I can't really comment on the 16:9 output.

    I booted up SOCOM Navy Seals on the PS-2 and compared to what I was using before as a convertor from composite to VGA, the difference was unbelieveable. The Sony Computer Entertainment screen text was very detailed, no shadows or ghosts.

    I noticed at this point that it was too bright and spent some time calibrating, need to spend much more time on this as the default settings aren't so great, the good news is though you can modify Saturation, Contrast, Hue and Brightness adjustments, not sure if these are input specific and I doubt it although I'll check this out.
    It uses IR and my Sony learning remote was able to learn one of the codes, so you should be able to use it with prontos etc.

    SOCOM looked lovely in this mode, in the night missions I can make out the detail of things quite far away and shooting targets from long distances is now achievable, one thing I noticed though was that the names above peoples heads had trails if you move quickly, but I believe this is a game issue, I'll check this out. In anycase, this doesn't effect playing the game. I hooked up my xbox via the composite input and I was amazed by how good the picture was, yes you can see the composite artifacts but its still very impressive. Steel Batallion looked good, the text was clear from the menus.

    To be continued:

    I'm going to spend more time playing with this at the weekend and will update at that stage. But first impressions two thumbs up.

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  2. MartinCo

    MartinCo
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  3. Boris Blank

    Boris Blank
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  4. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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  5. jmack

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    hi neil
    i`m thinking of getting one of these to improve the quality of picture of ntl digital for my toshiba 42wp16 plasma (panny 4 clone)

    i have a progressive dvd plyer connected to the component imputs so how would i would i go about hooking the ntl up
    i`m guessing a rgb to s-video js tech> to avt 3700 >vga to plasma

    having read the resolousions on the avt scaller it says 800/600 would this not defeit the oblectives of the scaller if it cant match my
    plasma at 850/480

    what benifits would i get ?
    and improvments
    £300 seems a great price too
    many thanks
     
  6. Andrew_B

    Andrew_B
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    Don't forget that there may soon be a flood of lovingly cared for second user iScan Pros on the market when existing owners trade up to the new iScan Ultra...

    Inputs are same as above, but the de-interlacing uses the well regarded Silicon Images chip. Supply will surely drive the price down.
     
  7. MartinCo

    MartinCo
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    I thought it looked like the BriteView at av-sales..;) good for the price if so.

    neil, surely makes more sense to feed 480p/576p into your plasma via the component out - assuming yours can take it?
    if your plasma prefers VGA signals over pal/ ntsc then fine.

    dont forget you can get RGB to component converters now from a few places, which this box can take as input.

    if you've got component video switching on your amp, then you can still accomodate your dvd player into the plasma also.
     
  8. jmack

    jmack
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    hi i allready have the component imput on my plasma used up by the dvd player
     
  9. MartinCo

    MartinCo
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    I know, thats why I asked about your amp;)... see the last line of my post.

    no component switching on the amp then?
     
  10. jmack

    jmack
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    sorry mis read that bit , no component switching i`m using the vga for my ntl at the moment through a rgb to vga converter, just would like to improve this picture dvd is a great picture ,
    thanks anyway
     
  11. MartinCo

    MartinCo
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    just re-read avtoolbox's page and noticed that the AVT-3700 can do 720p via the component outputs, for both NTSC and PAL sources.

    a nice feature to have, and a definite plus over a pro-V (or the other scaler at £175-199 the csc-1200).

    the ae100 is quite happy taking a 720p and its a pretty good match to the LCD panel at exactly 1.5 times its size.

    no 2:2 pulldown on the 3700 though, seems odd when the csc-1200 does have it.... Neil is there any mention in the manual?
     
  12. Boris Blank

    Boris Blank
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    In the Brite-View manual (download it from the AV-Sales link above) it clearly states 3:2/2:2 detection, I'd be very surprised if the 3700 didn't have it.
    Paul
     
  13. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Thinking about this:

    Yes this would work. Not sure what the final picture would look like or even if it would be better than what you already have, in my view the JS's RGB to VGA is pretty hard to beat. I'll try and hook this up in this configuration and let you know.
    You could also use RGB to component, I have an svideo convertor but not a component one, I'll give it a go and see what the picture is like from my NTL Box.

    Some of the questions:

    Yes it supports 2:2 pull down,
    The component colour settings are different to the s-video and composite settings, but the composite and s-video share the same settings,
    it works perfectly with my AA component switching device,
    My Sony learning remote can pickup the remote codes,
    It won't take an RGB signal, only composite, svideo and component YUV [interlaced].
    When playing games the higher resolution isn't perfect but for watching movies its perfect. It tends to have a default colour settings too rich, I used a couple of ps-2 game setup colour tests to set the box up but I'm sure with time you can make it much better.

    I really need to learn more about calibrating though - anyone got a guide/programe for this?

    Cheers,
    Neil.
     
  14. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Haven't seen much evidence of this yet, even the pluses still are priced high...

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  15. Andrew_B

    Andrew_B
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    Hi again. The Ultra only 'arrived' in the UK three weeks ago, so give it a bit of time for the word to get around and have a little patience. Dealers are bound to be plugging these with previous Pro purchasers as an easy upgrade sale. I still reckon you should start working on your 'poker face' for hard nosed negotiations over used iScan Pros.
     
  16. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Fair point :D
     
  17. Mr Pink

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    I have been looking for something like the ImageMAX/BriteView since I bought my SANYO PLV-Z1 last year. The problem I have is that I am using a component feed straight from my DVD player using a component cable that I have literally “buried” into the structure of the house and I really would like to steer clear of routing another cable through the walls and ceiling as it was a long, hard job.

    Anyway, my question is can I simply use the component cable that I already have in place (it’s a 3phono to 3phono) or would I have to use a special cable (HD15 to 3phono). Would it be possible to extend the 3phono cable I already have in place to make it into the correct type?

    Sorry if these are stupid questions, but I am rather new to all this scaling/de-interlacing stuff.
     
  18. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    You just need a barrel connector:

    The cable that comes with the scaler is DB-15 to 3 phonos so you just need to use some of these:

    http://www.cybermarket.co.uk/ishop/923/shopscr1981.html

    Should be able to get them at any decent audio store. I use the above to extend my xbox component leads with no issues.


    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  19. MartinCo

    MartinCo
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    neil, how long is the hd15 to 3 phonos (component output) cable that comes with it then?

    I'd assumed it ended in the barrel connectors already since the spec only lists a composite and svideo cable as being included.

    go figure!
     
  20. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Its about 1.5 Metres. Supplied with it is:

    VGA Cable, VGA to component lead, Svideo cable and composite video cable.

    Neil.
     
  21. jmack

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    hi did you get round to trying ntl > s-video> avt>vga>plasma
    cheers
     
  22. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    No i'll do this thursday when the wife is out :D

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  23. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Check eBay.co.uk and items available to the UK. Only one iScan Pro up there at the moment; but over the last couple of months there have been quite a few of them. I have seen them go for for less than £300.

    StooMonster
     
  24. jmack

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    would yo mind posting a link to the ebay iscan pro been looking but cant find it
     
  25. jmack

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    did you try the ntl box neil
     
  26. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Not yet but I played some dvd's through the box using my PS-2. Outstanding. I meant to try the NTL box on Thursday but because of Mayor Ken's stupidity I ended up getting home at 01:30 [after leaving work at 17:00]. I say on Willesden High Street for over 5 hours!!!] Should do it tonight.

    Cheers.
    Neil.
     
  27. jmack

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    cheers neil does it have a shapness setting or edge enhancment
     
  28. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    It has sharpness but I couldn't visably see a difference with it.

    Neil.
     
  29. MartinCo

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    if you're trying DVDs through it, try Star Trek Insurrection to test the de-interlacing to see if it really is progressively scanning things (rather than just line doubling.)
     

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