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Brite-View Experience

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Beamer, Jan 17, 2003.

  1. Beamer

    Beamer
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    I was recently given the opportunity to check out one of the new Brite-View scalar boxes and am sharing the experience.

    The box came complete with a remote controller, separate power supply and a range of cables that covered most connection options. The mains connector looked more like a European shaver connector, not really appropriate for this country. The quality of the interconnect cables left a lot to be desired in terms of quality. The VGA to component lead looked like it had been purchased from a job lot as it had a rubber bulkhead mounting point on it! The box itself was very small and as is often the case these days had one very large piece of silicon in it with a few supporting chips and not a lot else. One nice feature though, I noticed was that the firmware was installed in a removable flash chip, Kudos for Brite-View on this feature as it will allow users to upgrade their firmware if they are technically inclined that way. Connections were limited to one S-Video and component input and one out put that could be switched to either RGB or component.

    On powering up the box, it became quickly evident why the box was called Brite-View, the room lit up with an incredibly bright blue LED. Now this could have been useful if you wanted to find the remote in the dark but for home theatre it is a definite negative. Placing a piece of masking tape over the window resolves the issue but renders the remote useless. I suspect that most users will ultimately end up reducing the power to the blue LED by a factor of around 95%, it is actually quite blinding if you look directly at it. Seriously though, the manufacturer needs to address this problem, as I would not encourage users to invalidate their warranty by opening up the box and making modifications.

    Since my main interest was to improve satellite reception I concentrated on testing with source material from a Sky+ box feeding a Pioneer 433MXE plasma display together with an Epson TW100 and InFocus 7200 projector.

    I have to say I was disappointed not to find a connection that would allow the Sky+ receiver to interconnect via the RGBS connection and had reservations about the quality that could be achieved through using an S-Video input, was I in for a surprise!

    My first test was to feed the Pioneer MXE with the VGA to VGA connection; initially the plasma screen showed a picture but everything was green. A quick check of settings alluded to the fact that the Brite-View was outputting RGB and the plasma was set for component input. A flick of a switch to component on the back of the Brite-View resolved this issue and the screen immediately responded with a nice and vivid image. After setting colour saturation, contrast and brightness with the remote to my taste I switched from 480P to 720P, WOW what an improvement, the picture was more film like and pleasing to the eyes. Just like any other enthusiast I wanted more so I switched to 1080 interlaced, unfortunately either the Brite-View or my Pioneer MXE had problems with this mode. The picture looked incredible when paused but was quite unstable for viewing motion, even the 1080i menu from the Brite-View was displayed with a jitter that made it appear as though there were multiple images of it on the screen. Clearly either the Pioneer MXE or the Brite-View could not cut the transformation of standard PAL video to 1080i.

    The next test was for me the most interesting one, connection of my TW100 to the Sky+ via the Brite-View. Initially I chose to use component out from the Brite-View as it could then be easily switched through the rest of my gear as just another input for the Epson TW100 PJ, it also enabled me to switch the TW100 input quickly from S-Video and component inputs for comparison purposes. After letting the PJ warm up for a couple of minutes I switched over to the component input from the Brite-View box, colour rendition was much better and was a little like the effect of going from composite to S-Video, the Brite-View was running 480P at this stage. Next I switched the Brite-View to 720 Progressive and WOW what can I say, it displayed the same film like image that I experienced with the InFocus 7200 and this was with Sky wide screen material. I quickly tuned the satellite receiver to Sky one which I personally find difficult to watch on the big screen, what can I say, I was gob smacked, this box does not make the blacks on the TW100 as deep as the InFocus 7200 but it sure fixes everything else!

    Now once again I wanted more so I switched the Bright view to 1080i, sorry to say but it suffered the same problem as with the plasma so I guess 1080i mode simply does not work at this time. I spent the rest of the evening with my wife watching Sky source material on the TW100 with equally spectacular results.

    Next day I decided to connect the InFocus 7200 to the ‘magic’ box but alas it was unable to make any improvement in the picture quality and may have even detracted from it by adding noise. 1080i results were identical to tests with the other display devices pretty much confirming that the Brite-View with the current firmware is unable to display PAL input scaled to 1080i. Not to be put off I decided to try using RGB as the input to the 7200, alas for some reason this added a lot of noise and made the picture dull and over saturated in colour. I suspect this might need an adjustment in the 7200 PJ as the operator controls of the Brite-View were unable to sufficiently compensate. Since the 7200 was already a great picture without the box in circuit I decided to stop any further testing with this projector.

    Conclusion, this box is clearly capable of making big improvements to both plasma and projector viewing, just how much of a difference it makes will I guess be dependant upon your display device. IMHO it’s a must have for TW100 owners that watch Sky but quite honestly bearing in mind what is inside the box and the poor quality of the accessory leads, I think it’s a little over priced. On the other hand, spending around £1000+ on an equivalent scalar makes this little box look very affordable. Hopefully the dreaded blue LED brightness and the price will be addressed over time, in addition it would be nice to have the power supply integrated into the box, separate power supplies are always messy.

    Chris
     
  2. JonMace

    JonMace
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    Have you also tried the Iscan Pro, if so how do you rate them against each other?
     
  3. JohnS

    JohnS
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    Great reveiw!;)

    Give it 6 months or so and when a few more companies begin to distribute it, I bet we see discounts in the region of 30-35% like we have with the proV.

    Sounds like the solution many want instead of a lower spec HTPC.
     
  4. Beamer

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    Jonmace: The Iscan Pro is a line doubler not a scalar, I may get the chance to test the newer Iscan Ultra early February. If there is sufficient interest I will post my findings.

    John Spicer: Thanks for the kind words. Personally I think that in six months time, PJ's will have high quality scalars built in thereby making most add on boxes obsolete. The 7200 is a fine example, I believe that it's native mode of operation is 720p. This is probably why the magic box did not make any improvement on this PJ.

    Chris
     
  5. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    Was it the Zinwell you were using?
     
  6. Beamer

    Beamer
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    Retro: Yes indeed, complete with spotlight ;)
     
  7. ReTrO

    ReTrO
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    Nasty brite lite!
     

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  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Not sure why you would want to change PAL to 1080i anyway......The display will have to de-interlace the 1080i and scale it to native res so you'd just be adding in another de-interlacing stage that was unnecessary.

    Even if displays get better scaling chips built in there is more to it than that for a good image. So there will probably be obvious benefits to using external video processors for some time to come.

    Sounds like you had fun with the wee box though. Nice review

    Gordon
     
  9. Beamer

    Beamer
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    Gordon: I'm sure you are right, there will always be a place for high end scalars but but I think the performance differential will narrow. Testament to this is that the TW100 improvement with the Brite-View was quite startling versus the InFocus change which in my opinion detracted from the image quality.

    Thanks for the feedback on 1080i
     
  10. Beamer

    Beamer
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    By way of an update, I have been advised by Messiah that 1080i does in fact work as specified! Apparently Messiah has been doing some testing of his own with a box on loan to him with his Barco 701.

    It may be that none of the displays I tested with could cope with the 1080i image, alternatively, Messiah's box may be a later production and have different firmware installed.

    Please consider this a correction to the effect that new Brite-View boxes will probably support 1080i if you have the latest series of production.
     
  11. cwinson

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    Beamer,

    Did you get a chance to try the BrightView when fed Component from your Sky Box (via JS converter box) as oposed to S-Video ?

    Also, any news on the IScan Ultra results ?
     
  12. Beamer

    Beamer
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    No I did not try using component in to the Brightview, only SVID.

    The de-interlacer in the TW100 is Farouja based and does an excellent job. There was litttle if any improvement putting the iSCAN Ultra in circuit. The iSCAN Ultra is IMHO best applied to CRT displays that do not already have a good quality line doubler (de-interlacer)

    BTW Further testing of the BrightView (it was actually the AVT-3700 Image Max this time around) has shown up a problem with juddering during panning shots! I don't recall seeing it on the original BrightView but I could have missed the anomaly due to shortage of eval time. It could also simply be that the Image Max I have tested is faulty, it is has been returned for investigation.

    The problem displayed itself when viewing vehicles travelling across the screen, instead of smooth horizontal movement the cars seemed to move in jumps of abour 5mm. Wide angle panning shots did the same.

    Chris
     
  13. cwinson

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    Beamer,

    Thanks for your feedback on this. Looks like you get to play with lots of new toys...:D

    To summarise your findings of the BriteView and IScan Ultra, from a TW100 owner's point of view, the BritView outputting 720p produced a better picture from Sky (S-video) that the IScan Ultra outputting 480p.

    Note: apologies if I've misquoted your posts - it's what I read from them :blush:
    BriteView: "IMHO it’s a must have for TW100 owners that watch Sky"
    IScan Ultra "There was litttle if any improvement putting the iSCAN Ultra in circuit"

    This is very interesting because it suggests that either:

    (a) The BriteView is a better de-interlacer than the IScan Ultra (sounds unlikely bearing in mind the price difference)

    (b) The de-interlacers are of similar quality, but the scaler in the BriteView is better than the one in the TW100

    Any thoughts ?


    BTW - when the TW100 gets a 720P source, do you know if this maps directly to the LCD display without requiring further scaling ?

    If not, can the BriteView output an image scaled to the native 1280x720 resolution of the TW100 when switched to RGB mode ?
     
  14. Beamer

    Beamer
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    Thanks for your feedback on this. Looks like you get to play with lots of new toys...:D

    "Not nearly enough:)"

    To summarise your findings of the BriteView and IScan Ultra, from a TW100 owner's point of view, the BritView outputting 720p produced a better picture from Sky (S-video) that the IScan Ultra outputting 480p.

    "Correct, that was my opinion but please review my note above regarding panning!"

    Note: apologies if I've misquoted your posts - it's what I read from them :blush:
    BriteView: "IMHO it’s a must have for TW100 owners that watch Sky"
    IScan Ultra "There was litttle if any improvement putting the iSCAN Ultra in circuit"

    This is very interesting because it suggests that either:

    (a) The BriteView is a better de-interlacer than the IScan Ultra (sounds unlikely bearing in mind the price difference)

    (b) The de-interlacers are of similar quality, but the scaler in the BriteView is better than the one in the TW100

    Any thoughts ?

    "The BrightView is not only de-interlacing and scaling, it is processing the SVID source and feeding it to the projector as a Component signal. A lot can happen in this process!"

    BTW - when the TW100 gets a 720P source, do you know if this maps directly to the LCD display without requiring further scaling ?

    If not, can the BriteView output an image scaled to the native 1280x720 resolution of the TW100 when switched to RGB mode ?

    "I never tried RGB in to the TW100 but in any case the BriteView output was to the best of my memory 768 x1024, this will not scale to the TW100"
     
  15. Jim v2.0

    Jim v2.0
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    I've got a BriteView connected off of a RGB/Component converter which feeds from my DVD player and Tivo.

    I also found 1080i a bit fuzzy to look at although it doesn't sound as bad as your experiance. I do find though that the image on my z1 is much more vibrant when switching the BriteView to RGB output and using the projectors VGA port (using 1024 resolution).

    What are you experiances with outputing RGB instead of component? Do you still prefer the compoent feed to the projector.
     

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