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External Scalers v HTPC


Nick Cartwright

Has anyone got fed up with HTPC and decided to go down the route of a scaler? Or even dane a comparison with a view to going down this route?

As much as I like my PC with TT2.0, I sometimes think things would be a lot less complicated(esp for wife) if I could just turn on Projector and DVD player and press play.

Now that scalers are under £1000 it is not as expensive as it was when I first got inot HTPC. If seems that the Lumagen is pretty good and the ISCAN HD seems to be getting some good reviews.

I'd still keep the resolution or 1280x720 (720p?) into my Barco 808, but how does the picture quality compare to HTPC? Is there any problem with stutter using a Scaler?




Established Member
I'm embarking on just such a road, as I've posted in a few places recently. :) .. My plans are probably for a Lumagen DVI or HDP to run my Pio 868 through. I'm waiting for Lumagen to get interlaced input via DVI working and then hopefully I'll arrange for a demo loan to try it. Not sure the timescale, a week or two probably until the firmware works AIUI.

I'm sure there's no stutter with a scaler, though there'll be lip-sync problems. Also these scalers won't output analog if fed HDCP-protected digital, something CRT owners are clearly upset about but that's the MPAA's rules.


Established Member
I suppose if you were using a HTPC solely as a scaler it would make more sense.

However more and more decent scalers with digital outputs are being built into AV equipment. DVD players (Denon, Pioneer, etc), Amps/Receivers (Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha) and more.

TV signals will benefit from scalers (of whatever flavour) until Hi-Def TV takes off.

However I think the humble PC (or PC media streamers) still has a lot to offer in the Digital Home and I can only see more and more households putting one in thier entertainment systems:
Photos went Digital some time ago.
DVD (digital format) - is going in Hard Disk based libraries as capacities grow (2Tb for less than £1300)
Home movies are going Digital (i.e. camcorder to DVD or File)
Radio is mostly digital and will go more on-demand/internet.
Music is going digital (digital single sales have outstripped physical ones for the first time last month)
TV is more or less digital and will go to HDTV and then eventually to IPTV over the years.
Media Centre PCs do all of this very well.

I think one of the other main benefits would be to reduce box count
With a scaler you could end up with more boxes and complexity also.

Sorry to waffle on

Nick Cartwright

I'm pretty happy with my HTPC, I have a fantastic picture and I find it easy to use via Pronto, but I liek the idea of a DVD player and a scaler.

The point about no analogue output? Does this mean that I have only the option of anaogue input (component or S-Video) if I want to get an output I can use with my Barco?



Established Member
That's correct about analog.

The license manufacturers like DVDO and Lumagen have to sign in order to get the chips to implement HDCP state that the device MUST DISABLE all analog outputs when procesing a digital input protected by HDCP.

So yes, CRT owners and others without an HDCP-compliant input cannot use a scaler that is being fed protected digital .. the scaler can of course process analog and output analog because the HDCP license doesn't apply, it can also process analog and output digital, again HDCP doesn't apply.


Established Member
Both the Lumagen and the iScan have optional SDI digital inputs which will accept an 'HDCP free' SDI output from a suitably modified DVD player... This can then be output as analogue RGB from the scaler to your CRT...

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