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Focus Enhancements CenterStage HD better than Silicon Image iScan Ultra?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by StooMonster, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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  2. RAMiAM

    RAMiAM
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    Stoomonster,
    Excellent message, kinda familiar

    How would anyone really know YET if it's better or not.
    It will all be based on pre-assumption.

    On paper the CenterStage HD does a lot more than just deinterlacing.
    But seeing as the CS HD was only just announced at CES TWO days ago and the Ultra is now only being seen in the land of the consumer world I think it would be very difficult to draw comparisons apart from those loosly based on functionality and price, not on performance.

    RAMiAM
     
  3. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    One advantage from what I can see is that this will work with the 42 inch panny 5 [correct me if I'm wrong].

    One thing that I hope it has is a unified SD and HD component port so that you can plug an xbox in and not have to change connectors to see the dashboard! I'm hoping this device will upscan 480i into 480p and display on a VGA monitor.

    Neil.
     
  4. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Hello RAMiAM, familiar? That because you are the source mate! :devil:

    Anyway, two key things missing from Focus Enhancement's comparison chart:

    1. Full-frame Time Base Correction (TBC)
    iScan Ultra has this. I believe it's the key difference between CS-1 and more expensive CS-2 (which has it) model, so I don't see cheap HD model having this either.

    2. "Chroma Bug" fixer
    iScan Ultra has a vertical chroma filter for removal of MPEG-decoder chroma artifacts. Don't see this listed in CS or HD specs, but Faroudja NR has this too (but costs $4000).

    So I think question is: is it better to have cheaper scaler or more expensive dedicated line-doubler?

    Considering that the scaling in the Panny5 plasmas is pretty good, it's the progressive scan that just "okay", I recon it's the iScan Ultra for me.

    That is unless Focus Enhancement use the Silicon Image chipset, in which case it would be bargain. Anyone know which chipsets they use? Link to good comparison of progressive scan chipsets

    iScans and Panny series 5 42"
    What exactly is the problem with iScans and Panny series 5 42"? I have been testing iScan with Panny series 5 50", tried every possible combination of inputs/outputs and haven't had a problem.

    Someone said it was NTSC progressive through VGA, someone else said it was component through VGA, someone else said it doesn't work at all. What's the beef? Just out of interest, and wondering why a problem exists on 42" model and not 50" one.

    StooMonster
     
  5. RAMiAM

    RAMiAM
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    I thought that was my original post, only I didn't see the need to add the size of the plasma as you did, unless your trying to compensate for something else. The size is irrelevant, it will work on any size plasma. ;)

    Personally I don't see TBC as killer, must have.
    I would doubt it very much if this is included as standard in the CSHD.

    Chroma upsmapling could be important, depending on source material. I guess we will find out in time if the CSHD has this functionality.

    I've seen and read that the scaling in the Panny is far from "pretty good". Most scalers in most brands of Plasma are quite basic compared to external scalers, except for a few makes, Fujitsu is one that springs to mind. Let me know what external scalers you have compared to the Panny's internal scalling.

    I think, but can not be totally sure, but believe the the FE CS1 uses, amoung others the SiI504 chipset, would be very interested if the CSHD used the newer SiI505. :devil:

    RAM
     
  6. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    ...thought it was just email. It was so good first time, didn't need any editing ;)

    It was interesting to me, that Focus Enhancement's comparison table missed off a couple of interesting one. Guess everyone does that to highlight their product's strengths.

    Yep, AFAIK only really need TBC for video (VCR that is) material.

    Chroma upsampling is essential for line-doubling Sky Digital, which has the "chroma bug" MPEG2 decoder problem.

    Fujitsu use the Silicon Image chipset to deinterlace the source, hence better picture of interlaced sources out the box. Panny5 scaling is pretty good IMHO, e.g. if you feed it progressive source it's nicely scaled up, also low resolution PC modes are scaled to match physical pixels. Deinterlacer in Pannys is poor though.

    I get the impression from Focus Enhancement's website that they use their own chipsets, not their competitor's chipsets. Will do some more research, send them an email, and post to another thread (the "Progressive Scan and Video Processing" one I only noticed on here yesterday) to get the answer.

    SiI505 is only a rumour at the moment, and not even announced!

    StooMonster
     
  7. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    I think the ISCAN won't display an image that will display on the 42inch's resolution, which is less than the 50"

    Neil.
     
  8. RAMiAM

    RAMiAM
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    Stoomonster,
    Apologies, bit miss leading, by "post" I meant my original eMail to you that you subsequently changed.

    I think the comparison on the FE CSHD page are comparison between popular products roughly in the same price bracket. I guess they are also slightly skewed to make their product look as best they can.

    I can't find anything on the FE site that lists in detail what chips are used in their CS range. So you could be right that they do in-fact use their own proprietary chips and algorithms.

    What did you compare the Panny internal scalling abilities against?

    RAM
     
  9. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Haven't tested an external scaler on 50" Panny5 -- except PC via VGA set to 1366x768 "snapped in" and running nvDVD. I wonder how you "snap in" an external scaler, and thus remove all internal scaling?

    Anyway...

    Wonder who I know with CenterStage CS-1? ;)

    Can I borrow yours please? :devil: Only for a couple of hours! :kisses:

    StooMonster
     
  10. RAMiAM

    RAMiAM
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    I was wondering what your comparision was to the Panny's internal scaling and how you came to the assumption that it was "pretty good".

    "Snapping In" the PC at res' 1366x768 to the Panny's native res' is not scaling at all. Based on my understanding "snapping in" is a one for one match of pixels from source to display. Hence no need for the display to scale the image.

    Products like the CS-1 and Faroudja NRS have resolutions that will exactly match that of the display's native res' so negating the need for the display to scale.

    I'll take a look at the different resolutions I have on the CS-1 and that are available on the web. If I fond one that matches 1366x768 I'm sure I can let it out for the day :)

    RAM.
     
  11. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    "snapping in" means removing all internal scaling from plasma.

    You see, even when you feed native 1366x768 to plasma VGA it still scales the image :( Which is horrible.

    How you fix this with PC VGA is to display two different 1366x768 images of alternate black and white lines (one horizontal, one vertical) and then adjust the horizontal and vertical positioning and size on the plasma until the "rainbows" disapear; then you have 1:1 pixel match (i.e. no internal scaling).

    Not quite sure how to do this with an external scaler, but brainstorming a solution with Private Penguin.

    On Focus' website it says 1365x768, wonder if that's a typo?

    That would be most kind RAMiAM. I'll send you an email to discuss.

    StooMonster
     
  12. RAMiAM

    RAMiAM
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    Now I'm really confused.
    So you say that if you output the exact same native resolution as the plasma e.g., 1366x768 the Panny still scales the image.
    But if you play with the H & V positioning then the panny doesn't scale.

    One, I can't understand how feeding it a native resolution it still scales and two just by tweaking the H & V positioning removes the internal scalling :confused:

    Isn't there an option within the Panny to disable internal scalling?

    I actuall see 1365x768 and 1366x768 quite often a never know if they are both legit resolutions are just typos.
    What in the resolution in the display properties 1365 or 1366 or are you using PowerStrip to set custom res'.

    RAM
     
  13. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Correct!

    You have to play with H&V positioning and size to get 1:1 match. It's about moving the image onto the physical pixels, with all H&V settings at default it is not. Same with all plasmas AFAIK, it's quite well documented on boards like this one.

    No you can't turn off the scaling. But it's not really about scaling anyway, but more about positioning image over physical pixels.

    This is because it's an analogue signal in, with digital in (e.g. DVI) it would be a 1:1 match automatically.

    Unfortunately Panasonic's DVI card only supports 1280x768 and scales to 1366x768; which is horrible apparently. So this is the way to get best picture on Panny5 50".

    Plasma's native physical resolution is 1366x768, with a PC it runs at 60/75/85Hz. Don't need to use Powerstrip as nVidia drivers support this resolution and refresh rates anyway; Powerstrip is useful if you need to define custom resolutions e.g. 852*480 for 42" screens.

    StooMonster
     
  14. Rob100

    Rob100
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    With the CS-1 you can (according to the docs) create any resolution output you want, so there shouldn't be a problem if it doesn't support 1366x768 out the box.

    I have been thinking for the last week about how to "snap in" an external scaler such as the CS-1 after seeing how much of a difference this made to the PC - it's a shame they don't have some in-built test images in the CenterStage.

    Rob.
     
  15. RAMiAM

    RAMiAM
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    Sorry for the confusion regarding "snap-in".
    I think I was confused because you kept mentioning scaling, when I don't think you actually meant scaling. More to do with actual image H&V positioning.
    Your post earlier said feeding 1366x768 forces the Panny to scale but when you move the image via H&V adjustments the Panny does'nt scale.

    Fully understand Powerstrip, infact I think I told u about it :)

    Rob100
    You are correct, one of the strengths on CS-1 is the ability to create virtually any resolution and refresh rate (only limited by total bandwidth I think).
    I must admit that on initial release the software and firmware were a bit flaky to say the least. Although most issues appear to have been resolved now. Although saying that Stoomonster did mention something is still wrong when trying to use sync on green or composite, or something like that.
     
  16. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    You may have to change image size as well as H&V position, and changing size involves scaling (I think).

    Essentially, when you plug in VGA 1366x768 source you would assume that it matches 1:1 physical pixels. It doesn't, and really degrades quality if you don't "snap in".

    Therefore, if you were to plug in external scaler you have to ensure that you can get 1:1 match, otherwise you compromise the quality of the picture -- and just a line doubler would probably give comparible results.

    Difficult!

    Did have a thought about burning a DVD with test patterns on it, but that would be scaled by external scaler and lines probably wouldn't be fine enough to adjust size/positon to achieve "snap in".

    Also had a thought about PC pass-through, but that probably wouldn't work because PC would need different set of size/positon adjustments to scaler.

    Hrm... as Rob100 said, it would be really useful if a scaler had test paterns.

    Anyway, looking forward to seeing CS-1 on plasma; just got to figure how to snap it in and get best possible quality.

    RAMiAM, any thoughts on how to do this?

    StooMonster

    PS: I know you told me about Powerstrip, thanks! I was pointing out that it's not required with nVidia card and this display.
     
  17. RAMiAM

    RAMiAM
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    As you can tell I don't really understand the "snap" factor, so I'll stay well away and leave that for you boys with the Plasma's. Although it sounds similar (albeit loosely) like convergence on a CRT projector.

    Line doubling is just deinterlacing so I'm not sure that would be the same as using an external scaler and the need to "snap in" the picture.
    Did you need to "snap in" the Panny when using the progressive output of your DVD player.

    btw, you'll find most external scaler output as RGBHV/VGA.
    Which I would guess is the same way you are getting your signal from the PC to the Panny.

    Some of the extron RGB/VGA interfaces have good test patterns built in but they come at a price.
    You could always use an Avia DVD for test patterns but as you say this would probably be automatically scaled by the Panny.

    Something in the back of my mind tells me that using an external scaler such as the CS-1 should be straight forward and shouldn't need the "snap" factor. But again I can't really comment being sans Plasma.

    RAM
     
  18. lumpsucker

    lumpsucker
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    Stoomonster,

    You've prevented a lot of head scratching for me with your informative posts on 'snap-in'. I am probably (bank manager willing) going to be getting a 50" PDP with a res of 1366 x 768. It will have a DVI-D port so I now understand that I will get a 1:1 pixel match.

    If I get a top-of-the range nvidia card do I need to check for any WVGA compatability or will the Plasma fill the entire screen with no artificial picture stretching. It is probably a stupid question as a 1:1 pixel match must mean the entire ecreen is filled but I'm not sure and I know I'm going to need to spend £150+ on a new graphics card and don't want to get it wrong.


    Thanks in anticipation.

    regards

    Lumpy
     
  19. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Similar, it just means you have to fine-tune to get best picture.

    At the bottom end of the market, line-doubling is just deinterlacing. But with picture enhancement, e.g. iScan Ultra, it's more than that.

    Good point, would also have to adjust anything that feeds in via RGBHV at native physical pixel resolution to get best quality picture.

    Any other resolution, e.g. with a line-doubler, the plasma is doing the scaling.

    No because plasma is doing the scaling.

    Yep it's RGBHV that needs "snap", don't get me wrong it's okay out the box; but if you fine-tune and get 1:1 pixel match it's stunning.

    It should be, but it isn't -- it is exactly the same as using a PC at native resolution. If you're going to spend money getting best possible source, then you don't want it compromised by having not quite perfect screen set up.

    Next time you're round I'll demo the difference to you!

    StooMonster
     
  20. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Pioneer PDP-50's have a native resolution of 1280x768, pixel resolution is one of the distinguishing factors between Panny and Pio 50"s.

    However, I've heard DVI on Pio is excellent; but rubbish on Panny (as discussed elsewhere).

    Any graphics card with DVI ouput should support 1280x768, it's a low resolution these days! But I would check first.

    DVI will have 1:1 pixel match, and will not need any "snap in" -- this is only for analogue RGB at physical pixel resolution.

    StooMonster
     
  21. TheBigApple

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    What is scaling?
     
  22. lumpsucker

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    Thank Stoomonster,

    I was a bit misleading. It's not PDP as in the Pio. I just meant Plasma Display Panel. The actual plasma I am looking at is the new Fujitsu P50XHS10 which is not due out until March so there is not much info out on them yet.
    My main concern is that I want to be able to do a 1:1 pixel match that will fill the screen without having to artificially stretch the picture. I am hoping that a DVI connection will achieve this and that I can forget about WVGA as this only important on an analogue PC connection........I think.

    thanks again.

    Lumpy
     
  23. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    It is the method of stretching source material over physical pixels to change from one resolution to another.

    For example, you have a PAL progressive DVD signal that is 720 pixels wide and 576 pixels high, you have a plasma screen that is 1366 pixels wide and 768 pixels high: the DVD picture is stretched over the screen by scaling. This example is called up-scaling, because it's making the picture bigger.

    An example of down-scaling would be displaying a computer resolution of 1024x768 on a 852x480 pixel plasma, the picture would stretched smaller in both horizontal and vertical.

    Slightly more complex is mixed-scaling. For example where you have the same 720x576 DVD but your plasma has 852 pixels wide and 480 pixels high, the horizontal picture is up-scaled (stretched bigger) but the vertical is down-scaled (made smaller).

    Plasma screens have this scaling technology built in (internal scaler), however like deinterlacing, sometimes the internal chips that do it are cheap generic ones and don't do a very good job. An external scaler typically uses an expensive chip set that has better scaling algorthyms and therefore provides a much better picture.

    The "snap in" being discussed above, is where you want to display an analogue image thats pixel size matches the physical pixels of the panel (e.g. 1366x768 or 1280x768 or 852x480) and do not want the scaler/picture positioning to distort this image by attempting to stretch it when it doesn't need to, and get a 1:1 pixel match instead.

    StooMonster
     
  24. RAMiAM

    RAMiAM
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    Stoomonster,

    I think you'll find that at any end of the market from your Panny's internals to a Snell & Wilcox Teranex, "Line Doubling" is "Deinterlacing".

    So apart from the Chroma Fix, if not already in your DVD player, what "picture enhancements" does the iScan Ultra do?

    RAM
     
  25. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Okay "line doubling" is a marketing term. What I was trying to communicate is that deinterlacing can range from very simple interpolation (at it's most basic) to complex video processing in more acknowledged chipsets (which is what I would personally refer to as line doubling).

    Deinterlacing, from simplest to most complex (or worst to best if you like):
    • Single-Field Interpolation (or “Bob”)
    • Field Combining (or “Weave”)
    • Vertical Filtering
    • Motion-Adaptive Deinterlacing on a per-field basis
    • Motion-Adaptive Deinterlacing on a pixel-by-pixel basis
    • Motion-Compensated (Motion Vector Steered) Deinterlacing

    Silicon Image chipset, for example, uses Motion-Adaptive Deinterlacing on a pixel-by-pixel basis; whereas Genesis gm or Mediamatics chipsets use Field Combining and Vertical Filtering; I guess my Panny plasma's built in deinterlacer would use Single-Field Interpolation alone.

    Over and above Motion-Adaptive Deinterlacing on a pixel-by-pixel basis (the deinterlacing) and chroma-bug fixer (to fix sources like SkyDigital), to enhance the picture, Silicon Image chipset also has: motion detection (and what type) on a cell basis to reduce motion artifacts, edge detection and sharpening, diagonal smoothing algorithms to reduce "jaggies", and Time Base Correction (for those low quality sources).

    I know that iScans are not scalers, but they do a very good job of deinterlacing (and enhancing the picture); demonstrably better than Panny plasma's internal chipset. And they are not a broadcast quality solution like a Teranex Up-converter (Motion-Compensated Deinterlacing on a pixel-by-pixel basis, and edge sharpening filter too), but the iScan Ultra only costs £700 (plus VAT).

    From what I understand about scalers (or "line quadruplers" as some marketeers like to call them), is they deinterlace the picture first and then scale it to the desired resolution using an algorithm like multi-tap.

    StooMonster

    Edited for spelling :eek:
     
  26. RAMiAM

    RAMiAM
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    "line doubling" is definately a Marketing term.
    Sounds much better to Joe public than "de-linterlacing"

    You should put your favourite source at the bottom of each post.
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_7_4/dvd-benchmark-part-5-progressive-10-2000.html
    It is a very good article, saves you having to cut and paste all the time.

    So did it take you long to look up the Teranex :)

    So from what I read you have demo'd the new iScan Ultra.
    Or is this based on your experinces with the Pro.

    Not too sure what else you would call a "line trebler" or "line quadrupler". I think sometimes people refer to them as 720p and 960p, although 720p is also an HDTV res'.

    RAM.
     
  27. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Did get my bullet list from there, they are damn fine articles! :devil:

    What type in www.Teranex.com? No that didn't take me long. But heard about loads of broadcast kit like this before; I've got friends in post production and film/video/DVD authoring and mastering, and we've talked about kit in the pub for hours. :eek:

    So do the CenterStage products have picture enhancement technology, as well as scaling?

    StooMonster
     
  28. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Lumpy

    Nice screen, Faroudja chipset too! Fujitsu P42HHS10/P50XHS10/P61XHS10 homepage

    I bet Fujitsu have DVI of the quality of Pio and does a digital 1:1 pixel match on the 1366x768 resolution, rather than Panny who's DVI is a lower resolution and then scaled to physical pixels.

    DVI will achieve this as long as your graphics card supports this resolution, it should if it's not too old. ;)

    StooMonster
     
  29. RAMiAM

    RAMiAM
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    Stoomonster:
    Of course you've heard of S&W and Teranex, how silly of me to suggest otherwise :blush:

    Back to the "snap" factor.
    I did not see 1366x768 supported as a native res' in the nVidia drivers, only 1350x768.
    So how do you get 1366x768 without using something like PowerStrip.

    I presume the CS-1 has it's own forms of picture enhancements as do most descent scalers, but unfortunatley I do not have the specifics.


    Lumpy:
    Very nice. I think if I was to plunge for Plasma my first choice would be Fujitsu. Great screen, excellent specs, with Faroudja to boot.
    Any idea on pricing for the 42" and 50" models.
     
  30. johndonovan

    johndonovan
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    Not sure if this is the right thread, but here goes:

    Does anyone know why the iSCAN Ultra doesn't work with the 42" 5 series Panasonic. I am probably going to buy a 50" anyway, but if the fan noise is too much I may drop back to 42". If I have also invested in an iSCAN Ultra, I don't want this to become redundant.

    Would the iSCAN work with the Hi-Def 42" version of the Panasonic?

    Will it work with the 50" Panasonic?

    It looks like a great combination of PQ improvement and connectivity switching, but I am concerned that it seems quite fickle about which displays it works with or not.

    Any insight gratefully received. Thanks
     

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