1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Iscan HD vs Crystallio vs Lumagen HDPro....

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by JimmytheSaint, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. JimmytheSaint

    JimmytheSaint
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2003
    Messages:
    1,741
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +97
    Well, after waiting well over a year to upgrade the final aspect of my home cinema (the video processor), I have been doing comparisons with the three current recommendations for improving video PQ. ( I am not including the HD Leeza, due to lack of support here in the UK over PAL and various other issues, although I have seen it in action). I have been waiting for an independant comparable review of these products for the last month, but, as far as I'm aware, no one has yet posted their findings!

    Firstly, I would like to point out that, as some of you are aware, I have been looking for a processor to improve the image on my Barco G808S after upgrading all of my audio components. I use analogue inputs of Component (NTSC dvd player CX777ES), RGBS (Sky+ PAL & Multiregion CX860's) and S-video ( SVHS). I can not comment on plasma, or for that matter any other display device, other than a professionally calibrated CRT projector. The following views are my own and are completely independant.

    I'll start with the Iscan HD, the cheapest out of the three units, which uses the Sil504 chip for it's deinterlacing.
    This sleek and slimline unit was by far the easiest of the three to set up, with a simple and intuitive menu, virtually plug and play. Images were sharp and the colours considerably better than I had expected, but whenever images panned across the screen, i noticed artifacts and jaggies. To remedy this, we tried various resolutions e.g. 720P @ 48Hz for NTSC, which helped considerably, but moiring was still visable. No resolution helped with the PAL, through RGBS, image though. Moiring and artifacting were evident. On Sky, the image was not much better, whatever the resolution and although the image was stable with good colours, the stairstepping and moiring got annoying on my 8ft screen. One issue with the unit is that it uses a DSub connector, instead of BNC's, so we had to use a convertor. This may have degraded the signal somewhat, but for my purposes, the Iscan is really a non-starter. I can see that it would be ideal with a plasma or other fixed panel display device and at under £1000, it does a fantastic job with a very sharp and colourful image, but for my purposes it wasn't in the same league as the two following units.

    Next up, the Crystalio, the most expensive of the three units.
    The unit is quite large and very heavy, but solidly built and the most attractive of the three units. It has a large number of inputs, including SDI, DVI, HDTV analogue and BNC connectors for the remaining analogue inputs.
    The Crystalio has no OSD!! This made the unit extremely difficult to set up and as my kit sits in a rack some distance from my viewing position, it meant that I needed a cable extension, just to see what changes I had made to the image, using the LCD display panel on the unit. I used Output Format instead of Resolution, as I assumed it would apply to CRT and 'Resolution' for fixed panel devices e.g plasma. Looks like our Chinese friends got it back to front and after some excellent support from the UK distributor, I managed to get the system working perfectly. NTSC (autodetct or DynavOut) at 1280 x 720 @ 59.54Hz and PAL at 1440 x 768 @ 50Hz (autodetect). What can I say?
    WOW! By far the best images I've EVER seen from an analogue source!! I was completely blown away! Blacks were black, colours vibrant and the image so detailed (as three of my colleagues who gave scrutiny to the image up close can attest). NTSC images had no moire, no artifacts, no judder, no matter what film. PAL through RGBS was even more astounding, with Sky images vibrant, rich and detailed. The moving Sky Sports images without the jaggies and stairstepping was a revelation, Sometimes, during adverts , the Crystalio would incorrectly try and impose 3:2 pulldown, but this was immediately addressed by using the 'forced' video control on the remote.
    Other than the pain involved in setting up the unit, this would take some beating! Which brings me to..............

    Finally, the Lumagen HDPro, priced slightly cheaper than the Crystalio.
    I did not get to use this unit at home, but saw it with a similar Barco Cine 8, firing onto an 8ft screen, in a professional demo room. The dvd player was an Arcam DV-27. I also took my own PAL and NTSC material, which I had used to test the other systems.
    The unit is solidly built, simple and attractive with the same array of inputs and BNC's as the Crystalio. The Lumagen does have an OSD, making setup considerably easier (although I did not get to test this).
    The images on NTSC material were as detailed as the Crystalio. Blacks were definately black, colours vibrant and no moire or jaggies to be seen and contrast (depth) was impeccable. However, there did seem to be an issue of 'ghosting' or possibly edge enhancement on the Lord of the Rings demo scene that wasn't apparent using the Crystalio.
    Moving onto PAL sources, I was extremely disappointed. The test scene from Gladiator (R2) at the end of the 'tiger-fight' scene, clearly showed moiring on the Roman pillars and shields, something that I checked very carefully with the Crystalio and could not find. Sky and video sources were even worse, marginally better than the Iscan, moiring, stairstepping and ghosting of every moving image. I know both Iscan and Lumagen autodetect video, but there is no facility to 'force' it into the correct modes. In defence of the Lumagen, I understand that this is a beta unit and various issues may be resolved in 3-4 weeks, however I think the Sil504 is less adept at dealing with PAL and video signals than the FL2300 (Crystalio).

    I can only make my decisions based on what I've seen to date and on that basis the Crystalio is by far (by a long way) the best of the three video processors, for my purposes anyhow. It will now be added to my equipment list. Many thanks to those who helped withe the demo's!

    Cheers

    Yas :)
     
  2. rscott4563

    rscott4563
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Messages:
    1,051
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ratings:
    +1
    Jumping to the defence of the Lumagen, it is a beta product and therefore cannot be fairly compared to either the iScanHD or the Crystalio, if you look at the Lumagen website you'll see that all of the new line up of processors are "coming soon" and are not officially released yet..

    The comparison of the SiI504(iScan & Lumagen) against the FL2300(Crystalio) is a good point in why you cannot yet compare the new Lumagen, the SiI de-interlacer will be superceeded by Lumagens own SD de-interlacing engine when the firmware is ready and until this is done, along with a lot of other improvements, such as per-pixel HD de-interlacing, improved user interface, noise removal and advanced calibration options. Please wait until Lumagen have a finallised product on sale before ranking it along the competition.

    Cheers

    Ryan ;)
     
  3. JimmytheSaint

    JimmytheSaint
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2003
    Messages:
    1,741
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +97
    Hi Ryan

    I quite clearly stated the findings were based on the 'current' situation i.e. today. I would never write off the Lumagen against it's competition, until it is completely ready! It's just that, if you see my earlier post, I enquired about purchasing a scaler/deinterlacer to improve the final stage of my system about a month ago and was told of the options available. I wanted to demo each unit (obviously) before deciding on my final purchase, based SOLEY on PQ performance. I managed to demo the other two units fairly quickly after that, but was told the Lumagen was a beta unit (which I acknowledge) and a fully operational unit would not be available for 4 weeks. 4 weeks later and it's still a beta unit that won't be ready for errrrrrrrm............4 weeks! I can only wait so long before the money falls through the burn hole in my pocket! :D

    Regards

    Yas
     
  4. gizlaroc

    gizlaroc
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Messages:
    8,767
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Norwich
    Ratings:
    +646
    Some one I know who has been using, calibrating and installing CRT's all over the world and has never had a set top scaler in his system, and actually stopped buying dvd's when Hi-Def tapes appeared has just added a Crystallio to his own system.
    Once again he is buying DVD's and doing a/b comparisons with the same films in native 1080i and 720p and the same dvd scaled by the Crystallio, it's pretty damned special! :)

    I can't wait to see how the Lumagen performs when all its features are up and running.
     
  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    13,999
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Living in Surrey, covering UK!
    Ratings:
    +2,803
    Hi Yas,

    Just to let folk understand why you were seeing jaggies in film mode with Lumagen on pal. Although they currently have the sil504 in there they do not use the partnering sil co-processor chip that everyone else uses. They chose not to use this as it is the cause of the main issues with cadence detection and sil504. Instead they are writing their own co-processing code to deal with all these things. It is, unfortunately, not complete at this time. I fully suspect that once it is 2:2 and 2:3 detection and lock will be very robust.

    Also there are settings avalable to turn on or off the video/film detection on the sil chipset. They are no longer in the user menu though and have been moved to service menu.

    I suspect riniging you saw was probably edge enhancement on the disc.

    You will have to comtinue to wait for a while before it can be classed a production device. Even then, just as the other two do, Lumagen will continue to improve the quality of the product. I'm sure owners of the original devices can attest that the picture quality improved considerably from the beggining to the end of the life of those products.

    Thanks for going to have a look.

    Gordon
     
  6. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2003
    Messages:
    544
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +10
    Hi Yas

    Thanks for the kind words, we are delighted that you are really enjoying Crystalio! Just to clarify though we are online dealers rather than the distributor!

    Happy viewing
     
  7. Dale Adams

    Dale Adams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2003
    Messages:
    175
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +15
    Gordon,

    The 504 coprocessor is not really the cause of cadence detection issues with the SiI504, particularly with 2:2 PD detection. The fundamental cause is the SiI504 itself, as the coprocessor relies on video signal measurements made by the 504 and some of those measurements are very limiting. The 504 just does not provide the information to the coprocessor for it to perform what I would call robust 2:2 detection. 3:2 is generally much better, as there's more and better data available to the coprocessor, but it isn't perfect either.

    If Lumagen is going to implement their own cadence detection, including the basic video characteristics measurement (and this is important), then they could well do a better job. But if they're going to rely on the data provided by the 504 chip itself, then they'll face many of the same limitations, particularly with 2:2 PD detection, that the 504's coprocessor does.

    - Dale Adams
     
  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    13,999
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Living in Surrey, covering UK!
    Ratings:
    +2,803
    Thanks for the clarfication Dale. I believe it's going to be a multi-prong atack on the SIL504. Obviously they haven't told me exactly what they are doing and how...and if they did I wouldn't be posting in a public forum, but I am aware they are confident they can get cadence detection better.

    Gordon
     
  9. Alex Simon

    Alex Simon
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    It's certainly interesting stuff.
    Currently, people are familiar with the FLI2300 through HD Leeza, Holo3D and various less than perfect piggyback applications like projectors, dvd players, av amps and so on.
    None of these have shown particularly good PAL performance.

    Something that's easy to forget is that PMS operate from a PAL territory, so they consider it just as important as NTSC. They've shown it previously with their PC products like SweetSpot and SDI capture cards and they certainly seem to have pulled out all the stops with Crystalio.

    Anyone who has spoken to them and been involved in beta testing their products will tell you they are certainly on a mission. Their enthusiasm for video quality is obvious and infectious.

    All chip-talk aside though, one thing that continues to amaze me about Crystalio is how, putting aside deinterlacing, it just seems to make images leap off the screen. It shows many of the qualities of HD material except absolute detail (as you'd expect). Namely colour saturation, image depth and smoothness.
     
  10. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    13,999
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Living in Surrey, covering UK!
    Ratings:
    +2,803
    Alex,

    The HD Leeza doesn't use any SAGE chips afaiaa. I'm also pretty sure that both Anchor Bay and Lumagen take PAL pretty seriously too.....

    G
     
  11. Alex Simon

    Alex Simon
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    oops, yes, apologies.
    Well my point was more that people had been suggesting (probably on other versions of this same thread) that a FLI2300-chipped scaler almost had no right to perform well on PAL.
    Implementation plays a large part.
     
  12. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    24,284
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    The Borders
    Ratings:
    +2,573
    Hello all

    Obviously a popular thread - going by the number of references to it I've had in my mail box :)

    One point I'd like to highlight which tends to get hidden away with all the Tech Talk being the relative costs of some of the products under discussion.

    For those potentially dipping there toe's into the Video Processor arena I think its good to also hold onto what each of the 'current' best selling products may cost you.

    So a quick run down covering the units highlighted in this Thread and please feel free to jump in with other suggestions:

    DVDO:
    iScanHD - UK SRP - £995.00

    Lumagen:
    VisionDVI - UK SRP - £799.00
    VisionHDP - UK SRP - £1,199.00
    VisionProHDP - UK SRP - £1,950.00*
    *Inc a full compliment of Video Cables.

    Options for Lumagen DVI and HDP:
    Analogue BNC Output Board - UK SRP - £80.00
    SDI Digital Input Board - UK SRP - £250.00

    Crystalio:
    VPS-2300 - UK SRP - £2,290.00

    Hopefully this puts some of the comments/suggestions in context for those looking to add a Processor to a current or planned set-up.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  13. Parmenion

    Parmenion
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Messages:
    1,171
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Out there
    Ratings:
    +28
    Yes, that really does put it into context........

    I had no idea how expensive some of these pieces of kit are. Shelling out for a video processor that costs roughly the same as a projector is obviously a job for the wealthy. I'm just wondering what the solution is for someone on wages !

    regards

    Parmenion
     
  14. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    24,284
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    The Borders
    Ratings:
    +2,573
    Hello Parmenion

    Or very skint :)

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  15. mikeaitch

    mikeaitch
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2001
    Messages:
    1,583
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Stoke
    Ratings:
    +55
    I'm in a strange place-

    Still trying to decide whether it's worth even bothering to look at these processors to add to my HS20, or just sell it and use the £1-2.3 k it'll cost me for one of these babies to get a HD2+ projector.... and try to forget that I bought an SDI player!!
     
  16. SimonO

    SimonO
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2002
    Messages:
    3,193
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    Ratings:
    +64
    Buy the processor now and change the PJ next year when the price of the HD2+ chips come down... :D
     
  17. vonhosen

    vonhosen
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    1,835
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +13

    :laugh: :D
     
  18. mikeaitch

    mikeaitch
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2001
    Messages:
    1,583
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Stoke
    Ratings:
    +55

    Which one? There's a 1 week trial if I buy the Crystallio
     
  19. SimonO

    SimonO
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2002
    Messages:
    3,193
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    Ratings:
    +64
    Well if it was my money I'd want to demo them all through my own system...
     
  20. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    13,999
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Living in Surrey, covering UK!
    Ratings:
    +2,803
    Pretty sure you will be able to find a Lumagen dealer who will give you a home demo or evaluation unit for a few days once they are out of beta.

    G
     
  21. mikeaitch

    mikeaitch
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2001
    Messages:
    1,583
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Stoke
    Ratings:
    +55
    Looks like the way to go-

    Just decided to sell my other house insted of renting, so I'll probably have a lot of trouble being sensible with the profit....

    Perhaps buying both will stave off the upgrade itch

    Need a new amp too there a Tag for sale in the classifieds :zonked:

    Probably end up feeling like Gollum.... Must have the precioussss......

    Anyone close to Stoke or Leicester (where I work)?
     
  22. cj

    cj
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,457
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Reading
    Ratings:
    +74

    Hi Ryan,

    I think everyone here realises that the Lumagens are still in Beta - Yas states that fact more than once.

    He also states that he wanted the best solution available TODAY, not in x months time when the Lumagens are finally ready.

    The best advice everyone seems to give here is "go see the units for yourself". Yas did just that, and reported his findings.

    I see there is also talk of the "HD per pixel de-interlacing" you wanted not actually being promised, but MIGHT make it in at some undetermined date.

    There's also no guarantee Lumagen's own de-interlacing will actually be any better than Si504 - will you be disappointed if it's not?

    I agree with you - the Lumagen's shouldn't even be in this comparison, as they're not ready yet - but plenty of people are willing to recommend and sell them.

    Cheers,

    Colin
     
  23. leightos

    leightos
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Presuming that the Lumagen Vision HDP are currently in beta even though they appear availabe on their website, does anyone have any information on when the Lumagen Vision (& Pro) HDP will finish the beta versions and be released in their "final" product form?
    I know many don't know the exact date, I'd be happy w/ an estimation; ie, 3 months, 1 year, etc.
    cheers from down under,
    Leightos
     
  24. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
    Distinguished Member AVForums Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2002
    Messages:
    24,284
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    The Borders
    Ratings:
    +2,573
    Hello Leightos

    The Lumagen VisionDVI, VisionHDP and VisionPRO HDP are all 'finished' in so much as the hardware is now complete and all units being supplied are final version hardware.

    Its only the software that's in 'Beta' format - in fact units being delivered now are in the 'Second Generation' Beta program and if you look on the Lumagen web site in the 'Update' area you will see the various software 'revisions' that have already taken place.

    I believe we will fairly soon (Sept/Oct 04) have the 'Production' release software - though constant development is still planned for the coming months even after the Production software is signed off.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  25. cj

    cj
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,457
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Reading
    Ratings:
    +74
    New Crystalio Firmware out - 3.0.4. Some nice new features including the ability to to set and store separate output profiles for the DVI and analogue outputs - great if you have both a projector and plasma hooked up :smashin:
     

Share This Page

Loading...