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KeyDigital PIO768 Scaler card or Iscan Ultra??

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Bish, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. Bish

    Bish
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    Can somebody please educate me on the differences between the Key Digital PIO Scaler card (approx £1540) and the Iscan Ultra (approx £800)??

    I am about to purchase the Pioneer PDP503MXE, and am very keen to get the best possible results from SKY broadcasts. I will be using the plasma around 70% of the time to watch SKY and feel some sort of investment in scaling/de-interlacing technology is a must.

    I already have an Arcam DV27 for DVD, this does have both PAL and NTSC Progressive scan capability, so this will be connected direct into the MXE via component.

    What does the KeyDigital card do that the Iscan Ultra doesnt?? and visa versa??, Why is the KeyDigital card almost double the price of the Iscan??( i know its a nifty little slot in card, specifically manufactured for Pioneer Plasmas, no wires, no more boxes on your AV shelf etc.. but there has to be more to it than that??

    Anyone who has either of these please let me know.....

    thanks
     
  2. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Key difference for me, no pun intended, between iScan Ultra and other products is that iScan Ultra has a chroma-filter. This gets rid of the "chroma-bugs" from SkyDigital.

    However, the Key Digital card will scale picture the picture to the native resolution of your screen and will look pin sharp, iScan Ultra will need some calibration to look as good.

    KD card is also firmware upgradeable, which can only be a good thing; iScan is not.

    iScan will have one wire running to plasma VGA, and your DV27 into the component in (this is how I run it anyway); whereas KD will have wires running to screen for each input. iScan means another box on your shelf, whereas KD does not.

    StooMonster
     
  3. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    No-one has a Pioneer card so it is unlikely you'll get any comments about its performance from owners.

    The KeyDigital card has audio delay facility to fix lipsync errors. It has scaling of incoming progressive signals to the native pixel count of the plasma. It should have superior video de-interlacing but we have to wait to see that. It has an ability to recognise the 2:3 sequence in original film content which has been turned in to video for HiDef 1080i(this may become useful in a couple of years when HD-DVD becomes available or now if you want to get best out of D-Theatre). It will refresh the panel at it's native rate without introducing judder (hopefully). I would also expect it to have superior video decoding of analgue signals. It has also increased in price since it was originally spec'd as an additional DVI input has been added along with enhanced firmware (so I am told). The US SRP is now $2499 UK pricing will be anounced in next day or so.

    Gordon
     
  4. RedRose

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    Jeez that seems expensive for an add-on card. Supply and demand rules apply, I know, but even so it still seems a lot. You could build a very powerful HTPC with DVI running DScaler, sound card with audio delay and SPDIF etc. etc. for a lot less than that.

    Wouldn't be easily operated by 'er indoors though.:D
     
  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Well the proof will be in the pudding. It is in effect the guts of an HD-Leeza ($4000 scaler) with some bits missing and some added on. Not all line doublers are equal and not all scalers are either. The difference in performance of the scalers was something that many commented on at the Event all those years/months ago....

    Gordon
     
  6. Bish

    Bish
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    Gordon - thanks for your response, i have read a number of your replys to various threads over the past few week - all of which i have learnt a great deal from and i see you actually work for a KeyDigital distrubutor??

    I have a few more questions based on your answers....bare with me....im by no means an AV beginner but still have much to learn....

    1)When you say "No-one has a Pioneer card so it is unlikely you'll get any comments about its performance from owners"...do you mean that the KeyDigital card is not yet available to buy or that no-one you know on this board has purchased one yet?

    2)When you say"It has scaling of incoming progressive signals to the native pixel count of the plasma"...does this mean that it will improve even further the progressive images from the Arcam DV27?? (if so, i take this to mean that the DV27 does NOT produce progressive images to the native pixel count)

    3)What is the native pixel count?

    4)When you say "I would also expect it to have superior video de-interlacing and decoding of analgue signals"...this will be the part that up-scales my SKY images right?? - please explain in more detail if you could...

    Thank You.....
     
  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Bish: Thanks for your interest. I AM the Key Digital Distributor for the UK. Well, Convergent-AV is and it's my company.


    1: The card is not out yet. They will become available 14 days after the HD-Leeza scaler on which it is based. HD-Leeza will be out at end of Feb/beginning of March. It was recently shown at CES in LasVegas. I posted a few reports on this site about CES (Iwas there) and you can find info about pic quality over there.

    2: The Pioneer panels have a vertical resolution of 768P, with different horizontal resolutions dependant on whether it's 433 OR 503.

    Progressive PAL is 720x576P and NTSC is 720x480P. So both of these have to be scaled to fit the resolution of the panel. It might also be worthwhile trying the interlaced output of such a DVD player in to this card as that may provide superior results to the progressive direct from the DVD. The scaling solution on this card should have less artifacts than Pioneers own solutions so I'd expect less artifacts with the Key card and a DV27 feed than the standard card and a DV27 feed.

    720P HiDef is also not the native res of these panels so if you have such a source it should make a pretty good job of that too

    The panel itself also is believed to have a refresh rate of 70Hz or more. Some external video processors (Faroudja NRS) for example stickout fixed 60 or 50Hz refresh rates and this can cause judder in the image. Key Digital believe they are able to resolve this issue with their scalers and card. (Again, we need to wait and see)

    3: It's the amount of pixels the panel has to make up an image. IE

    1024 X 768 on 433mxe

    4: An explanation of the difference between film source material and video source material is required first as each requires different tactics for a de-interlacer. Then you need to understand that not all TV content is video sourced (much is from film stock). De-interlacers need to be able to recognise which is which and use the appropriate tool for the job. Some devices are better at recognising which is which faster. Some devices then have better methods for doing the actual de-interlacing of the video source content.

    There are huge posts about the methods that can be used and it's a pretty in depth field. Key Digital use their own proprietry code for video de-interlacing. Their original code, ClearMatrix, was used in The Rock scaler by TAW. This was a visibly great solution. The new code used in the card and HD-Leeza is supposed to be even better still.


    Hope this is some use,

    Gordon
     
  8. steve36

    steve36
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    Gordon,
    Thanks for the very useful information, I have been checking out several plasma screens over the last 12 months and they all excel in one way or another, but none appear to give everything I expect for £4000 - £5000 +.
    If the key digital card can give me the following I think it will be worth it.
    1) Steady picture - no flicker
    2) Chroma correction for Sky especially
    3) Minimal artifacts, even from a bad picture such as analog or RGB sky.
    I will do a check for your CES report. Then see if I can wait yet another 2 months !

    One question, do you think that there may be a heat problem with this card ? A lot of other plasma have fans to resolve problems with internal scalers.
    Steve
     
  9. DJP

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    I must admit that having seen the IScan Ultra in action I would be very interested to see a comparitive test between it and the KeyDigital scaler.

    I guess that the best idea would be to have two MXE's set up side by side so an instant comparison could be made.

    The idea of a card which scales to the native resolution of the display is very enticing but I'd want to be really sure that the improvement was worth it before forking out $2499+. After all that's around half the price of the 433MXE and I may have a bit of trouble justifying it to myself.
     

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