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Loewe component / Progressive Scan... RESULTS just in...

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by Steve1138, May 6, 2002.

  1. Steve1138

    Steve1138
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    "Sometimes, I think there's just too much beauty in the world... "

    Well - I've done it. Tried the new chassis LOEWE with a iScan Pro de-interlacer.

    (Reference: For a good description of what we're doing here - read this article about different TV definitions on:
    http://www.projectorcentral.com/consultants_corner.cfm?ci=video_signals
    They call this Enhanced Definition TV, and state that it's closer to what HDTV can look like, than it does to 'regular' TV... I think they're right. I saw HDTV in US last yr and this is almost as stunning).

    I have never, ever seen anything like it. It was amazing.
    It DOES now synch to PAL 50 ProgScan input thru the VGA. (as soon as we plugged the iScan in with a Rgn 2 disk running !)
    No jaggies.
    No line structure.
    No digital processing (or any other that I could see) artefacts
    It worked on DVD Rgn 1 and 2 via S-video to iScan and on Sky digital with SCART to component adaptor (component vid to iScan).
    And, Re: the previous discussion on line overlap and possibility of slight softness... well, nothing that I could see. The overall detail improvement was truly astonishing.

    Just a rock solid, smooth - incredibly (that's : I N C R E D I B L Y ) film-like - picture.
    Admittedly there's a slight flicker due to 50HZ on PAL sources but not so bad (it seemed to me) as on a standard 50 Hz (interlaced) TV.. and on balance, for this degree of improvement.. a slight flicker is NOTHING compared to the artefacts you're eliminating with this combination.

    However - before going into details - all is not totally perfect... The big problem is with lack of geometry switching for different source material when coming in thru the VGA module.
    We had DVD's with 1.77 and 2.35 to 1 format, with at least one non-anamorphic disk. On Sky we had 16:9 and 4:3.
    Sometimes we could (almost) fill the screen, sometimes not.
    Basically - through the VGA module you by-pass ALL the digital picture processing - including (unfortunately) the zoom / resizing functionality.

    You only have limited correction possibilities of the vert & horiz width / height adjustments (like on a computer monitor) so you'd have to be constantly changing it for each change in source format.

    We talked to 2 engineers at the LOEWE factory and it seems there's nothing to be done except... maybe use an external scaler.
    (I was just looking at the Focus Enhancements Centerstage CS-1 which looks like it would do the job, but it's not out yet and it's more pricy than the iScan.)

    Any one else got any ideas here ?

    Am going back tomorrow to try same thing again with a new Panny 42" plasma. Dealer tried it after I left and called later to say this was equally stunning as with the Loewe... but with the exception that the Panny WAS able to switch geometries (at least by user selection using the remote, whereas the Loewe couldn't do anything).

    To Start
    ========
    we viewed Rgn 1 "Shrek" thru AV3 / SCART / RGB. This should automatically be in ProgScan (as should any NTSC material) using the internal de-interlacer. Looked OK but still with digital artefacts (edge streaking on moving objects / outlines, jaggies, occasional combing).
    Tried Rgn 2 "Toy Story 2" thru AV3 SCART. Again looked superficially OK but I thought the Jaggies and digital artefacts were even worse that on my 4 yr old Philips 32" 100 Hz...
    We tried switching Byte 3 / bit 5 to re-activate internal de-internal deinterlacing on PAL... which may have made it slightly clearer... but nothing that most would notice (not even sure I did). Other people (Gordon) have mentioned not seeing much improvement here either. Still had the jaggies & digital artefacts. (Remember that even if the internal de-interlacer IS working,

    it's still using other digital picture processing which screw up the image integrity. (long time LINN owner & vinyl fan talking here.)
    Possible reason for not seeing much effect from Byte 3 / bit 5 change could be that this is NOT THE RIGHT setting !! according to engineer at Loewe I talked to today. (Can you believe it - I actually forgot to ask what the RIGHT setting is..?)
    Anyway the internal de-interlacer is almost certainly not as good as a decent external de-interlacer anyway.

    We spent quite a bit of getting familiar with all kinds of on-screen 'nasties' on the Shrek & Toy Story 2 disks also set up the picture using THX video tests from "Pearl harbour" Rgn 1 disk

    Next - THE test.
    ===============
    we hooked up the iScan with S-video from DVD, thru the VGA module, still running Rgn 1 "Toy Story 2"... and we were knocked on the floor. IT was ABSOLUTELY stunning.
    I would NEVER have believed that pictures like this were possible on a "TV" (especially after seeing how much on-screen junk even a new Loewe is capable of producing with a RGB signal.. thru it's internal processing circuits)

    It synch'd right away to the 50 Hz signal (remember this is the new 2500 MediaPlus-High chassis... 2400 chassis's won't synch to 50 Hz PAL progressive)

    Tried a few 'problem' disks where I've noticed particularly bad jaggies or edge-streaking (that kind of heat haze effect around moving people's bodies (probably due to MPEG encoding ? and often seen on Sky digital (at least on my Philips 100 Hz)):
    - "Toy Story 2" Rgn 2 lots of jaggies on any moving edge (which become sharp again once they stop moving)
    - "Titanic" Rgn 1 some jaggy areas
    - "Oh brother where art thou ?" final chapter, Heat haze / streaking around Holly Hunter / George Clooney and Moire effects against louvred shutters / brickwork.


    All nasties were completely gone. Just a fantastic, smooth clear solid picture.
    Amazing.

    BUT the big problem was not being able to adjust the picture to fill the screen.
    The Titanic disk filled the width but the height was way too small. I think this was over-wide and non-anamorphic.

    Finally
    =======
    tried Sky digital (using the component vid pin from SCART to a Component vid. RCA phono lead into the iScan.
    Amazing improvement. Picture was a little soft, as in not sharp or overly detailed, but the overall quality was MUCH better (clarity, stability, film-likeness). With a RGB SCART to S-video converter (from Keene Electronics) it would probably be quite a bit better.
    One key thing for me here is to get rid the image crawl and other nasties I get when watching on Sky digital which I guess are induced by the TV's digital procesing circuits and MPEG decoder trying to compensate for information which was lost during the encoding process at Sky.
    Here, the iSCan does the motion adaptive deinterlacing and the signal then basically goes straight to the picture tube. The TV doesn't 'monkey around with it any more'.


    Conclusion
    ==========
    Take note, here:
    Swtiching back to the SCART / AV3 / RGB input after watching the iScan / VGA was like going from DVD to VHS "composite" (<06 June ----- sorry - I'd said "component" here originally, by mistake... Steve>,
    It was THAT big.
    But if I can't solve the geometry puzzle... I'm kind of stuck.
    Either I need to get hold of a scaler, or see how the Panny Plasma looks with the iSCan and start thinking about that.

    or a projector...
    I brought the office InFocus DLP home to try with the iScan. while the iScan clearly made an improvement again on the projector

    (NOT the new one with faroudja chip).. this model throws out so much extra light.. you wouldn't want it as a home cinema projector.. it just destroys the contrast.
    In "Shrek" gingerbread man torture scene, the projector had no detail in the background, whereas on the TV at the same time there was loads of it (other projectors would do a much better job).
    This model also wouldn't synch to PAL ProgScan (but WOULD to PAL interlaced)


    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Here's what we used
    - new LOEWE Articos 32" with VGA modules fitted
    - Pioneer 636D DVD player with QED SCART to Loewe AV3 (Noise Red. OFF) / ProfiGold S-video to iScan
    - Sky Digibox (Panny) with same QED SCART; and SCART to component (RCA phono) adaptor to feed "composite" <06 June ----- sorry I did again here !! - I'd said "component" here originally, by mistake... Steve> video to iScan
    - standard VGA (computer grade) cable

    Steve
    :-\
     
  2. groundy

    groundy
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    Nice review and very interesting. I was thinking about going down the iScan route myself as I have the Aconda with Q2500 chassis and VGA module. However, the Geometry issues are a problem. I wish there was a simple way round them.
     
  3. Badger

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    This all sounds pretty good stuff - not so much use to me (Chassic 2400 Aconda). Does anyone know if the capability is definitely built in to the chassis rather than an adjusted VGA card/software. Am I correct in thinking that the 2400 Chassis can do NTSC proscan through the VGA port ?

    I presume an HTPC would provide an integrated scaling/deinterlacing solution - could this also convert PAL signals to be display using the NTSC settings or is that just going to produce a hideous picture.

    Phil
     
  4. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Great stuff, thanks
     
  5. Lowrider

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    Well done Steve,

    What resize options are available for the VGA module, none ?

    I do use PAN with 4/3, but maybe I could live with ZOOM...
     
  6. mo

    mo
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    i didn't get half the stuff wriiten here,but keep up the good work.
    maybe someone can come & do mine!!!
     
  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Q2400 will do NTSC prog through VGA

    Jeff used to use Kryton (htpc) with is Loewe before he got a projector so he's your man for that question. It would seem the ideal candidate to me.....

    Gordon
     
  8. Badger

    Badger
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    I'm going to bring back this thread with a number of supplemental questions

    I am not going to upgrade to the 2500 chassis and a scaler is out of my price range (750+ type money ?). An HTPC solution is alos not an option (all of the above due to cash/wife issues :))

    So i'm now looking at other (read cheaper) options and would like any comments anyone would make.

    The plan would involve putting the VGA card into my Aconda and then getting a DVD player capable of outputing a P/S signal

    1. Get a standard P/S player (with component outs), use a component->VGA gadget and only get NTSC in progressive
    2. Get one of these far eastern players that has a VGA out and can convert PAL to NTSC to get progressive
    3. Get a Mallata player that can do the PAL->NTSC conversion and use a component->VGA gadget. The Mallata also has some scaling capabilities

    Now the HK players (BBK,Skyworth,Nitaus) don't have a good rep, and the PAL->NTSC is meant to be ropy, especially with subtitles. Anyone care to comment ?

    Has anyone got any any experience of the Mallata and it's scaling functions ?

    I also found http://www.220-electronics.com/dvd/d900.htm which looks interesting but i've not found any other info on it.

    Is PAL->NTSC conversion for progressive output always going to look rubbish unless you spend a lot of cash ?

    Phil
     
  9. Lowrider

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    Steve,

    One more question, to do PAL proscan is bit 5 of byte 3 ON or OFF... :confused:
     
  10. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Badger,

    If you have a q2500 chassis and get a progressive scan dvd player that can be modded to output PAL prog...and you get a Key Digital YPrPb to RGBHV transcoder....you can have your cake and eat it....

    Gordon
     
  11. Badger

    Badger
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    Hi Gordon,

    The obvious answer is an upgrade of course :) but ATM i've only got a 2400 chassis and I don't think that'll be changing anytime soon, so I'm trying to work out if there are any other options.

    Whats the 2nd hand value of a Q2400 Aconda 9381 with stand then ?

    Phil
     
  12. Steve1138

    Steve1138
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    LOWRIDER

    for switching the internal de-interlacer to "on" for PAL, I still haven't been able to get hold of the engineer at the LOEWE factory to ask him

    He DID tell me though earlire this week that Byte 3 / Bit 5 is NOT IT.

    Will post as soon as I know.

    cheers
    Steve
     
  13. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Well personally I am really interested in using a VGA input on a TV. I have always like what the 2400 chasis did but an assortment of other reasons pushed me elsewhere. However the 2500 chasis with PAL and NTSC support on the VGA input looks great. However you need a RGB progressive scan output (rare).

    This means the Iscan Pro talked of above or other scalers / de-interlacers.
    Chinese players like the Skyworth
    Tag DVD32R / 192 PS board or the FLR equivalent

    Or

    Primare V25 DVD player. A new player that is PAL PS hackable but has a RGB HD 15 output. This at £1000 ish looks like it may make a great partner for the 2500 media chasis equipped Loewes. I would add I have not tried either but it looks like it might be a good combination. My only concern is the quality of the de-interlacing in the Primare player. I have no idea what it is like.
     
  14. Lowrider

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    Nic,

    The FMJ27 can also output RGB progressive...

    Steve,

    I did switch bit 5 of byte 3 ON... It seems to improve slightly PAL DVDs, the wife doesn´t see any difference... Now I wonder what it does... :confused:

    Please keep us posted... :rolleyes:
     
  15. brattle

    brattle
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    Great post Steve, you've obviously done a fair bit of research into this.

    So if I have this right regarding the Loewe...

    - The 2400 chassis accepts NTSC progressive
    - The 2500 chassis accepts NTSC and PAL progressive
    - Both are only via the VGA RGB input add on (not just "ordinary" RGB)
    - No stretching of the picture so only good for 4:3 images

    Two questions:

    1) Would a scaler make any difference? I assume you mean to increases the horizontal resolution to fit the screen, but as the Loewe only accepts very specific VGA resolutions, wouldn't the increase change the resolution to one it doesn't accept?

    2) Can the geometry be changed in the settings menu so that it is always on 16:9 (anamorphic) and nothing else? As most of my films are anamorphic anyway, I could live with VGA always stretching the picture. My 4:3 films tend to be older so I wouldn't be concerned with watching these through the normal scart inputs via non-interlaced RGB.
     
  16. Lowrider

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    I called Loewe and it is not byte 3 / bit 5, but byte 5 / bit 3...

    I will try tonight...
     
  17. Steve1138

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    sorry I still didn't call the guy at the factory.

    Will do, some time.
    Wanted to ask if there was any way to disable some of the picture processing options in service menu

    Steve
     
  18. Kev12

    Kev12
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    Steve,

    I've just bought a Vitros 6381ZW. Could you tell me how to access the service menu?(assuming its the same as the aconda Q2400).
    What I want to look at is the vertical comp in NTSC, as it seems to me to be slightly more "open" than PAL(region 2), if you can imagine what I mean!

    Regards Kev.
     
  19. Steve1138

    Steve1138
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    I don't remember
    but there are some posts here where it's mentioned
    (that's where I saw it)
    I recall it requires pressing smthg on the front panel AND handset at same time
    Steve
     
  20. Lowrider

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    Press the "joystick" on the TV up, it will show the menu with service option, press it again until the service option is selected, then you press menu in the remote to open it, be quick... Very carefull, don´t change anything before noting how it was before, there is no reset to standard...

    The info I had that Loewe TVs where PAL Proscan enabled in Portugal was right, the bit was already on, so it seems like I had PAL proscan all the time...

    The bit you mentioned is a factory setting not described in the service manual, so I was told...
     
  21. zsaddique

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    Seeing as you guys like to get your hands dirty, perhaps this guide will be quite helpful? ;)

    It even has a link to the confidential dealer manual (which explains the bytes and bits too!). But be careful, since I found that I can't stop fiddling about with my geometry every two seconds! :D

    Now if only Loewe could build a new telly with all this magic de-interlacing thingy you're all talking about........ :rolleyes:
     
  22. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    cool link, one of the best I have seen in ages, now that panel projector looks unsafe if I can get into the guts of a PAL / NTSC friendly 2500 equipped Loewe.:D
     
  23. Lowrider

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    The service manual is for the Xelos, different bytes, you don´t happen to have the Vitros, do you... :confused:
     
  24. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I have a quadscan pro coming. It has several 'tweaks' available to this unit that the Iscan Pro doesn't . Local dealer has agreed to test it with me on the Loewe VGA input. It might resolve some of the above issues, like RGB position. I will post results as ever!
     
  25. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Nic,

    The Pro doesn't have the full range of aspect ratio control at low res like 640 x 480 or Line doubling. Are you aware of this?

    Gordon
     
  26. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Gordon

    yes I was aware of this but thought it worth a try like the Iscan Pro was.
     
  27. Steve1138

    Steve1138
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    Nic
    absolutely, go ahead - it's worth trying just to be amazed by the picture quality.

    Fingres crossed on the format / geometry...

    Steve
    (still haven't called the guy at the factory back yet)
     
  28. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Right guys.

    No go unfortunately. We could not get the Quadscan Pro and VGA card to sync at all. The card did happily latch onto a computer VGA signal but no go with 576p, VGA out of the Quadscan. I am not sure why.

    If anyone has any ideas I will have another go but I think I tried most things.
     
  29. Badger

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    Slightly off topic, but has anyone else seen the player mentioned here

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?threadid=141439&highlight=progressive+and+chinese

    as it sounds like it might help and i'm currently trying to find out more about it

    Pros

    VGA output for progressive
    Does PAL and NTSC progressive
    Does PAL->NTSC conversion
    Has some onboard zooming facilities
    Cheap(ish) - It's about 250 quid over there, and there is another version which lacks the CD stages which should be cheaper

    Cons

    Difficult to source (at the moment)
    Remote is in Chinese (replace it with a pronto or similar)
    Potential difficulty with warranty/build quality/firmware problems
    Will only work with for DVD (rather than any signal)

    Questions that still need answering

    I understand that when in 16:9 mode it outputs a wide 480 signal whatever the ratio of the disc is, ie it puts black borders onto 4:3 material - so non anamorphic stuff shouldl look OK, and combined with the zoom feature should solve the scaling problems - but I need to confirm the player does this and that the Aconda doesn't just stretch a 640x480 signal to fit rather than being able to display

    The other issue for me (2400 Chassis owner) will be is the PAL->NTSC conversion be any good, especially with subtitles - My collection is a mixture of R1 and R2, and the HKL stuff (for example) isn't available in anything except PAL

    Any comments ?

    Phil

    [EDIT] Arf - Your censoring software decided to censor the word s w a n k y - so i've removed it rather than looking like I swore :)
     
  30. RakeshP

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    Steve

    I also have a Loewe Articos 32 TV and have been trying to get answers to many questions after reading your post.

    Loewe state that this TV cannot accept Progressive Scan pictures. But you state that using the iscan pro this is possible through the Articos VGA module. I have looked at the technical manual, but there it states it does not accept pro. scan.

    I have contacted siimage and they have not tested this.

    I have contacted my dealer and he is none the wiser.

    Can you tell me which dealer you tried this at? as I would like to use the iscan pro for dvd and other sources.

    Thanks
     

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