Panasonic AE100E and IScan Pro - some answers

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by CSGardner, Apr 15, 2002.

  1. CSGardner

    CSGardner
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    Now that I have received my AE100 - I'm now in a position to give definitive answers to some of the PAL progressive connection questions etc. which have been floating around. (I've not had more than an hour or so to fiddle with settings so far .. away most of weekend .. but more detail will come later).

    The quick feedback is that it works very well - with both NTSC and PAL material.

    The tests were run using a Toshiba SD100E DVD player via S-Video, an Panasonic Digibox via Composite, connected to the IScan Pro, and the ISCan connected to the AE100 via the VGA port using a Vanne Damme RGB cable.

    NTSC Anamorphic DVDs:
    set PC Priority to WIDE
    runs in WIDE480 (856 x 480) (ASPECT toggle is disabled)

    NTSC Non-Anamorphic DVDs:
    set PC Priority to NORMAL (ASPECT TOGGLE is enabled)
    runs in VGA480 (640x480) - image in center of screen
    perfect for 4x3 material
    letterbox material is now small and central (can use V-Scroll, or Optical Zoom .. or move projector). Not ideal reallly, and I've not had time to compare the various ways of filling the screen. I will also add a 525p test (once I have a VGA to Component cable) to the comparison - as that should add the ZOOM ASPECT option for this letterbox material.

    PAL Anamorphic DVDs:
    set PC priority to WIDE (not important here)
    runs in SVGA (800x600) mode
    Quality looked very good (brief check only)

    PAL Non-Anamorphic DVDs:
    (none to test - but setting will be same as below)

    PAL (Non- or) Anamophic SKY:
    runs in SVGA (800x600) - ASPECT toggle available
    toggle button for 16x9 or 4x3 or Vscroll (a bit like 14:9 mode on Widescreen TVs).
    Quality seems remarkably good (considering its sourced originally from the composite out of the Digibox). I will (sometime) get a JS technology collection of bits to get S-Video signal out from the digibox.
    VSCROLL appeared to be noticably better on PAL material than on NTSC (obviously, there is much more vertical resolution in the first place - particularly useful if it ZOOMS BEFORE it Down-scales).
    No thorough testing done here yet.

    So the perfect WIDE480 / VGA 480 mode is easily acheived for NTSC material.
    PAL progressive is viewed (via VGA port) as SVGA - thats 800x600. If you compare this to progressive PAL via component, I think it will see that as 720x576 ... so it seems likely that the SVGA signal will be handled better than the component (less horizontal scaling required).

    I did a quick 'sanity' check of the de-interlasing performance of the IScan - and can confirm that the opening of Star Trek Insurrection (NTSC) is handled perfectly. This scene is a great way to justify separating an enthusiast from his cash ...

    Colour, contrast, etc. settings: I've had even less time to play with this. So far, I've left the HOYA HMC filter in its box .. I did some qquick set-up with Video Essentials, and THX Optimode (for the white level test). I started with Li-On's recomendations - but found they were way out for BRIGHTNESS (his -12, mine +3) and CONTRAST (his +26, mine +13). Perhaps these units vary ? (mine is a Mar 2002 date) - but white levels were completely crushed with higher contrast. My bulb is only 5 hrs used - so it may all change. COLOUR was very accurate at factory settings - I settled on just Blue at -2 (same as Li-On).

    Overall, I'm very happy so far - with everything except for my time avail so far to 'fiddle'. More later.

    Chas

    p.s. the kids just love a 'big Telly' don't they- my 18month old just gasped and then stared open mouthed when we first showed her. Cool.
    Less cool is a 5 year old who now really doesn't want to go to bed - 'cos Daddy is playing with the big telly !
     
  2. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    If the PC input is set to 'normal', can't you use the aspect controls to make letterboxed content fill the full 16:9 panel?

    Also, if the iScan isn't doing any scaling of PAL content, can't you manually select PC Wide mode on the projector to get the proper detail from anamorphic PAL discs?
     
  3. CSGardner

    CSGardner
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    If PC is set to NORMAL, you will use either VGA480 (NTSC) or SVGA (PAL). You then DO get access to ASPECT -, but ZOOM is NEVER an option for the VGA port .. (16x6, 4x4, VScroll are only options)

    For PAL, PC WIDE or NORMAL makes no difference - it still sees a SVGA signal (which is 800x600) - and hence needs a small amount of HORIZONTAL scaling only. (It will merely change the initial state of the ASPECT toggle.)
     
  4. CSGardner

    CSGardner
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    I managed a bit more testing last night .. I did a comparison between a PAL and NTSC (both anamorphic) copy of the same film, and some further tests (with new findings) of Sky Digital.

    I started by watching that new 5th Gear show of Channel 5. Didn't do any setup - just switched on and watched. I was quite dissapointed by the picture .. there were very obvious horizontal and vertical 'line artifacts'. It was not as I remembered from the weekend testing. I'll come back to this in a moment.

    I then tested a recent PAL DVD - Pearl Harbour. Again, I was a little dissapointed. I could defnitely see some vertcal artifacts (faint vertical lines - more obvious in sky and during pans etc.).
    THEN I REMEMBERED to run the AUTO SETUP on the POSITION menu. (I'd done this regularly during previous tests). This instantly cured the problem - any artifacts left may or may not have been on the source material - so I tried a 'same film' test.

    The only movie I've got in both R1 and R2 is The Mummy.
    Tried R1 first - ran autosetup as soon as it was loaded. The image was stunning (as most people have reported on WIDE480).
    No vertical lines at all.
    Tried R2 - WITHOUT running autosetup. Desert scenes (chap 2) showed faint vertical lines. Ran autosetup. vertical lines gone. Lovely image.
    I tried switching to a fro a few times - but the delay during the swap made telling any differences very hard to spot. I got the impression that the R1 NTSC was slighly 'nicer' to look at - but I wonder how a 'blind swap' test would go.

    Now 9pm - so switched back to SKY (Dark Angel of course). This time I decided to try AUTOSETUP. Wow ! ... it was like removing another layer of screendoor. Gone were those obvious vertical and horizontal artifacts. This was a non anamorphic show. In the ads, I switched to BBC2 - an anamorphic studio show. Image quality was as I remembered from weekend. Amazing considering the original source is COMPOSITE. Very very watchable.

    Overall findings are that AUOSETUP needs to be run everytime you choose a new source (i.e. PAL to NTSC; DVD to SKy etc.).

    Chas
     
  5. Guest

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    I wonder what is would be like using component in of IScan pro with a non progressive dvd player such as Toshiba 210e.
    Might be better still.....
     
  6. Kramer

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    Just changed my PIII 966mHz for an Athlon 1800 running Windows XP :D

    Serious hassle getting it reconfigured - not much time to post!

    Regarding the Auto Setup:

    I'm using the PC via VGA in Wide 480 (both Pal & NTSC) & find the image brilliant (NTSC) & excellent (PAL)! Little (if anything) to choose between formats:eek:

    When showing a DILA pixel perfect test pattern the clock adjustments need to be altered. If your not spot on it's so easy to see:eek:

    BUT! if one uses Auto Setup, the settings go out!

    Obviously this will not be easy to see when viewing normal "film" material, but that's where the test pattern comes in.

    The vertical banding you spoke of is not (IMO) an artifact of scaling etc... My PJ has this banding, & I believe most, if not all, will exhibit this. It's an (as yet) unexplained trait of LCD PJs. No one over at AVS has yet come up with a reason:confused:

    This can be proved by entering the service menu & displaying the red, green & blue screens. It's most obvious on the green & red (human eye is least capable of resolving blue).

    It's visible here with no source connected!

    I haven't got the same DVD on both NTSC & Pal, so can't compare ultimately, but I have no desire to try alternate powerstrip settings for Pal - the picture is excellent with the 856x480 in Wide 480 regardless of format. NTSC, I would say is slightly better (???), but it's negligable!

    Anyone know anything about computers? I thought I did but most of my drivers now need updating for compatability with XP :mad: :mad: :mad:

    I need DSL:D
     
  7. kerry

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    Thanks Chas, that's answered the question I was going to ask (I've been lurking here for months, registered on Monday so I could ask if anyone had tried the AE100 with an iScan Pro and PAL material, and you answered before I'd even asked!)

    I'm about to take the plunge and order an AE100, and my plan was to connect it via S-video for now, and add an iScan Pro at a later date -- that way I can get another hit of the "wow" factor after the excitement of a big screen has worn off (and after my wallet's recovered slightly).

    The only question I have left is how much better the picture is via VGA from the iScan compared to via S-video. If people like Li-On are to be believed, it should be a massive jump in quality, but is it worth the money?

    Kerry
     
  8. Bonesy

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    Kerry,

    I haven't managed to set my ae100 up yet, but I think the question is more - which the most economical way of getting a great picture

    s-video to iscan pro to VGA input (what's that £650?)

    or

    Medium-level DVD player with progressive scan to component input (about £500)

    I'm going the latter route.
    There's lots of comparisons to be found on AVSforum, using search.
     
  9. CSGardner

    CSGardner
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    Some replies:
    Little2:
    I hope to try component in soon ... I'll be trying a Sony NS900 and a Tosh 210E. I would expect an improvement .. we'll see.

    'Kerry:
    I've not had time to compare the S-Vid direct yet .. but I will soon. (as before, I still don't yet have enough time for all the tests I want to do. I'd guess a week or so)

    Bonesy: I agree - the IScan is NOT the cheapest way to go to get best DVD performance .. but it does give the the best flexibility for manz sources, maximises Digital Satellite performance, and makes for Very Neat Wiring (good for those with Wives ...)

    Kramer: interesting comments about Auto-Setup .. I'll try it properly using Video Essentials. That should let me see what you describe. What is certainly true is that the IScan needs to be re-tuned when swithching between PAL and NTSC. And on Film (5 mins viewing only) it did a very good job.
    As for the vertical artifacts - I was definitely able to reduce them using auto setup .. so we may be talking about 2 different issues (which contribute to the same visual effect).
    Thanks for the input anyway. More for me to try.

    I'm in Germany for a few days at moment, and away again at weekend ... so won't be able to follow up much testing till next week.

    Chas
     
  10. CSGardner

    CSGardner
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    BTW - How do I enter the service menu on the Panasonic ? (and is it as scary a place as those on CRT Televisions I've seen !
    Chas
     
  11. Lefreck

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    URGENT: Same question as Gardner, because I will most likely buy a panny tomorrow and want to chock it for dead pixels...
    Does the panny accept component interlaced signals on its vga input?
     
  12. CSGardner

    CSGardner
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    It definitely does not support component progressive via the VGA (green picture) .. so I'm 99.9% sure that it won't accept interlaced either.
    Chas
     
  13. chienmort

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    If your signal source has a Y, Pb, Pr output (commonly but wrongly called component in most places) this will give the best picture on the PT-AE100. No Contest.

    The VGA input is precisely that. Designed to show computer signals and is NOT recommended for Home Cinema sources.
     
  14. Guest

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    Looking forward to seeing the results with component in on IScan to the vga port on the Panny using a Toshiba 210 player...that was the route i was thinking of taking....
     
  15. Guest

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    Any update on this thread :(
     
  16. CSGardner

    CSGardner
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    Sorry, but I haven't been around to even switch the PJ on for the last week, Very frustrating. However, I have a 50% chance of getting hold of a DVD player with component out this weekend.
    Chas
     
  17. Guest

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    Thanks Chas :)
    best regards
    LittleT2
     
  18. Guest

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    Chas..quick question. I would have thought using IScan would create some type of visual delay..did you notice any problems with audio/visual synchronisation..ie lip sync issue's etc?
    Best regards
    LittleT2
     
  19. CSGardner

    CSGardner
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    The IScan adds a 4 frame delay to the video - thats 80ms for PAL, or 67ms for NTSC discs. That might sound like a lot, but its way less than my old pioneer DVD player used to do on its own, and its also way less than some of these hopeless DVD Authors seem to achieve.
    The best answer I can give is that I don't notice it at all on a well mastered DVD. I certainly don't notice it on the Sky TV tests I've done (where lip sync is always spot on).
    I've always been very sensitive to lip sync problems - and probably (one day) will buy an AV amp which allows for lip sync adjustment to the Audio.

    Component Input Tests:
    I didn't manage to get hold of a Component out DVD player this weekend - but I DID get the extra cable for the IScan, so have compared Prog scan on Componnent vs. Prog Scan on VGA. (The possible difference to the many other reports on these forums is that I was able to use the identical source - ie prog scan from same DVD player, using same processing - with a simple output switch between RGB and Component).

    My initial tests were using Star Trek Insurrection opening (NTSC). De-interlacing effects tests were identical. I must have switched back to back 10 times trying to see a major difference - I could see some differences, but nothing to make me hate the component inputs. (Note that the colours are fairly 'muted' in this opening scene - which I think contributed to the similar results .. more later).
    I then switched to a test image from Video Essentials. On the frequency sweep, VGA was totally solid, and the pure colour boxes were properly contained. Component had a very slight shimmer near the highest frequency (it took a few seconds to notice it - so it was very slight). More noticable was that some of the pure colour boxes (red in particular) appeared to 'bloom' into their neighbours (component only).
    I then tried The Mummy, start of chapter 3 (where there is a cityscape shot, then diagonal pan over an Egyption 'breeze block' wall - behind the dog). Great for showing up nasties. I have this disc in both PAL and NTSC.
    NTSC on WIDEVGA was the best of all 4 options. NTSC on Component (525p) came 2nd. PAL was close on component (625p) and VGA (SVGA) - though colours were better on the SVGA. I have a feeling that the NTSC disc was much better mastered than the PAL - there were nasty digital effects seen where the blocks joined on PAL, which wer not there on NTSC (confirmed by checking the DVD played straight to a TV).

    Next test - good image (Pixar).
    On Sunday, I settled down to watch Bugs life (NTSC) with the kids. I had it wired up by component at the time -thinking that it would be fine.
    I was immediately unhappy with the image - it looked (relatively) 'washed out' .. compared to my memory of the film. After about 1 min, I pauses, and rewired (kids were not impressed!). Finally I saw the 'night vs. day' difference that some people have referred to. The image was exciting in comparison - the colours were more distinct - leading to a very different look to a Pixar film.

    Non-anamorphic DVDs - NTSC
    I don't much like any of the options you get here. I tested using Titanic R1.
    VGA480 is very good, but a tiny image. Use V-Scroll on that, and you get horrible horizonatal scaling. Optical zoom looked much better (i.e. including moving the projector back).
    525p is OK - and its zoom mode(s) was better that using the VGA input.
    Didn't spend too much time comparing - it just reminded me of how crap non-anamorphic tends to look.

    So I'm back to the 'VGA input is best' camp - but not with the extreme view that some seem to hold. For NTSC movies - the difference is more clear cut. For watching Sky etc - I'd probably use the component in - as that gives you more screen modes to play with.

    Chas
     
  20. infomatique

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    I use the I-SCAN PRO with a Philips Monroe and I certainly do notice the lip sync problem ... for some reason it appears to be rather variable in that sometimes I am very aware of it (especially with NTL digital) and other times it is less obvious ... nevertheless, I do find it very annoying and as a result I have placed an order for the new DENON AVC-A1SR which has an audio delay feature. What started out as a simple decision to purchase a low cost Projector has developed into a very expensive project.
     

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