Panasonic TH-50PHD8. What scaler for my setup... if any?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by gorman, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. gorman

    gorman
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    Hi to all! I've been lurking for quite a while and now that my spanking new Panny is on its way I would like to know whether a dedicated scaler is mandatory or not.

    My setup would be:

    Panny 50PHD8
    DVD Pioneer 747 (component out)
    Sky+ (SCART RGB out)
    Xbox (SCART RGB out, I might make it output through component if necessary)
    PS2 (component out, I might make it output through SCART RGB)
    GameCube (SCART RGB out)

    Soon to be added:
    Xbox 360 (probably VGA out or component out, according to your suggestions).

    I have an Onkyo DS797 as receiver, which has two component inputs and one component output (currently it's connected to DVD and PS2) and I'm using this Holdan SCART switcher to go to my current TV set.

    Is there anybody willing to suggest me a scaler solution and, consequently, which input cards to mount on the Panny? Considering that in the future I will be buying a PlayStation 3 and that that is supposed to output through HDMI.

    Budget ? 1000 Euros would be enough, considering I'm interested in both SD and HD?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. gorman

    gorman
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    One thing I didn't specify... I'm totally open to suggestions regarding cables, converting boxes, whatever you might deem appropriate, really. :)
     
  3. NonPayingMember

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    Hi Gorman,

    I would be thinking Lumagen VisionDVI. But really (and especially with all this HD content) you are going to get better results with a HDP model. Better scaling and deinterlacing, plus HD scaling and 1080i deinterlacing with reverse telecine.

    With DVI terminal installed on the plasma, connect the Lumagen via DVI. Sky (RGB) and DVD (YUV) connect to the processor. PS3 will connect HDMI-DVI, Sky HD will use up the other DVI.

    Gamecube, PS2, Xbox and Xbox 360 I would run all in component, directly to the VGA/Component terminal on the plasma. (well via a switcher anyway) Some have reservations about playing certain games through video processors because of the effects of the processing lag hence the direct connection. If PS3 causes a problem going through the processor you can always set it to bypass, or install another HDMI or DVI card into the plasma screen.

    The Onkyo receiver will no longer be needed for video switching duties, just send all the audio signals to it (but remember to leave a cable for OSD to run to the Lumagen).
     
  4. gorman

    gorman
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    What about the Cinemateq Picture Optimizer Plus II? Considering it has already SCART inputs it could save me a small fortune in cables and converters, what do you think about it?
     
  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    The Lumagen has scart input capability. The component inputs can be configured to work with the composite inputs to do this...so no conversion required.


    Gordon
     
  6. NonPayingMember

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    The cinemateq would save you one or two scart breakout cables, but has no digital inputs so couldn't be used with HD material or HDMI DVD players.
     
  7. gorman

    gorman
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    What about this audio delay that I'm reading about? Is it a serious problem to take into consideration?

    If it is, wouldn't I be better off with the iScan HD+?
     
  8. NonPayingMember

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    No, you would be better off with the better picture from a Lumagen and a seperate audio delay device hahaha!!!!!!!

    Seriously though, if you do find audio-delay an issue (not all do) there is the Felston dual-digital delay available for £140 iirc. In fact, I'm quite sure your AV Amp already has an audio delay feature!
     
  9. gorman

    gorman
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    I reckon you are a bit of a fan, aren't you? :)

    Back on topic, is this delay fixed? Meaning... as an example, my Onkyo 797 has custom delay setup for each speaker but... will the delay be the same for all kind of material? SD? HD? Complex scenes? Simple scenes?

    Thanks for bearing with me! :)
     
  10. NonPayingMember

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    LOL! Yeah a little bit.

    I had a quick look on Onkyo's spec sheet saying the amp has AV Sync Delay, looking through the manual this option appears as DELAY in the AUDIO menu. It is a global adjustment in the sense it delays all speakers equally, I would be pretty sure this will be on a per-input basis. So for Sky TV the adjustment will be different to that of DVD (Sky is inherently out of sync as it is).

    Roughly speaking the delay is the same no matter what the complexity of the scene. But beware, with Sky TV different channels are out of sync by different amounts so you're always going to get something that goes out of sync at some point. I would try not to dwell too much otherwise you will never watch TV properley again - all you'll be doing is staring at peoples lips waiting for it to go out of sync !!! Concentrate more on seeing sense, getting a Lumagen based setup :D
     
  11. StooMonster

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    Well Gordon is the Lumagen UK distributor, and Liam doesn't sell DVDO. ;)

    With my Panasonic TH-50PHD5 I use DVDO iScan HD.

    The audio delay functions on the DVDO scalers are excellent, even if you have delays built into your amplification.

    Firstly, because the first built in delay is for however long the visual processing takes, so you don't have to have seperate settings (on your amp or audio delay box) for Region 2 vs Region 1 DVDs -- there is a different audio delay required for PAL vs NTSC (50Hz vs 60Hz) material.

    Secondly, user selectable delay is adjusted for how much processing display requires, which will be the same regardless of input signal.

    Thirdly, user selectable delay is adjusted on a per input level and can be adjusted in real-time with remote control for troublesome Sky channels (some of which can have significant lip-sync issues).

    Finally, per inputs can be optical or coax and output is either optical or coax depending on your requirements, so you can change Sky+'s optical output to coax on your amp.

    Connection to Sky+ is dead easy, simply get a scart to RGBS breakout cable from likes of Mark Grant or QED and plug it into the four inputs (you don't lose a composite input, which may be important to you); this gives the best picture from Sky (bar an SDI moded box). Then plug optical cable from Sky+ into DVDO.

    What they have in common: Lumagen and DVDO both use Silicon Image SiI504 for SD deinterlacing, which if you are watching Sky and DVD is what matters most. Both have optional SDI input, which is how I connect my DVD player.

    Where they differ: Lumagen use their own scaler software, as do DVDO who use ABT (Anchor Bay Technology) that Denon have licensed in their top-end DVD players. I believe the Lumagen properly deinterlacers 1080i to 1080p, which is excellent if you have 1080i material and your screen accepts 1080p signal. Lumagen has 10-bit DACs for analogue output, DVDO has 12-bit DACs, not that this makes any difference if your screen only accepts 8-bit analogue signal (which is the most common case); DVI is 8-bit output by definition.

    For watching SD content (Sky and DVD) I'd say they are both pretty similar, but the DVDO also has audio delays. Same is true for 720p HD content. But the Lumagen is better with 1080i.

    HTH

    StooMonster
     
  12. nightwatch

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    Hi,

    So what cable would I need to connect the Sky+ to the lumagenHD, Scart to 3 RCA ?

    Thanks

    Steve
     
  13. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Scart to 4 RCA (same as DVDO) one each for Red, Green, Blue, Sync.

    This is mostly commonly known as RGBS. Some anal retentives insist on calling it RGBcvS.

    Look for scart to RGBS cable: QED and others make one, Mark Grant cables make the best one.

    StooMonster
     
  14. nightwatch

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    Thanks StooMonster.

    I should read the manual :) I see that one of the composite inputs can be configured for the Sync.

    cheers

    Steve
     
  15. Joe Fernand

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    Hello all

    StooMonster - you'll find Liam like most has the option to supply DVDO just as readily as Lumagen.

    A few months back the iScanHD+ vs. Lumagen debate took a decided turn in favour of Lumagen (to my eyes anyway) as the continued development of new Firmware for the Lumagen Vision range pushed the video Output quality ahead of the iScanHD+; especially true with the VisionHDP it now also outperforms the VisionDVI.

    I guess the more up to date comparison will be the iScan VP30 vs. VisionDVI and HDP; once the new DVDO kit arrives in the UK.

    Nightwatch - a SCART to 4RCA cable is required; VanDamme Red Series is a good option.

    gorman - audio delay is one of those thing that some folk pick up on straight away and some don't; I'd install the video processor of choice and then work out if your Onkyo is up to the job or not; it sounds like it should do everything you require.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS An external Video Processor is not Mandatory - though once you've seen one working you wont want to be without one!!!
     
  16. StooMonster

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    Okay, his website does not have DVDO on it. ;)

    DVDO vs Lumagen, was simply offering a consumers view. :) It was all a bit one sided, and perhaps gorman may be interested in built-in audio delay?

    Looking forward to seeing VP30's Precision Scaling 2 versus Lumagen Vision.

    StooMonster
     
  17. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello StooMonster

    Agreed its gets a bit one sided - hopefully that's a challenge to the chasing pack and equally I'm sure a fair few hours will be spent over the next few weeks doing comparisons with the iScan VP30.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  18. NonPayingMember

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    Stoo - we only don't list the DVDO as a recommended processor because we don't recommend it!! (it is listed at the bottom of the page with the Plasma Enhancer products which we also don't recommend more on a cost/features points of view - the picture is gorgeous!) The profit is the same whether Lumagen or DVDO, the ease/complication of setup is the same, but I truly believe the Lumagen is a better product. It's quite natural for an argument to be one-sided if one side is better.... I have no other reason for offering one over the other, I could save myself a lot of time and just sell to the client whatever scaler he has been told he should buy - whether I think it is more suited or not. I have no gripes with DVDO, and hope the VP30 brings them back up to speed. But I'm a doubter, there are more than enough physical differences between the Lumagen implementation of the Sil504 (using Lumagen own co-processing as well as scaling) and the DVDO use of sil processing and co-processing for the results to be completely different. And until the DVDO prodcuts have the kind of advanced adjustment tools the Lumagens do they will never find there way into our no-compromises setups.
     
  19. StooMonster

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    Okay mate! Did put smilies / winkies all over the place, wasn't suggesting anything bad. :)

    Understand in "no compromise setups" that Lumagen is probably better (until we see VP30), but I am simply suggesting that it may not be the case for everyone and perhaps an all-rounder product (that includes an audio delay for example) may be more suitable for some. :)

    Also, four out of six of gorman's inputs are games consoles -- will any scaler really make a difference, except as switcher, to any of them? So to answer his question "is a scaler mandatory" the answer may be no.

    StooMonster
     
  20. NonPayingMember

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    Yeah that post sounded a bit curt reading back - was rush typing while on hold to a supplier!!!

    Each client is different of course, but the iScans only advantage (audio delay) can be had in a seperate device (Felston) and for Gorman is already integrated in his amp.

    Basically from my experience, and this is quite a blunt statement, I cannot think of one reason to specify a HD+. Ok there's one - four source audio delay, where the AV amp doesn't already do it, and the Felston only has two inputs.

    I'm not saying the difference is night and day here, but it's always in the Lumagen's favour. It wasn't when Lumagen was running beta - which lasted forever and really got on my wick - but now with the feature set and processing power of a Luma fully realised, it's really a no-brainer decision.
     
  21. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Perhaps I get can a demo on my kit? I'll PM you. :)

    StooMonster
     
  22. NonPayingMember

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    Of course!! OVer to PM....
     
  23. gorman

    gorman
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    What I'm mostly interested in, in fact, is scaling for DVD and SAT sources.
     
  24. gorman

    gorman
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    Some more options...

    I've been proposed a Lumagen VisionHDP, second hand, at Euros 790. Is that a good offer (it's a product originally sold in December 04).

    And I've been told that to handle PAL signals a Plasma Enhancer Pro would be quite better than the Lumagen HDP. They mentioned the fact that PMS is actually going to introduce a firmware upgrade to make the Plasma Enhancer Pro able to scale HD signals as well.

    What do you think? I will be using the scaler for Sky, so PAL handling is kind of important....
     
  25. Welwynnick

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    Vision HDP at 790 euros - Yes, without a moment's hesitation (just as long as it works!) Rocking horses spring to mind....

    Plasma Enhancer pro? - better than a Vision HDP? - absolutely no way. Everyone here will undoubtably agree with that.

    I couldn't be any more unequivocal, could I?

    Nick
     
  26. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Stoo: I guess I am the ANAL RETENTIVE you are talking about ;)

    I actually only do it to try to get the multitude of folk on here who don't know, that RGBS and RGB and RGsB are not the same as that which comes out the SCART socket on your Sky/Freeview/Cable/DVD player....so even although your display says it accepts RGB/RGBS/RGsB....it may not work....as many have found out.

    I do agree that I have seen some Sky channels can go a bit weirdo with lip sync issues. However the requirement to actually have to add more delay has not happened to me in...well I can't actually remember...but when it does go it's HUGE...is there actually enough lip sync adjustment to compensate for those occasions in anything?

    I am also sure that the ABT scaling in the VP3O will outperform the HD+.

    I suppose I should also point out for good measure that the Lumagen only uses half of the SIL504 solution for de-interlacing. They do not use the co-processor that runs alongside the SIL504. Instead that work is done in the Lumagen FPGA using their own code.

    On the HD front it would be remiss of me to not to mention that the 2:3 pulldown is not in the firmware yet. They have done some work on the 1080i video source material so it's no longer doing BOB like everyone else at this price. 2:3 is next along with more 1080i video source improvements.

    Gorman: Scalers are not mandatory. Scalers can make poor products alot better and great products superb. Ideally you should choose one by viewing and if that's not possible then 'd go with who you feel will give you the best support and talks the most sense. I would suggest that if you are buying "mail order" or from a distance you get the lot from one person who can configure and set up the whole shooting match before it gets to you. Or, failing that, pay for someone who understands how to get the best out of your chosen system to set it up optimally. Video processors have lots of adjustments. They are designed to allow this with the know to get the best out of the attached sources and display. In the hands of someone who doesn't know it can be a mess...in the hands of someone who does it can be pretty wonderful.

    Have fun,

    Gordon
     
  27. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    No mate, some guy gave me a ticking off on American board for using RGBS term -- which is what the menus in my scaler call it, and most people I've ever talked to! Apparently RGBS is a TTL term ... blah ... blah ... blah ... :boring:

    My down-the-road Lumagen AV man Liam @ Prog AV is going to sort me out a demo of Lumagen kit. Some mighty impressive features indeed.

    Have to say I am looking forward to seeing what Dale Adams is up to with his deinterlacer, and I am assuming that DVDO are going to offer it as replacement card for VP30 at some point.

    StooMonster
     
  28. gorman

    gorman
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    On PAL SD sources as well? This is my question. Overall I've no doubt that the HDP is the better product. And what with this HD upgrade for the Plasma Enhancer Pro. Has anybody heard anything about it?

    And by the way... do you know of any online store that has the TY-42TM6D (DVI Board) available?
     
  29. Welwynnick

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    Scalers all seem to work with PAL and NTSC - it's not reallly an issue.

    The only slight problem may be with cadence detection for 2:2 pull-down when de-interlacing film sourced material. That means correctly pairing up the repeated fields that came from the same original film frame. This applies only to 50Hz PAL material. It's not trivial, and a poor de-interlacer may not pick it up very well. Lumagens probably do it better than anyone.

    HD upgrade? That could mean many things, but it's probably just filling-in one of the many gaps in functionality. What about the Lumagen HD upgrade? That's much more important.

    Nick
     
  30. gorman

    gorman
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    Well... thanks to everybody. I ended up buying the Lumagen HDP second hand at Euro 790,00. Let's hope it's not *too* complicated to setup, as in Italy I can't find any company doing ISF calibration or anything similar...
     

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