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Pioneer 434 plasma, scaler wanted - KISS

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by eggybread, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. eggybread

    eggybread
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    At the risk of being flamed for being such a n00b and not RTFM...! I've looked through this forum for some idea of what I'm getting into, and it looks like a minefield. People seem to have degrees in this stuff and are still having difficulties, so I'm feeling a little out of my depth. All I want is a nice, simple solution offered to me. :D

    I've looked at the Pioneer 868avi dvd player on a 434 screen outputing to HDMI on 720p/1080i. I've never seen upconverting in action before and was a little blown away, and am waiting for the denon 3910/2910 to come out so I can check that too. It would be great to get the same(ish) quality image from other sources, hence looking for a suitable scaler.

    What I have is this:
    1 x pioneer 434hde screen
    1 x sony freeview box (scart only output)
    1 x Pioneer 717 (scart output, digital optical audio out, s-video out)
    1 x VCR (scart output)

    I've looked at the iScanHD and it seems to me I'm going to have to buy a load of {Scart to svideo+2xRCA Audio} connectors, but then where does the sound output go - i guess this goes straight into my amp (yet more cables)? the iScan only has digital audio in, so is not that great for me. Also, the iScan only has DVI output, and is some kind of cable to plug into HDMI (the 434 box uses this) going to work?

    Is there a nice, easy (euro-centric: scarts) solution that anyone can offer me?

    Thanks for your patience.
     
  2. philipb

    philipb
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    The Cinemateq is euro friendly as you describe and seems to be well regarded. The Lumagen mafia will however point out that a scart to 4 phono cable will do just as well on those machines. Do a search on this forum for the regular shoot outs between the competing camps.
     
  3. oferlaor

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    The iScan HD works quite well with a SCART to 4xRCA cable (RGBcvS) into the component input and the extra sync connection.

    PQ is excellent.
     
  4. X3ELS

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    PhilipB: Lumagen mafioso? Nice......

    Most any scaler recommended will accept RGBwithsync on Composite (that's what comes out a SCART socket). Some devices may have phono sockets requiring an SCART LEAD to RGBandComposite Phono instead of a Scart to Scart lead. The 717 has a component output as well I believe so you should use that for the DVD feed. (alternatively if you want best image from that player you could have it modified to have a SDI digital video output then go to one of the many suitably equipped SDI input scalers.

    VCR will require another Scart to composite video output lead.

    The HDE will not accept native resolution in to its HDMI input so you would need to use 720P out of your chosen scaler. A DVI to HDMI cable will work fine in to your media box for the plasma....or you could use a DVI to DVI with adaptor.

    No matter what scaler you end up with though I strongly suggest trying to deal with a competent dealer who actually is able to offer sensible advice and back up so you can actually get the thing working to a high standard in your home. Although all scalers are actually simple enough to plug in the level of interactivity between the sources/scaler and display means that someone who knows what they are doing can get the last ounce of performance out of the units (which is what you pay for).

    Gordon
    Lumagen MAFIOSO BOSS.....
    posting from X3ELS computer at CEDIA USA Indianpolis
     
  5. eggybread

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    Thanks all for all your replies - the fog is starting to clear a little :thumbsup:
    Another big question though, that I cant seem to figure out: If using eg. SCART to 4xRCA into the scaler, is 'what happens to the sound channel'? If I'm using the SCART socket from the Freeview box (its only output) to go into the scaler, and that socket is carrying the sound out too, how do I get the sound channel to go somewhere like my hifi amp?

    I guess I need to know more about what type of cable adapters are available, and what the scaler will take, and then make sure I get the right ones for each device so that all the ins and outs match up going into the scaler. It seems a bit like a jigsaw puzzle fitting this stuff together.

    I'm struggling to find a dealer in Manchester UK that has a scaler I can check out to see if the fuss is worth it, and help me setup my equipment / buy the right cables / finetune.
     
  6. X3ELS

    X3ELS
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    Eggy: You will be able to get cables with SCART plug one end and the required audio and video socketry to go to amp and scaler at other.

    Gordon...not X3ELS
     
  7. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    eggybread

    Up conversion of your Standard Definition (SD) sources to 720P using a Video Processor ahead of the Media Box on your HDE PlasmaTV does pay big dividends - its just a pity we cant actually 'bypass' the Media Box.

    Video Processor to Media Box - most processors will offer you Analogue (YUV or RGB Component) or Digital (RGB via DVI) outputs; both of which are suitable for use with Input 03 on the Media Box.

    Analogue vs. Digital - there's less difference than many imagine between the two connectivity options; though most folk end up using the Digital route (via HDMI) into the Media Box.

    Video Processor to Media Box cable - no need to use any adapters; every cable configuration in a whole range of lengths, specs and costs are available from stock.

    SCART RGB Source to Video Processor - the only 'Custom' cable you will require will be the SCART to 6RCA (or 4BNC+2RCA) for RGB+Composite Sync + LR Audio - we have SCART to 4RCA (or BNC) cables from stock built these don't handle the audio connectivity.

    Audio - you need to decide if your running your Audio into both the PlasmaTV and an AV Receiver or just an AV Receiver; once you do that its easier to plan out the Audio connectivity.

    Video Delay (lip sync) - once you introduce a Video Processor into your signal path and have the Video Processor start to 'process' the incoming video signals you introduce a delay between the Video and Audio signals; which shows on screen as peoples lips moving 'behind' the audio playback.

    Video Processor with Audio Delay - as you've seen some Video Processors have on board Audio processing - though often only Analogue or Digital not both.

    A/D Audio Converters - if your Video Processor has Digital only audio processing its easy enough to add a low cost (£20+) Analogue to Digital 'in line' converter to any Analogue audio signals to make them compatible with the Digital Audio inputs on your Processor.

    Video Processor with No Audio Delay - the majority of Video Processor's on the market don't offer any form of Audio processing and where you introduce one of these units into your system there are relatively low cost Analogue and Digital audio delays on the market; these cost from £120 for an Analogue delay and around £180 for a Digital Delay; though you can spend a whole lot more for units with multiple inputs.

    AV Receiver - its also worth noting that many mid range AV Receivers now come equipped with variable audio delay on both Analogue and Digital Inputs.

    Video Processor - as others have said there are a fair few manufacturers (and retailers :)) vying for your pennies and whichever unit you choose be prepared for a fair amount of head scratching to begin with - these units are not 'plug and play'.

    I guess I'm one of philip's Lumagen Mafioso - though the Lumagen Vision range is only one of a few Video Processing solutions we offer; I actually have both Lumagen and DVDO products permanently attached to my own Pioneer HDE PlasmaTV.

    Drop me a PM if you want more info on interfacing your kit with a processor and how the various units perform with the HDE.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  8. eggybread

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    Thanks all for the comprehensive replies so far. Really really appreciated - this thread may be useful as a 'sticky' for people who arent 100% up to speed with the technical side of home cinema. [admin?]

    I'm looking to to spend around £1000 to get my 434 HD'd up. The Pioneer 717 dvd player I have is pretty old, and even with a good scaler processing it, I still feel that some of its problems arent going to rectified. I'm looking at the 2910 (£600), which has HDMI and upscaling. No review yet though - I'll keep a look out on this forum and others. If its as good as the 868avi did then I'm getting it - its no brainer, as I dont need great SACD/CD playback or iLinks etc.

    That leaves £400 for the scaler for my freeview box and possibly VCR. I know you can get iScan Ultras now for £270, but they only go to 480p and I read in a thread somewhere that for a 434hde, 480p doesnt make much visual difference to warrant the cost of it (it makes more of a difference on the 504). Can I get a scaler to go to 625p or 720p for £400?

    Getting the 2910 means that I use up the INPUT3 HDMI port. As INPUT3 is shared with the component input, I guess I'd have to keep going into the 434's menus to switch between HDMI or component on that INPUT. That would be unusable, unless the media box has a quick switcher built into it. Joe: how are you managing to use two scalers going into one media box - which inputs are you using?
     
  9. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    eggybread

    01. DVI Switcher - I use one of our Zektor DVS5.1 switchers between the various DVI outputs I have and the HDMI input on the Media Box.

    See http://www.zektor.com/dvs51/index.htm

    02. Switching and Passthrough - keep in mind though that the more upmarket Video Processors have multiple RGB, YUV and DVI Inputs - some with full processing and some only Passthrough so you'll have enough inputs for your planned connectivity using the Video Processor to pre select your source even if you only have one active Input on the Media Box (HDMI).

    03. iScanUltra - this is a Deinterlacer not a Scaler and yes many folk have found the deinterlacing in the Pioneer Display's and TV's to be not far behind the Ultra.

    04. DVD source - best buy on the market at present are the end of line Arcam units; these can output a very clean Interlaced YUV video signal and married with a Lumagen VisionDVI you'd have quite a system.

    05. Video Processor - I'm not convinced your going to get anything terribly worthwhile at £400. I guess you have to look at which sources you use most - if you use SKY and the like as your primary sources I'd be looking at getting a decent Video Processor and then look at what difference a new DVD player will make with the Video Processor over using your elderly DV-717.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  10. eggybread

    eggybread
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    Thanks Joe

    I'm starting to lean towards getting a reasonable decent scaler, and plugging everything into that, then using the DVI out of the scaler into the HDMI of the media box using a suitable cable. And then see whether I want to bother getting a Denon 2910 after that.

    More questions...

    [1] I thought HDMI had some special encoding on it so that the digital feed could not be copied. If so, doesnt that make it fundamentally different from what a DVI output is going to generate, and so how can a DVI-HDMI cable work? How do I check before hand whether the scaler I buy is going to work going into the HDMI on my 434 media box?

    [2] If I decide to go for a Denon 2910 anyway, I can plug this into the scaler using the 2910's DVI output, and then pass through the signal straight through the scaler into the media box's HDMI with a DVI-HDMI cable, as you say. BUT it seems a shame to waste using the HDMI output on the 2910, based on my assumption that the HDMI output is going to better than DVI, and therefore I'm going to be losing PQ at some point. Is HDMI that much better?

    [3] I've seen an 868 as I say, and know what the HDMI 720p looks like on a pioneer 434 screen, but am struggling to find anyone in the Manchester region who can show me a scaler at work. Therefore, its a step into the unknown to spend £800 on a Lumagen DVI and be confident that my Scart RGB output into the scaler then out using the DVI from the scaler is going to be as good as what I saw from the 868.

    [4] Is there anywhere where you can see 'before' and 'after' pictures for a close up of an image before and after going through the scaler?

    [5] Which end of the line Arcam units were you thinking of?

    Thanks
    Nick
     
  11. eggybread

    eggybread
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    Nearly there... I will get a decent scaler, and keep my existing Pioneer 717, but leave the door open to get a better dvd player later, using

    component, dvi or hdmi. Then plug the DVI output into the HDMI of the 434's media box.

    To that end, I'll need a scaler with HDCP on the DVI port, so that I can run DVI-DVI or HDMI-DVI if I get a 2910. As I say, I have a DVD player with scart or s-video output, a freeview box with scart, and a vcr with scart.

    I'm looking at:
    Cinemateq Picture Optimiser £599.99
    Cinemateq Picture Optimiser Plus II £999.95
    DVDO iScan HD £999.95
    Lumagen VisionDVI £799.99

    As I have not found anywhere that demos these things I'm relying on you guys to tell me what the PQ is going to be like, from your own

    experience.

    1. Will the Lumagen DVI / iScan HD scaler produce a better picture than the ones built into the Pioneer 868avi and Denon 3910's.

    2. I want the same 'walk into the picture' level of detail and clarity that I got when demoing the 868 and 720p into the Pioneer 434 screen - will I get

    that using a Lumagen/DVDO/Cinemateq.

    I have seen the 868avi going into the 434 screen at 720p, and was pretty impressed. Can a good scaler being fed by a reasonably good DVD player (£400, component/DVI) really beat that?

    3. I get the impression that scalers also perform 'tidyup up' on the source signal. eg. remove slightly ghost edges around objects where dark and

    light meet. Is this so?

    4. do i need to worry about lipsync that much. i'm going to be running at 720p output for the most part, and I'd imagine that the video processing isnt going to be too intensive.

    5. Can the media box on the 434 handle DVI-I and DVI-D inputs automatically, as the DVI output type varies between scalers

    6. Where are the reviews of these things?

    7. Where is a good online shop to buy one from?

    8. Out of the 4 units listed at the top, whats the best fit for me.
     
  12. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Nick,

    As a newly instigated Luamgen mafioso :rolleyes: I can answer a few of your questions here:

    End of line Arcams were the pre-HDMI models going for around the £500 mark rather than £1000 which provide an excellent interlaced component output for your processor.

    Any of the scalers you have mentioned will provide will provide a better picture over one built into a DVD player. Remember you are paying the same budget as a new DVD player, but this £800 is just for processing technology. You are also going to see major improvements to your digital TV signal and any other sources being fed to the plasma. I'm not going to pretend the difference will be night and day between the new Denons 720P, and 720P as processed by the Lumagen. But there will be a positive difference and the Lumagen will offer you much more control over perfecting the picture. It will certainly be better than the 868 coupled with 434. The scaler is doing more than simply converting the feed into progressive format and upscaling the resolution, it must carry out many interpolations of the data to "create" information to fill the 720 line image from 576 lines of information. The quality of these interpolations and how the picture is "cleaned up" during this process is what really makes a decent scaler stand out from an upscaling DVD player.

    720p whether created in the DVD player, in a scaler, or scaled up by the plasma screen is still going to take up 50ms from a DVD source. If you think lip synch will be a worry then give careful consideration to getting a delay put in, you can always have one put in later if you wanna see how you feel first. What AV amp do you use? It might already have an integrated delay. If you are planning on upgrading DVD as well as adding a scaler then the Arcam DV79 includes audio delay functionality (and is a fantastic player).

    DVI-I is simply a DVI port that can also send analogue RGB output. The Lumagen VisionDVI and VisionHDP have this so that the one output socket can either be configured for analogue or digital. This is nothing you need to worry about.

    Very few reviews of scalers, and the guys that review don't know a damn thing about video processing anyway (the plasma and projector reviews in these mags is evidence of this). There is one iScan HD review out and I think a Cinemateq product has been reviewed recently. I'm pretty sure a Lumagen unit will be passed around the reviewers eventually, but much more important to go to a decent dealer who can specify the right thing for you than to buy whatever gets 5-stars in the mags.

    Best for you picture qualitywise is going to be the Lumagen, but if you are very worried about audio delay then this is the advantage the iScan offers. However the Lumagen is also compatible with HDMI interlaced signals. If you were to upgrade later to a DVD player with HDMI this could send an interlaced signal to the Lumagen (using a HDMI-DVI lead) digitally, then the Lumagen can carry out all processing before the signal has ever run through digital to analogue conversion.

    HTH
     
  13. eggybread

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    My AV amp is a yamaha dsp-5. Its a couple of three years old

    >>> If you were to upgrade later to a DVD player with HDMI this could send an interlaced signal to the Lumagen (using a HDMI-DVI lead) digitally, then the Lumagen can carry out all processing before the signal has ever run through digital to analogue conversion. If you were to upgrade later to a DVD player with HDMI this could send an interlaced signal to the Lumagen (using a HDMI-DVI lead) digitally, then the Lumagen can carry out all processing before the signal has ever run through digital to analogue conversion.

    Okay, didnt know that HDMI could be output as interlaced. Would this pretty much be the same quality of unadulterated interlaced signal that an SDI modified player would produce? Or is the SDI route even more direct than HDMI interlaced. If nothing in it, can forget SDI then.

    After reading this forum alot, and having had a few emails with other retailers/specialists, I'm thinking of going down the SDI route now - get a 2nd hand Panasonic RP82 or RP91 modded with SDI and get an SDI input put onto the scaler. Total = £650 ish. Would that be better PQ than using the HDMI interlaced output of a denon 2910 or pioneer 668 (both around £600)?

    >> but much more important to go to a decent dealer...

    I cant seem to find any! Do you know any in the Manchester region.

    Thanks for help
     
  14. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    I only really know dealers from this forum and they're either in Scotland, Wales or down south near us!!

    I don't think you will be able to see a difference between SDI and HDMI sources, although SDI might technically be the better.
     
  15. eggybread

    eggybread
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    Liam, just to query one of your points:
    I thought that DVI could only work with progressive signals starting from 480p.
    Are you saying that a DVI input will be able to accept interlaced though?
     
  16. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    The DVI input on the Lumagens is designed to accept an interlaced HDMI signal even although DVI specs do not include it. That is not to say other manufacturers products will be able to or can accept this type of signal on their DVI inputs

    HDMI and SDI INTERLACED will probably look very similar(I actually wonder if anyone will see a difference at all but you never know, technically SDI is closer to the source material) but no-one has done such a comparison yet. I have an Arcam DV79 sitting at home for testing this funcionality.

    It should also be noted that not all HDMI outputting DVD players actually support 480i or 576i HDMI out. If you wanted to get a cheap digital video solution right now I'd look at just adding SDI to your current player. Then later down the line look at changing to a better sounding/looking HDMI outputting device.

    Gordon
     
  17. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Yeah what Gordon said :D It's a DVI socket acting outside of the normal DVI standard. Basically Lumagen saw it was possible to decode interlaced digital video using the current physical arhitecture so have implemented it!!
     
  18. Joe Fernand

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    Hello all (I've typed this so I may as well post it anyway :))

    eggybread - SDI has the potential to outperform HDMI as SDI has less processing in the Source device than HDMI.

    Gordon has a good over view on his web site (http://www.convergent-av.co.uk/article1.html)

    You can Input 480i and 576i from a suitable source over HDMI to the VisionDVI - its just a pity so many DVD manufactures are not enabling Interlaced output on the lower cost DVD players (Pioneer for example).

    Liam - you forgot to mention that eggy's short list was down to Two contenders (VisionDVI and iScanHD+); if you want Digital inputs.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  19. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    The shortlist is down to three if digital inputs are required (Cinemateq plusII SDI, iScan HD with SDI mod, Lumagen VisionDVI), but is immediately down to one (Lumagen) if a DVI input is required. The iScanHD is not an input it is a pass-thru. I would say the iScan is still a contender if an audio delay solution is also required, but all the DVI "input" will do is pass the signal direct to display. Useful in some cases (HCPC via DVI being passed thru to single digi input on plasma) but defeats the object of having a dedicated processor if you were going to take a digital source but bypass the better processor chip in the chain. The next revision of the iScan HD has basically copied what Lumagen have done with their DVI input, but I don't think it will be available for a while.
     
  20. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Just had a peek at DVDOs website, iScan HD+ shipping from Nov 1 (whihc means January for us Brits!!!). This has the advanced HD scaling features and can scale from DVI too but still not from interlaced HDMI sources it seems.
     
  21. eggybread

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    Thanks.
    Pretty neat trick with the HDMI interlace into DVI socket!
    It is looking like the LumagenDVI for me - is it possible to get one of these right now, as a beta, and then just upgrade the firmware over RS232 (serial port).
    I think I already asked someone this on PM - its to do with Euro1080 and when then becomes available - will the LumagenDVI be able to handle it (and what output does it use) or is it going to need the HDP.
    How much does an SDI mod cost and where can it be done. I suspect it would be more cost effective not do that, and keep the Pioneer 717 until HDMI interlace players come out, or until I find a Panasonic RP91 SDI mod for sale. I suspect, as Joe says that SDI is going to be marginally better, but agree with Gordon that it will probably take a better pair of eyes than mine to see the difference.
     
  22. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    The BETA is almost over for DVI units. Hardware is complete and it's just firmware issues. I believe they will be calling it production spec by end of this month.

    You can buy SDI mods direct from several suppliers for fitting yourself or you can get your player modded. Cost will be between £100 and £300ish depending on DIY or other routes.

    If you want advice on purchase, demo and modifications then I can send you a list of suppliers to contact.

    gordon
     
  23. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello all

    Liam - the boys and girls at DVDO's UK distributor say 'late' Nov 04 for the HD+ in the UK - though no price as yet!!!

    I'm also told the 'update' from HD to HD+ may require a return trip to the US!!!

    Agreed on the requirement for a Digital Audio Delay - though interestingly I find the iScanHD adds more processing time than the VisionDVI!

    eggybread - we have a fair few UK customers with VisionDVI, HDP and Pro HDP already and were all constantly updating the Firmware as soon as Patrick over at Lumagen posts it on the Lumagen 'update' pages; it takes about three minutes to complete an update (inc disconnecting all the input cables and walking through to the office with my dem unit).

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  24. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
    Well-known Member AVForums Sponsor

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    I say January in jest, but remember last time round? Estimated for February, nothing, then DVDO and Owl finally said first week March, nothing, turned up last week of March. :suicide: Applying the same rudimentary mathematics...
     

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