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Pioneer 505XDE + Scaler

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by scrowe, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. scrowe

    scrowe
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    Have any specialists in here tried the latest Pio's with the currently accepted best scalers. I've done a lot of reading over the last few days, but apologies because I am still new to this level of technical A/V stuff.

    I'm looking to improve my Sky, and an SDI mod is the best overall option, but I do most of my TV watching timeshifted via my TiVo. This has had it's resolution hacked to 720x576 with a few other tweaks so the output visually is as good as the native Sky RGB.

    So irrespective of the Sky+ mod, I'll also be looking for the best quality TiVo picture.

    I think I have 3x options from what I've researched so far

    Crystalio VPS2300 - seems to be the best around, best looks also, but has a couple of issues that don't look like they may be fixed, (including HDMI input capability with certain resolutions, and macroblocking artifacts) as they are not software problems. Also, has SDI but only a single DVI input, although HDCP is now part of the spec. Also v. expensive at £2200

    Crystalio Plama Enhancer Pro - Not yet available (end Jan/Feb) has dual HDMI input, and SDI, same guts as the Crystalio but should be half the price, not as many connections and inputs, and unproven, will not process HD (passthru only) only SD video capable.

    Lumagen Vision HDP - ugly looking thing, but it's inside that counts. Lots of people swear by the Lumagens on this forum. Has dual DVI input with HDCP, and lots of ongoing software development, and has a sound hardware base with no current hardware limitations that I've found. Possibly cheapest option, but will need upgrading for SDI.

    I'm very confused as to how the input limitations on the Pioneer HDMI interface will work with the above scalers.

    As for the TiVo, I've heard from someone who uses a Lumagen HDP Pro fed by a JS RGB to component converter, claiming near-DVD quality from the TiVo. However, I've also heard that the JS converter may not be necessary as I can use an RGBS scart to 4x phono directly into the scaler from the TiVo.

    Does anyone have any advice or experience they can offer?
     
  2. scrowe

    scrowe
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    Bump
     
  3. loonatic

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    I am sure I have heard of an SDI mod for TiVo boxes now...perhaps have a word with Elliot at PJ Hifi about that one...failing that then the Crystalio, Lumagen and iScan HD & HD+ scalers will all accept a SCART to RGBs connection with the correct lead...and the Plama Enhancer Pro has a SCART socket built-in.

    With regards to the Pioneer and its HDMI input then you will find yourself restricted to feeding the panel a 720p signal as it does not have native resolution support...which is a real shame as it means that everything will have tobe scaled twice...once by the scaler to 1280x720p and then again by the screen to 1280x768p.

    I have heard that the Plama Enhancer Pro is likely to cost around £1700 which I think is pretty expensive for an SD/ED scaler but does also have some nice features.

    My money would go to either the Lumagen or the Crystalio both of which are great products but each has its own strenghts & weaknesses...as you'll notice from my sig I went for the Lumagen.

    Cheers, Lee
     
  4. MAW

    MAW
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    Hi, as nobody loves you I'll give this a go.
    1. HDMI limitations. With a scaler it's usual to go for native panel resolution. This is not possible via the digital port, but it will be good on 720p in any case, a real improvement for a number of reasons.
    2. Tivo. Near DVD quality, eh? not what we usually find, but nonetheless with a scaler it will just be a bit soft, nothing too serious. I'd be tempted to re think your watching habits for best quality though, sympathies about Tivo, an excellent concept.
    3. Scalers, add in the DVDO Iscan HD+, it'll be 1300 inc SDI mod, then you can use RGb scart to tivo, with RGBS to the scaler, no converter, and SDI straight out of sky. This will give you some idea of what Tivo is doing to your picture, the difference will be like a cricket bat on the head. The Lumagen is a beast, it is a brilliant scaler, trickier than iscan to set up, I have no experience of cristallio, so couldn't comment. Maybe you could try an iscan HD to get the idea, see if it begins to do what you expect. Where are you, maybe one of the forum sponsors or hangers on will be able to help you.

    Shared innovation again, Lee!
     
  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  6. MAW

    MAW
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    Have to put myself down as one, but may well soon become a sponsor...
     
  7. scrowe

    scrowe
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    Thanks all,

    Gordon do you have any input on this?

    As it seems the Plasma Enhancer Pro will be more expensive than hoped, and still no release date, the Crystalio looks more favourable again despite the expense.

    However, the digital input issue does concern me, so the Lumagen could be the best option for the future, and will save me quite a few £££'s over the Crystalio. I've also worked out that as the Lumagen is a lot more compact it could sit on the shelf next to my centre speaker without me having to completely rethink and rejig the AV equipment on my stand. Shame they don't do a nice silver model to match the rest of my AV boxes.

    I guess I could look again at iScans, but every review I read says the Lumagen and Crystalio trounce them.

    Apparently PJ's may be able to SDI mod UK TiVo's but as the video has already been compromised via analogue feed from Sky Box, and then MPEG encoded before output, I don't think the gain will be as great as SDI direct from the Sky+ to the scaler into the plasma. It is a crying shame as TiVo wipes the floor with Sky+ at absolutely everything else.

    I'm in Croydon, Surrey, so I could travel to just about anywhere to view a demo of these things on a Saturday.
     
  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    I would head down to Guildford to PJ and get a demo. It's only around 30 mins from you....

    Gordon
     
  9. MAW

    MAW
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    Would PJ demo the XDE with a scaler? I would not. Don't forget that the very finest points of a scaler may be slightly muddied by you screen scaling from 720p tp 768. There's nothing you can do. I'm not saying it's not worthwhile, just keeping feet on the ground re. the demo and a 2k scaler when you don't get to see all of it's performance.
     
  10. scrowe

    scrowe
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    But I would be using it on a 505XDE, so this is where I would want to see it's capabilities, irrespective of the possibilities on different monitors/screens, surely?
     
  11. MAW

    MAW
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    That's my point, they may not demo it with an XDE. I'd ring and check, folks tend to have moderately fixed demo setups.
     
  12. scrowe

    scrowe
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    Thanks guys, all your time and advice is appreciated.

    I've decided to eliminate the Crystalio 2300 at this point, but I am waiting until the Crystalio Plasma Enhancer Pro (circa £1600 mid-feb apparently) is available so I can do a side-by-side demo with a Lumagen.

    I know it's difficult to predict the future, but the Plasma Enhancer will not be able to process HD, only SD, but as HD is by nature higher resolution and progressive, I'm assuming this is OK? Especially with the fixed resolutions on the Pioneer HDMI port.

    God it's like being back at school.
     

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