Pondering whether I should get a video processor

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by RayP, Aug 2, 2017.


    1. RayP

      RayP
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      Let me start my saying I don't have a dedicated home cinema room or projector. I have a Loewe Bild 7.55 OLED TV, a Sky Q 2Tb box and an Oppo 203 UHD player in a pretty standard lounge. I sit 8ft from the TV. Just outside the optimum range I know but it has to be like that for practical reasons.

      From my kit you have probably gathered that I'm prepared to pay for quality. I've had my Loewe for 9 months now and absolutely love it. But I'm always keen to get the best possible PQ so that probably means I should consider a video processor. Whilst the Loewe is great at upscaling it probably can't come close to a specialist unit.

      Are these worthwhile for those of us who don't have projection systems and a huge screen? I imagine they are but I suppose I'm very much in the minority in not having a projector but considering a Lumagen and the Pro 4242 in particular.

      I'd appreciate your views on something that once purchased would probably see me out given its quality and longevity. :)
       
    2. RayP

      RayP
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      73 views and yet no-one has offered an opinion. :(
       
    3. Thatsnotmynaim

      Thatsnotmynaim
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      Not scientific but my view is, processors used to be great for upscaling back in the days of Full HD and HD Ready when lots of sources were SD. Upscaling in kit (TV/Projectors) was not easy (new formats were not 1 to 2 or 1 to 4 pixels) and native kit was not great at this. Now most sources are at least 1080 and display formats are multiples of this, things should not be so hard. Also native kit now has much better processing than they used to, they have learnt, so things are no longer as bad as they used to be. There's still shocking (cheap) kit out there with bad processing, but high end kit should have half descent processing. Over the years I have had 4/5 video processors and saw the benefit. Now-a-days I don't bother. I suspect there's still advantages to be had, but the gap is less so especially with good kit. You may get better returns spending the cash on calibration of your screen if not already done.
       
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    4. RayP

      RayP
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      Thanks for your really helpful reply. I have had my Bild 7 calibrated so the PQ can't get any better. But reading the review of the Lumagen 4242 they claim upscaled SD looks very close to HD and HD is very close to UHD. I suppose you would expect that from something costing £4.5K :D

      My ISF calibrator has just treated himself to a Lumagen and I have asked if I can see it. I did buy my Loewe after a 3 hour demo at his place such was the PQ.

      But you're quite right that modern quality TVs probably upscale pretty well and it's a law of diminishing returns. Maybe the Americans still watch a lot of SD making a processor more of a necessity. Still seems risky though bringing out new models if there isn't the demand.
       
    5. Thatsnotmynaim

      Thatsnotmynaim
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      Well I'm also speculating that in the UK with TVs being quite a bit smaller than Projector screens and viewing distances for TVs tending to be further than the distance needed to distinguish 4k pixels, I'd say in the UK modern TVs have less of a need now for processing so the benefits are reduced. If you use a projector onto a large screen the benefit is probably more. I'd also say in the USA screen sizes are probably larger than in the UK. If you had a projector the benefits may be more. Also remember processors do more than just upscale.
       
    6. jfinnie

      jfinnie
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      You may struggle to be able to fully use the upscaling capabilities for a lot of sources. Many TV boxes will upscale everything themselves if you have a 4K TV for example, with no easy way to defeat this (it is done in the interest of quick and clean channel hopping). So it would probably be of most benefit if you have lots of DVD content.

      Because the TV is ISF calibrated doesn't mean the picture can't get any better. In set controls can only do so much because of the way they operate.

      To know if it could benefit or or not you (or your calibrator) would need to run a significant profile using a meter; this will give you the dE (colour / luma error) at each value. With a Lumagen you should be able to have almost all your colour errors measuring well below 1 (reckoned to be around the threshold of being able to be distinguished).

      You can see a series of experiments I did a little while back - the X30 projector pre-calibration, post manual calibration, post Lumagen 3DLUT calibration on top of the manual calibration and then a touch up by hand of the Lumagen calibration. Each step yields significant measurable differences; by far the biggest difference is going from uncalibrated to calibrated by hand, but then on there are still gains to be made.
       

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    7. RayP

      RayP
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      Makes sense. My calibrator has the 65" Bild 7 so differences will be more obvious. I'm pretty sure the money can be better invested elsewhere, thanks.
       
    8. RayP

      RayP
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      Thanks for the feedback. He is a fully qualified ISF calibrator similar to the one who calibrated your kit I imagine. I accept a Lumagen will results in a better picture but not sure it's enough to justify nearly £5K.

      I always change my Sky Q box to the res I'm watching rather than leave it at 3840x2160 for convenience. The Loewe can upscale better than Sky - no surprise there really.

      Likewise with the Oppo. It's left on Auto so the signal leaves the Oppo unchanged and the Loewe scales it as required.

      What size screen / TV do you have?
       
    9. jfinnie

      jfinnie
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      I calibrate myself - have a reasonable collection of meters and the SW needed to drive the Lumagen. I bought my Lumagen 2nd hand so it isn't a pro unit.

      Screen wise it drives a 32" Sony with rubbish built in controls and a 77" JVC projection rig. Projection arguably has more of a requirement for calibration as the screen can have a large effect on the colour temperature.

      How did your pro calibration work - did you get a report showing before and after? A post-calibration report would be a good way to judge if there is value in using a Lumagen to colour correct your setup.
       
    10. RayP

      RayP
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      I believe ******** keeps records for each customer so I could ask him for those. But given what you and others have said with a modern quality 55" OLED I'm not sure there are enormous benefits and for £4.5K I would want to see a significant improvement. I doubt that would happen.
       
    11. youngsyp

      youngsyp
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      Not sure that's true. How good are the calibration controls in the Loewe? And how does it respond to adjustments of those controls?

      Although your display has been calibrated, it would only have been calibrated to within the limits of what is capable with the onboard controls and how accurate it is out of the box.

      That's exactly why I bought a 4242 and the XS-3D and 2143 before it. I currently have a LG B6 and although you can do a fairly good job of calibrating it with the onboard controls, I can do a much better job of it with the Radiance Pro (and Lightspace 3D LUT generation). The difference is noticeable every time I watch something.
      The 4242 allows a 17 point cube of adjustment, that's 4913 individual points that can be manipulated. So unless the Loewe is perfect now, the Radiance Pro will improve on it.

      Don't forget to spec at least one 18GHz input card if you want to enjoy Sky UHD in full. The standard 9GHz cards don't support 10 bit colour depth from the Sky Q boxes. That's another circa £350 to add to that £4500.

      Paul

      ETA: Just read jfinnie's post, so I'm just reiterating his comments.
       
    12. RayP

      RayP
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      @youngsyp , you'd have to ask ******** about how easy it was to calibrate. Given he's been doing it for 20 years plus I would imagine he's got it as good as the Loewe software allows.

      You said you calibrated your B6 yourself. Are you a certified ISF calibrator or does the supplied Lumagen software hold your hand enough not to need professional assistance?

      In any case I've decided that it's not something I intend to pursue. You don't say what size your TV is. If it's 65" it is at an advantage over the 55" and may justify the extra expense of a Lumagen.
       
    13. youngsyp

      youngsyp
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      Exactly and that's my point. I think you mentioned that he has a Lumagen and a Bild 7, if he uses the Radiance with it, that may answer my initial questions.

      Nope, I'm an AV enthusiast who's been calibrating his own displays for 11 years or so. The Radiance doesn't have any software for calibration per se. I currently use Lightspace, a specialised 3rd party software, for measurement (with measurement device) and 3D LUT generation. From a high level - aspects of the picture settings are manually set, a large profile is then performed (up to 9261 points colour patches are measured), Lightspace looks at the profile for where the issues are in the display's current response and generates a 3D LUT (look up table) to correct them. This LUT is then uploaded to the Radiance to 'set' the adjustments. So there's a certain amount of manual work that goes in before Lightspace works its magic and some automation around measurement and LUT generation, but none of it requires 'professional assistance'. I.e. You'd not have to pay an external party to do anything for any part of the process.

      I expect you watched when your calibrator worked their magic so I'm sure you can appreciate that the process with the Radiance is very similar to the manual calibration you'd have had performed however where you'd have had 20 point white balance and RGBCYM CMS adjustments made (guessing here as I've not seen the Loewe picture settings menu), you could have 4587 further adjustments with the Radiance. This is moot now anyway.

      No it's a 55", the biggest SWMBO would allow, but I'm not sure what advantage the 65" would have?!

      Paul
       
    14. RayP

      RayP
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      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for providing all that info but I really have decided not to pursue a separate processor. I have no doubt that with enough time and skill the PQ would be improved but the cost benefit is out of all proportion for me.

      There would have to be an astounding improvement to justify nearly £5K and that is simply too much money.

      I'm assuming you sit within the ideal range to get maximum benefit for 4K viewing so the larger screen would help show the fine detail. I'm just outside that ideal range (by 1ft) which is another reason any further improvements to PQ might not be fully appreciated.
       
    15. Chris5

      Chris5
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      I have a lumagen pro, As I use it all the time it's difficult to say how much it improves things, but the thing is, until recently I've been using an Lg 65ef950 for the last 18 months. Lots of people have been complaining about scaling and deinterlacing issues with it, but I've never seen any, perhaps because I've been using the pro. If you're into hdr, then the current focus with the lumagen is tailoring it to your tv caperbilites. I suggest you give Gordon a ring as he will be the only one who can set it up properly if you buy it, so buy from him.
       
    16. Chris5

      Chris5
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      Hi Ray, just seen you last post. I think the pro is not really so much about detail these days, more about correct colours, shading, general image quality, so your point about distance is not a limiting factor. Get a demo, from Gordon, can't do any harm.
       
    17. RayP

      RayP
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      Hi Chris,

      I've pondered and decided that for the cost and perceived benefits it's just too much money. If it could transform a 720x576 image making it indistinguishable from a 4K one I'd probably buy but it clearly can't go that far.

      I'm more than happy with the PQ from my Loewe so spending more wouldn't make sense. Thanks for all your replies. Please consider this discussion closed.
       
    18. pj

      pj
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      short answer, no
      all of your devices are top of the range, pumping out and receiving the best quality out there adding a processor will only add artefacts and sharpness etc that is not needed
      i really hope you don't have any motion processing turned on too the loewe with the oppo is about as good as it gets make sure all the dohickeys are tuned off! (should be if it was calibrated) :thumbsup:
       
    19. RayP

      RayP
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      Thank you. That was my gut feeling after some thought. Yes, all processing & environment settings are definitely off. ******** did his job well. ;)

      Not sure what dohickeys are. ;)
       
    20. BAMozzy

      BAMozzy
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      Whilst I am 'happy' to let my TV handle any upscaling and image processing, its not as if it doesn't have a decent CMS built in, I tend to leave my devices to handle most 'upscaling'. SkyQ for example is set to output at 4k/10bit so that is handling any de-interlacing and upscaling as is necessary before the TV handles any additional 'processing'. Both my Consoles are set to 2160p too so they handle any upscaling too should I watch a DVD/Bluray on these - its much more convenient than having to adjust the settings on the devices according to content. I don't pass my Picture through an Amp so I can set individual settings for each device on the TV - much easier than adjusting for Gaming, movies etc. I really don't see the need to get a 'video' processor in my set-up - Its just an unnecessary cost for minimal (if any) benefit...
       
    21. Smurfin

      Smurfin
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      You've clearly never owned a Lumagen.

      There ARE benefits imho, but I'm not sure they are worth the cost nowadays. I use an older Lumagen in my setup for the following reasons:

      CIH projection management (one button switching for a projector that doesn't offer multi aspect ratios, screen masking etc).

      100+ point colour management and auto calibration.

      Both of those have been a great benefit within my own system, but would I pay £4000 for the privelege? Probably not.
       
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    22. Sir Oled

      Sir Oled
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      If i could afford a lumagen pro i should but the price is way too heavy for me.
      Let's face it it's the price of high- end tv. Is it worth it ? I think so it makes the difference between very good and perfect !
      If i had the money for it i'll buy one straight away :cool:;)
       
    23. xar

      xar
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      Adding a Lumagen to my system gave the final 5-10% in performance, and makes a big difference for 4k/HDR content, bearing in mind my screen is 110" though.

      Is it a noticeable improvement. Definitely. Is it 'worth' it in terms if performance to price. Hard to say.
       
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    24. eiren

      eiren
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      Echo this. I too have a Lumagen (and a DVDO) from a few years back, and while they were worth it back then (for a lower price I might mention), I would struggle to think you'd get £4.5k worth of improvement to good quality kit. You'd be better off getting the newish Oppo universal 4K player and upgrading your display or sound kit.
       
    25. scrowe

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      As usual it depends on your exact setup and viewing habits. My experience with my Lumagen(s) and calibrations down the years via Gordon Frasier are that firstly the Lumagen will attempt to correct any inaccuracies in the video chain, starting from the input/playback device, through to the display. To get the most accuracy requires manipulation of things that ordinarily are just not configurable in normal settings on devices and displays. And I guess sometimes it's not necessarily about accuracy, but optimising the display presentation based on it's native capability, given that no consumer display device, TV or PJ is perfect. The older/poorer your preferred content, the better return you get from a Lumagen, as it is designed and dedicated to purpose, and if done properly calibrated and optimised specific to your environment, not a general setting or config, that gives good results across the board. i.e. deinterlacing, scaling, colour-correction, etc. can be decent on devices, but subject to default parameters, and so will never be as good as the Lumagen.

      I think most people are saying that on a current high-end UHD HDR display, playing back BD or UHD from a HDMI source, the difference a Lumagen could make is marginal, albeit one poster here cites 5-10%. (I would personally say I agree that 5-10% sounds about right on mixed/general content overall). But AV is a moving goalpost, and a company like Lumagen are continuing to improve, and have implemented features like HDR intensity mapping, which offers far better flexibility and control that in-built tone-mapping solutions, and even recent reviews show that the manufacturers are still struggling with different methods and manipulations that do exhibit a 'preference', depending on how much of an eye you have for these things. Firstly you had the trick of being able to send WCG without HDR, a blessing for PJ owners that Lumagen were first to offer. Likewise there is some current discussion around a perceived flaw in a mastering choice made for "Ghost in the Shell", and the implication that something like the Lumagen will continue to be able to adapt and overcome many of the teething/settling issues that are still prevalent in 4K/UHD/HDR/WCG along the way, whereas manufacturers are forced to correct in next years hardware, where no-one who pays for a high-end device or player, will be replacing every single year. Here is still see a strong ROI for a Lumagen in even the highest quality content.

      Ultimately the Lumagen Pro is still in Beta, so there is a certain amount of 'rolling' with the updates that may give or take-away in equal measure, but someone like Gordon Frasier is always supporting you, helping you, and communicating with his clients throughout, and this, combined with the dynamic approach of Lumagen themselves in terms of software and updates, means you are always a 'customer' and not just a 'buyer', and this helps to justify the premium price a Lumagen presents.

      Bottom-line. If you want the best money can buy, and/or value that extra 5-10%, and can justify the expense, then no reason not to invest in a VP, even with high-end 2017 kit.
       
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    26. xar

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      The rationale behind my decision was that an Epson Ls10500 plus lumagen gives me the best option I can afford for both HD and UHD content for maybe the next 8-10 years (based on the life of the Epson laser). Looking at it in those terms, and factoring in the ongoing support for lumagen, means the cost becomes more reasonable, especially as I paid roughly the same for both as a Sony 550 not including a lumagen. i.e. I have a fire and forget system calibrated to perfection that should last many years without tinkering. So that element keeps me happy, plus I do use a mix of blu ray, UHD, and Netflix/Prime, all of which look amazing. Gordon even provided me with 2 different HDR modes on the lumagen catering for both normal and 'dark' mastered 4k movies, which make a huge difference to my viewing pleasure.
       
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    27. Steve Stifler

      Steve Stifler
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      For me I think Scrowe and Xar say it all. I don't know whether forum sponsors are allowed to chime in on such threads, but the likes of Gordon (Convergent-av) and Rickyj (Kalibrate) handle the Lumagen with great care and attention to detail. The Radience Pro might be best suited to a projector, but have a part to play with TVs as well, especially if you use the video outputs to both a PJ and TV.
       
    28. youngsyp

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      And this is what I don't agree with.
      I've been watching TV's develop over the past 11 years (as long as I've been into calibration) and there hasn't been one that couldn't benefit, a considerable amount, by being matched with a Radiance.
      I bought a Radiance Pro to cater for the inadequacies of my LG OLED display and with the help of Lightspace and it's magical LUT creation, it's given noticeably better results on SDR, where the onboard TV calibration controls are reasonable adequate. I've not got round to calibrating HDR fully yet where the TV's onboard controls are woefully inadequate, and I expect the improvements to be at least as good there.
      The obvious hurdle to ownership of a Radiance Pro or any Lumagen model before it is the cost, as mentioned by just about every poster. However, the lifecycle of these devices is considerably longer than the kit you'll use it with, with Lumagen stating they'll support the Pro line for at least 8 years. If I continue at my current rate, I'll have bought 12 TVs in that time. :eek: And I'll bet each one of them would benefit from the pairing with the Radiance Pro.

      Paul
       
    29. johnvnross

      johnvnross
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      Hi there, Even if you'd bought a SONY BVM X300, if it was't calibrated, there'd be room for improvement.

      Ignore the lumagen side-show a buy an eecolorbox. (circa £250!!!) -

      Have it calibrated and you now have a delicious 3D LUT (21x21x21 - 10,000 plus measured points - inflating to 240k colour points calibrated).

      This is always going to be better than any consumer telly you buy of the shelf. Rec. 709, Rec.2020, DCI P3 - does't matter, - controlling the way your TV displays an entire gamut is the way to go.

      With best wishes
      John
       
    30. jfinnie

      jfinnie
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      Having owned a DVDO Duo, two EEcolor boxes and 3 Lumagens - I would say that the EEcolor, while competent as a LUT holder, is pretty awful as a product proposition in many respects. It is a dead-end product which was a proof of concept for a company that failed to get it off the ground.
      Some of the gripes I had:
      Shocking looking OSD icons which could not be defeated (you can only customise a portion of it) and will display often on mode / input changes
      Auto-reenables itself on HDMI reconnect
      Rubbish SW experience for LUT upload
      No audio handling
      Limited resolution support
      Can't pass 3D
      No 4K

      If you don't need 4K inputs then a used Lumagen is a better option in my opinion. I picked up my 2143 for less than a grand which has 8x inputs supporting up to 1080p / 3D, two 4K upscale capable outputs.

      The biggest gripe I would have with the Lumagen kit is that there isn't any support for it in the excellent ArgyllCMS / dispcalGUI free software - so you have to either buy Lightspace / Chromapure / Calman or hire a calibrator who does. I tried CP2/3 and didn't like it and now I currently use LS which is really quite good and similar to dispcalGUI in approach.
       

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