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Project: How to improve Sky Digital picture on my Panasonic TH-50PHW5B TNR plasma

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by StooMonster, Dec 11, 2002.

  1. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Problem Statement:
    How to improve picture quality of Sky Digital on my Panasonic TH-50PHW5B TNR plasma display.

    Conceptual Solution:
    Panasonic TH-50PHW5B has good pro-scan, but not as good as some external line-doublers / deinterlacers. Therefore, use external line-doubler to enhance the picture, and just let the plasma do the scaling.

    Proof of concept: have done this with DVD. PAL Progressive DVD players looks far better than interlaced ones on this screen, but is using my Component in (AV4C).

    Considerations:
    This could be the concept killer: I want the progressive output to go into AV1 as RBG scart on Tuner Receiver box. I guess I could use a component switcher and put two component signals into AV4C, but want to switch inputs with my remote control.

    Current setup:
    Sky Digital digibox RGB scart output
    Scart cable
    Panasonic Receiver AV1 RBG scart input

    Proposed setup:
    Sky Digital digibox RGB scart output
    Scart cable
    JS Technology SCART RGB to Component converter
    Component cables
    Silicon Image iScan Pro Component input
    Silicon Image iScan Pro RGB VGA output*
    VGA to scart lead cable
    Panasonic Receiver AV1 RBG scart input

    *Silicon Image iScan Pro’s manual says that it can combine RGBHV into RGBS, and this can be further combined into RBG (sync on Green).

    Killer questions:
    Panasonic manual says “Do not connect TTL output (5V) to this set [Receiver].”. Even if Silicon Image combines RGBHV into RBG (sync on Green) is this still a 5V TTL signal? If so, can I change it to a scart compatible voltage?

    Will this solution work anyway? i.e. Will the Receiver handle a progressive signal via AV1 RGB (sync on Green) in? Or even better, will it process a progressive RBGS signal via AV1 RBG and sync on Composite? Or is progressive limited to AV4C Component only?

    StooMonster
     
  2. eddiewww

    eddiewww
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    this new model may help...

    http://www.siimage.com/dvdo/iscanultra.asp

    i am going to hook my kit through this...cuts out most of the cabling / convertor boxs i currently have.... they are about a grand... but i have spent a shed load of money on all my kit, don't see the point in watching a duff picture on it all !

    joe at TMF should help with the kit, i am waiting for a release date and then im in there !

    eddie....
     
  3. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Three weeks after I get my plasma with tuner, that seemed like a great idea at the time. My dealer phones me today to say that he has Silicon Image iScan Ultra in stock for £700+VAT.

    If these were around a month ago, I would've got the RCA Terminal Board instead of the Tuner Terminal Board and Receiver.

    Ideal setup would be:
    Progressive Scan DVD to RCA Terminal Board*
    iScan Ultra to VGA

    Sky, VCR, a/v amp, games consoles and PC** going into iScan Ultra.

    *because "pass through" would be used by PC, and it's a VGA connector, and my DV27 has the same chipset as this device anyway.
    Silicon Image Ultra manual

    ** no more unplugging Receiver to allow VGA input.

    I am seriously considering returning the Tuner Terminal Board and Receiver, getting some kind of refund on it (it was £400 less than 28 days ago), buying the RCA Terminal Board (it costs £80), and buying one of these instead.

    But the sane side of me says that's kind of expensive to get a better picture on Sky Digital, and I watch mostly DVDs anyway.

    If Receiver and Tuner Terminal Board can accept a progressive RGB signal then I can pick up a second hand iScan Pro or other scaler for <£200 and it's not too bad.

    Therefore, this afternoon the test...

    Can Receiver and Tuner Terminal Board accept a progressive RGB signal? I know it can't throught AV4C as this is component only, the test is whether it can accept this signal through AV1 (RGB scart).

    I am testing this with a Arcam DV27 DVD, as it can output progressive RBG as well as progressive component.

    I will post the results later.

    StooMonster
     
  4. Andrew_B

    Andrew_B
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    StooMonster, who's your dealer selling the Ultra for £700 plus vat?

    I've got one of these on order to replace my (now disposed of) Pro due to the superb routing/switching capabilities of the new unit and the claimed 'chroma bug' correction facility. I am also hoping the adaptive processing will be better/faster. My dealer has not yet confirmed a price for me, but he has shifted my old Pro for a good price ;)

    With the iScan Pro removed and watching Sky+ on my Pana4 via JS RGB to VGA, I'm thinking it ain't that bad really - the picture seems more 'TV like' and perhaps a bit more 'three dimensional'. I can't help the feeling that de-interlacing tends to 'flatten' the image while increasing the 'smoothness' resulting in a somewhat 'two dimensional' result. Of course, I was feeding the iScan Pro S-video and so this could have an impact on PQ now I'm back to RGB. I must order JS's new RGB to component convertor, or does anyone here recommend one of the cheaper alternatives, like the Keene Electronics equivalent?
     
  5. PVR

    PVR
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  6. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    PVR,

    That's the iScan Pro, we are talking about the iScan Ultra.

    Andrew_B,

    My dealer, who has been fantastic and is very highly recommended, is Ken Davies of IVOJO Multimedia http://www.ivojo.co.uk/ .

    From their web-site...

    Silicon Image iScan Pro £540+VAT
    Silicon Image iScan Ultra £708+VAT


    However, there is a note "Please note these prices apply when bought with a plasma screen. Please enquire about seperate pricing. "

    Check the links at the bottom of this page Panasonic TH-50PHW5B TNR.

    Give Ken a call on 0845 126 0530 and say Stuart recommended him.

    StooMonster

    Edit...
    PS: He also does JS Technology SCART RGB -> Component converter £136+VAT. Which is what you would need for best quality picture from Sky Digital to iScan Pro/Ultra.

    Interestingly, he has one customer who claims that his Arcam FMJ DV27 gives a better picture outputing a interlaced picture and iScan Ultra doing the progressive, rather than the progressive out of this player. Personally I would be amazed as my Arcam FMJ DV27 PAL progressive looks amazing on my plasma.
     
  7. PVR

    PVR
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    Oops :blush: , should have read the message more carefully.
     
  8. Andrew_B

    Andrew_B
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    Hi StooMonster, you just beat me to it, thanks for the link on the price. Kenvin at Ivojo is a good bloke to deal with. I've not bought from him yet, but he was honest and upfront with me about delivery times when I bought my Pana4 back in January - unlike some dealers who wanted to take the money first and talk delivery dates later!

    On a separate issue, at the time Kenvin advised me against the tuner box then available because of the poor picture quality. It sounds like you have the new slinky slimline tuner, how do you rate it? I am interested to know what inputs remain available on the display after fitting the tuner and if the tuner can route prog scan signals to the display.
     
  9. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Ken told me that the old tuner had lots of problem, and didn't handle progressive input.

    The new tuner does not have these problem, and handles progressive scan very well. I have Arcam FMJ DV27 DVD Player (latest model) and the progressive scan picture is awesome through the tuner.

    Overall, picture quality is excellent and there are a load of useful connections (although mostly scart ;))

    When tuner is fitted, there are no input controls available on display; it acts more like a television. i.e. you can control brightness, contrast, colour, etc. The only input controls are which AV input to use: AV1, AV2, AV3 or AV4.

    The advanced input options are available when Tuner is unplugged and you use PC VGA input.

    Ken was extremely honest about delivery times, told me it could be some weeks; but then rang a couple of days later to say he had stock and could ship. Plenty of pre-sale calls, and great post-sales support too. Highly recommended dealer on all fronts.

    See this other thread about tuner:
    Panasonic TH52 PW5B - tuner myth?

    StooMonster
     
  10. Andrew_B

    Andrew_B
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    StooMonster, in your other thread you said you'd sent an email to Panasonic asking if the tooner does prog RGB. Have you already had the reply from them confirming this?

    I know that JS does an RGB to component convertor, but there is a cheper one at Keene Electronics for £75. Has anyone tried this one or know of any cheaper still alternatives?

    Also, if the tooner box will take prog RGB, most prog DVD owners would need a component to RGB SCART convertor to take advantage of it - do these exist?

    Back to the iScan Ultra, I note that Silicon Images are also claiming that it can re-process the video signal to correct the 'chroma bug' present on most DVD mpeg decoders http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_8_2/dvd-benchmark-special-report-chroma-bug-4-2001.html which interests me too! I can't wait... Has anyone actually got one hooked up to their plasma yet? I want to know how good it can re-scale a 4:3 image to fill a 16:9 screen, I can't bear to watch in that abominable 'Just' mode and zooming in on the plasma looks rubbish. When will lazy Sky start transmitting in 16:9 (sigh).

    Basically, it sounds like the tooner is great for those wanting easy connectivity and use the plasma the same as a telly, or who have analogue signals which they need to route to the display (although you could do this via your VCR). As a lifestyle statement, the combined Panasonic XV-10, matching amp and tooner box must look pretty cool, but a nightmare to keep the finger marks off. If you want to push the display to the limits, then the standard RCA board must be the way to go with the various add-on processors/convertors/devices to aid connectivity and optimize the picture quality. Anyone agree / disagree?
     
  11. TorAtle

    TorAtle
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    There seems to be one drawback with this processor (in combination with the Panasonic plasmas), and that is the DVI output format of only 720x480.
     
  12. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Andrew_B

    I have not idea which is better. You should perform a search on this and other forums for a comparison; I will be doing this next week.

    The tuner already accepts progressive Component (YPrPb) via RCA terminals on AV4C.

    The reason I want progressive RGB is because I don't want to use a component switcher. My plan is to deinterlace Sky with iScan Pro and output to RGB. (iScan outputs to either Component or RGB.)

    Anyway, I've had confirmation today that AV1 and AV4 both accept progressive RBG with sync on composite i.e. RGBs.

    Furthermore, these two scart sockets should accept any RGBs signal. Therefore it could be possible to connect a PC too.

    From what I can gather, the old "tuner" box had a lot of processing in it; which caused lots of problems. The new "tuner" box is effectively the RCA Terminal Card and the VGA with but with different end-connectors (i.e. scart) and some switching at the end of a long lead. I'm guessing here (and could be completely wrong), but I think: AV4/AV4C is the RCA Terminal Board's "component/RGB in", AV2 and AV3 are "AV in", and AV1 is the VGA socket.

    Now, I have not tested this yet. However, I am being loaned an iScan Pro next week so will see what happens. Furthermore, I will make up an RGBs VGA->scart cable and try my PC through AV1 this weekend and see what happens.

    StooMonster

    PS: I hate "Just mode" too, and run everything at 16:9 -- although did watch 'Red Dwarf' on DVD last night at 4:3

    Edited...because I keep typing RBG instead of RGB.
     
  13. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    I'm going for the tuner box.

    Why? I need composite video support for my VCR which I'm
    absolutely not upgrading.

    This is my current setup:

    NTLbox -> JSPlasma VGA -> Screen
    Consoles -> Component switcher -> Screen
    DVD player -> JS RGB2Svideo -> Screen.

    NTLbox -> Video -> Nothing. I can't watch things I've taped at the moment. I looked at using my AV amp as an svideo switcher but the quality from this is total pants.

    If anyone is looking for JS boxes let me know :)

    Neil.
     
  14. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    The confirmation I had was from Panasonic sales, thought I would check that Tuner accepts second progressive source with AV technical. Got this reply...

    Dear Sir

    Sorry to say that the plasma tuner is not capable of supporting progressive signals through any other inputs other than the component AV4 input.

    Regards
    AV Technical


    So if I want to improve Sky picture, I need to go for either component switcher or iScan Ultra to replace tuner.

    I am going to stick with it as it, Sky isn't really that bad at all.

    StooMonster
     
  15. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Stoo,
    If you do look for a component switch, I highly recommend this box:

    http://www.audioauthority.com/aacconsumers/1154c.html

    I'm using one and its fantastic does audio, both optical and coaxial connections also and is autodetecting. I've got 3 consoles hooked up to it and since installation I've not had to touch it. No noticable quality impact either.

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  16. Sparky101

    Sparky101
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    Neil, that box looks the business. Can I ask where you bought it from and is there any noticeable degredation in quality?
     
  17. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    I bought it from copperbox, who were quite cool.

    http://www.copperbox.com/

    Got it 4 days after. They insist on using Fedex for international shipping so its a little bit expensive, and you have to buy a DC adaptor, I got from from Argos for a tenner that does the job.

    Here is a direct link to their site for the item.

    ** Click Here **

    No perfomance degradation, and I checked this very carefully using progressive scan and Mario Sunshine. I'm using IXOS cables also, I plan eventually to add my DVD player to the setup once the 999 is out. The fact that it does automatic switch over was key to me as I wanted to hide the box and forget about it. I'm happy to say it works perfect in this regard.

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  18. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Cheers Neil

    That looks very interesting, big thing that was putting me off Component Switchers was manually selection of switching and degredation in quality.

    This does look tres cool.

    Hrm...

    StooMonster
     
  19. eddiewww

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    well ordered my Ultra from Joe at TMF... off to soak up some Sun for 2 weeks then hopefully come back to a nice wee parcel from Scotland !! hook everything up and i will let you know the results !

    happy xmas !!

    eddie...
     
  20. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    Cheers Neil

    That looks very interesting, big thing that was putting me off Component Switchers was manually selection of switching and degredation in quality.

    This does look tres cool.

    Hrm...

    StooMonster
     
  21. TorAtle

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    The Audio Authority switcher can be bought with a transformer for us europeans, don't know if they can supply the strange UK net plug though. Anyway this model is called 1154EX. Same price.
     
  22. Sparky101

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    TorAtle, where can you buy one with a transformer? I looked at the Copperbox site and the Audio Authority site and couldn't see it mentioned.
     
  23. TorAtle

    TorAtle
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    Straight from the manufacturer. Got an email from Tim WhatsHisName (sales manager or something like that).

    The reason for contacting them in the first place was to make sure that RGB signals were supported by the switcher. I have just one RGB source so the sync goes directly to the plasma composite input.
     
  24. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    I can confirm that RGB switching will work. But as you say the composite connection has to go to the plasma device or to another switcher.

    Neil.
     
  25. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Well I picked up a tuner box, and I'm very disappointed.

    The picture quality on RGB from my NTL box through the tuner is terrible compared to direct RGB+S and through JS Plasma VGA box. Component doesn't seem as good either, at a guess I'd say Panasonic really cut corners on the tuner...

    Also when you switch the box on it +always+ goes to the tuner mode, is there anyway to force it to go to one of the AV ports?

    Now considering an Iscan ultra box! [boy this is getting expensive :D]

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  26. Sparky101

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    Sorry guys, think I'm missing something here :blush:

    Could you explain a bit further about needing a composite connection. I'm planning to have Sky+ connected to a JS converter to Component and then into this switch. Plus Component from a PS2 and Phillips 963 DVD player straight into the switch. Do I need some other composite connections here :confused:

    Forgot to say, then component connection from switch to Panny PW5 plasma.
     
  27. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    No, you don't need anything else. The composite is needed if you are using RGB[+s] and not component [YPbPr]. Did you get a component cable for your PS-2 though? [Tekken 4 in progressive looks lovely].

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  28. Sparky101

    Sparky101
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    Neil,

    so if you're only using RGB sources over component cables to the switch you need a composite connection as well. But if you're doing 1 RGB and 2 YPbPr you don't need the composite. Have I got that right?

    I will be getting a composite connector for my PS2 once the plasma, switch box and everything else turns up. Currently using RGB scart cable.

    Cheers.
     
  29. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Sparky :)

    Either you've said composite when you meant component or you've mis-understood :). RGB and Component are +not+ thesame.

    The Panasonic with the RCA terminal board has 3 inputs, 2 of which are operable in different modes.

    1: VGA which you can operate only in VGA mode.
    2: Svideo/Composite. You can operate this in either S-video mode or composite mode.
    3: RGBVH which you can operate in several different ways:

    a: Component YPbPr. This the best options as it support
    Progressive modes.
    b: RGBVH [which is mostly the same as VGA]
    c: RGsB which is RGB with sync on green.
    d: RGB+Sync on composite. This is the same as RGB SCART but you need to also use the composite port for SYNC [hence you effectively lose the composite input].

    Sparky: In your set up you'd have the following:

    Plasma in component mode:
    <-AA Component Switcher device
    Port 1<-JS RGB to Component <- Sky box
    Port 2<-DVD player
    Port 3<- PS2
    Port 3<- For future expansion :)

    In order to do this, you need to buy a PS-2 component lead, I picked up mine of Ebay, they used to be around alot but now they are hard to find. Sony's UK shop has them though:

    ** Click Here **

    Regarding composite, unless you are using it for sync with RGB, you should avoid this connector type as its +very+ bad quality. The cable that comes with the PS-2 is composite and its horrid. This setup with progressive will stun your eyes. I heartily recommend buying Tekken 4 just to see the PS-2 in progressive mode!

    If you have any more q's let me know. Also one thing to note, if you plan to buy other consoles, i.e. gamecube or xbox. Don't buy the UK versions. The PAL GC and XBox don't support progressive scan. The US versions do and Metroid Prime in progressive is earth shattering, http://www.goblindirect.com/ is a great place to buy imported gaming stuff.

    Regards,
    Neil.
     
  30. Sparky101

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    Neil,

    thanks a lot for your detailed response. You are correct, I did mean to say I'd be getting a component cable for the PS2 not composite :clown:

    So I will have DVD and PS2 doing Component YPbPr (option a: above). What about the Sky+? Which of the 4 component options can I use for this? Sorry for being a bit slow about all this but never dealt with component before. Also will I have to change the set up of the plasma between these different options on the RGBVH input?

    Thanks again for the responses.
     

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