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Question About Scalers

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by nheather, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. nheather

    nheather
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    Not really considered these before but with the availability of cheap panels such as the PWD7 they moving into my budget. Really don't know much about them so I've had a quick look at the specs for the Lumagen DVI.

    The immediate thing I notice is that it has lots of inputs, none of which are SCART (hardly surprising given its US heritage).

    So if I've got a DVD and a Sky+ both with SCARTs what is the best best way to connect them. An immediate thought is something like a JS Master SCART followed by a JS RGB>Component.

    Is there a better way?

    Also, is it okay to switch a number of sources through one input on the Scaler or will each need it own input as the Scaler config will differ for each?

    Next the outputs. There is DVI and Component. Which is best to use?

    Finally, once you have set the Scaler up, do you need to access to it (especially if only using a single input) or can it be hidden away at the back - I ask this because they are not the prettiest pieces of kit in the world - certainly wouldn't pass wifey approval.

    Thanks for the help.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  2. Piers

    Piers
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    Nigel,

    I've been reading your posts over the past few days with interest - you are doing your homework well!

    The Lumagens don't have scart inputs - why do you want them? Your Sky + has an S-video output, it works well with the Lumagen's S-video input.

    Does your DVD have component outputs, if so they connect direct to the Lumagen's component input. No need for a JS Tech converter if so.

    The beauty of this scaler from my point of view is that each and every input can be calibrated individually - every source device is different and each can be set up properly.

    Outputs from the Lumagen can be either DVI or RGB / YUV, which you choose to use is your decision - depends on which input cards you have for the plasma.

    Agreed it is not the prettiest of kit! The dosh has gone into the internals not the cosmetics - you will need to "see it" for remote control reasons, alternatively hide it away and get an IR repeater.
     
  3. scrowe

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    Assuming you have component output on the DVD player, use that. For Sky you could get a Scart/4 Phono lead and feed it using RGB/Sync, that's what I do with my TiVo.
     
  4. nheather

    nheather
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    Piers,

    Thanks for the advice. Take your point about S-Video on Sky+ - I'm using that on my current CRT because my DVD has the TV's only RGB input.

    My DVD doesn't have Component. It's DVD Recorder (Pany E50) and whilst I have considered replacing it with one with Component (Pany E10), it seems a waste when I not sure whether I will see any benefit. It does have S-Video - would this be too much of a step down for DVD?

    For Panel input - Component boards are cheaper or bundled free. A DVI board is more expensive but would it give better results?

    Scrowe

    Can you clarify what you mean please. The SCART has RGB and I assume you mean to get the sync from the composite video. But that isn't the same as Component and I can't see which input you would connect that to on the Lumagen.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Nigel: Inputs 3 and 4 on all Lumagen scalers are extremely high bandwidth analogue inputs that accept 480i up to 1080i and 720P or PC resolutions. As you note RGB from a scart socket requires a sync signal from composite video output of the source as well. With the Lumagen scalers you will see that beside inputs 3 and 4 are inputs 5 and 6 which are composite video. In the set up of the scaler you tell it whether your usiing INput3 and 4 for SD component, HD component, RGBcvS (SCART) RGsB, RGBHV etc. If it is set for RGBcvS (SCART) then the scaler looks at the composite socket next door for the sync info. So if you go RGBscart to the scaler you loose a composite input as 3+5 work in tandem. It's rare for folk to use composite these days anyway so it's not a hardship.

    The only commands that need sent to Lumagens are input selection and aspect ratio. As long as IR commands can be seen by the thing you are sorted. As has been said there are plenty of little ir extender devices if you need them....at alot less cost than a couple of rgb to component transcoders that you don;t actually need...or want.

    Hope this helps.

    Gordon
     
  6. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    oH ON THE BOARD FRONT. The scalers output DVI-D or RGBHV analogue or RGBS or RGsB or YPrPb. You will get the best results with the D7 by using RGBHV. You need a little DVI-I to HD15 adapter to convert the socket (or you can buy the optional BNC ouptut board of course).

    If you decide to get copy protected digital sources in the future like Blu-ray, HD-DVD or SkyHd then you will require to get a DVI board then.

    Gordon
     
  7. nheather

    nheather
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    Gordan,

    Thanks very much, well explained.

    On the outputs as shown in this picture

    http://www.lumagen.com/images/hdp_back.jpg

    I was looking at two outputs, the DVI and the row of BNCs. Having read your post, I now see the picture states optional against the BNCs. Does this mean that the picture shows the option installed or is there something else in addition.

    But if I understand right, all I need is a DVI<>PC lead (will work with Series 8 but not with 7).

    I take your point about HDCP in the future needing a DVI or HDMI terminal board. Out of interest does this rule out the Pany Series PHD7 - I've lost track whether they implemented HDCP in these DVI terminal boards.

    Finally, where is a good place to find remote extenders?

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    The BNC's are an optional extra. The image shows them fitted. The DVI-I socket has pins for digital and analogue outputs. On a plasma I wouldn't worry too much about getting the 5 BNC option fitted.

    All Panasonics from D3 to D8 should work with a DVI-I to 5BNC/RCA/HD15 lead if you can get one. All you need is the correct board at other end in plasma. I have used the HD15 PC socket on mine and I am currently using the 5BNC board I fitted. I have not compared the two to see whether there is any difference.

    The D6/D7 DVI boards are HDCP complaint. The problem with them is they only work at 60Hz at Native resolution. I actually find my 6TH GEN SD model works best when fed 720P signals and the plasma downscales them. The DVI socket will accept 576P@50 Hz though so if you don;t lke the frame rate conversion artefacts that may be seen by going 50-60 in the scaler you could set it to output 576P@50 for those sources.

    Remote extenders. Try www.letsautomate.com

    Hope this is of use.

    Gordon
     
  9. DFL

    DFL
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    @Gordon
    But if 60Hz is the native resolution of the PHD7 board, does that mean you can't have a 50hz signal pass through it at all? ie a UK source e.g. PS3/XBOX 360 or Sky HD.
    I was reading that it doesn't look nice converting 60-50Hz or vice versa as you also mention so will there be a new board released for the PHD7 which is 50Hz compliant?

    Someone mentioned using a HDCP stripper in another thread. Is that the only option? I ask because the PHD7 for budget reasons, seems like a better and better idea. I really appreciate all this great info on. You guys are masters of your trade. I've always been a wannabe (on-the-cheap as pos) audio/videophile and it sounds like you get a lot more oooooohhhhh and aaaaaaahhhhhh for your money to go for a panel + scaler. I use a Marantz SR4300 and DVD4500. 5.1 Monitor Audio Silver series speakers. So I reckon this is the way to go now. I'm sold!
     
  10. Piers

    Piers
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    Darren,

    Over the DVI input you cannot use 720p or 1080i @ 50Hz. You can do both of these resolutions via the analogue inputs. Personally I don't like the 50 to 60 Hz conversion but I know that there are others that don't agree with me. I have it on good authority that there is no chance of a DVI board for the PHD7 that will do 50 Hz @ 720 ot 1080.

    In the short term HD TV from Sky should work fine via the analogue inputs the problem is what to do longer term. HDCP strippers may be the naughty answer but there are still worries about code revocation.

    You have done lots of good research - I have a PHD7 here with a Lumagen HDP and wouldn't be thinking of changing it other than for demo reasons. If budget is tightish you won't be disappointed - if you really need future-proofing without fail then the PHD8 is the way to go (though there is still a worry about native rate @ 50 Hz, in case the experts question this!).

    The panel rather than TV route can be daunting but you will be getting a far better solution this way.
     
  11. nheather

    nheather
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    I think I understand some of the technology of scanners now but I am still a little unsure about what difference it makes in reality.

    I have found a dealer that is fairly local that should be able to demonstrate both the Lumagen and the iScan but as I won't be able to get down for at least a week so I hope you don't mind some more questions.

    My budget is a limiting fact so let's consider the following two options:

    Option1: PWD8 + Scaler
    Option2: PHD8 without Scaler

    For SD input (PAL interlaced on SCART RGB or Component) I assume that Option1 will be best, but by how much?

    For HD input (720P on Component or HDMI), common sense says that Option2 will be better but I've no idea?

    An HD panel plus a scaler is pushing my budget too far.

    The PWD7 + Scaler is very attractive (in terms of price) but I'm left a little uncertain about how well it will handle UK HD material.

    I'd appreciate any advice or insight.

    THanks,

    Nigel
     
  12. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Well this is where it gets tricky.....

    Viewing distance plays a part in our ability to percieve resolution. IE If you have an HD and an SD panel beside each other as you move backwards from them there will be a point at which they both have the same perceived resolution. There are other facets that affect image quality though, such as colour accuracy, contrast, gamma, black levels.......the difference in these between the HD and SD panels could make one look better than the other......then there are some large scale artefacts that may be apparent in an image and may be viewable from a distance where both appear to have same resolution. These would be gross de-interlacing artefacts or posterisation. These may or may not be removed by a video processor.

    So the problem is that ideally you need to see the choice to make the decision. Undoubtedly the best solution would be scaler and HD panel.....but if that is not available then you got a hard decision.

    May I ask which dealer you are visiting?

    Gordon
     
  13. nheather

    nheather
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    Gordon

    Too true, definitely best to compare all the options side by side but in my experience this is hardly ever possible.

    The dealer I'm intending to visit is P J HiFi in Guildford. I don't know anything about them - they just came up in google search as a dealer with a Lumagen on demo in my area.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  14. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    You are in safe hands. I do alot of work with PJ. I'd hope they can show you a decent image down there. They usually have a couple of scalers on demo, one with a PJ and one with a plasma.

    Gordon
     
  15. DFL

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    Hi Guys - again thank you :clap:

    Nigel, I think I am in a similar position to you with a similar keen interest not just in budget/value but true videophile picture quality as well as the insight into the necessity to be HD ready or at least HD compatible. I have found Gordon and Piers' advice invaluable.

    I noticed Nigel you are still debating over what to get, as am I. I think the fact that a scaler can be bought at a later stage is very appealing. Why not spend the budget now on best-possible pannel. Then at Xmas '0X treat ourselves to a Lumagen Scaler of better spec than the DVI such as the HDP(sp?) :D

    So does it mean I/we can afford PHD8? It seems to be as future proof as we're going to get, but still there is no guarantee of 50Hz HiDef, right guys? If so, PHD7 when knocked off pedastel will be in same position of requiring a stripper :devil: -naughty but possible, and cheaper I presume than PHD8. :smashin:

    You at least live in the UK with access to HiFi shops. here in Ireland we are very limited. :eek: I'm watching this space and thread closely and I'd be prepared to order from you guys no problem..... :rolleyes:

    My other concern is to use a stand, I noticed the latest Alphason has a rotating pillar, so you can swivel the screen. I think I'd prefer to hide lots of cables (which will be shorter and therefore cheaper) within a stand until I have the scaler and can hide 1 long cable via a wallmount.
     
  16. DFL

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  17. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Yes it's known that HD and SD wll be supported over HDMI at 50Hz....but what we really want is for the native resolution of the panel to be supported at 50Hz as well.......and that looks unlikely...again....

    Gordon
     
  18. DFL

    DFL
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    Excuse my ignorance, but what do you mean by native? Is this a throw -back to the panel being US designed and we are an afterthought?

    I thought native resolution was the pixel count ie eg. 1280 x 768

    What are the consequences of this? and how does a scaler help?

    One more question. If it can receive a 100Hz signal, I thought I read on this forum that a 50 to 100 conversion is ok because the maths are simpler. Am I losing the point... thanks again Gordon (BTW -v. good website)
     
  19. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Darren: Native resolution is pixel count. If you are going digitally to a fixed pixel display from a scaler ideally you want to go pixel for pixel to minimise any re-scaling or re-processing the panel may do. You would also want to do that at a complimentary refresh rate to the source material. For us in Europe that would be 50Hz for our TV and if we played R1 DVD or HD then 59.94Hz(60).

    These panels are primarily commercial presentation devices. The manufacturers do not think of them as being used with external video processors for enhancing video playback. They assume that all they need to do is support current VIDEO formats at 5O and 60Hz and that PC resolutions only need support at higher refresh rates that are common to PC's......so 50Hz gets knocked off the PC resolutions support...which is a P I T A.

    If we all shout loud enough they may re-think this. Pioneer did on their MXE's and they are now the only plasma I can think of that supports native resolution at 50Hz input on DVI. It does frame doubling to 100hz internally though. As this is a drect multiple of the nput refresh rate though you don't see any frc judder artefacts.

    Thanks for the nice comments about the website. It'll be changing a bit over the next week as folk have forgotten that I do actually supply systems as well as distrbuting scalers and dong calibration work. So the website is going to get some spiel on it about the products I recommend and supply etc.

    Cheers,

    Gordon
     
  20. nheather

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    Gordan

    Not total sure I total understand. Is this correct ...

    UK HD televsion source will be 720P or 1080i at 50Hz. Panasonic have ensured that these can be received by their Gen 8 systems.

    But if I introduce a scaler then these signals will go into it rather than the Panel. The Scaler will convert these sources to 1024x768 and feed this to Panel.

    Trouble is the Panel won't accept 1024x768 (a PC resolution) at 50Hz and therefore, the Scaler has to change the frame rate from 50Hz to something that is supported (such as 60Hz). Whilst this works, the frame rate change is not desirable because it is likely to introduce faults in the picture.

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  21. Joe Fernand

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    Hello Darren Lui

    HD TV in Euro means 1280x720P@50Hz and 1920x1080i@50Hz for the foreseeable future.

    The HDMI Input Boards for the 8 Series (SD and HD) Displays will support both of the above resolutions.

    What is unclear and at this time untested is the HDMI Boards ability to support 1024x768@50Hz (42" HD) and 1366x768@50Hz (50" HD) - as you see the Native Pixel count of the two HD Displays is not the same pixel count as our HD TV signal - which means you cant set an external Video Processor to the Native pixel count for either Display at 50Hz; your always going to have to Input 1280x720P or 1920x1080I@50Hz and let the Display resize the signal to fit the pixel array.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  22. nheather

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    Joe,

    If that is the case I struggle to see the point of the scaler. i.e. Scaler receives 720P@50, scaler sends 720P@50, panel resizes to fit 1024x768 - couldn't you replace the Scaler with a cable?

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  23. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    For HD content the only benefit the scaler will provde in this scenario is other processing features. For instance more accurate colour decoding, input sizing to remove possible overscan, noise removal, gamma and greyscale manipulation.....you can read about some of the other features that scalers have on the article on my website. Of course if the material is coming in as 1080i a scaler can then de-interlace and scale it to 720P...even though there will be rescaling to native going on in the plasma you may find the de-interlacing in the scaler is superior......

    It should also be noted that you may not notice the frame rate conversion artefacts associated with changing 50Hz to 60Hz playback. In that case pixel for pixel could be best once again....

    Gordon
     
  24. Joe Fernand

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    Hello Nigel

    The Lumagen offers a whole heap more than simply rescaling and keep in mind too you can input 1366x768 and 1024x768 @ 60Hz on the Digital Input boards of the 8 Series displays.

    So you can use the Lumagen in different ways depending on 50 or 60Hz input signals - with 50Hz signals you may be 'limited' to using the Lumagen to improve your Colour accuracy, Grey scale, Deinterlacing, Overscan etc.. still very worthwhile.

    We wont know for sure about 'Native Rate' on the 8 Series HD Displays at 50Hz until we actually have one to play with.

    I use a VisionHDP with a Fujitsu P50XHA40US as my main 'TV' at home and again the Lumagen is set to output Native at 60Hz and 720P at 50Hz depending on the source signal and I would not want to do without the Lumagen.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS Playing Snap with Gordon I see :)
     
  25. DFL

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    Go FISH! :thumbsup:

    Thanks Lads, there really are some confusing issues. I think if I just ride with it, everything is going to work out just fine. I think a little bit of trust in your words of wisdom, and the magic of a scaler will go a lot further than trying to crunch every little resolution permutation and combination.

    If I have survived with my poxy CRT for so long and never had an issue with 50/60Hz or even progressive scan before, than I'm sure everything will be ok. It seems my TV viewing pleasure is going to be amplified significantly whatever I choose now.

    I am falling into the trap of a little knowledge being a bad thing. I seem to what everything! I guess its not bad to want to ensure future proofing but it can get a little riddiculous. Afterall, I will only have to upgrade to a 1080 Horizontal line tv one day soon anyway to receive my 1080p!

    I'm going to set myself a realistic budget and then try to stick with it. Again, the fact that the scaler can be bought at later date is good for the budget.

    Just spoke to a friend who can get NEC's at wholesale price so may be rethinking the Pannys afterall!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  26. DFL

    DFL
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    yikes. have read the megatest and other slander against the NEC, except from Liam @ prog, and I think 1 thread where Gordon says he calibrated a NEC to near Panasonic black levels.

    Back to the PHD7 or 8 debate for me.
     
  27. nheather

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    I have a manual for the PWD8 and the PHD8 taken from the US site. Although from the US site I think it may be still applicable because in its list of supported formats it includes PAL at 720@50 and 1080i@50.

    However when it comes to 1024x768 it list supported frequencies as 60, 70, 75 and 85Hz.

    So I fear there will be no 1024x768@50 for the 8 series. So the sacler will either have to do frame rate conversion or let the Panel do the resizing.

    In this respect I can see no benefit of a Series 8 over the Series 7 if you are planning to use a scaler - is this correct?

    What problems does frame rate conversion introduce. Is it noticable by an ordinary viewer or have you got be eagle-eyed and know your stuff to spot them?

    Cheers,

    Nigel
     
  28. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    There are more differences between 7th and 8th generation plasma's than just the resolutions supported on the HDMI/DVI boards. The way the panel is driven has changed I believe. So there could be improvements in detail in dark scenes from that.

    Frame rate conversion: When you watch a R1 DVD you are watching material that was orignally recorded at 24 frames per second. At the cinema each image is show twice so the refresh rate is essentially 48Hz. When it's turned in to DVD it runs at 60Hz.....When you watch a R1 disc you are seeing frame rate conversion artefacts as fields or frames are being repeated to create the extra 12 pictures a second you need to have displayed. Do you notice this artefact? It takes the form of non smooth motion in panning scenes or movement of objects......Many folk reading are probably not even aware it exists, while others find it extremely annoying. You have to view it to understand.

    Gordon
     
  29. kurtz

    kurtz
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    75Hz may be the solution: you can use the scaler to generate 75Hz output from 50Hz input (3:3 reconstruction) and get a judder-free picture at 1024x768 native resolution.
     
  30. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    That's OK for film source stuff if you have a scaler that has 2:2 detection and genlock capability. I'm not so sure it's going to look great with video source material. On Pioneer XDE's you can have a look at the ticker tape on a news channel and turn advanced cinema setting from standard to advanced. Standard is 50Hz (probably frame doubled to 100Hz) cinema is 75Hz.....and cinema looks nowhere near as smooth as standard does......It is a possibility worth pursueing when the gen 8 panels arrive though

    Gordon
     

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