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Questions on Pioneer 50MXE1

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by topkiddy, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. topkiddy

    topkiddy
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    Hi,

    I'm a noob to this and had just started looking at the pioneer 505XDE when I came upon these forums. After reading through it became apparent that the 50MXE1 would probably be a better option using a scaler. I've looked at the 505XDE and thought the picture was ok from sky so my first question is will the 50MXE1 be that much better with a scaler?

    Also from reading the posts it would appear that it's not HDCP compliant. At the moment this isn't to much of an issue but would be in the future. I've read that there are boards becoming available that will remedy this (Aurora TVP-500F). But that did raise a second question. Does the 50MXE1 only have VGA support as native and can this be used as the input from the scaler or is another board required.

    I hope to go to the Bristol show tomorrow to at least have a look around and chat to people but if there is anyone who can offer advice before I go the extra information would be greatful.

    Thanks,
    Anthony
     
  2. topkiddy

    topkiddy
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    OK been to the show now and seen a variety of screen and I'm going to go with the 50MXE.

    I spoke to Phil of Uvem as he was running them and asked him about using it with a scaler. He said as I'm using NTL cable and DVD that it wasn't worth putting a scaler in the middle and to just go with the RCA board and convert from SCART RGB to component.

    Anyone see a flaw in that logic, sounded ok to me but I'd like to hear if anyone else has thoughts on it.

    Also the Show is extremely bad for the wallet :thumbsup:
     
  3. MAW

    MAW
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    Yes, I have a problem with that. Phil would like you to buy a shiny HTPC, and it would appear has no idea about scalers. It will be a huge improvement, get yourself a demo to see why you should spend at least £750 on one. Most unlike phil, must have been a long show...
     
  4. symphara

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    .. but then again, if he's going to spend at least 750£, he might as well get the shiny HTPC and save the money for the CD/DVD player as well :)
     
  5. MAW

    MAW
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    Yes, if he likes to tinker. I have a Uvem, it's very fine as such, but you have to want a PC. Not exactly wife friendly, sorry Phil, the PQ is astonishing, versatility amazing, software, 3/10, the front end stinks. A scaler works when you turn it on, every time.
     
  6. symphara

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    I respectfully disagree. My gf has no problem using MCE2005, she actually likes the interface. I do too, it's very slick, and while I only use a regular CRT right now, until my place will be ready for getting the big electronics, it still makes it look futuristic. Only imagine it on a 50" plasma!

    It's exceptionally easy to watch TV with all the benefit of having a PVR (pause live TV, record etc), play CDs, DVDs, mp3s etc. Plus I get to do all the normal PC things (i.e. web, everquest) when I'm on my own. All it takes is a bit of carefully planned initial setup (as you'd need for the scaler as well!) and it's good to go. Of course this setup can't be done by everybody - but if you're proficient enough to set up a scaler the least amount of effort will get you so much more with a real computer, instead of paying a fortune on a crippled one with more video ports you don't need.

    And of course, even the HTPC/scaler option is completely optional. I really think people should make up their own minds. Why buy the scaler with the plasma - connect it without one first and if the picture quality is good why not use the 1000£ for a fabulous holiday instead?
     
  7. MAW

    MAW
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    Bearing in mind my comments were addressed to a cable TV user, I stand by the scaler comment. He could of course have a sweetspot card.
    Just as a quick example of the hassles of HCPC ownership, the lady in TBPAV noticed a balloon hovering ove the system tray once, about protecting your computer by auto update. 'Good idea' she thought. Result, one day, a Sunday, I get a call. 'Why has the sound stopped working, we are trying to demo to a client, he's not impressed'. about an hour later, I find that SP2 has installed itself, and as M-Audio revolution cards do not have signed drivers, SP2 has uninstalled it as a precaution..... Another, X-Lobby only works with Winamp 2.x, there is a security issue with it now, an update is available, I can't update cos X-lobby won't work any more, so every time we load x-lobby, a stupid message pops up to tell me how stupid I am for not upgrading. This is not meant a a diatribe against HCPC use in general, just a warning about the harsh realities you face just to watch TV. Not phil's fault, these are not UVEM problems, just that Gates bloke fouling up a perfectly working setup...
     
  8. MAW

    MAW
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    Going on from there, I have a solution. Why don't we build a totally silent, fan free PC in a neat case running a reliable operating system. Let's hide the front end completely to avoid confusing that stupid robot bloke, and provide video capture ports on the back for easy connection of video sources. A nice little LCD display window on the case would look cool, to aid setup and let you know what it's up to, rather than messages popping up in the picture. Now let's remote control it. And think of a clever name for our new product. How about, er, Lumagen? no, someone's already had that one. Crystallio? no. Iscan, no.
    These things don't stream the movie trailers from the internet,I'll grant you, but they are reliable, do take and process analogue and digital video signals and help make the picture as near perfection as possible, are simple to control, and are fit to sell to the great unwashed. You may not be one of the great unwashed, you are smart enough and have enough free time to have a HCPC. I work about 80 hours a week, and don't like to bring the hassles home with me. I spend my working hours sorting out other people's AV hassles, I want none in my house. I guess maybe if I had another job I might look on them in a more kindly light, but IMHO the software side has a long way to go to gain widespread acceptance.
     
  9. topkiddy

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    Maw, to be fair to Phil he didn't suggest to buy the Uvem. He basically just said that the cable picture isn't always a great picture and so not to worry about it and just plug it straight into the compontent board. Originally I was planning to add a Iscan HD+ but on his comments thought I could divert the cash to some other aspect of the system.

    I'm around the Newbury area and our local dealer has just gone under so do you have any suggestions of a good place to demo the kit?
     
  10. MAW

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    Modesty forbids... actually I'm also about 40 miles awy. I do have a MXE50 and a scaler though.
     
  11. topkiddy

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    I'm not worried about modesty but I am about the wife's wrath if this isn't upto scratch!

    Do you have contact details so I can arrange some thing.
    Cheers
     
  12. symphara

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    Even better - why not make a little silent HTPC and actually get the HTPC nice features working on it (PVR, DVD, CD, mp3, photos), and just disable software updates? Costs only a fraction of the Crystallio and does so much more!

    To give people a specific example - maybe some are under the impression a scaler is good value:

    Case Silverstone SST-LC04 HTPC, Black Aluminium w/240W PSU - 114£
    Motherboard MSI K8T NEO2 F - 63£
    Processor AMD Athlon 64 3000+ - 100£
    Graphics Gainward GeForce 6600 128MB DDR AGP, "Ultra/1760" TV/DVI - 89£
    Memory Crucial PC4000 BallistiX DDR 512MB CL2,5 - 82£
    HDD Western Digital Caviar 160GB S-ATA 8MB cache 7200RPM - 61£
    Capture - Pinnacle PCTV Stereo PAL w/ Remote Retail - 45£
    LG DVDRW Dual GSA-4163RBB OEM Black DVD+R/RW/DVD-R/RW/RAM - 47£

    All prices quoted from komplett.co.uk, no real research done.

    To make it silent you'll also need a good heatsink like the Thermalright XP-120 which works well with a very quiet 120mm fan. Costs about 30£.

    Also, Windows MCE2005 (with the slick remote) costs about 80£.

    Total - 711£ (inc VAT). And this is a very fast, capable rig.

    Lumagen? From what I see between 800 and 2200£.
    Iscan? The HD seems over 750£.
    Crystallio? Another joke, it's around 3000$.

    To me it's clear what provides value and what doesn't.

    Like I said, I don't think it's the software. Like anything else, a carefully planned setup goes a long way. If you don't plan on changing the software on a HTPC all the time (which includes OS updates) it's quite easy to get the feeling of an electronic appliance, which you (and me too) value so much. The example you gave, about enabling auto-update and then complaining about it, is just perfect. But there's nobody else to blame except for the person who enabled it. If your Lumagen had an Ethernet connection and such a feature, I guarantee it would stop working in a month.
     
  13. sam@uvem

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    As many of you that attended the show will know, we were using two Pioneer 50MXE1 plasma screens. We recommend them to our customers and dealers because they are a reliable display, are capable of displaying native resolution and provide a good level of picture quality. This is not the only display that does this; any SIM2 product will also display native resolution correctly.
    The Pioneer will be able to accept HDCP (Sky hi-def) with a new video board, expect an announcement soon about which companies will making these, as there will be more than one.
    This should solve all worries over HDCP with the Pioneer MXE displays and Pioneer have more than ensured that compatibility will not be a problem.

    We are outputting native resolution from our system to the Pioneer that bypasses the units internal scaling, which due to the panel’s commercial core market is not up to much.
    If you are using an analogue video signal through a high quality video scaler, you should see an improvement in picture quality, however the quality improvement versus the price paid for achieving it is a very personal one and you should find a dealer who is able and willing to show you the difference so you can make up your own mind.
    I have found that the majority of people that were asking about scaling at the show were people trying to improve the picture output from their set top box, be it SKY, NTL or FREEVIEW.
    I would also suggest that before trying scalers, you have your display calibrated to a competent level. If purchased from a good dealer this may have been done for you. This might improve your viewing enough not to warrant looking into spending money on scaling. Some displays have all manner of nasty post video processing in a effort to make their product stand out in a crowd, which make lower quality mpeg compressed sources look very bad indeed.
    In terms of scaling though a pc, again this needs to be seen for yourself to see if it warrants the cost. We have not actively promoted this for some time for a number of reasons and have only provided it to people that have asked specifically for it.
    There are now more scalers on offer than ever from various companies and the logic of a using a product that was designed for that application rather than using one of our systems to do something that we have not really invested a lot of time in may not be a bad one. Also spending money on improving something like your SKY picture when they will be launching their high definition service soon may also be rash.
    The decision is very much up to you.
    In response to the issue of user friendliness, we have made great steps to improve our front-end software and it evolves at a rapid rate. At Bristol we had both our new Xlobby skin and Media Centre 2005, which will now be available to all new and old customers and dealers
    MAW, I think that you are using a older front end and the updates have been done to address exactly the issues you have mentioned. So far, the response has been unbelievably good, with the dealers that had come to the show to see if this had improved now signing up. I will contact you tomorrow to have your demo unit updated.
    I was not aware of your user ability issues but as part of the update we have IR control with Phillips/Marantz IR, Crestron and AMX

    Thanks to all that took the time and effort to attend and to speak to any of the guys at Uvem, Stands Unique and the AV Forums.
     
  14. MAW

    MAW
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    Updates on X-Lobby all done as released. Still rubbish.
     
  15. sam@uvem

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    do you mean the xlobby updates from the xlobby site our the update from us?
     
  16. sam@uvem

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    hi maw tried to ring you no reply will try later so we can arrange your front end updates if any one else out there is need of a update or has a comment about what you saw at the show about uvem please post any where relevant
    and i will look into it thanks sam@uvem.com
     
  17. MAW

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    Sorry, in a desert of mobile signals this AM.
     
  18. MAW

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    Sam, you have the wrong end of the stick here very very badly!!!! Calibration does not make up for poor sources, or poor connectivity, cannot be done before delivery, or indeed before running in is finished, costs £250 and must be done again if you then choose a scaler, or an HCPC.
     
  19. Liam @ Prog AV

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    Unfortunately none of the kit listed above will actually make your picture much better. The only bit with any amount of video processing is the geforce card and maybe the input card. So you will gain some sharpness as the signal is treated to upscaling to native res for your screen, and with the freely available DVD software around should be able to get something you will be happy with. But it won't be much better than correctly setting up a plasma with a direct DVD player and doing the same.

    If you could buy the software used within Lumagens, Crystalios etc as a XP compatible set of deinterlacing and scaling algorithms these would set you back several hundred pounds. With the more advanced calculations you can now actually start improving a picture, adding depth and detail, identifying and displaying foreground/background objects correctly, treating edge detail etc. To get near the quality processing of the top products on a HCPC something like the Holo3D PCI card is ideal - at £800ish for just the card tho (with two SDI inputs). Still good value?

    There is then the case of quality of parts. for example the digital analogue conversion that will be undertaken when the PC takes in the Sky TV signal will be poor at best (giving a noisy picture). Scalers tend to have very high quality chassis build, DACs, casing, heat control. Now factor in this kind of build quality and you are getting somewhere. Apply the same kind of logic to the DVD tray stability, graphics card quality, soundcard quality (signal to noise ratio mean anything?) and your HCPC is going to be in the £2k+ region.

    Contrary to what the above would suggest I do think a HCPC does offer value as it is replacing your DVD player too and gives PVR functionality, media storage etc. But please compare like with like. The PC will need to be built to the same strict standards as the scaler is, loaded with the appropriate software as the scaler is, and setup correctly, by a professional as a scaler should be but so often isn't. This would make the PC budget much more like the scaler budget even before setup and calibration costs. The difference isn't so night and day as one would think.

    No AV gear is a simple equation of the sum of it's parts otherwise what makes a £1600 Arcam fmj DVD so much better than Lidls 40 quid jobby? Both have a PSU, a tray, a mainboard, audio and video connectors, a remote and a display. Both even have progressive scan. I know which one I would want...
     
  20. Joe Fernand

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    Hello all

    I think a few folk have been fiddling with PC's for too long :)

    Are you guys serious - don't buy a 'broken' £815.00 scaler when you can buy a 'perfect' £711.00 PC; though Sam will have to contact you to sort out which 'not broken' Front End you have!!!

    Pioneer have assured nothing as far as HDCP and the MXE1 goes - Aurora and Aviosys have still to attain 'System Solutions' status for their respective boards; it'll be nice when it arrives but its been a long wait.

    To suggest all Video Processors are broken and a Custom PC is the only way forward is nonsense.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS Where exactly on the £711.00 PC do I plug my 2 x RGB+Composite sync, 1 x YUV, 2 x S-Video, 1 x HDMI (480i/576i), 1 x DVI (480P/720P/1080i) sources?
     
  21. MAW

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    Pehaps moving the thread to the HCPC forum would prevent a shooting war between PC users and scaler users! I'm not trying to be a 'knocker' here, the funcionality of the PC is very cool, just wish to point out that we have experience of both, and one is noticeably less hassle than the other. I also ought to point out the PC is nearer the cost of the big Lumagen than the iscan HD.
     
  22. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    Well there appears to be a difference of opinion in the uvem camp.....Phil says no point getting a scaler (well that's wat we are told he says). Sam says the processing in the plasma is crap and you should consider an off board scaler or even a HTPC with capure cards in it.

    Why would buy a video processor for Sky when HD service is coming? Guess what....the content will predominantly be the same SD material that needs the most work to make it look good. Hey and guess what......being able to process HD 1080i material will be necessary to try and get rid of the artifacts you curretly see with such sources....anyone notice the obvious and nasty line twitter on the HD 1080i material being shown on a stand at the Bristol show.....I did....as did a few folk who asked me what was going on...

    Gordon
     
  23. symphara

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    Sorry, you're wrong. Most of the video processing will be done by the main processor. Which is supported by the motherboard. And of course it requires memory.
    Speaking from personal experience - playing DVDs from a PC connected to a 50" Panny screen using PowerDVD 6.0 is an improved experience to using an expensive Panny DVD player connected via component. Try it for yourself. I was also shown the Iscan, in the same configuration. The PC certainly looked better, with CLEV-II on or off. LOTR looked especially good in "Theatrical" and "Vivid" modes.
    You could pay hundreds of pounds on anything really. And when you buy a scaler you do. You pay not so much for the scaler itself, but for the niche company selling it to stay in business. The "algorithms" are little more than pure marketing blurb. There's nothing a 12$ Faroudja DCDi chip will do that a decent software DVD player doesn't have at least two alternative ways of doing. Deinterlacers on WinDVD or PowerDVD are of superb quality.
    If you think you found a piece of software or hardware that can tell foreground from background or do real-time shape recognition I'm sure NASA will be very interested hearing about it. Again, you're kidding yourself. And another small point - any 5th or 6th generation ATi or Nvidia card can actually perform realtime full screen anti-aliasing. It takes tremendous processing power to do this. Believe me, no scaler is anywhere that beefy.
    The card in question is yet another scaler-like deal. Actually worse. What are you getting when you buy the 800£ Holo3D? A poor PCI video card with a Faroudja chip on it plus SDI and component input. If you want SDI (which is otherwise a professional interface, and not used in any consumer hardware I know of) you can do much better. There are serious people out there selling SDI interfaces. And thanks for bringing it up btw - their product web page is really amusing. It's got "Image Sizing And Position Controls!" and you can adjust "Contrast & Brightness". ROTFL.

    When the rest of the industry is fighting to death on pixel shaders, well, Immersion just discovered image resizing controls. Bravo!
    Not at all. The image coming via Svideo from my VHS is pretty good - and I checked it carefully on my high-res monitor. Digital TV looks very good indeed.
    To me they look made in a garage. Or on a ship somewhere.
    The Crystallio is the only exception - but you pay big for that honor.
    Now I start thinking you missed my mail completely and I'm talking alone here. I did factor in very high quality casing and heat control. Actually you can hardly do better than Silverstone or Thermalright, and any scaler is far from that.
    ... dog biscuits, cow ointment etc.

    My 40£ Audigy (113dB) beats your Arcam (103dB) in S/N ratio. And if you believe the DVD tray stability has anything to do with anything but noisy operation (and I assure you none of my drives is noisy - I have a slot loading Pioneer DVD-R and a tray loading LG DVD-RW) then I'm wasting my time.

    Which I probably am, since the issue at hand is really simple. A scaler is a very poor value-for-money proposition because it's hardware destined for a tiny niche market of AV enthusiasts (i.e. people who would pay well above the odds). A PC is good value because the components are mainstream and there's fierce competition keeping prices down. When you buy a Lumagen, about 100£ goes to make the Lumagen. The rest is money you get nothing for, and a large portion of that goes just to keep them in business. I work for a silicon company and often deal with custom made boards. I know how much a lot of chips cost to make, and what they sell for. For the price you pay for the Crystallio you could probably hire a company like ADi to do one (1) copy only for yourself, with "Bob" or whatever your name is laser-engraved on the fascia.

    While you are absolutely in your right to advise the "unwashed masses" to go for the scaler and monitor combo, I just think this is bad advice. It's extremely expensive and most people - again, in my opinion - clearly don't need the hassle.

    I saw an LG and a Viera last weekend in a shop. The LG was displaying - shock and horror - standard terrestrial TV (football). It looked a little noisy up close, but from more than 3 feet away the image was absolutely ok. The black levels were ok too. The Viera was playing Spiderman 2 off a 20£-job of a DVD player. Connected - gasp - through a lowly SCART. Again, it wasn't crystal-clear-noise-free-perfect-black, but it looked really good.

    If I'm getting myself a HTPC, at least I get a piece of equipment which is worth what I paid for, does many useful things and also looks good. The scaler is only for the very select few who indeed want image perfection but hate the PC variant, and can afford - and don't mind - paying several times the price of hardware just to keep the likes of Lumagen in business.
    Well I don't know, but I suspect your problem is disingenuous. You have no less than seven (7) video sources in your living room?

    Even so - if you have a HTPC you don't need HDMI or DVI any more. And if you want HDMI or component for future HDTV compatibility you should probably buy a Pio XDE, an LG etc. Cable TV can be connected directly into a PCI tuner. Digital TV with a set-top box, such as Sky, can also be connected to the tuner via Svideo. If you also have a VHS player you can switch the Svideo sources through a receiver. Which covers most people. Done!
     
  24. topkiddy

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    Well I appreciate all the responses.
    At least it's pointed out all the options.

    For my part I'm just going to arrange to view the various options out there and make up my own mind but I now know what's out there so thanks :thumbsup:
     
  25. symphara

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    Wise decision - view as many configurations as you can, decide what you want to spend, and trust your eyes man, not what anyone tells you about good or bad image quality!
     
  26. sam@uvem

    sam@uvem
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    i think the overiding thing for us is these choices are personal and that people should try and see for themselves at a good dealer.


    yes there were some 1080i arteifacts on some of the demos that the very discerning of you will have noticed,i am always keen to speak to people who notice such things.

    it is only from feedback that we can make our product better

    thanks for taking the time to look
     
  27. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    symphara

    Excellent - a HTCP that plays PS2, X-Box, Laserdisc D-VHS and if I somehow manage to get S-Video out of my Digibox I can tie it in knots with a few other S-Video sources and then route it through an AV Receiver and into the HTPC.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS Oh I forgot - I need a new TV into the bargain; glad I saved the £50 and didn't get the Lumagen VisionDVI and went for the HTPC you recommended instead :)
     
  28. MAW

    MAW
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    Well, Topkiddy, we've got some demoing to do then!
     
  29. symphara

    symphara
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    The wonderful thing about having a beefy HTPC is that you can play games in high-res. Here Pio 50MXE1 paradoxically has the egde over the 50", with it's lower res - the 1280x720 (or 728) is easy widescreen resolution for many games (including HL2, CS:Source). The result looks superb, and neither the PS2, with it's 480p resolution, nor the XBox come close.

    But don't let me stop you - by all means why don't you go and buy 10 scalers? I'm sure Lumagen will be nice enough to throw in a couple of PS2s as well, for good measure? Only 1799£ a pop, but you do get a customized "Powered by Lumagen - how cool am I?" sticker on them :smashin:
     
  30. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    This is the crux of thing. You run SVHS from Sky via a PC and find the LG and Viera's image pleasing. I can't stand the Viera and if you secretly ran s-video into my scaler I would know about within seconds (and would strangle you with the lead). In the same way I guess that I couldn't hear sod all difference between and £2000 and £500 CD player, but others would. You stick with your PC the same I stick with my budget CD deck.

    You trust your eyes like I trust my ears. If they can't hear/see the difference then they don't spend the money on the better product. Here we agree. HCPCs can offer very good video processing we agree with too. What I don't agree with is your perception that scalers are a con and an equally priced PC offers the same image, it doesn't. I am also bothered that you are pushing this anti-scaler nonsense so hard trying to argue that it is actually all a conspiracy and they are in fact crap (after having just said trust not what others tell you). Maybe you see the same image between PC and scaler, but I and many others don't. I think here our only option is to agree to disagree. We both stay happy with what we've got, but we both see two different pictures.

    Sorry to be short, would try and reply to every single quote and comment but am busy setting up scalers for blind people :D and what did you call them, the "unwashed masses".

    Have just seen your last post, LOL what does gaming have to do with picture quality? Either buy a PC AND a scaler, or buy a decent PC that could stand up to a scalers output. This isn't an anti-PC thing, I don't deny their usefullness. This an anti you being so conspiracist about scalers thing. Although the more you post the more I can see I'm wasting precious time bothering. All you want is an argument so I think I'll just leave you to play. Reminds of that thread started by the kid from powerhouse! Right, where's that unsubscribe button....
     

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