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Scalers and Game Consoles: advice needed

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Diamara, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. Diamara

    Diamara
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    Hi all,

    I'm trying to work around my TV's (Philips 32PF9986) well documented connectivity problems. For those who haven't had the pleasure of arguing with Philips customer services, early models of the TV didn't support component even though they were advertised as having a component input.

    Later models do support component through an ugly component to VGA to DVI convertor. Unfortunately, the TV can only display progessive signals when using a component input.

    The situation with the three current games consoles I own seems to be...

    NTSC Gamecube: about 90% of games run in 480p, but boot screens and system config menus run in 480i.

    PAL PS2: a handful of games offer 480p, but the games must be booted in 576i and then changed to progressive through a menu option.

    PAL X-Box: once the X-Box has been soft-modded, the vast majority of games are playable in 480p. A handful are playable in 720p and even fewer in 1080i. It's also possible to display the X-Box dashboard in 480p.

    I have all three consoles and an Arcam DV79 DVD player going into a component switcher and then out to my TV.

    My main question is whether I could feed the output of my component switcher into a scaler and then out to the TV? This then raises a number of other questions:

    1. Which scaler would be most appropriate? My budget is up to around 1200 GBP (typing on a Portuguese keyboard)

    2. How bad a problem is latency? The scaler manufacturers seem to be a bit shy about quoting actual figures for delays.

    3. I´ve read that it´s possible, with most LCD TVs, to find an input resolution which will cause the TV to disable its internal scaler. Presumably this would reduce latency problems, but has anyone ever seen this working with a 9986?

    Apologies for the long post.
     
  2. Carl Ed

    Carl Ed
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    The first thing to decide is whether you want a scaler or just a deinterlacer. You can find older deinterlacers like the iScan Pro extremely cheap on auction sites these days, so if that's all your looking for, you can do this quite cheaply.

    If you decide to go with a scaler, then you'll probably want to use it's DVI out. I don't know if Philips will allow you to bypass its internal scaler (unfortunatly you're probably going to have to deal with Philips customer service to find out :(), but if you can, then you should look for a scaler that allows for varible rate scaling, unless you happen to find one that has your own resolution preset (unlikely, but possible). What is the resolution of your display?

    Latency really isn't an issue with most modern scalers. You're talking about around 2-4 milliseconds of delay here. If that sort of delay is bothersome, then the iScan HD does have digital audio delay functions. For most people it won't be.

    Incidentally, if you get a scaler with a DVI/HDMI in, then you improve the picture quality of your Arcam a bit by doing away with the DA-AD conversions. That's on top of any advantages you'll gain by using an external scaler, etc.

    Around your price range you're main choices will be the Lumagen DVI, DVDO iScan HD, and the PMS Plasma Enhancer. You might also want to look at the second hand scaler market, but make sure you don't get sold a lemon.

    Finally, in my experience, the Faroudja FLI23xx is a significantly better deinterlacer for games than the SiI504 is.
     
  3. Diamara

    Diamara
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    Thanks very much, it sounds as if I need a de-interlacer rather than a scaler.

    Does anyone happen to know what the iScan Pro does with 480p, 720p and 1080i signals? Do they just get passed through with no processing?
     
  4. Carl Ed

    Carl Ed
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    I'm pretty sure the Pro can't passthrough HD signals. You'll need the DVI equiped iScan Ultra for that. 480p/576p are just passed through as they're already progresive (although you can still change colour/brightness/contrast/etc with them).
     

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