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Scalers availability in the UK?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Jenz, Mar 15, 2001.

  1. Jenz

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    All,

    It appears (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that the choices available to projector owners in the UK are somewhat constrained for buying scalers or other types of video processors.

    I'm wondering why this is considering that (Huge USA Projection TV's aside) we are pretty much able to get most other high end AV Gear. Is it a simple matter of pricing?

    Or is it something else in terms of marketing/support/demo capabilities? Personally I'm aware of people going for the DVD IScan Pro, and the small Farouja (2200?).

    Are there any others you have experience of? Would be useful to compile a list perhaps for a FAQ here. I'm also very interested in what you think the price point needs to be for a decent Video Processor (As cheap as possible is not an answer). Fire away.

    (Spectre I'll whack the results into a FAQ of sorts).

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  2. Boris Blank

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    Jenz
    Quadscan Pro (with 2.50 chip) now being sold for $999 (around £700 - price in UK is around £1850!!!!) on AVS Store. See www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum23/HTML/000702.html for details - this my friends looks to be a real bargain as the Quadscan is one of the favourite scalers of the big boys!
    The price of Scaler/De-Interlacers et al seem to tumbling in the US - I'd think twice before paying our inflated prices!
    Paul

    [This message has been edited by PaulB (edited 16-03-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by PaulB (edited 16-03-2001).]
     
  3. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    Paul,

    I'll answer whether it's worthwhile for Jenz if he asks me. I tink it would be inapproriate for me to discuss his personal situation in public without his consent.

    I have found the Quadscan very good with CRT's. There are users of this forum who I've personally supplied units to along with s/h NEC crt projectors. I particularily like the "aspect ratio" control it provides. I like a 16:9 ratio screen. With a Quadscan you can set up one convergence memory for "anamorphic" DVD and the Quad can re-size the outgoing image so that it keeps it's original shape when displayed using that "anamorphic" setting.

    This means that on letterbox discs it re-creates an anamorphic style image (stretches everything so that the convergence setting squashes everything back down, the benefit being you are using more of the projectors resolution when playing back the lowest resolution disc). With an incoming 4:3 image it re-scales and positions it to fit inside the 16:9 screen.( by stretching again and adding black bars at the sides this time).

    Now with a normal crt and a 16:9 screen you'd have, letterbox, anamorphic and 4:3 convergence memory banks. That's three to tweak every 6 months or so. Not only that, the wee 4:3 inside a 16:9 screen setting will be stressing out the deflection circuit and power supply more than the anamorphic or letterbox settings. So much so that many crt's won't actually be capable of doing it.

    The Quad isn't the only scaler capable of this of course, the Faroudja's Rock's, Vigatec's and Runco's can do it too.

    ***The re-sizing of 4:3 inside a 16:9 screen is only available on higher resolutions that doubling and VGA on the Quadscan and higher than Tripling on the Vigatec. Can't comment on the others.***


    Hope this is useful

    Gordon

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    [This message has been edited by Gordon, StereoStereo (edited 17-03-2001).]
     
  4. Jenz

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    I've assumed Gordon that it would help me regarding my multiple sources. I'd run the DVD Player and PS2 in via Component [​IMG], the Dreamcast in via S-Video and the VCR in via Composite. I'm also assuming I could continue to use the HTPC for testing/comparison by using VGA Passthru.

    My real issue at the moment is whilst this is a great deal I'm beginning to wonder if I should plump down the extra cash for The Rock believing that it will be a unit that will stay with me when I get my next CRT upgrade [​IMG]

    Of course the price difference is another $2k but the spec on paper is much, much higher and allows the level of customisation I already have. Plus I am expecting HTPC level of performance without the Useability issues. The caveat here though of course is that this is based on hype and the initial feedback reports. The Rock arrived in peoples homes only yesterday so I'm watching with interest the first set of reviews.

    The Component Input PAL bug has been resolved in the firmware but not the Hardware just yet. So I'll probably wait and see what happens. Gordon as I'm a Moderator here feel free to comment using my Setup as an example whenever its appropriate. I have only the utmost respect for your feedback.

    Anyone else going through the same issue as me?

    [This message has been edited by Jenz (edited 17-03-2001).]
     
  5. Boris Blank

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    Gordon,
    Quite correct - I know Jenz has now given the ok but I fully understand it was inappropriate for me to ask on his behalf.

    Serious mode off - I must admit to questioning whether the higher cost is really necessary, in the end its likely that the scaler would remain set to the one or two scale setting (lets say a setting for 16:9 at x resolution and one for 4:3 at y resolution) unless I changed the projector, or started fiddling with the thing for kicks, then its likely to remain on that setting for a long period of time.

    I'd hate to spend £2000 on something I'd only use for a couple of settings. At say £700 in a couple of years I'd feel less bothered about selling it and getting the latest kit. The Rock et al are no doubt fantastic but its a lot of dosh for something that may not be fully used.

    Very interesting post Gordon, I'm getting more impatient to get my paws on one of these by the minute - maybe I can postpone my house move!!

    Gordon, (or anyone else, don't mean to exclude other members!) you've got a scaler, other than when you are testing kit or tweaking, does it tend to remain at the same settings?
    Paul


    [This message has been edited by PaulB (edited 17-03-2001).]
     
  6. Jenz

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    I agree with what you are saying re: Price Paul we're comapring different things really. Personally it is the refresh rate limitations of the Quadscan that errs me towards The Rock.

    However at this price the Quad is an almost impulse buy to test like the DVD ISCAN would be for me.

    I'd really like to hear also from someone who owns the Quad particularly on non-DVD input.
     
  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    Paul: Please don't think I was "having a go at you". It's just that Jenz had spoken with me on the phone regarding the Iscan Pro and I didn't know whether it would have been appropriate for me to discuss issues that haven't been spoken about on this forum.

    Jenz: From our conversation the main thing you were after was EASE OF USE. So that your whole family could use TV/DVD/Video simply. This had to be combined with the best picture quality possible from each source and, of course, it had to be cost effective.

    The issue we talked about with the Iscan and it's priority video switching is with us on the Quadscan. For ease of use the best solution with the Quadscan is to turn everything in to s-video. If you want DVD from Component then you've got switching problems to contend with

    * Priority switching lets the best quality incoming signal take priority. I've yet to see it work well in practice!

    Everyone: With a CRT projector the image is made up by drawing horizontal lines across the tube face. The higher the resolution of the CRT the more lines it can draw in a given height of screen.

    Lets say for arguments sake my projector can draw 960 lines on a 4:3 screen. At 960 lines each consecutive line is drawn next to the other with no gap in between. Now, if I were to feed this projector an NTSC 4:3 dvd without any form of scaling or de-interlacing it'd be drawing 240 (480interlaced) lines on the screen in one pass. There would be BIG gaps between each scan line. With a line doubled (480i-480P)signal there's still be scan lines visible (it's drawing 480 in a space it can draw 960). At line quadrupled (960P, for NTSC) we'd have no visible scan line structure.

    Is everyone with me so far?

    Now, lets say we feed an anamorphic DVD to the projector on our 4:3 screen. The output of the picture on this disc is in a 4:3 shape. The projector has to reduce the vertical height of the image to make things the right shape again. There are still 480 horizontal lines of information though. The difference now is that we are going to try and re-draw them in a smaller vertical height. So, if we were Quadrupling up to 960P we'd be drawing 960 lines closer together and they'd be overlapping. We'd need to draw less lines to achieve the same goal as before, ie no scan lines visible.

    So, with a 4:3 shaped screen and a CRT projector you'd likely use a couple of output resolutions if you wanted to get the best from the devices.

    If you have a scaler that is capable of it though you can have a cinema where the image stays a constant height. Like at the cinema.

    In that case there would be no requirement to use different output resolutions. You would always want to draw exactly the same amount of horizontal lines to hide the picture structure.

    So, at home with my 16:9 screen I set the Quadscan or Vigatec to my preffered output resolution and leave it like that.

    Is this understandable or should I work on a better explanation. I was in a hurry.....


    Jenz: I am as interested as everyone else about The Rock as it does sound like the cheapest solution that has remote control video switching, aspect ratio control and output resolution with no known quirks....so far. But then no-one has posted about it yet.

    Even then, I prefer to see things with my own eyes before spending that sort of dosh.... I won't even let the shop buy an Iscan until I've seen the PAL one working.

    All the best,

    Gordon


    P.S. For those of you with LCD/DLP/D'ila the ideal output resolution is the native resolution of the fixed panels within your projector

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  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    Jenz:

    If you wish I can forward your email to two guys who'd probably be quite happy to let you know how they get on with their Quadscans on Video and Sky material

    Gordon

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  9. Boris Blank

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    Gordon,
    I didn't for one instant think I was being got at! It was presumption on my part, no more, no less!

    OK, having spent most of the day re-staining the doors and wood-work I'm somewhat high on the fumes and will retire for the rest of the day before I do something really silly like buy the Smell & Wiltcock thingy!
    lauP


     
  10. Jenz

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    Yep seems a very good price. How is this model and any idea what a UK typical price would be?
     
  11. Boris Blank

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    Its apparently VERY good although it doesn't do PAL 2:2 (is that right?) but if, like me the majority of your DVDs are NTSC (99.9%!) its not a problem and in any case won't affect TV, video or console sources as far as my limited understanding goes. This is one of Gordon's recommended scalers if I recall correctly.

    Price in the UK is around £1850 (from OWL i believe). I am sorely tempted - I'm getting ready to sell the house at the moment and can't really spare the cash but I am biting my nails with worry that I might miss this golden oppurtunity.

    Its being replaced by the Quadscan Elite which apparently isn't that much of an improvement but costs around $2200 (around £1600 in the US, probably about £2200 in the UK).

    The Pro works out about £700 plus shipping say £30, plus VAT and duty if you are unlucky, say another £200 so all in its about £930 - half the UK price!

    Argggggggggggggggghhhhh - I don't know what to do!!!!!!
    Paul
     
  12. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    The Quadscan is excellent although a little strange in operation. It's supposed to retail for £1850 here. It's about to be discontinued and replaced with the Quadscan Elite which is one of the reasons it's being knocked out. The Elite model is supposed to cure a small flaw which can at times produce a thin grey band down one side of the screen. It also deals with some of the operational issues and robustness of the Quads ability to lock on to incoming signals.

    I have used them and found them, at the time to offer great performance for the money. Under £1000 was a very good price as long as you are willing to put up with it's quirks. I have been trying to negotiate with an "unamed source" to make a handful available for sub£700 in the UK. It has fallen through though,,,,,sorry!

    Dwin and Faroudja are both distributed by Hi-End distributors in the UK. Path Premier and Absolute Sounds. I dread to think how much they charge for those products. Usually $-£ plus add something on top for good measure!

    DVDo is available from Owl's dealer network
    Quadscan form the same along with other commercial distributors

    Vigatec from ourselves (although SeeHear distribution now deal with it throught their network of dealers)Runco scalers from SeeHear as well.

    The Rock is available direct from TAW at present, although that may change.

    There are many cheapy video to VGA adaptors available from Keene/Lektropacks etc I believe.

    Snell and Wilcox through their dealer network.

    I came across another high level standard convertor (scaler) whose name I forget. I have the details and brochures at home. They were for military applications so I guess pretty expensive...

    Deauce scalers were available from Owl and are now avaialble through many channels, AVM distribution being one.

    I guess that you have to remember that the US market is MUCH BIGGER and also far ahead of us in its development. Scaler sales are not huge in the UK although I'm sure they are going top start growing pretty rapidly.

    From a dealers perspective we usually try to vet the market and make sure that the prodcuts we offer "do what they say on the packet". Above all they must produce the best performance for the price. I dont want to stock product A because it's well respected, when product B has better picture quality, reliability and costs less.

    As demand increases I guess we can expect to see more options appearing although I'm not sure whether they'll all be good.

    Hope this is of some benefit


    Gordon

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    [This message has been edited by Gordon, StereoStereo (edited 17-03-2001).]
     
  13. Boris Blank

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    Here's a link with more specs - www.focusinfo.com/products/tview_quadscan/tview_quadscan.htm . The Widescreen Review link on the same page is worth a read. The .pdf files can also be downloaded from the Focus website but I can't remember where!

    Ok Gordon - on the spot! Is it worth buying for a CRT? And, would it help Jenz with his multiple sources for his Barco 708 (I assume that it will produce a roughly similar quality of display as his HTPC)?

    This is one of these classic situations where you want something now even though there is something better (potentially but not always guarenteed to be!) on the horizon.

    Unless the IMAXscan proves to be a winner, I can't see much else at these price range to beat it.
    Paul



    [This message has been edited by PaulB (edited 17-03-2001).]
     

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