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Scalers, CRT Projectors - Home Cinema!

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Nick Laslett, Jan 17, 2004.

  1. Nick Laslett

    Nick Laslett
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    I’ve got the envious job of putting together a dedicated Home Cinema room from scratch. I’ve already done my own home cinema which was an amalgam of my existing Hi Fi equipment, Sky, DVD, etc. I ended up opting for an SD Plasma due to room size constraints.

    With this new commission, I’m going for perfection. (I’m aware there is no such thing when it comes to including realistic costs!).

    The room’s sole use will be for watching movies from a DVD player.

    Current thinking about a display device would be a Barco Cine 8 CRT Projector. The Cine 9 is too expensive. I’m looking to have a 100” (Diagonal) 16:9 screen.

    The idea is to have the maximum size screen within the limits of the display device. Not sure if the Cine 8 can handle 100”. I read somewhere that Joe Kane reckoned that a CRT Projector should not be pushed beyond an image size of 72”.

    Where I have come unstuck in my research is with the subject of Scalers.

    Every CRT projector has a sweet spot resolution and for an 8” CRT this could be anywhere between 1024x768 and 1280x1024. Barco quote that the Cine 8 can resolve up to 1400 TV lines and display a resolution of 1600x1200 for computer sources.

    But nearly all the video processors I have looked at only scale to 1024/1080p.

    The usual suspects being:
    Faroudja DVP-3000/5000
    IScan HD
    Lumagen Vision Pro
    Centre Stage CS-2
    Key Digital HD Leeza
    S&W Interpolator Gold G2
    Extron Scalers

    Now, in my simplistic understanding of video resolutions, things go like this:

    PAL Interlaced – 288 lines of actual information
    PAL Progressive – 576 lines – Double the info
    PAL (better than PS) – 864 lines – Triple the info
    PAL HD – 1152 lines – Quadruple the info

    (I don’t care about NTSC, I can’t stand 3:2 judder and all the DVDs are PAL anyway!)

    So why do none of the Scalers on the market provide the ability to scale to 1152 lines? This would be 4x interlaced PAL. I thought the higher the image resolution the better, what gives? If the projector is capable of resolving over 1152 lines, why is there no Scaler on the market that can deliver this?

    The only exception I found to the above came from the German based Cinema Company. They had two interesting products. The Cinematrix PSM-1 video board that goes right inside a DVD player and takes the signal straight from the MPEG decoder and the Cinemateq Picture Optimize Plus which is a standalone video processor. Both theses pieces of kit will scale to 1152p. Unfortunately the PSM-1 looks like old tech as it was launched in 2001. And there is not much info about the Cinemateq anywhere else on the web.

    Any thoughts on DVD – Scaler combos?

    I’m inclined to go for an SDI modded Arcam FMJ DVD27 connected to a Lumagen Vision Pro using SDI. Although the iScan HD looks promising.
     
  2. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Interesting POST. The answer to your question is that there is not really a requirement for greater than 1080P scaling as there are no devices that can resolve this onformation except NUTTER hi res commercial displays.

    With a CRT the ideal is to draw each scan line right up against the next without them overlapping. With a Cine8, well set up, on a 16:9 screen you will be running somewhere between 720 and 840 horizontal lines of resolution. When Snell and Wilcox use a Cine9 to demo their scaler they find 1024P is the ideal.

    The main reason for 1080P is just that it is de-interlaced 1080i.

    If you were to actually de-interlace and scale 576i to 1200P then you would get a very soft image on your Cine8. You'd also get lots of drift of convergence as you'd be knocking the living daylights out of its internal circuitry trying to achieve it. The figure of 1600x 1200 is just a theoretical max signal you can input based on the bandwidth available through the projector, it is NOT what it can actually resolve...... Just as you wouldn't do 190 all day in a Ferrari you wouldn't want to do 1200P with your CRT.

    Hope this makes a little sense.

    If you want a demo of an Arcam FMJ27 SDI to VisionPro to Cine8 then call X3ELS (Elliot) at PJ HiFi as he has all three on demo right now.

    CRT Projectors in Norfolk should also be able to do you a decent demo of ProSDI and Cine9 if you really want your mind blown.......

    Gordon

    Gordon
     
  3. Dale Adams

    Dale Adams
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    The iScan HD includes a predefined resolution of 1440x1152. It was intended precisely for the type of application you describe, where you want 2X scaling in both dimensions. Of course it also provides a number of lower output resolutions, so you can pick whatever matches your projector the best.

    - Dale Adams
     
  4. Nick Laslett

    Nick Laslett
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    Gordon, Dale,

    Thanks for your excellent posts. I will definately look to have a demo with PJ HiFi.

    I guess Digital projectors will soon surpass CRT with a more detailed image when they can resolve 1080p at an affordable price and sort out the black levels.

    It is never easy choosing equipment, there are always caveats to each choice.

    The iScan HD when it comes available, will also be a contender aswell as the Lumagen. Do you know much about these German developed Scalers? Since I chanced upon the Cinemax PSM-1, I've found quite a few more. The reason they interest me is that they will be geared more towards the PAL format. I guess they must be using the same processors as everyone else at this price level.
     
  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    If you search these forums you may find my comments on cinematrix PSM unit. As you say the choices are tricky.

    CRT projection has the benefit that there are no pixels. It just merges each in to the next and it is this smooth analogue signal that give CRT the real look that is lacking in many/all fixed pixel displays. There are got rodded CRT pj'S that can display 1920 x 1080 resolutions. I agree though that its days are numbered but it's still the best quality for home use on small screens.

    If you do searches for the other scalers you find you are likely to get info back. Don't forget the service,updates,useability and functionality are also important features to look for in these products. Chipsets and spec don't unfortunately tell all, demo's do. Have fun while you're choosing and don't forget that I'm here if you need it all calibrated once you've chosen

    Gordon
     
  6. Alex Simon

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    As Gordon has pointed out, you're unlikely to be able to fully use the resolutions that you've mentioned.

    However, if you think you want the headroom in your scaler, then some of the products based on PC technology should be able to scale very impressively indeed to 1152p and beyond.

    You can build one yourself (look at the HCPC forum here) if that appeals or there are products around that make life easier by being pre-configured.
    I've heard nothing but good things about Phil at UVEM (has his own forum on here in the Tech Talk section).
    There's also TAW's Rock+ scaler and I don't know for sure but maybe Jenz's project can scale to this too.

    I'm just about to mail PMS Video to see if their new scaler www.crystalio.com can scale to this too.

    Hope that helps
    Alex
     
  7. rbunn

    rbunn
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    Nick

    Mattmarsden is selling his gold Denon 1600 DVD player with the Cinematrix PSM-1mod in the Hardware Classifieds.

    I have seen this player with a Sony G70 (which I bought from him) on a Stewart 80" wide screen and it was fantastic. Much cheaper than the Arcam and chroma error free!
     
  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    RBunn,

    All DVD players have chroma error of some type. It is impossible to not have it. The only question is how obvious it is. Crystallio probably can do those resolutions. Rock definately can....but I thought we were talking quality ;)

    Gordon
     
  9. Alex Simon

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    Cheeky:)
    Just had word back from Atman@PMS and Crystalio does any resolution up to 150MHz.
    So 1440x1152 is no problem :)

    I've yet to see one running so I can't really comment on quality. PMS set out to better HD Leeza and they seem very happy with it. We should be getting an eval unit as soon as the launch spec is finalised (CES prompted them to add 5 BNCs and a couple of other things).
    One thing about PMS is that they are very quick to respond to demand. I guess that's the Hong Kong manufacturing industry for you :)

    Cheers
    Alex
     
  10. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Sorry Alex it was a bit cheeky. Look forward to yours and others comments once you get one as the CES demo was not useful in judging performance and the spec does look decent.

    Gordon
     
  11. rbunn

    rbunn
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    Sorry Gordon I meant the CUE or chroma bug as it is often called.
     
  12. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Well I aked the guys at Lumagen if they would stick 1152P in as a res on next software update and they will. So if you own a 12" crt projector you now have yet another choice of scaler........;)

    Gordon
     
  13. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  14. cj

    cj
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    Hmmmmm Crystalio vs. IScan vs. Lumagen - I can't wait for a head to head, and I got the readies waiting :)
     
  15. Jenz

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    My Clarus Scaler does 1152p for Pal. In fact it does any rez but that's a different story. Personally I believe you will perceive a better image at a lower rez if using the Barco 8 Series.

    Issue you are going to have is trying to demo them all :)
     
  16. Nick Laslett

    Nick Laslett
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    Guys, thank you for all your replies.

    Now that I have done some more research my concerns have changed.

    I get the message about running the PJ at a lower resolution than 1152 and understand why.

    I'm comfortable about my choice of PJ (Barco Cine 8). I'm also comfortable that the scaler I choose will be able to do a good job. There are very few bad things people have to say about the Lumagen and the iScan products, so it seems to be between these two.

    Where I have trouble now is with SDI enabled DVD players and Projector Screens.

    A matt white 1.3 gain screen seems to be the way to go for CRT. But the AVS forum is so into the Vutec Silverstar that this seems to be an option as well.

    Ambient light will be an issue in some contexts of the set-ups use. Although primarily for DVD watching, there will be the need for occasional Computer presentations with the room not totally blacked out. I know that this is the weakness of the CRT PJ, but I don't like the compromises of DLP projectors.

    This is what interests me about the Silverstar although the screenshots posted at AVS do not impress me (they use a I-DLA pj), but what does the Silverstar look like with a CRT pj?

    I guess a high gain white screen will give a brighter picture without some of the downsides of the Silverstar.

    When I auditioned the Arcam FMJ DVD 27 against the Denon 3800. I choose the Denon. This was due to a less visable CUE, no need to use it for CDs and price.

    If I'm going to use a Scaler, I just need a good transport and MPEG decoder with an SDI interface. I don't want DVDA or SACD, I don't need Prog Scan either.

    But I am worried that if I go for a cheap player I will not get a good transport and MPEG decoder, which leads me back to the Diva 88, FMJ 27, Denon 2900, etc.

    I already have a Toshiva 2109b which was a very good third generation interlaced player. Part of me thinks that getting an SDI upgrade and partnering this with a Scaler will do the job.

    How similar is the Panasonic RP-82 in europe to the US model that Secrets Home Cinema rates so highly?

    Any thoughts?
     
  17. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Nick,

    I've seen several demo's of Silverstar (mostly at trade shows in US) It has not impressed me. I would not be in a hurry to use it with a CRT projector.

    I'd go and look at the current FMJwithSDI like X3ELS uses. He replaced a chroma bug free Denon3300 with this thing and I agree with him that the Arcam is a superior image to look at.

    Not sure about RP82 US v UK but would expect not much, if any difference. SDI ing your Tosh could be an option as well as you say.

    Glad you got it about 1152P

    Have fun and you know where I am if you need advice.

    Gordon
     
  18. Jenz

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    We do SDI RA-82's. These are the same as the USA model RP-82s' and in fact we also do RP-82's with Component Out (rather than Scart) and with UK Power internally and externally (240V).

    The difference is surely cosmetic on the front. Regards Neil.
     
  19. ReTrO

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    Nick

    I'm due to get a Sony D50 in soon for a service/check so will try to give it a run on the Silverstar while it is in.

    We also have 2 Silverstar demo screens (48"x36" 4:3 & 64"x36" 16:9) which can be loaned out through a dealer if you are interested.

    The 4:3 demo screen was seen down at The Event II, running with a JVC DLA-SX21 D-ILA projector. I have today taken delivery of a DLA HX-1. :)

    If you are interested in demoing the Silverstar feel free to contact me.

    Regards

    Richard Wilson
    Tech Support @ Marata Vision
    (Vutec UK distribution).
     
  20. GaryG

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  21. Tim Cooper

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    What you got then Gary?

    Tim.
     
  22. ReTrO

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    Right, the D50 came in today. I gave it a quick run on the SilverStar while I had it up and running. I've got to do some compatability testing with a Meridian 596 DVD this week or next on it.

    The SilverStar looks good, a tad bright in fully controlled light levels (ie dark, but much better than a single lens job in the same situation). It works best in the low ambient light levels, as the screen was designed for. If you're looking at a proper dark HC then a 1.3 gain fabric will be best still, but if you like some light level then its certainly worth considering.
     

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