Scalers. Personal experiences from users requested please

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Nic Rhodes, Jul 22, 2001.

  1. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Scalers. Personal experiences from users requested please

    I will shortly take delivery of a second hand CRT projector (all going well) and I need a suitable video scaler. I have done extensive research in the AVS Forum, to the stage I am getting confused and I am looking for any feedback from Forum members here, on their personal experiences on scalers that perhaps haven't been posted already.

    I have a built my self HTPC inspired by Jeff's Kryton which might tide me over but I really want to use my Tag kit (DVD32R, AV32R and 1005x) for sound reasons.

    I think I need the following facilities: a HD VGA pass through, Composite (though not used by me), S-Video and Component inputs. Rgb outputs. I am a fan of BNC connectors. PAL and NTSC capability needed (3:2 and 2:2 pull down). I want to be able to scale a 4:3 image within 16:9 screen (probably a manual pulldown Stewart 1.3). Any other sugestions?

    I seem particularly succeptable to ‘jaggies' and therefore would like a top quality de-interlacing algorithm. In fact these things really bug me on larger screens when done poorly.

    My CRT is reputedly a better quality unit and de-interlacing / line doubling is not enough to prevent line structure. It really needs trippling / quadruppling. I do like the idea of being able to drive up to 120hz as this might give benefits, given a suitable projector capability.

    Other than that anything goes. I would like to keep budget to £4k if this is possible, but it could be pushed a little. If someone has a £500 solution I am all ears….

    The options as I see them

    Faroujda NRS. Everyone speaks very highly of the DCDi de-interlacing but cost / availability is somewhat limited in the Uk and I have been unable to get a spec sheet from their web site to confirm specifications (PAL?). AS pricing will probably be silly as usual as well but I do like the idea of DCDi de-interlacing.

    Vigetec Dune (or lesser models, but I like the look and spec of the Dune). This seems a highly flexible unit. I have seen a Vigetec unit only once (vc 1280? At StereoStereo but was looking at projectors, not scalers at the time). I think it is well made and well supported. The Sil503 (and MC503 co pro) is well liked, though perhaps not the best available. Lots of inputs and Progressive scaling as well as interlaced on this unit (technically better to do interlacing internally if signals are analogue). It seems to do everything.

    The Rock family. Tecnically very interesting product and flexible. I am confused by what is different between the Rock, Rock + and the Emerald. UK rep currently on his holidays. Currently I don't think it can scale a progressive signal which I feel might be a limitation long term given everyone moving in that direction however The Rock is very adaptable and by reputation a formidable performer.

    Finally the fly in the ointment. Tag, bless their cotton socks. The DVD192R and AV192R upgrades. The DVD192R is going to get a PS output. Reading between the lines, and I have no specific insider knowledge about this, I expect Tag to use a Sil503 / MC503 co pro de interlacing solution in the DVD192R. I say this because the DVD192R will then have the ability to export this Progressive scan signal digitally by a DVI interface (the major supplier of DVI interface also do the Sil503 / MC503 chipset) to the AV192R. This will take the digital PS signal and scale it. As this is currently vapourware other than in the Tag research labs we have no idea of the capability of the system. Now, Tag are a company who do things properly or not at all but scalers are a new venture for them. We don't know what they will do with S-Video signals, trippling / quadruppling / freq etc. We do know Tag uses some serious CRT projectors for their test rooms so it looks hopeful. Unfortunately this will not be available for some time yet and there may be a gap of 6/9 months between CRT being available and when Tag delivers it upgrades. A cheap trippling solution might help (short term) but all I can find is the Elite at £1800. This is not that cheap in my book. Other than the un tested cheeseboard or Iscan pro scalers, all are expensive devices and both of these are linedoubling only.

    What do I do? I would appreciate people opinions on this.

    I will be attending Gordons Event and hope to get some more experience myself there but I want to try and get some feedback from froum members beforehand. Testing scalers, as many of us have found, is an impossible task in the UK. I think this country needs more Gordons.

    [ 22-07-2001: Message edited by: Nic Rhodes ]
     
  2. GaryG

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    Hi Nic

    If you are using a HTPC you will no doubt be very critical of the deinterlacing performance of the scalers. I use a HTPC but would prefer a simple life with a box with an on/off switch. I tried a Quadscan, but found I preferred the superior deinterlacing of the software DVD players. Before you make the plunge you might want to keep in touch with Jeff (Kryton) he has discovered a very good input card allowing a HTPC with DScaler to use video bases sources, check out the following on AVS. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum12/HTML/012119.html

    BTW, did you try the Q15 mod?
     
  3. ReTrO

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    I beleive that Tag are bringing out some form of video porcessor for their AV32 gear.
     
  4. simoncope

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    Extron's 7SC input switcher/scaler is very good (approx. £5000) but I must admit I haven't had a play with it in conjunction with a CRT projector yet.
     
  5. uncle eric

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    Nic,
    The Fara 3000 is THE best scaler that I have played around with so far.
    Unfortunately the pricing of this product is the main restriction for most.

    My own solution was to buy a Cinematrix moded 7700 (480p to 1200p) which I currently use at 960p through 5x BNC's to my 808s.

    While this player has some minor combing issues with a few animated titles, film based material is stunning. This then takes care of my DVD viewing.
    Now for the other commonly available sources in the UK.
    Digital tv, of which Sky is perhaps the best of a sad bunch and Video tape.
    I really dont see the point of going mad trying to improve Skys artifact heavy, bit rate light transmissions.
    I view Sky mostly through my 41" Sony RPTV which looks ok. If I have to see something like a major sporting event in my dedicated room, I use a simple good value solution, the Isan Pro.
    Yes I still see a little line structure but other than that its a first class option for what is basiclly poor quality source material.
    In other words, if you can upscale your dvd's successfully with a multi scaling dvd player or HTPC, I dont really see the need for anything too fancy for Sky or Video playback. The Iscan is well up to the job.

    Eric
     
  6. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Nic,

    Over at AVS there's a bit of a debate about the new Runco scalers. They are based on the big Runco ones. Funnily enough when I was doing my ISF thing over there it was a Runco992Ultra (barco cine8) they used with a Runco processor and I was VERY impressed.

    My first phone call back was to find out when I could get my hands on one to play with. Just now though you know which I think is best.

    Gordon
     
  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Hey hey hey,....Just went and phoned Runco distributor to check if they had one yet....I should have my greasy mits on it by end of week with a bit of luck.....

    Gordon
     
  8. uncle eric

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    Gordon,
    I wonder if these new Runco scalers will still be using Genesis chips for scaling?

    Very dissapointing if they are, particularly when you consider Runco's overpricing agenda.

    I look forward to your comments regarding the de-interlacing quality Runco offers with these scalers.
    While most of us know that S&N are awsome, and yes I would buy one the day after I won the Lottery, I still feel the two best (affordable) de-interlacing examples I've seen so far are from the Fara 3000 and my little iscan pro.
    My Cinematrix does a fair job with scaling (it too uses Genesis) but is not in the same league at doing the interlacing job of the Iscan or Fara.
    Eric
     
  9. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Guys

    Thanks for all the input. Keep it coming. Gordons event is a godsend for us scaler potential purchasers.

    I had missed Jeffs thread on AVS re this card. It might be an affordable option while I make my mind up / Tag get their act together. Thanks for that. AVS HTPC gets so many posts nowdays that it is difficult keeping upto date. I think it better to bribe Jeff with a beer at the event and pick his brains. :D

    Gordon, as ever I would be interested in the Runco feedback. Do we know what price we are talking here?

    Are there any Quadscan owners out there?

    Are there any scaler owners out there who bought something only to upgrade within a year or two. I would be interested in hearing from you guys? :)
     
  10. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Eric: If you look at the thread at AVS you'll see they mention it is the genesis chip for scaling. It's good at saling though. Just not so good at de-interlacing but that's done by something else. I'll open it up and have a look see anway.

    I don't know pricing. The one I'm getting is the "11" spec with more output resolutions.

    I'll let folk know anyway.

    Gordon

    P.S. I'm really looking forward to seeing Kryton too!
     
  11. GarryF

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    Nic,

    I have had a quadscan since november last year along with NEC 9PG and 2m wide 16-9 screen supplied by Gordon.

    I was using a Nakamichi DVD10s player which only had S-Video out and after a few months was quite disappointed with the picture, the player had the chroma bug and the quadscan has a slight banding issue on the left hand side (fixed in the elite and pro users on AVS claim they have had the banding issue resolved if they send the unit back to FE)

    I have been using a Geforce2 based PC for the last 3-4 months and still think the image is great, the PC is fed via the quad pass through.

    The quad lacks discrete codes for selecting a lot of functions but it is possible to use the PC via serial control to get round this. So with a pronto and the PC on it's not a problem.

    The quad may perform better using the component inputs but I noticed quite a difference against the PC using s-vid

    I could probably get little more than half what I paid for the quadscan less than a year after I purchased it, I expect the same depreciation would be applied to new scalers unless they have some sort of guaranteed upgrade policy for a few years.
     
  12. uncle eric

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    Gordon,
    Thanks for the heads up.
    Much as I love AVS, some threads can get so long that I would have to take early retirement to go through them.
    I'll look forward to your observations re the Runco scaler.

    Best Wishes
    Eric
     
  13. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Can I just add to Garry's post. The Quadscan was the best scaler available under silly money price when he purchased it. He also got it at well a good price so 50% back now really shows whopping depreciation. It could be a great buy though if anyone's after one and anyone's selling. I guess chip prices are dropping and competition is hotting up.....

    I think that using its Component inputs and with his modded to take the filters out it is still a cracking unit. For around £1200 for the new Elite I don't know what else is available other than the great PC solutions you guys manage to pull together. Rocks, Vigatecs etc are all over double and Iscan's are not enough for your projectors.

    I'm hoping that Garry's may be one of the HCPC's we have along with Kryton at the event. Those who replied with offers of loan stock for the event can expect mail pretty soon.

    Gordon
     
  14. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Gordon
    Is this a power buy special or the usual price?

    I am reluctant to spend my money on a Dune (substitute you current favourite) until I know Tags plans. I have a reasonabLe HTPC now.
     
  15. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Nick,

    I hope this isn't inappropriate on the board. Blade or Spectre feel free to can it if you like.

    The Quad's $1700 in the US I think. OWL, the UK distributor has managed to negotiate a really good price from Focus on Elite's. I have one arriving tomorrow for a client and hope to test it before immediately sending it on its way.

    So £1200 is going to be the usual SRP in this country.....

    Gordon
     
  16. Rob

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    Nic,

    I use a 2.50 version Quadscan, and find it works very well. I am thinking of putting together a PC based solution, so the Quad way be on its way. If you are interesed Email me.

    Regards Rob.
     
  17. GarryF

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    Gordon, that's interesting about the Elite, £1200 sounds a good price. As you say the quad was really the only option I had at the time and I still think it was worth it.

    Have you compared the quad on component versus S-Vid. I thought long and hard about either going for a new DVD player or spending about the same on a PC. One of the biggest problems using component with the quad is the lack of discrete codes, other people really can't get the idea of having to cycle through 8 or so inputs until you get the right one. On AVS people claim the latest quad with filters removed etc gets 90% of the way towards a decent PC.

    If I was buying today I would probably still go for quad + HTPC unless Gordon can show me a better DVD picture with a vigatec than Kryton can produce ;-)
     
  18. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I think this is great news and not inapproapriate.

    Any feedback on the Elite yet? Gordon can you tell us whether it does 2:2. I found 3:2 but not 2:2 in the specs. Everything else seems great. And they have done a great price.
    :)
     
  19. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    I have one but typically it has to go back on Monday and I'm away this weekend. Off to see a Rock in England (you can all guess where) then on to see the launch of Christie Digital Marquee CRT's and 3 chip DLP's in London.....

    So far I can say it's softer than a Vigatec GVC1280 (although 1/3rd the price in fact more like 1/4)de-interlacing of NTSC is close, VERY close to Vigatec. I'll try to get some PAL stuff and do a comparison to a product that does 2:2 to see what's happening.

    No more info at present though. Oh, except it has a fan that the older version didn't. If I had one myself I'd disable the fan....(and I may buy one for myself to try it)

    Gordon
     
  20. ReTrO

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    May see you there if I can sort out my invite. It arrived last week, and me boss doesn't need to go.
     
  21. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Rick,

    That'd be great. I'm driving down Sunday. In Bedford area Sunday night then trying to find soemhwere to stay in North London area Monday. I'll be at the Christie Launch Tuesday lunchtime then heading back up the road at 4.00pm ish I guess.

    Gordon
     
  22. Blade

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    Just a word of warning that The Rock+ is now (or from Aug 1st) $4499 US Retail...

    So a £1200 Quad or HTPC looks good in comparison pricewise. Performance is a different issue obviously.
     

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