Should I be budgeting for a scaler?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by ENEM, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. ENEM

    ENEM
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    Hope someone in this forum can help me. General impression of video quality on demos in shops is that Plasma displays are a very poor relation to CRT, for both DVD and TV signals. Jerky, blurred, low resolution, blah blah blah (why am I thinking of spending 5k on a system then :eek: )

    Total AV Virgin here with no relevant equipment, but do have Van Den Hull component cable, HDMI cable and composite video cable buried in my wall. Planning to buy a 42 in HD Plasma Panel , such as Panasonic TH 42 8 or NEC HD version, connected to AV Amp with just DVD and freeview video inputs. Amp not yet selected.

    The question is "Should I be planning to get a dedicated scaler?" If so, are there any recommendations? What do you get when you pay more? And where does it go in the circuit? I get the impression that many would not be without one but I am not really clear whether my AMP or DVD player handles this function.

    Any help or guidance is appreciated. :lease:

    ENEM
     
  2. Piers

    Piers
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    The good plasmas, when well set up, shouldn't be showing the defects that you list to any great extent. If you are thinking of spending £5k you are into Fujitsu 50XHA40 territory - lovely plasma. Add a Lumagen HDP and it is the ultimate plasma that I have yet seen.

    Panasonic PHD8 without a scaler is also very good but again add a Lumagen (the combination that I have here) and the picture is stunning.

    The scaler goes between the source devices and the plasma and acts as a switching hub. All sources into the scaler (for video) unless you are very keen to route video through an AV amp (which often degrades the picture - the expensive ones less so, but still preferable to go direct to the scaler if possible).


    Both the plasma panel and your DVD player will have a scaler built in - just not such a good one (probably) as the good external ones. Apart from scaling, the good processors do far more - for folk like me who calibrate plasmas for a living they give us huge ability to tweak the picture to perfection.
     
  3. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    Plasmas CAN give good pictures, but shops often dodn't even realise this.

    If you are thinking of spending £5k, or are thinking or getting an HD plasma, then YES, a scaler is worthwhile.

    Compatibility? That is important. Get a plasma DISPLAY, not a TV. For the source, make sure it can output native interlaced digital video over DVI or HDMI. That narrows it down a lot.

    Scaler? the usual recommendation is the Lumagen HDP (or Pro). Crystalio is very nice, too. Consider whether you want to use HD sources when they come along next year. There is more to be gained, but more to be spent.

    Finally, don't make any assumptions. Is it really a plasma that you want?

    Nick
     
  4. Bat-man

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    Another AV Virgin here.
    These upscaler thingies - can you connect them between a Freeview box and the TV?
    Would it be worth doing so if you can?
    Thanks.
     
  5. ENEM

    ENEM
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    Thank you for the helpful responses. If I put my video sources through he scaler, how do I use the AV amplifier?

    Does this mean that I need to 'switch' twice each time I change source (i.e. switch from Freeview to DVD on Scaler and do the same on the AV amp?)

    ENEM
     
  6. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    Good questions. Scalers are mainly intended to be used with high definition displays. The scaler goes between a source and a display. The source can be pretty much any sort of set-top box or media player. Composite or s-video connections can be used, but RGB, component, DVI or HDMI are much preferred. The scaler output is invariably digital or high quality analogue. An ordinary TV can be used, but it must have at the very least component connections (YUV or YCbCr or YPbPr) that accept progressive video. A monitor type of display will generally be better - typically with a VGA input, though there is a strong movement towards DVI and HDMI. PC monitors, flat panel displays and projectors usually fall into this category. Scalers are worth it if the display has significantly better resolution than the source.

    There is a switching conflict between audio and video processors that has not yet been properly resolved. Both devices are usually intended to connect directly to, and select, the sources. In simple implementations, they would normally be connected in parallel, but these days, scalers often handle audio switching, and amps do video switching. This is a big subject and is changing rapidly - see the HCC news page. Both always do it inadequately unless you spend a huge amount of money. The usual solution at the moment is to use a universal learning macro remote.

    There is some convergence between audio and video processors. AV amps are starting to perform de-interlacing, conversion and scaling, but none have the performance and flexibility of proper scalers.

    Nick
     
  7. flexiondotorg

    flexiondotorg
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    Correct, you need to switch audio input souce on your amp and video input source on the scaler. I was abit concerned about how my wife might get on with this, which is why I bought a second hand Pronto. I have some simple marcos setup which say stuff like "Watch DVD" and it send a stream of command to switch everything correctly. Works very well :)
     
  8. detra

    detra
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    hi :hiya:
    can any one tell me if a scaler would improve the pictures on a tosh lcd 37wlt58 with sky+ and lg dvd video combi?
    can you also recommend which one bearing in mind i have no previous experience with any type of scaler
     
  9. SeanT

    SeanT
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    yes, it would, but it'd have to be a proper scaler (ie. not like my ****y 100 quid jobbie) to make a difference on the internal scaling of that screen - look to spend a grand or so
    it'll definitely make a difference though!!!
     
  10. detra

    detra
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    many thanks
    iwill try to go out over the weekend and see if i can see one in action ive been looking at the dvdo web site are their products easy to set up and any one recommend which one as the techie info is a bit over my head
     
  11. ENEM

    ENEM
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    I have ordered the 50in Fujitusu and now need to decide on a DVD player. AV amp I assumed has little real bearing on video/screen issues.

    I read on here that there will be more and maybe better scalers released early next year so I would like to start without a scaler, see how I get on and then add it in in the new year.

    I want to choose a dvd that will be good in it own right, but that gives max compatibilty with a scaler in the future.

    I am also wondering if my screen allows the magical 1:1 pixel mapping from scaler output? I would like to put the correct cables in the wall for this purpose, so if anyone can tell me how the scaler should connect to the plasma I would appreciate it. Already have HDMI and Component (RCA) in wall but am reconciled to adding any others needed - such as VGA or scart cable.

    Thank u 4 yr help.
     
  12. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    There are not many DVD players that can output an interlaced signal via HDMI to get the best results from a scaler. AFAIK it is limited to the Arcam DV79 & DV29 and the top of the range Pioneer. All others output a progressive signal over HDMI which means the DVD player is doing more processing and therefore the better processing for this in the external processor will be ignored.

    Mark.
     
  13. dilsher

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    The Philips 963SA SDI modded DVD Player (rare to get - ask Liam) provides the cleanest and purest interlaced feed to a HD Plasma of any DVD player I have yet seen to date. The PQ is simply unrivalled, and its ony around the £500 mark. With this baby I dont even need to get a HD DVD Player for a long while yet. its that good. Stunning product, so forget spending 2k on that Denon DVD monster.
     
  14. VirusKiller

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    Yes, but even if you could get one, you'll need a scaler with an SDI input...
     
  15. jont

    jont
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    Both the iscan and lumagen do sdi upgrades for some of their models ...


    Jon
     
  16. andrewkay

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    A friend of mine is selling a Primare DVD30 with an SDI output. Not seen anything about this player on here or anywhere else.

    Is this any good? Should I plan to use the SDI connection? Is it noticibaly better than HDMI or component?

    Andy
     
  17. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor
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    Dilsher, it's good but not that good. A top HD feed will still blow away any top SD feed + scaler. Gordon got to see some samples at my place which were a pleasant distraction.
     
  18. andrewkay

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    For me it is a given that the best HD feed will beat the best SD feed - at least I would hope so! But the name of the game for many is to make the most of what we have (250+ SD DVDs :) ).

    Is SDI output with scaler the best way for current SD content? Is the SDI output benefit noticable enough to justify the hassle and expense?

    Thanks
    Andy
     
  19. TheDoctor

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    I think SDI + scaler is a brilliant route for SD material (I would definately recommend it and I still plan to use it for a few more years). The benfit of SDI is significantly noticable but only if your scaler is doing a good job with the signal and your panel is set up correctly.
    But when it comes to HD, I feed my plasma via component cable directly from the PC. Trust me.....the best SD feed (SDI + scaler) comes no where near the best HD feed.

    Doc
     
  20. sharper

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    My take on getting a scaler was great for SD for then 2-3 years and then great for use with HD material as and when. A scaler should give the HD footy on Sky a nice clean and stable picture......fingers crossed. My dread was shelving out for Sky HD an a HD panel only to get a poor/average HD picture.

    I have not gone the SDI route (although Liam did sing SDI praises)due to budgetary restraints.
    But I would tell anybody looking to get the best from their existing or first Plasma to seriously consider getting a good scaler.

    I have only seen a small demo of HD in the Panasonic shop in Kingston, they had an SD Viera next to a HD Viera running the same material. I could tell very little difference, they both looked excellent as the source material was such good quality. So I decided to get a scaler (to get the best source material) now, then go the HD route over the coming year.....:devil: or so.
     
  21. dilsher

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    Hey Doc

    Totally agree - of course an HD will blow it aay - but the popint im making is hte upscaled SD pq is so good and im happy to live with that for a few years till HD really comes into its own with a vast range of titles: Ill be the first to get both SKY HD and either Blu Ray or DVD HD..Ill jsut not replace my titles for a wee while yet!

    Am I right to assume that an HD/Blu Ray DVD player will play SD discs better than an SD DVD player????
     
  22. TheDoctor

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    Hi Dilsher

    I will be sticking to my set-up for a while too. I doubt that HD/BR will improve the quality of SD dvds. I think all the technology will focus on getting the best out of HD material.

    I still think that a dedicated video processor + SDI dvd player will remain the superior choice for SD dvds.

    I'm sure that someone will try to improve on HD video by producing HD SDI mods with the new devices to compliment the next generation of video processors.

    The benchmark will always continue to rise, while our bank accounts continue to empty.

    Doc
     
  23. Dekim

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    very interesting thread. I am currently planning the route mentioned here. 42PHD8, Lumogen hd scaler and Pio 989 DVD player. I currently use the formentioned Philips 963SA to a humble Pe300 projector.

    After reading comments here I'm wondering if it would be worth getting the 963sa sdi modded rather than forking out £770 for the Pio 989. Any comments on this?

    (I have over 600 Pal dvd's if this makes any difference to the equation and a massive overdraft but you are only here once!)

    I may purchase the scaler earlier than the plasma if it will improve the projector altho the projectors days are numbered due to a planned refurbished living room with shiny new plasma.

    Who is the best person to purchase through to get good customer service before getting an eventual ISF on plasma etc.? (Gordon, Joe etc)

    One last question..The DVD will go into scaler but what is the best card to go into plasma to be fed from the scaler either HDMI or DVI as I dont understand the difference?

    Sorry for all the questions but at long last things are starting to make sence.

    Deks
     
  24. shodan

    shodan
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    I think this quote should be on the home page of the website! :thumbsup:
     
  25. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    I think the best option is DVI as IIRC you can't send a native resolution to the screen via the HDMI card.

    Mark.
     
  26. Dekim

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    Thanks Mark,

    I recalled Piers mentioning he connected by DVI too. I didn't that DVDI couldn't use native res. Always best to ask first :clap:

    Cheers

    Deks
     

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