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Sweetspot experiences

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Pulsar, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hello,

    This is a question for all sweetspot users. Is there a big improvement in picture quality when capturing RGB from a Sky box instead of S-video when using Dscalar?

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  2. Madders

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    In a word yes! I have to say that up until the most recent driver revisions, it had an improvement on things like very clear sharp edges on the menu screens etc, but made the colour banding of my Panny 6 plasma more obvious (I guess due to clearer signal) so there was a definite trade off. However since the new drivers were posted on their website last week (for both the card and Dscaler 4.17 revision) the picture is now awesome! Although only really at it's best when not using the 16:9 letterbox "zoom" mode. When watching either 4:3 or 16:9 broadcasts in dscaler without using the zoom function, the picture is pin sharp (apart from some of the really naff quality channels). At times it is quite amazing! I am guessing it will have the same effect with a Sony projector. I do however attribute a lot to finally getting 1:1 pixel mapping with my new graphics card (Matrox P650) running at 852x480 through DVI using Powerstrip.

    Cheers,

    Steve
     
  3. Alex Simon

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    Hi Rob
    I know I could be accused of bias :) but I'm also someone who upgraded from a budget capture card to SweetSpot in my own home cinema.

    I've drawn a rough diagram to illustrate the 'amount of improvement' that I've noticed in my setup.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see I reckon there is about as much difference between a budget capture card's S-Video input and SweetSpot RGB as there is between the Composite and S-Video connections on the budget card.

    I've also shown a difference between SweetSpot S-Video and the budget card's S-Video. This is mainly due to the much lower (almost negligible) noise in the SweetSpot picture, although I also noticed an improvement in colour accuracy and image sharpness.

    As I said - Pluggedin.tv market SweetSpot in Europe so your probably not going to take my word for it:D

    Lets hope some other SweetSpot users will pipe up and let you know what they think of my diagram.

    Hope that helps
    Alex
     
  4. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Alex,

    Thanks for your info. The main problem I have with Dscalar and my capture card is getting the colours calibrated correctly, and finding the best settings to use. Does sweetspot come with a list of recommended setting to use with Dscalar?

    Also, do you do a student discount.:rotfl: (Joke)

    Thanks again for the info

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  5. Alex Simon

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    The default settings for our custom Dscaler 4.1.7p3 have been calibrated and many people have left them at that. If you have an external DVD player you can auto-calibrate with that.
    I'm betting that if you've been unhappy with the calibration in the past, that the defaults will impress you.

    With Sky some of the lower bandwidth channels become the weakest link the chain so not all of the benefits are true. But ER looked fantastic on C4 the other night. My wife said it looked almost DVD quality!
     
  6. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Alex,

    That sounds great. I need to have a good think about it, but I will probably have to get one now. ER is the only program I watch on TV, and the thought of having a great quality picture, and the ability to record is too tempting.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  7. Madders

    Madders
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    Some of the Sky sports channels are now fantastic quality too. Oh and by the way if you didn't see the latest ER episode on E4 last night you have GOT to see it when it shows on Channel 4.....! :eek: ;)

    Steve
     
  8. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Cheers Madders,

    I tend to watch ER on Ch4 as I think it has a higher bitrate.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  9. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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    I'd love to put my Sky through this via RGB but I'm using the RGB out for my TV and DVD recorder. What's the best way around this? A John Sim MSC perhaps?

    Cheers,
    Andy.
     
  10. Alex Simon

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    Pulsar - agreed about the C4 higher bitrate. E4 is annoying me at the moment - the beginning of ER is always dreadful.
    Sometimes my wife can't wait though :)
    Last night's was one of those.

    Andy - If you haven't got an S-Video out on your Sky box then you need a scart distributor. The jstech box wont do this for you. Do be careful with quality though - there's some horrible scart products out there.
    The Radeon s-video outs aren't up to much either so that isn't a quality solution.
     
  11. Jackass

    Jackass
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    Anyone know how the sweetspot compares to the H3DI RGB input card?

    Also I see it is advertised as a video processor card but isn't it just an input card and 3rd party software actually does the processing as where the H3D is a true video processor card with hardware processing on board.

    Steve.
     
  12. Alex Simon

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    Hi Steve.
    The video input of Holo and SweetSpot have been benchmarked as being equal (although since then we have actually upgraded our connectors).
    The AtoD chips in the cards are the same Philips chip.
    The differences really come from the DCDi chip in Holo and their own software versus DScaler. There are pros and cons to each - the main benefit of DScaler is that it is hugely flexible and constantly improving. You will find many fans of each solution on here.

    SweetSpot does do video processing, just not deinterlacing. The features of the Philips chip are numourous including things driven by DScaler like the comb filter. There is a rather large pdf on the philips semiconductor site somewhere that will detail just what it is doing.

    Hope that helps
    Alex
     
  13. philipb

    philipb
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    The latest Holo drivers allow ffdshow to be used with the H3DII card, and it smartens up the picture a lot.

    I'll do some some direct comparisons of the H3DII v the Sweetspot and report back. Course the addition of Showshifter is a big plus for Sweetspot. The big drawback of Sweetspot is no SDI input - come on guys, how about an upgrade?
     
  14. Jackass

    Jackass
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    Yep,

    I aggree, if SDI input was available on the sweetspot i would buy it in a heartbeat :)

    What is the maximum length alowed using a PDI cable ?

    Steve
     
  15. David PluggedIn

    David PluggedIn
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    Hi Steve
    You can of course run our SDI capture card and SweetSpot together in the same machine, so while it isnt physically the same card it is just another input in DScaler.
    re the max PDI cable length - as it is parallel in nature it is timing sensitive, therefore the standard length supplied with the card (15cm) is all that is supported. Remember that with the PDI connector you are hooking in to some sort of internal PC MPEG decoder card so it only has to reach to the next PCI slot!

    cheers
     
  16. philipb

    philipb
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    Which one is that David? The Silk?
     
  17. Alex Simon

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    The SDI card that we sell is the PMS Video SDI Capture Card.
    http://www.pmsvideo.com/index_topic.php?did=17

    We also sell the SDI converter kit on that page.

    Prices are:
    Capture Card £149
    Converter Kit £89

    Both prices include FREE EUROPEAN POSTAGE, all UK/EU duties paid and 1 year European warranty.

    We are in the process of implementing a full shopping cart on the pluggedin.tv site but for the moment if anyone wishes to purchase, email us at sales@pluggedin.tv

    A full list of SDI moddable devices is here
    http://www.pmsvideoforum.com/forum/...?s=&threadid=27

    Hope that helps
    Alex
     
  18. philipb

    philipb
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    Thanks Alex.
     
  19. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hello,

    I got my sweetspot card today, installed the latest drivers and dscalar version off the sweetspot website, and connected my cable digital box via the sweetspot RGB cable.

    First impressions of the card/software are excellent. Coming from using a JS RGB to Svideo converter with the packard bell capture card, this sweetspot setup is a massive improvement. The colours seems so natural and rich, with the picture showing great edge definition and excellent detail. I just watched five minutes of Trisha on ITV2, and she never looked to good (well actualy bad, but you know what I mean). The OSD from the cable box is so crisp and clear it is great.

    I think that using the specific Dscalar has helped as it was pointed out earlier in the thread that this has been calibrated for the sweetspot card, and it shows. To watch the television now is like watching an average DVD for picture quality, and is far more enjoyable.

    I can't wait for ER tonight on channel 4, this will be a real test for the sweetspot.

    If anyone out there is using the PB capture card and an s-video input, and is thinking of upgrading, please don't hesitate YOU WILL NOT BE DISSAPOINTED!

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  20. JohnS

    JohnS
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    Thanks for the reveiw Rob, looks like I might have to jump off the fence soon.
     
  21. RobsterD

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    Ordered mine this week ,so looking forward to some more fun this weekend,at the moment I've a JS RGB-Component convertor from Sky +,but have also ordered the RGB cable,will be interesting to see which gives better PQ.
    Rob
     
  22. Alex Simon

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    Enjoy ER Rob - it's a thrilling ride tonight.
     
  23. karyboue

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    Hi ... from french Homecinema-fr.com forum

    Would component input be at the same level than RGB's ? I would use it with Chord Component cables I already have.
     
  24. Alex Simon

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    Hi Karyboue
    Yes, I should have put RGB/Component on that diagram.
    We have found them to be of equal quality through SweetSpot.
    The Chord Component cables you already have sound perfect.

    Hope that helps
    Alex
     
  25. Archos27

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    Alex!

    Why is Sweetspot or PDI deluxe so much more expensive here i Europe compared to buying directly from PMSvideo or from hivizone.com? Even when you ad customs and taxes it is cheaper to buy from them! Why?
     
  26. David PluggedIn

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    Unfortunately it is the cost of doing business in Europe versus other parts of the world, everything is more expensive for retailers in Europe. If you look at every retailer, including the giants such as Amazon, then you see they all face the same issue

    We aren’t an Amazon course, so don’t enjoy their huge economies of scale. What we do offer though is 1st class service, both before, during and after the sale, free priority, insured shipping anywhere in Europe, plus a 1 year warranty again pan-European.

    We are also doing much more than a typical retailer, as we are actively developing and extending the products in conjunction with PMS (e.g. PAL compatibility testing, new driver and application support etc etc)

    If you look at the final price (shipping, Euro taxes etc) you would pay from the retailers you mentioned then even with the exchange rate as it is today there is only about £30 difference, and of course as the dollar regains then this will reduce again.

    Despite all of this, we are still able to deliver the product across Europe at a better USA -versus-Europe price than many of the e-tailing giants!
     
  27. Madders

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    Just finished watching the F1 qualifying on ITV. One thing I noticed was far less jaggies and blocking on the "in car camera" shots. Obviously this could be as a result of an improvement in their TV technology, but I'm pretty sure the Sweetspot/Dscaler combo has improved things too! :smashin:

    Steve

    P.S. Just about to start messing around to get the showshifter software demo to work so I can record the race tonight and watch it first thing tomorrow morning....:)
     
  28. Madders

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    Well, Showshifter keeps crashing at the end of the setup wizard, will have to try another one!
     
  29. Alex Simon

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    Have you got the WDM driver installed correctly?
    An easy way to test is if you can see an option in DScaler for Dshow mode (instead of native SweetSpot mode - it should give you a picture. If you can see this (and the various SweetSpot input options) then the driver is working ok.
     
  30. Archos27

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    Sorry everyone! Thanks to me it is no longer possible to order from above mentioned places!

    Maybe you should lower the prices here in Europe instead of blaming low dollar! I bet you buy the Sweetspot cards from PMS in dollars!

    Inside the European Union you should have some advantages because when you export cards to EU countrys the customers don´t have to pay customs or taxes. Still it´s more expensive than to buy from the other side of the world.. strange I think!

    I don´t own a Sweetspot or PDI-Deluxe myself. I bought the plain PDI-capture just before the Deluxe was ready. I really like the picture it gives on a big screen and now I want to upgrade to the Sweetspot for digital television.

    I see now that I managed to "help" the Pluggedin force European people to buy the card for a higher price than they could buy it for before. That was never my intension! If companys in Hong Kong can sell for 230 USD, Pluggedin should be able to lower the price!

    283 Euro in Europe
    230 $ outside Europe

    Difference in price: about 50%...
     

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