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The Quest For The Perfect Progressive Player

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by KraGorn, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    First, this isn't a rant against the "what's the best PAL progressive player" type of post, which is a perfectly natural question for the new arrival and not so new arrival to the HTPC arena. :)

    My point however is this .. no-one seems to worry about the second half of the PQ equation, which as far as I can see is:

    PQ = signal PLUS scaler

    IOW, the best quality image on any display device, ignoring issues of MPEG decoding here, is obtained by first-class de-interlacing AND first-class scaling.

    Up till recently the scaling issue wasn't an issue by and large since the resolution of the display, be it plasma or projector, was little more than that of the source material and so the quality of the scaler wasn't too large a factor in the above equation, the quality or otherwise was usually only evident if one was forced to use keystone adjustment.

    However we're now seeing more and more displays with higher resolutions, 1280x720 of course being the most common, which are far larger than the source material (until HD-DVD becomes common-place). For owners of these machines, like me with my Z2, a first-class progressive player will still produce poor results if the on-board scaler is cr@p .. and in my experience that of the Z2 is pretty mediocre.

    Couple this with the plain fact that PQ is also greatly enhanced if one stays in the digital domain, ie. DVI, and I'm beginning to think that for HD-resolution displays one really needs to consider a high-quality scaler, such as the soon-to-be-available DVDO iScan HD or even something like the Focus Enhancements CenterStage CS-2. These can scale their output to match the resolution of the display, bypassing the on-board scaler, while at the same time producing far better de-interlacing results than anything but to-flight displays.

    Of course, in the pj area, once could spend £3000-£4000 for a DLP projector like a BenG8700 or maybe an NEC 1000 which have pretty reasonable on-board scalers, but then one has one's eggs all in one basket, whereas with a separate scaler it's possible to choose a projector without concern for that aspect of its' performance .. for instace the NEC HT1100 has ditched a Faroudja in favour of an in-house solution why from early reports seems pretty poor for PAL material.

    Another solution I suppose is look at something like a Denon A11, but that has FIXED scaling ratios and so still doesn't cover potential future devices .. unless the scaler is capable of any ratio up to 1920x1080 then there's always a possibility it'll not be able to produce 1:1 output for a display, which after all is the entire point of this exercise.

    So, I'm now thinking of investing a major part of my funds into one of these scalers should I choose to move away from HCPCs .. would that be silly? Most everyone else seems to be on the quest for the Grail of the perfect progressive player. :confused:
     
  2. buns

    buns
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    It isnt really an issue that has had to be considered. The number of people who buy a dvd player and can use prog scan at all is limited, the numbers wanting a scaled resolution to match their panel has got to be another order of magnitude down. Addmittedly you would think this will change, but i wouldnt like to guess how quickly. At the lower end it simply isnt what the manufacturers will percieve as important. Though if you look, there is increased recognition for outputting at hd res. Of course the quality is unknown. We do know though that there are a host of cheap dvi players currently available that do this well.

    At higher end, well people will just buy the scalers anyhow. Or there are solutions. If it ever appears, the meridian g players will be examples.

    On your suggestion of scalers..... i rarely hear good things of the cs2...... much safer to go to lumagen pro!

    I myself am thinking like you, i would like something to do it all..... but as yet there is no solution. With money to spend now..... id get one of the cheapo ones and cross my fingers!

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