Upscaling to 1080p: Gefen EXT-HOMETS + Sony STRDA1200ES OR Onkyo TXSR875E?

N9ne

Standard Member
Hello all,

I'm probably going to be getting a 63" Samsung 1080p Plasma. I will also have Sky HD. As we all know, Sky HD has many many SD channels which will look awful on my 63" 1080p screen, especially from a distance < 10ft.

Now, I want to take some steps which might minimalise the ill-effects of SD on my viewing experience!

I've done a bit of reading here and have come to two solutions:

- Get an AV receiver which upscales (expensive)
- Get a video processor and an AV receiver which doesn't upscale (cheaper receiver but must pay for processor)

Now, I don't know much/anything about Video Processors, particularly which ones are good.

I have found a cheap video processor:
http://www.ivojo.co.uk/gefen-ext-homets.htm

It takes HDMI IN (so from Sky HD and whatever else I might want to connect and upscale). It outputs HDMI (of course). Then I could connect this to a cheaper AV receiver, namely the Sony STRDA1200ES.

The total cost for that comes to £650. But, is it a good idea? Will it work the way I want it to?

Otherwise, I could get the Onkyo TXSR875SE for £1,000. Quite a bit more pricey but simplifies things greatly, plus I'd be getting a better AV receiver. However, I'd like to save £350 if I can.

So my question is, are there any cheap video processors out there which will upscale my Sky feed to 1080p which will then feed to my AV Receiver and then to my TV?

NB. I know that I won't necessarily be improving the 'quality' of Sky (SD), but I have read here that it may improve how it looks a little on my 63" 1080p plasma screen.

Thanks in advance!
 

N9ne

Standard Member
I just read up on the Sony STRDA5200ES which has upscaling. At ~&#163;650 it seems the best thing for me - I won't even need a video processor.

I just need confirmation from someone who knows what they're talking about for all this :)
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
Gefen do make some great AV products, but the scaler that you linked to is most definitely not one of them. I should avoid it at all costs.

Unfortunately, good video processing is generally not cheap. Otherwise every TV would have HQV or VXP or VRS processing or whatever, and then we would never need any external processors. But for best results we do, BUT ONLY where the processor/scaler actaully improves on the processing in the display itself. Any hi def display will take an SD input and scale it up to it's own native resolution, 1080p in this case.

I did see a 5200 taking video from a 9100 DVD and play it to a 1080p VP50 projector, and wasn't too impressed. The display itself would have been just as good. I should also read ALL the specs on the amp, as I suspect upscaling is only possible with analogue inputs, but I'm not sure any more.

AV amps cannot generally be depended on at all for good video processing. The Onkyo is a different kettle of fish, though. That should make a very good video processor. I think ultimateavmag did a recent review, and found the video processing very good.

Nick
 

N9ne

Standard Member
Thank you for your reply Nick.

So would you advise that I save my money and go for a cheaper receiver, say the Sony STRDA1200ES and let the screen itself do the scaling?

If screens do this upscaling, why do people say that a video processor/receiver with upscaling can help improve SD on a 1080p panel?
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
So would you advise that I save my money and go for a cheaper receiver, say the Sony STRDA1200ES and let the screen itself do the scaling?
I'm afraid I've got quite a downer on current Sony amps, they seem too marketing-driven, with so many compromised video capabilities. "Jack of all trades" springs to mind, but that seems to be the same for all recent amps, as far as I can tell. The Onkyo does seem to be different, and I'm hopeful that there will be other good amps with similar capabilties on their way. I think it certainly makes more sense to have quality video processing upstream of the source switching, rather than in the source components themselves.
If screens do this upscaling, why do people say that a video processor/receiver with upscaling can help improve SD on a 1080p panel?
There's nothing terribly clever about scaling. For the record, it's DE-INTERLACING that is the critical video process that displays often get wrong, especially with 1080i video, and films in particular, and especially with 50Hz sources where 3:2 pull-down doesn't enter into it. There are some real challenges there, even now, and most displays don't crack it.

Lots of people consider SD video on HD displays to look awful. but there is absolutely no need. Use a poor processor like the cheap Gefen it will probably make no difference. External processors are only worth anything at all if they can improve on what the display does itself. The Onkyo, and the best stand-alone processors over £1000 can do this, and the benefits are really worthwhile. It helps you forget the replay chain - like good hifi does.

Isn't the 875E a lot more expensive than the 1200ES? Well, you pay your money and take your choice. I wouldn't be in a rush right now, though. I would get the displays first, then think about it. I think amps are getting better.....

Nick
 

yetanotherbob

Active Member
As the owner of a 5200 I certainly wouldn't rely on it as a dedicated upscaler for a screen that size and to be honest If you insist on watching sd on a 63" panel from a distance of <10ft you shouldn't consider anything less than a Lumagen and even that might struggle on a 63" Samsung

IMO you would get a better pic from a decent 50" and while the bragging rights might be less, the actual viewing experience would be vastly superior.

Bob
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
IMO you would get a better pic from a decent 50" and while the bragging rights might be less, the actual viewing experience would be vastly superior.

Bob
Maybe, but as the OP wants to use SkyHD on a 63" 1080p plasma, I think the results with HD would more than make up for SD. We watch SD on a 6' projector screen, and it's not the end of the world.

Nick
 

xs2man

Active Member
If you wanna save a little money, then why not go for a lesser Onkyo, like the 705 or 605 even?

But, tbh, as far as I've ever heard, the upscaling on your (surley ridiculously priced) panel would be better than that of a cheap &#163;300 upscaling, anything really.

As said above, I would probably tend to get the panel first, see what like it is, invest in high quality cables/connections, and decide from there.

You wont go far wrong with the Onkyo 875 mind, and realistically, if you can afford the many thousands of pounds that screen is gonna cost you, why try to save a couple hundred by buying an inferior amp???
 

Ross-P

Active Member
Hello all,

I'm probably going to be getting a 63" Samsung 1080p Plasma. I will also have Sky HD. As we all know, Sky HD has many many SD channels which will look awful on my 63" 1080p screen, especially from a distance < 10ft.

Now, I want to take some steps which might minimalise the ill-effects of SD on my viewing experience!

I've done a bit of reading here and have come to two solutions:

- Get an AV receiver which upscales (expensive)
- Get a video processor and an AV receiver which doesn't upscale (cheaper receiver but must pay for processor)

Now, I don't know much/anything about Video Processors, particularly which ones are good.

I have found a cheap video processor:
http://www.ivojo.co.uk/gefen-ext-homets.htm

It takes HDMI IN (so from Sky HD and whatever else I might want to connect and upscale). It outputs HDMI (of course). Then I could connect this to a cheaper AV receiver, namely the Sony STRDA1200ES.

The total cost for that comes to £650. But, is it a good idea? Will it work the way I want it to?

Otherwise, I could get the Onkyo TXSR875SE for £1,000. Quite a bit more pricey but simplifies things greatly, plus I'd be getting a better AV receiver. However, I'd like to save £350 if I can.

So my question is, are there any cheap video processors out there which will upscale my Sky feed to 1080p which will then feed to my AV Receiver and then to my TV?

NB. I know that I won't necessarily be improving the 'quality' of Sky (SD), but I have read here that it may improve how it looks a little on my 63" 1080p plasma screen.

Thanks in advance!

A 60" screen at that distance will look awful ! :eek:
I've got a 40" and sit about 9' away and that to me is just right.

In your situation I would go 50" max ( and even thats too big ! ) and buy something like the Panasonic TH-50PZ700 ( £3,400 in Home Cinema Chioce mag ) and the Onkyo 875 ( £999 ). That would be an awesome set up :thumbsup:

The Onkyo does a great job of improving SD material I'm well impressed with mine. According to what I've seen and read nothing else touches it for upscaling. It has the most advanced video processing chip in it ( the Reon ). All the other amps mentioned here won't improve your picture much.
 

yetanotherbob

Active Member
When considering viewing distances, I always recommend that people ignore articles, reviews and threads from the people here (many of whom are so caught up in the science and specifications of the products that they miss the actual point which is a pleasing AV experience)

The soundest advice one can give the OP is to demo a 63" Samsung showing SD from under 10ft and decide for himself if he finds the pic acceptable. I personally don't think he will

Bob
 

Max N

Active Member
I think your main problem is that Sky use low bandwidth on their SD channels. Once you put those channels onto a big display, all the flaws and compression artefacts will look horrible. No video processor will be able to make low BW SD channels look good at that size/viewing distance in my opinion.
 

Ross-P

Active Member
When considering viewing distances, I always recommend that people ignore articles, reviews and threads from the people here (many of whom are so caught up in the science and specifications of the products that they miss the actual point which is a pleasing AV experience)

The soundest advice one can give the OP is to demo a 63" Samsung showing SD from under 10ft and decide for himself if he finds the pic acceptable. I personally don't think he will

Bob

I couldn't agree more its best to do a demo for yourself and see how it looks. Personally I find a 46" LCD unacceptable at under 10' ! ( thats why I went for a 40" ), but each to their own ! :)

SD material at under 10' on a 63" TV will look nothing short of horrendus !
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
I couldn't agree more its best to do a demo for yourself and see how it looks. Personally I find a 46" LCD unacceptable at under 10' ! ( thats why I went for a 40" ), but each to their own ! :)

SD material at under 10' on a 63" TV will look nothing short of horrendus !
I'm surprised by this. We are watching Hells Kitchen in SD on a 6 foot screen at 10 feet and it looks OK. HD is much better of course, but SD is acceptable. It depends on the video processing. Watch SD on an HDready LCD in Curry's and it will look truly awful, but it doesn't have to be like that. The problem with SD is that it's all interlaced, so de-interlacing is critical. If you have an Onkyo 875 then you should have no problems. DVD on my PC watched on a 24" screen at one screen width can look fine. SD doesn't have to look terrible. Equally, HD doesn't have to be a questionable improvement over SD. Either way, if it does, there is something wrong with your video processing.

Lets not forget that these days nobody is likely to spend all that money on a display and NOT get some sort of HD source. Including the original poster!

Nick
 

Ross-P

Active Member
I'm surprised by this. We are watching Hells Kitchen in SD on a 6 foot screen at 10 feet and it looks OK. HD is much better of course, but SD is acceptable. It depends on the video processing. Watch SD on an HDready LCD in Curry's and it will look truly awful, but it doesn't have to be like that. The problem with SD is that it's all interlaced, so de-interlacing is critical. If you have an Onkyo 875 then you should have no problems. DVD on my PC watched on a 24" screen at one screen width can look fine. SD doesn't have to look terrible. Equally, HD doesn't have to be a questionable improvement over SD. Either way, if it does, there is something wrong with your video processing.

Lets not forget that these days nobody is likely to spend all that money on a display and NOT get some sort of HD source. Including the original poster!

Nick

I would agree HD material will look good at close range on a large screen.

But I personally find SD material at 9' SD still isn't great on my Sony 40" LCD ( although my Onkyo 875 has improved the picture greatly, so I know my video processing works ;) ! )

To me on my setup HD material is vastly superior we are talking black and white here !

I have seen other setups( not in a shop ) and to me SD material still looks unacceptable to me at under 10' on a HD ready 46" LCD,a plasma HD ready I would go 42" max, 50" looks dodgy from this range to me on a HD ready plasma.

As I said before each to their own as long as you and the original poster are happy with your picture at the stated ranges after doing a proper demo thats fine by me. We will all have our own ideas of what an acceptable picture is.

Mines just a high standard of acceptable ;):D !
 

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