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Using Scaler with Sky & HDD/DVD Recorder

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by tobyjuggler, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. tobyjuggler

    tobyjuggler
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    Hi,

    I'm thinking of buying a scaler for use with my Panasonic TH42PW7, which I believe will only be able to manage 480p. However, I'm trying to work out how best to hook up my Sky box and HD/DVD recorder with it. I assume the best input I can give from my Sky box to the scaler is scart RGB, but this output is actually going into the HDD/DVD recorder. I've currently got the recorder outputting component progressive and I watch my Sky channels through that too.

    So what would be the best way to use the scaler? Just take the component output from the HDD/DVD recorder and continue to watch Sky through the HDD/DVD recorder and scaler, or split the RGB output from the Sky box and give one feed to the scaler and another to the HDD/DVD recorder (which would then also go via the scaler for HDD/DVD playback purposes).

    Next question ;). I assume also that using the scaler's DVI-D output is better than using its RGB/component output. Is that correct? The reason I ask is that I'd need another input board on my plasma.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Piers

    Piers
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    Rather depends on which scaler you are thinking of and whether you see High Def being an important factor for the future. If HD is part of the thinking you are going to need a DVI board anyway (I know the panel itself isn't HD but an HD feed into it will look better than an SD feed). The downer with the Panasonic DVI board is that it won't accept either 720p or 1080i @ 50Hz. If HD is of no interest I would forget DVI and go for component.

    The scaler is likely to do a better job of picture processing than the recorder so best to go direct into the scaler. Many have dual outputs allowing say DVI to the panel and component to the HDD recorder.
     
  3. tobyjuggler

    tobyjuggler
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    Thanks for responding, Piers. I was looking at Lumagen (that's the one I keep hearing good things about anyway), but I'm still very much a n00b in this area, so if there are others worth a look at, I'm open to suggestions. HD is important, but since I've only had the PW7 for a couple of weeks, I'm in no rush to replace it just yet. I'm assuming that if I buy a decent scaler, when I do go for HD some time in the future, it'll still be worth hanging onto the scaler and using it on my new HD plasma, whenever that might be. Is that a fair enough assumption, or will the scalers in HD plasmas in a year or so's time be just as good as a separate scaler?

    Unfortunately, the recorder only has component output not input. Its input is RGB scart, but I've just realised it should all be okay with just using the recorder output for both DVD and Sky. The DVD recorder can't output on the RGB scart whilst it's in progressive mode on the component output, but the scaler will be doing the progressive job anyway. I assume that's the best way?
     
  4. Thatsnotmynaim

    Thatsnotmynaim
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    If you're not bothered with Sky HD for the time being, then can you now have SKY into DVD/HDD Recorder as you have it now. Then go into the setup of the DVD/HDD recorder and turn OFF progressive scan and then feed a standard interlaced feed into the scaler via component. Then out from the scaler to either the VGA input on the Plasma or maybe into the component if the scaler does it. At a later stage when you replace the plasma, you can then use the scaler on the new screen with DVI/HDMI.
     
  5. tobyjuggler

    tobyjuggler
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    Yeah, I think that might be the best way. Thanks for the advice. Now to choose a scaler...I'm looking at Lumagen, but what are the other advisable possibilities?
     
  6. dilsher

    dilsher
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    mae there is a fntastico thread called "scaler showdown on the Plasma section so go in there for the best ones..i have a Lumagen Vision HDP onstream myself as its so mcuh more tweakeable than a DVDO HD+ or Optimiser, Crystallio is another goodie i been told...
     
  7. Thatsnotmynaim

    Thatsnotmynaim
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    I have a Panasonic TH42PW6 + DMRE85 + SKY and am looking at the iScan HD+.
     
  8. Piers

    Piers
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    A decent external scaler will out-perform the internal scaler even on an HD panel. If you get one now for your SD panel it will still be useful for the HD panel. Apart from Lumagen the others worth looking at are DVDO HD, Crystalio and Cinemateq.
     
  9. tobyjuggler

    tobyjuggler
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    Thanks for all your help, I'll shall continue the research :)...I'm sure I'll get there eventually!
     
  10. tobyjuggler

    tobyjuggler
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    Actually, I have one more question (I'm sure it won't be the last!). For a scaler that would outperform the one already in the PW7, what minimum price are we looking at? This is just so that I know what to avoid some of the lower priced ones, which on the surface may seem of benefit, but in reality aren't.
     
  11. Thatsnotmynaim

    Thatsnotmynaim
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    I think the problem you'll find is that you can't actually turn off the internal plasma mechanism, so it's hard to guage. I imagine if you spend £500 or more on a scaler you will see improvements. £1000 or more and will see significant improvements.
     
  12. docb

    docb
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    I was in exactly the same situation.
    From my perspective sky HD wont settle for a couple of years, only certain channels will be HD, and the cost of the package to include these premium channels will be high (if not PPV) IMO.

    I have the PW7 and decided that the best way forward would be to get a second hand lumagen from on here, have one of the best anologue pictures available, until SkyHD and HDDVD have settled into a pattern which allows a true comparison.

    the PW7/lumagen can then be relegated to the dining/bed room, and then the screen/scaler upgraded.

    My question was "how much do I need HD now", and really it didnt impact that much.

    Picture is wonderful by the way.

    Hope this helps

    Doc
     
  13. tobyjuggler

    tobyjuggler
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    Which Lumagen did you get, docb?
     
  14. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  15. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    tobyjuggler

    Splitting the RGB SCART signal from your SKY Digibox is your best option - though if you have SKY+ I wouldn't dismiss S-Video to the DVDR and RGB SCART to the Video Processor as a low cost option.

    If you want to 'split' the RGB signal a B-Tech Quintro+ is relatively low cost and doesn't 'kill' the signal quality.

    The Quintro+ gives you two RGB SCART Outputs from your One RGB SCART Input.

    You then re wire your DVDR on Output 01 using your existing SCART cable and you'll require a SCART to 4RCA cable to Input the 02 Output to the Video Processor.

    You can Output Analogue RGBHV from the DVI-I Output on the Lumagen Vision range and Input this to the HD15(VGA) Input on your Display - alternatively you can specify your Lumagen Vision with Optional Analogue BNC Output sockets and keep the DVI Output free for a second Display.

    We find the PW7 actually looks best when we set the Lumagen to Output 720P at 50Hz/60Hz and then let the Display reprocess the 720P signal to fit the 852x480 pixel array.

    A Lumagen Vision DVI at (UK SRP) of £815.00 is way ahead of anything you can purchase 'NEW' for £500.00 and lots of folk have tried the lower cost/less well specified units and found they didn't offer much if anything over the Processing included within your Display.

    Home Loans and Home Trails of Lumagen kit can be arranged :)

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  16. docb

    docb
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    A Lumagen Vision DVI at (UK SRP) of £815.00 is way ahead of anything you can purchase 'NEW' for £500.00 and lots of folk have tried the lower cost/less well specified units and found they didn't offer much if anything over the Processing included within your Display.

    Hi Joe,

    Just to clarify, from what you have said above, do you think the original Lumagen vision doesnt offer a great deal of improvement over a PW7 internal scaler?

    That would be interesting, I bought the vision and the PW7 together and therefore didnt have a reference as to whether the PQ has been enhanced. I thought that for £350 for the vision it must do a better job than the screen and the JS VGA box for sky+!! (saving £120 on the JS box as well therefore vision net cost of £230)

    Thanks

    Doc
     
  17. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello docb

    'NEW' is the key word here - as you say there are good options as far as ex-demo or second hand kit but not everyone likes going down that route.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  18. docb

    docb
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    Hello Joe

    I must try and read the thread more than once before jumping in, and really try and focus in on the capitalised type that is emphasised for the very reason I have jumped in.

    Thanks

    Doc
     
  19. tobyjuggler

    tobyjuggler
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    Thanks guys :).
     
  20. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello docb

    Oh we've all jumped in feet first a fair few times :)

    Joe
     
  21. sniffer66

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    Sorry to jump in on this thread but I have a PW5 connected to an HTPC with a Sky+\Sweetspot card via analogue. I'm also feeding a Benq 5120 from the HTPC via DVI-D

    For both devices I've wrestled for months to achieve 1:1 mapping and bypass internal scaling - as often reccomended on these forums. On both devices with 1:1 mapping I see far more jaggies and pixellation than if I upscale with the HTPC to 600p or 720p and let the devices internal scaler handle the scale-down. This is with DVD or Sky+ as the source.

    With this solution on both, PQ is far superior. Interesting to hear you've found the same Joe.

    Is 1:1 not the nirvana its sold to be ??? :confused:
     
  22. MikeK

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    Is 1:1 not the nirvana its sold to be ???

    Depends on several things - not least of which is what you actually mean by 1:1 pixel mapping!
    My opinion is that for DVD this is, to all intents and purposes, impossible on an analogue connection - and by no means as easy as it might first appear with a digital one!
    Still, each person might interpret the meaning of 1:1 mapping in a different way!
     
  23. sniffer66

    sniffer66
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    My, albeit limited, understanding is to match the res of your scaler (HTPC or otherwise ) to the native res of your display. Therefore removing the need for your displays usually inferior internal scaler to do any scaling (or as little as possible).
    Given Joes comments about the PW7 and my experience with the PW5 does this mean the internal scaler in the Pannys is not actually that inferior ?
     
  24. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    sniffer66

    The Processing in the PWD range is none to shabby - look back a year or so at the number of folk who tried the DVDO iScanUltra Deinterlacer and found they couldn't justify the additional cost.

    That said processing and 'up scaling' your sources to 720P via a decent external processor does pay dividends with the PWD range and its a very different story with the 1024x768 and 1366x768 PHD range where the 1:1 'Pixel Mapping' process is well worth achieving with a suitable processor.

    Adding a decent processor and having your system properly calibrated (or if you have the experience take the time and do a decent DIY job) is not an inexpensive undertaking but one we find a lot of folk go for once they see the results you can achieve.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  25. sniffer66

    sniffer66
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    Joe

    Must admit I've been toying with the idea of calibration - at least it will save on endless tweaking. Problem is you never know if you have it right :)

    I've probably finally got my hardware\cabling set up stable so now its probably worth it

    Given I've got an HTPC (Sweetspot/Xcard/internal dvd/dscaler) outputting analogue VGA to my PW5 AND DVD-D to a BENQ5120 PJ, would this introduce any issues for calibration ?
     

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