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Vantage HD Scaler

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Welwynnick, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    Where would you expect the next big thing in high quality, high definition domestic video scaling to come from? The US? California? Silicon Valley? Somewhere exotic you've never heard of?

    No. Bradford.

    http://www.calibreuk.com/home_theater.php

    There's a company I never heard of before called Calibre UK, who have a strong background in commercial and military displays, that is launching into the AV market. They have a new product called the Vantage HD, which appears to be shooting for the top. It's one a select few processors that uses the Silicon Optix Realta HQV chip, that has the power to hit the Holy Grail of per-pixel motion-adaptive de-interlacing at 1080i.

    On the face of it, it appears to put ticks in almost all the boxes that you need for scalers for processing and switching:

    Composite, component, s-video and HDMI/HDCP inputs - all doubled up.
    HDMI and RGBHV video outputs.
    Multiple analogue, SPDIF (& HDMI) audio inputs with auto time delay compensation.
    Both analogue & digital inputs accept SD & HD video.
    PAL, NTSC & SECAM format capability.
    14 selectable output resolutions from 640x480 to 1920x1080.
    Film mode with automatic 3:2 & 2:2 pull-down
    Full 10 bit 4:4:4 video processing throughout.
    De-interlacing algorithms claimed to out-perform all competition.
    Optional HD/SD-SDI input module or up to 4 HDMI inputs.

    So, basically everything you would hope for, with apparently few exceptions:
    Not sure about RGB inputs, component outputs, grey scale control or frame rate conversion.
    No user-selectable output resolutions.
    It looks like a big, ugly box.
    Sounds like it's not quite as flexible as the Crystallio II.
    I'm sure I could learn to live with all that, though.

    Price? How much did you say the Crystallio II or Faroudja NRS1080P were?
    This is interestingly listed at $2899 or approx £1600.

    Edit: a bit more info just in: the Vantage HD will be launched at Cedia this week. Production units for Europe will be available at the end of October.

    Now where on Earth did they come from?

    Nick
     
  2. JimmytheSaint

    JimmytheSaint
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    The PDF file at the bottom of the page shows 2 sets of analogue inputs (i.e 2 x component, 2 x s-video & 2 x composite) , one VGA (RGBHV) out and only one HDMI out.
    I don't know the background of this scaler or the Calibre brand either, but you can't fault the price for a unit of this (excuse the pun) 'calibre'! :D
     
  3. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    Calibre don't seem to be quite so new to AV scalers as first appeared. They already produce the SD/XGA PremierViewPro-AV scaler. That looks professional rather than domestic, but it seems to be made of the right stuff:

    http://www.calibreuk.com/product_pages/PremierViewPro_AV.php?Prod_id=24

    Four output frame rates
    Programmable output resolutions,
    Programmable output timings, sync pulses, porches, etc,
    Colour temperature and greyscale control,
    Built-in test patterns,
    RS232 interface (for firmware upgrades?)

    If that sort of functionality and flexibility was translated to HD, the Vantage would fit the bill for a lot of people.

    Seemingly in response to requests in AVS, Calibre have actually added a couple of additional HDMI input formats to their production firmware: 1080p50 and 1080p60 (for PCs). That's very responsive, and ought to sway a few people........

    Nick
     
  4. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    Calibre just posted a very comprehensive set of answers to questions from teh AVS forum:

    "Here are some more answers, but what I would suggest is that you check back on the Calibre UK website over the next 2-3 weeks since we'll be posting config info, setup info, distributor info and also you can download product data whcih answers most of the questions which are being posted here.

    Answers you want are:

    1. Vantage-HD does not support custom output mode/timing/sync programming since it is a consumer product at a very competitive price for an HQV-based unit; we only put that level of functionality on our professional grade products. We are working on professional HQV products but these are not due to market until Easter next year.

    2. Vantage-HD will support HDMI/DVI to RGBHV transcode at all compatible input and output resolutions, provided the input is non-HDCP.

    3. We presently don't provide point-programmable gamma mapping since the firmware we have written has no concept of this, but we are considering this for a future upgrade. We do provide per-input color temperature selection, but not fine adjustment. I think this is unlikely to be provided as an upgrade in the short term, but it will be present on our forthcoming professional HQV products.

    4. We don't provide 5x BNC connectors since we don't have room on the box for them! Also, as HDMI with HDCP becomes more prevalent, RGBHV signals will (unfortunately in my opinion) become a thing of the past. If you want to connect to 5 BNCs on your display, you can use a third-party 15HDD to 5xBNC breakout cable. Our use of a 15HDD (SVGA) connector doesn't degrade the image in any way due to our being particularly careful in the circuit board design to ensure that all the pcb tracks have the correct 75 Ohm characteristic impedance. You might also be interested to know that all the PCBs inside Vantage-HD use gold plated pads where any components connect - we don't just gold-plate the connectors you guys see, we use goldplate internally too.

    5. Teranex filters - Vantage-HD has all the currently available Teranex filters preloaded which are compatible with single Realta HQV chip architecture There are other filters such as temporal recursive frame rate conversion algorithms, but these will not run on a single Realta HQV chip if all the other filters are also running, plus, Teranex charge a $6,000 per install license fee for these so we can't include them as standard on our $2,899 box! We are working on a broadcast grade (studio) HQV unit which will be able to run these special filters, but it's going to be serious money.

    6. Frame rate conversion - let's straighten this one out since it seems to be causing some misunderstanding:

    i) Whether your display says it is compatible with various refresh rates, that doesn't mean it actually runs its internal display device at those rates. Some do (such as the professional displays which Calibre makes) but most don't, they convert everything to 50Hz or 60Hz. There are some notable exceptions, but that kind of detail you need to ask of your display manufacturer.

    ii) NO frame rate conversion algorithm can convert rates without some motion judder, whether it be in our Vantage-HD unit or in your display. However we are particularly careful to ensure we don't cause frame tear due to mixing frames or back-stepping 2 interlaced fields. Some displays get this wrong, so if you must convert, do it in Vantage-HD, but avoid it if you can. The exception is if the signal is 480i60 from 24 frame film - Vantage-HD has special cadence correction algorithms which are adaptive to the actual frame sequence rather than just running 3:2 or 2:2 whether or not the encoding was actually 3:2 or 2:2 (many competitor solutions get this wrong). This means Vantage-HD really can decode film-originated material without causing motion artifacts.

    iii) The only judder free means of frame rate conversion is temporal recursive filtering, or true phase compensated motion compensated image conversion. We're planning a studio grade product to do the former, expected later next year, expected to cost around $30,000-$40,000 per unit depending on how many algorithms are pre-loaded. The latter is only available in units costing over $100,000 so is not typical in a home theater installation.

    iv) Vantage-HD is the only HQV product which has a frequency-agile output mode. I think this is what you guys need to use: On the output menu, you can choose fixed 59.94Hz (yes, we really do generate 59.94Hz as accurately as we can, not just 60Hz as many competitors do), fixed 50Hz, or an 'Auto' mode.

    In 'Auto' mode you must connect a display device which can track 50Hz/59.94Hz field rate changes since Vantage-HD will dynamically change its output rate in accordance with the input rate of the video signal you connect to it. Connect a 50Hz input and the output runs at 50Hz, connect a 59.94Hz input and it runs at 59.94Hz output.

    Auto mode is disabled by default some displays can't run at 50Hz input, but you can go turn it on via the OSD.

    7. We have RS232 control - see the datasheet.

    8. Firmware updates are via USB - see the datasheet.

    9. We are going to release distributor information over the next 2-3 weeks. We don't sell direct unless you want to purchase 50+ units.

    10. The HD-SDI expansion module is due at the end of 2005. It will also do SD-SDI. We don't have a firm price as yet, but expect it to be around $900. This is a true broadcast grade HD-SDI module so is more expensive than the SD-SDI modules some competitors sell.

    11. The HDMI expansion module is due early next year, there has not been a decision on price as yet. This gives you 2 extra HDMI channels on top of the 2 you get already. Not sure who has more than 2 HDMI sources as yet though.

    Do please check back on our website, this forum still won't let me post the enquiry email address or website info, but you can find it in previous threads. "
     
  5. Jonesthegas

    Jonesthegas
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    Thanks Nick for posting this info.

    Can you or someone answer me these questions. I have a CRT pj and watch mainly film material at 71.93Hz or 75Hz.

    1) Will this processor do 3:3 pullup and output at the refresh rates?

    2) Will it do them with genlock or similar feature for smooth motion?

    3) What resolutions are available at these rates (will it do 960P)?

    Cheers

    Martin
     
  6. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    Martin, your name rings a bell.
    960p @ 75Hz. Wow, that's a lot of bandwidth.
    I think you would need to have a very good reason to change any of your system.

    1) The output rates of the Vantage are 50 and 59.94Hz - and there doesn't to be much prospect of flexibility.
    2) I believe there will be a genlock option.
    3) There are no custom resolutions - only a fixed set of output resolutions. 960p isn't one of them - the closest are 788 and 1024.

    Given that you have a VisionPro HDP, and watch films, I think I would wait until the HD inverse telecine upgrade is released before considering any changes. This new flood of Gennum/Realta processors don't seem to be very CRT oriented, and the Vantage might not be an ideal solution.

    regards, Nick
     
  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  8. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    No BNCs :(
     
  9. Jonesthegas

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    Thanks Nick,

    I wasn't really considering changing at the moment. Good PQ from my current setup and no money are good enough reasons.

    No BNCs because there was no room in the box was the reason stated by their CEO.

    Martin
     
  10. Jonesthegas

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    Gordon,

    Did you get my email? Are you in the Northeast in October?

    Martin
     
  11. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    They could use a bigger box, is that really so hard ;)
     
  12. gandley

    gandley
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    looks like you will be able to buy add on modules as you may need them, like additional x2 HDMI inputs, HD/SD SDI input module etc.

    They are doing an all in one vantage pro priced at $5799 which is about £3200 this will allow for all custom resolutions and refresh rates, grey scale tracking etc
     
  13. mikeaitch

    mikeaitch
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    I think the Vantage pro was a notional product that Nick was using to illustrate the problems with releasing a product without whoever saying "my setup needs xyz why don't we have that" type comments.

    There may be some mileage in suggesting improvements or whatever, but all the bickering and counterpointing on AVS seems to have driven the source for all the really useful info away.

    Whatever the pros and cons of the Vantage, there will always be a market for all of the other products- it's the manufacturer's job to decide what to implement and what not at any given price point.
    I'm just glad that there's another player entering the fray wnd that HQV can now be put on the list of things to consider at a lower entry point moneywise.


    It's also a refreshing change for them to be in a PAL territory, so less likelihood of us being an afterthought in terms of capabilities..:)
     
  14. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    I was going to keep quiet about that for the time being, and see if some mysterious unattributable rumour would start circulating. ;) Mind you, I've had some direct correspondance from Calibre, saying that they WILL be releasing a full feature professional processor in a few month's time. That much should come true, but it'll be interesting to see what price that will be.

    Anyway, the AVS thread did get rather negative after a while with people getting greedy. Champagne taste and beer budget...........
     
  15. madshi

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    In case you count me as one of the greedy people: :rolleyes:

    Well, Tim could have said: "Sorry, we don't want to implement this feature". Then I would have shut my big mouth up. But if he posts incorrect things (e.g. things like "no plasma supports internal refresh rates other than 50Hz and 60Hz, anyway") as reasoning for rejecting suggestions then sure as hell I'll correct him.

    :lesson:
     
  16. gandley

    gandley
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    He did also misquote the specs for HDMI etc which could be seen as misleading. our north american friends demand alot more for there money, its somthing they are used to and trying to get to the facts of what a product is or is not capable of can hardly be called greedy. Tim made the choice to post, and on the AVSforum you had better be sure to be accurate with your info or you will be confronted. its the american way.

    On a +£1500 video processor not to have custom display and refresh rates is a tad nasty.
     
  17. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    Calibre have today put an FAQ section on their website for the Vantage-HD. It's pdf, so can't copy here.

    There's not much that's really new, but it's a good read nonetheless. There's no mention of 1080p/24 or 25 inputs, for some reason. I'm pleased to see that they will enable analogue and SPDIF audio outputs when audio is input over HDMI with HDCP.

    I think I would also like to see a list of which displays they have successfully integrated with.

    Nick

    http://www.calibreuk.com/downloads/vantage-faqs.pdf
     
  18. Welwynnick

    Welwynnick
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    Calibre have just posted some links to reviews of the Vantage-HD on their website, but these are pretty much useless as they are little more than regurgitated press releases. Comments on the AVS forum are far more intesting.

    http://www.calibreuk.com/reviews.htm

    However, they have announced their UK distributor; (not a dealer though):

    Invision UK
    Fieldwood House
    Bacton Road
    Haughley Green
    Stowmarket
    IP14 3RQ

    Phone +44 (0) 1449 677 233
    Fax +44 (0) 1449 616 612
    info@invisionuk.com

    http://www.invisionuk.com/
     

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