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What improves Sky output?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by sticker, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. sticker

    sticker
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    What impoves the quite dreadful output that I've seen displayed on plasma's, particularly Sky sports. Does a decent scaler/de-interlacer such as an Iscan pro or Lumagen solve the problem.

    Regards
    John
     
  2. Dutch

    Dutch
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    Hi John,

    I believe that some folk have seen a reasonable improvement on Sky's mediocre pictures by using an Iscan Ultra which are down to around £500 now. I think Stoomonster uses one so he'll probably give you some first-hand info.

    Steve
     
  3. sticker

    sticker
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    Cheers Steve,
    Wasn't certain if it was a case of poo in poo out!!!
     
  4. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    I use iScan Ultra since it's very first days to improve quality of Sky picture on my Panny5 50" plasma.

    On my particular screen, the difference in picture quality is huge -- particularly when you replace the Sky mains lead with a decent one. iScan Ultra has all sorts of wizardry in improve picture when it deinterlaces it, and it's well respected as the best pure deinterlacer (i.e. not scaler) on the market. Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity review of iScan Ultra who are very well respected, and say "Overall, we give this box a strong thumbs up. If you don't need scaling, but would like to have solid 480 line [and 576 line] deinterlacing, we don't know of a better choice."

    The chroma filter is excellent at removing the horrid chroma bug from Sky digital, and NTL digital etc. Read about chroma bug here.

    To note, some people do not report as good (but still acceptable) results on lower resolutions screens or on screens that already have pretty good deinterlacers in them.

    Edit: you'll also need one of the excellent JS Tech RGB2YUV converter boxes and the appropriate cables as iScan Ultra does not accept the RGB signal that digiboxes output; it need to be converted to component (YUV) first.

    StooMonster
     
  5. sticker

    sticker
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    Thanks mate for your reply, just noticed my original post where I said the "quite dreadful output on plasmas", I meant to say the quite dreadful output on Sky :blush:
     
  6. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    IMHO Sky digital picture on my plasma rivals some prog-scan DVD players I've seen on some other people's plasma screens. Many friends have commented that it's the best Sky picture they have ever seen!

    How's this possible?

    1. iScan Ultra for image enhancement processing, it's much better than the built in prog-scan in my screen. It's the same chipset used in many expensive prog-scan DVD players and some scalers too; and it removes chroma bug. Broadcast quality JS-Tech RGB2YUV converter -- no compromise.

    2. Upgraded to Sky+ version 2 box which gives better picture than my old Sony digibox anyway; and Sky+ is great!

    3. Got Sky to realign dish, after bogus Sky+ upgrade, so that Signal Quality is nearly 100% (with satellite meter) and Signal Strength is 90%ish. Note: it's Signal Quality that counts not Strength; signal meters in digiboxes are rubbish, you need a real satellite meter to get proper percentages.

    4. Replaced cheap Sky+ lead with silver mains cables by Mark Grant. In fact, replaced all my AV kit's mains cables and distribution box; entire mains make-over.

    5. High quality video cables. Use nice silver canare component cables and plugs, custom scart cable (RGBS only, four silver RG59 cables to gold plugs) from Sky through JS-Tech RGB2YUV though iScan Ultra through Panny5 50" plasma.

    6. Calibration. DIY tuned / tweaked picture settings of plasma with Avia, THX etc. and via iScan Ultra to get best settings. Not as good as getting GordonF to do it, but will do until he can do it one day.

    StooMonster
     
  7. symanski

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    Thanks Stoo.

    You've got to get the right signals to start with, and this is where the biggest gains are to be had.

    All the best,

    Dr John Sim.
     
  8. sticker

    sticker
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    Thanks Stoo, that is brilliant info for me to get the right picture quality.

    Getting a pio 503mxe and took the missus to see one on Sat, she was very displeased on spending that sort on cash on a crap picture :(

    Had to keep telling her that the guy I'm dealing with wouldn't let that happen, but woman (some) are very sceptical with techy things.......god that a really sexist remark to make :devil:


    Cheers
    John
     
  9. slyborg

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    Stoo, you said you connected from Sky using the SCART?

    I'm connecting to my 42" Panny via S-Video, would I be better off getting some for of scart lead for the connection?

    I have the original Sky+ box so wonder if it's worth upgrading (how I have no idea) to the new version 2 box?

    Also did you notice any difference when you change the mains lead alone or did you just blanket change them all?

    Si
     
  10. symanski

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    Yes, the best output from Sky is RGB, so using this or Component is superior to S-Video. S-Video is still very good, but RGB and component are better still. We did have one customer who bought out S-Video converter to improve the S-Video from Sky +, but I would rather recommend RGB to Plasma VGA or Component (YUV).

    What else do you have in your system that you connect to the screen?

    All the best,

    Dr John Sim.
     
  11. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    The Sky+ RGB scart goes to JS-Tech RGB2YUV that converts the signal with no loss of quality to component video (YUV). This is because iScan Ultra does not accept an RGB input only YUV (or s-video or composite). I use JS-Tech because it's the only one that can be guaranteed not to reduce quality of signal in when converting from RGB to YUV. Check out Dr John Sims site, or search this forum and you will find plenty of positive feedback.

    Without buying an iScan Ultra, connecting you Sky+ to plasma via JS-Tech RGB2VGA will give you a much better picture than using s-video. (This box is fed scart from digibox and has connector for VGA.)

    Using Mark Grant's main cable for Sky, the picture changed completely (even though it's going through JS-Tech and iScan Ultra) for the better. Here's a post covering it's performance.

    I believe the only difference with Sky+ v2 is the box shape and colour! So hopefully your PQ will already be better than the like of my old Sony digibox.

    StooMonster
     
  12. slyborg

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    Hi,

    Well I have and s-video connection from my DVD till I upgrade it to a prog scan one and s-video from my xbox. Currently I swap the leads over for watching stuff. So on the back of my Sky+ box I have 2 scart connections so I assume I just need a scart to RGB lead and then change the setting on the plasma to accept RGB?

    Any recommendations on where I could get such a lead?

    Also When I eventually get a prog scan DVD I want to get to the stage where I don't constantly have to pull cables out to swap sources what would you recommend in terms of a loss-less switcher, say for the 2 RGB signals I will ultimately have coming in?

    Thanks

    Si
     
  13. symanski

    symanski
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    Slyborg,
    Here's what to do. Use a Microsoft Advanced SCART lead to go to the VCR SCART of Sky +. Then from Sky's TV output via an RGB to Plasma VGA unit to the PC monitor input on the screen. This will give you RGB quality for both the XBox and Sky +. When you switch on the XBox, Sky will automatically pass it through. This is what I do in my system.

    Keep the DVD player connected to S-Video until you change to a progress scan player. When you do, you'll have the component inputs on the screen free where the progressive player should be connected to.

    All the best,

    Dr John Sim.
     
  14. slyborg

    slyborg
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    Thanks so I would need one of these then?

    http://www.av-sales.com/html/rgb_to_plasma_scrren_vga.html

    More expense *sigh* :)

    If I use the SCART cable for the XBox will the DD5.1 sound be passed through and come out of the optical connection I have from Sky+ at the moment as I currently have the XBox lead with the optical cable attached, can't remember what it's called.

    BTW is there a big difference between having the XBox connected this way and just directly to the s-video input? Just curious as the VCR output from the Sky+ box is useful when I need to archive things off to tape for friends without Sky :)

    Cheers for the advice btw

    Si
     
  15. symanski

    symanski
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    Slyborg,
    I've got the output from Sky + going to a DVD recorder so that I can pass on recordings. Which is why the VCR connection is free on Sky in my system. If you didn't want to connect this way, then the best alternative would be the Argos SCART switcher connected to Sky's TV output and the XBox Advanced SCART feeding the RGB to Plasma VGA unit - your link is correct. AV-Sales is one of many outlets for my products.

    Is this better than S-Video output? S-Video is still very good, but RGB is better. And when you spend several thousand on a plasma screen, don't you want the best?

    All the best,

    Dr John Sim.
     
  16. slyborg

    slyborg
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    Sorry to seem thick but a couple of things. There are 2 Scart sockets on the back of the Sky+. You said you had the xbox going into the VCR scart on the sky+ box then the tv out going to the converter box. This leaves no scart left for connection to the DVD recorder?

    Ah think I'm being thick and have just realised you must be sending the s-video output to the DVD Recorder.

    One last naive question, the VCR Scart on the Sky+ box, I thought that would be output only or are all Scart sockets cabable of bi-directional signals?

    Obviously I want the best, only problem is now I start reading these forums I'm starting to suffer from overload on what to do next, cable this, power lead that, i-scan, chroma bug, 3-2 pulldown....melt!!

    Getting all the connections sorted is first on my list then the prog scan DVD as money becomes available

    Thanks for your help, I'd probably expect an order sometime in the near (post salary) future :)

    Si
    PS: Didn't realise you made the box :) Just seen your website
     
  17. symanski

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    Slyborg,
    with my DVD recorder it can take RGB input (Panasonic E30). So Sky + output is connected to the input of the DVD player and then connected to my converter box. I do swap around the converter boxes quite often, at the moment I'm using the component converter.

    SCART can do a variety of different things. While it can output video to the VCR, it can also take RGB video in. That's because the 21 pins are a mixture of inputs and outputs, although mostly inputs.

    If you go with the connection scheme detailed above, then you should be fine. Later you can start to worry about iScans and 3-2 pull down etc! But I think you're right to consider the progressive scan DVD player as your next upgrade.

    All the best,

    Dr John Sim.
     
  18. Montana

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    I have been reading a lot of postings on the why's and wherefors on , should I get a progressive scan DVD player or should I go down the route of an iscan box, and having looked at the 2 side by side, I would have to say that the iscan wins.
    The reasons for this are, that for the picture quality, you dont have to explain to the wife why you are replacing ANOTHER piece of kit(you're adding a piece), the price difference between a really good progressive scan dvd player and the iscan is about £300, in your favour, which you could but a pioneer 656 and have SACD DVD-A and (efectively) decent dvd player all in one , and lastly with a Iscan , you have lots of different setting you can adjust to you're liking and not that of the progressive scn dvd player.
    I hoped that has helped a bit.

    In return I ask a small favour.I was wondering if any of you super boffins out there could tell me wether it was worth me using my pioneer 2011 to put my inputs through so I can hit one remote button to change both sound and vision. The way I was thinking of having it was DVD player to amp with component, Sky + to js scart to YUV box to amp with component , component out from amp to iscan, then from iscan to tv, plasma, whatever...... The question is, will I loose any picture quality on route if I use the amp, or is there a simpler or better way of doing it ? ? ? ?

    ANDY
     
  19. symanski

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    If the video circuitry in the amplifier is designed correctly, there shouldn't be any loss in picture. Therefore, routing everything to your amp and then to the iScan is a perfectly valid scheme.

    All the best,

    Dr John Sim.
     
  20. slyborg

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    Hmmm I can get a decent prog scan dvd for 350 (HK25 which I hear is pretty good vfm and a good picture) whereas the iscan is 600-700.

    To be honest I'm fairly happy with the picture as is from most of my sources but willing to improve it (in dribs and drabs) with things like the converter we've been talking about but my DVD player (old Pio 717) is getting a bit long in the tooth and struggles on some DVDs now so it's due an upgrade anyway.

    Plus I kinda promised I'd give my old DVD playter to the old man as recompense for him helping me with decorating, fortunately (depending on your point of view ;-) ) I don't have to worry about a wife and the girlfriend gave up ages ago trying to understand why I need all the gadgets I have. Just using the TV when I'm out terrifies her, Sky+ is even worse :)

    Si
     
  21. StooMonster

    StooMonster
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    That's actually a very good point.

    These setting are normally set in stone by DVD manufacturer (e.g. Arcam FMJ, Denon, etc) to their preference; whereas with this route you can decide you much edge enhancement, detail, sharpness, etc that you want.

    Also, iScan Ultra will remove nasty chroma bug from DVD players.

    Downside is an additional D2A then A2D step in process won't give as good a picture as having Silicon Image chipset built into player.

    BTW, current price on iScan Ultra is £525 (inc VAT) -- they recently cut price from £800ish.

    StooMonster
     

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