XCard's output progressive or not?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by starcat, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. starcat

    starcat
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    Having an XCard for a long time, I am just wondering if its output is progressive or not (when playing DVDs)? I suspect that most of the DVD content is progressive anyway, the OSD menus (JovePlayer=TVmedia) however being interlaced. Is that correct?

    Greetings,
    Bob
     
  2. KraGorn

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    DVDs are encoded interlaced, and I believe the XCard outputs such a signal .. if DVDs were inherently progressive then 'progressive DVD Players' would not exist as a separate group. :)

    In contrast, I believe both HD and BD will be encoded progressive.
     
  3. starcat

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    By definition the XCard outputs the signal as it is (ie don't do any interlacing). The reason why I have asked is because I clearly see a difference between the OSD from the XCard and when it outputs a DVD picture. With the OSD it shows some flicker and with DVD the picture doesn't flicker at all (on a Panasonic Plasma display!

    I also have the Denon DVD-2900 which I have set to output progressive signal. I don't see a difference between the picture of the 2900 and the XCard when outputting a DVD VIDEO_TS structure. I can remeber seing some (mainly older) DVDs which are not progressive, but 99.9% of the recent DVDs are output from the XCard perfectly flickerfree, i.e. they seems to be progressive?!

    Being a deinterlacing solution, will a Holo3D card improve anything else except of the OSD menues when used with the XCard?
     
  4. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    Xcard outputs interlaced if you're using the PDI connection.
    What you are seeing is the difference between Video-mode and Film-mode deinterlacing. With Film-mode the original frames are available and it does a good job of finding those original frames and putting them back together.
    Hence a stable picture.
    With Video-mode, the original progressive frames are not available, so there are varying degrees of success with the deinterlacing method used (either in your display, dscaler, joveplayer, overlay, etc).
    Usual distractions include combing and jaggies.

    The Holo3d should offer improvements on Video-deinterlacing as it uses the DCDi chip which is still the market-leader on diagonal jaggies for Standard Definition. Film-mode may not improve much.
    You would probably find it useful if you watch lots of video-based dvd's (tv shows, manga, documentaries, DVD extras, etc).
     
  5. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    I forgot to mention, if using the component or VGA outputs, it can output progressive signals, but it is still doing the deinterlacing internally, just like a standalone progressive DVD player is.
     
  6. KraGorn

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    All DVDs are interlaced.
     
  7. starcat

    starcat
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    I have the XCard connected through component to a component switcher and then go straight into my panasonic plasma display. The cables are highest grade Belden with crimped BNCs to maintain strict 75ohm impedance.

    I watch mainly DVD movie content, no videos and no TV shows. So maybe I should skip the Holo3D card?! Another thing is that I then have to invest in the HD-Aux board to complement the Holo3DII just to get direct component out from that combo. I do not want to mess up with DVI cables (and output from the graphics card).

    I got an offer for a package with Holo3DII with HD-Aux and XCard and PDI cable, all for 280 UKP delivered, is that a good price?

    The next thing I am considering is moving away from my standalone Denon 2900 and using the XCard HTPC also as DVD transport. Its PQ is really stunning. Any comments on this idea?

    If I decide not to go with the Holo3DII/HD-Aux combo, I am thinking about the new Lumagen HDQ and will SDI mod the XCard and fed to the HDQ directly. I may also SDI mod the 2900 (will loose component output) if I decide to keep it. Up to now I am towards selling the 2900 as I do not use it very much. Has anyone compared the PQ of the 2900 to the XCard (both component)?

    Difficult decision to make...
     
  8. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    It certainly is
    The Holo 3D is quite old now and even though the price isn't bad, I don't think you'll benefit that much from it for film-based material.
    I assumed you were already using the PC as your main DVD player, but maybe if you can invest some time in it, the latest Software DVD players (like TheaterTek) are excellent and will probably outperform the Xcard.
    You will always struggle to get a good Component picture out of a PC graphics card though so DVI/VGA would be best.
    You would also be able to play HD content on a PC.

    However, you would lose the Joveplayer interface which many people like - You would have to research something like Medio/TVedia or whatever the're called:rolleyes:
     
  9. MPK

    MPK
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    Get yourself the Sweetspot card, perfect match for the Xcard. This will not only output progressive, but also upscaled to 720p or 1080i almost as good as a high class DVD player.
     
  10. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    Agreed that Sweetspot will improve the picture over the Xcard-out - you also get to keep the Joveplayer interface.
     
  11. starcat

    starcat
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    What about saving the cash from the Sweetspot, selling the Denon 2900, modifying the XCard with SDI out and going digitally to a Lumagen HDQ processor and let it do all the scaling and mathing to whatever display or PJ I connect it to?

    I really very much like the Joveplayer interface and would part with it as a last ressort. I need it as a network jukebox (I have very well integrated complete control of that HTPC/XCard into my AMX system so this is not an issue) and I am after best possible picture quality as I am a crazy perfectionist.

    Thanks much!
     
  12. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    Yep that's also a good solution - although obviously a lot more money.
    You may find something like the SDI-converted Philips DVD player has a slightly better picture but I bet there's not much in it, and of course you get to keep Joveplayer.
    The PC would be cheaper if your existing one was good enough to use as a scaler, but if you had to rebuild, you may find a scaler a good option.
     
  13. starcat

    starcat
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    My current HTPC/XCard setup is P4 2.6Ghz 2GB memory, not very bad I think and would be enough to run DScaler. I have a 3Ghz P4 Prescott in my NAS server and may swap out the CPUs though anytime.

    Using the Sweetspot/DScaler I have to go out from the graphics card's VGA/DVI output, right? There would be (easy) no quality component out available?
     
  14. starcat

    starcat
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    Cheaper option would be to go component out from the XCard to a Lumagen Vision, scale and process the picture there and output component to the display. This would be a cheaper option than SDI modding the XCard and investing in the Vision HDQ. This will be like analog vs digital path... Not sure, the PQ might be similar, or digital might be better, any thoughs?
     
  15. MPK

    MPK
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    Sweetspot/Dscaler works fine with a DVI/HDMI connection to a plasma. It's not the most "wife friendly" interface but the results are great. The component/rgb inputs on the sweetspot are also unique among all capture cards. it allows you to capture Sky or Cable in best possible quality.
     
  16. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    MKP He's saying he wants to run Component to the display. Not uncommon on PCs but will need some research.
    Starcat - your component all-the-way solution is fine, you could always add SDI later for a boost (it's not expensive really). It wont be as good pq as a very good standalone player, but you get the benefit of the Media playing and interface.
     
  17. starcat

    starcat
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    I use Elgato EyeTV 200 to capture to my Mac and put the media files on a network attached file server. Then I access the files from the HTPC over the network using JovePlayer directly. Elgato accepts directly the cable and outputs digitally through firewire to the Mac and has its very good EPG available which is updated online. However this is SD solution only. Do you know if the Sweetspot/Dscaler can record HD though its component input? Which file format does it use to save the media files?
     
  18. MPK

    MPK
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    I wouldn't know to be honest. With HD you're facing the HDCP issue with component, but that will be for all PCs until they have UDI or DVI with HDCP. However, whatever sweetspot can capture you are able to record. It's a very complex programme and far from user friendly, but you have tons of adjustments and settings.
     
  19. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    Dscaler isn't very good at capturing video.
    SweetSpot doesn't capture HD. I haven't heard anything about an HD version of Sweetspot.
    Sweetspot has WDM drivers for some other SD capture software - if you look in the sweetspot faq or post on the pixel magic forums, there may be some good suggestions for software. It's a while since I've looked so it could have all changed.
    AFAIK all the HD capture solutions are broadcast-quality expensive things, but then all that US HDTV footage has to come from somewhere so maybe there's a cheaper unit available, I should check really :)
     
  20. starcat

    starcat
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    Ok. But then there seems to be no advantage to me capturing via Sweetspot over capturing using Elgato and it leaves me basically to the question if I want to go full digital or analog path for playback:

    XCard + SDI mod -> Lumagen Vision HDQ -> component/RGBHV/etc
    XCard component -> Lumagen Vision -> component/RGBHV/etc

    Will the PQ be quite similar or will the HDQ be able to restore more detail when it is fed directly with the mpeg2 stream?
     
  21. starcat

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    SDI is straight out of the mpeg2 chip, so you mean different players (standalone, XCard, etc) having different chips will output mpeg2 stream with different quality? But the signal available at the SDI out is taken in front of the mpeg2 (decoder) chip, so that the player doesn't have to do anything and the digital output bitstream should be the same?!

    If two players with SDI out are fed digitally to say a Vision HDQ will the PQ be different?
     
  22. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    Not really that it will be able to restore more detail, just that SDI avoids an A-d and a D-A conversion so less of the info is lost. Obviously then the VP has more accurate info to work from.
    You should look at the HDQ versus the Vision too - there may be other things that sell it to you.
    There will definitely be a performance improvement going SDI, but only you can know whether it's enough to justify the expense.

    Edit - just seen your post above - SDI is definitely AFTER the MPEG decoding. So yes, SDI is not SDI is not SDI :)
     
  23. starcat

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    Didn't knew this. I though SDI is SDI... So this is basically the same as with a digital audio out - one has less and the other more jitter added to it. The coax connection being superior to Toslink, etc.
     
  24. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    Yes and also the CUE (Chroma Upsampling Error) will be present on some and not others. Xcard has CUE, but then other players suffer from other problems.
     
  25. starcat

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    Can you comment and maybe compare the CUE and other problems on the Denon 2900 and XCard? Obviously the 2900 can't play networked material but what about comparing PQ on both solely as "DVD players"?
     
  26. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    I can't I'm afraid, I've never seen them all in the same system.
    If you ask in the HTPC forum, or on the pixel magic support forum, there may be people who run both (one for discs, one for movie-jukebox stuff)
     
  27. starcat

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    Thanks guys!!
     
  28. MPK

    MPK
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    But that's what I meant with the sweetspot in the first place: You will be able to output a straight digital signal as the Xcard connects to Sweetspot via the PDI link. If you then connect the PC to the screen with HDMI/DVI you have no A/D D/A conversion and an upscaled signal.
     
  29. starcat

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    MPK, I would like to get out of the HTPC/XCard by eiter SDI digital (the preffered option) or component (analog) and leave the scaling and conversion to the HDQ or Vision. I don't want to alter cabling from the rack to the display which is three coax for component signal.

    I could go XCard/PDI/Sweetspot/DScaler/GraphicsCard/DVI to a HDQ but then this is only added cost and I am not sure if this is the better path or just go out of the XCard and leave scaling to the HDQ or Vision. Do you have any recommendation on this one? If I save on the external video processor, then I must alter cabling to the display and would not be able to switch sources, i.e. this is a less flexible sollution.

    But in general I see people being happier with
    - XCard/PDI/Sweetspot/DScaler/GraphicsCard -> RGB/DVI/VGA
    than
    - XCard/PCI/Holo3DII/DScaler/GraphicsCard -> RGB/DVI/VGA

    I couldn't get any oppinions on
    - XCard/PCI/Holo3DII/HD-Aux -> RGB/YPbPr/DVI/VGA
    which will also give component straight out of the HTPC
     
  30. MPK

    MPK
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    well, it will definitely be easier to operate if you use an external video processor/scaler. Dscaler is quite far from being a user friendly product yet. I can see the benefits of using an external scaler, even though it will be much more expensive than just getting a sweetspot card. At least with an external processor you can process other sources as well. I don't know, but if I decided to fork out for a processor it would have to be a decent 1080p, and that is expensive...
     

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