I got a $199 Darbee DVP 5000 Darblet yesterday - the BDP-93 holdout's answer to the 103D.
I was lusting after a new AVR to upgrade from DD over optical to DD+ over HDMI from my Amazon Fire TV and let me channel all my video through a Darbee, but even a $600 refurbed Yamaha (can't get a multichannel analog input for less) was too rich for my blood for that little added functionality.
So I got a Blue Jeans Cables $33 5 HDMI in, 1 HDMI out switch instead! Nice toy. While it comes with the usual credit-card sized remote, it auto-switches to the most-recently powered-on input, meaning I don't have to use the remote very often. With the Fire TV, my 93, my old Panny BD-50 and my laptop (for streams only available from web sites) all plugged in, I have one spare jack, and whatever I turn on automatically grabs the projector away from the Fire. (I leave the HDMI plug on the cable to the laptop lying on the table next to the laptop most of the time, so plugging it in mimics turning it on.) The switchbox comes with a power transformer, but almost doesn't need to, since most HDMI devices, including the Fire, provide enough power over the cable to power the switchbox without the transformer. EDIT: Unfortunately, turning everything else off does not give the Fire back the connection - I have to use the remote for that!
My old Comcast high def cable box's DVI output worked through the HDMI switch with a DVI to HDMI cable (the switch came a day before the Darblet) until I attached the Darblet between the switch and the projector - at which point I got an on-screen overlay when I switched to the cable box saying that HDCP was compromised from the cable box and I should use its component video connection (which I'd been using until then) instead. Apparently the Darbee enforces HDCP more rigorously than the projector and the switch! EDIT: When the Darbee was connected between the switchbox and the projector with 3' cables, I didn't get that message, just a magenta screen. When I put 6' cables in place, as per Bob Pariseau's standing advice, I got the actual error message.
So no Darbee for cable TV until I get a newer high-def cable box from Comcast with a real HDMI output.
EDIT: After downloading and reading the user guides of all the HD cable boxes on Comcast's site, I came up with a ranking in terms of desirability, which put the Pace RNG110N at the top of the list as it had all the connections of my old box except that it substitutes HDMI for DVI, has both 1080i and 1080p, and can be set to automatically pillar-box 4:3 video (that last feature wasn't offered by any of the Motorola boxes). My first choice was the one that they had at the store nearest me when I got there, so I took it home, installed and activated it, and returned the old one the same day for a no-cost upgrade. PS It came with a 6' HDMI cable.
The question everyone wants to know the answer to, however, is whether the Darbee is worth bothering with. It definitely does add sharpness by enhancing local contrast, making for darker edges.
I've tried it as high as 115% but the effect gets a bit harsh when dialed up too high, since that can make faces a bit grim-looking - as well as sometimes adding a bit of haloing.
Folks in the 103D thread seem to have reached consensus on using around 35%, at which level the effect is very subtle.
On 1080 material I'm running it in HD mode at around 50-55%, which is where the folks on the Darbee Darblet thread here seem to have clustered, unless I'm watching older SD stuff, where I tend to crank it up fairly high (I leave it in HD mode, however). Be sure to go deep into the menu system to set the on-screen indication of the level in use (the "Logo") to not stay on screen persistently.
Last edited by Philnick; 03-28-2015 at 01:56 PM.
Reason: Several updates tagged with "EDIT:"