This is a quick and dirty write up so it may not be as thorough as you'd hope for.
Played with the Darbee a bit. Can't do too much more tonight since I have to do some work. I'll be honest, these images/videos are not the greatest representation since it's all using my phone camera. Trying to stay still, show off the differences and got a decent shot isn't easy. Any color discrepancies you may see are obviously, my phone. It's not great in darker settings.
The first thing I'll say is the unit is small. About the size of cell phone. The remote is a joke - something you'd think an employee at radio shack wired together during their break, but it's serviceable. I already knew it before getting it and the Harmony will be programmer to control it anyways. Even though I thought I'd hate the look of the unit itself, it doesn't bug me too much. It's so small and easy to hide no one will see it.
Hooking it up, I had some problems getting the display to show up. It would act like nothing was in HDMI 1. This could have been some handshaking issue but not sure. I think it was a a loose connection. I jiggled the cords a bit, restarted my tv and replugged the HDMI into it. Something worked and I didn't have issues since then for the last hour of playing with it.
I definitely don't think it's as simple as plugging and playing it. I found myself playing with the settings a bit depending on what I was watching. With (good) HDTV broadcasts, I actually thought 100 wasn't overkill, but I'm no purist. I eventually lowered it to 70 although the effect wasn't as prominent. Worse HDTV broadcasts you won't see as much a benefit from. Garbage in, garbage out so to speak.
Blu rays were more promising. It makes things pop a bit more especially when it comes to the very fine lines of grass and hair. I don't know if I'd go as far to say it's this 3d pop that people describe, but maybe I'll notice that more. More than anything, it really does feel like it lifts a haze off the screen, especially with good Blu ray content like Avatar. I used the Hi Def mode the whole time. I thought the others were overkill.
I didn't notice any edge issues or halos. It really just feels like it takes the details it can find and make them pop more. Whether you like that effect or not is up to you. Sometimes, the native softer image helped focus on the main point of interest more in some of the shot compositions, like in the Hobbit. But at the same time, when you have the Darbee on, you can't help but appreciate the little bit of extra clarity it brings to make some of the scenes pop more.
Is it worth the 300 price tag? I don't think so. At least, not based on the short impressions. But give me a couple weeks. I feel like 100-150 is a more appropriate price. I have to test it out with games still so that may change my mind further. I don't think I'll be returning it. I do like the enhancement enough to stick with it and will likely find myself using the effect on versus off because with certain content it did help give it more of a pop.Verizon Fios - HDTV shot. One of the better quality feeds. Hard to see since the angles are slightly off.Darbee off:Darbee on:
Some videos I posted to youtube showcasing the differences in demo mode. I'd recommend running these in 1080 if you can:Same documentary shot of the kid:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5k4kxoAN3sA less than stellar Verizon Fios HDTV feed of Demolition Man. The quality wasn't the best to begin with and it was a bit soft before hand:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpLHRpORHR0Another Verizon Fios HDTV feed on HBO of that crappy Adam Sandler flick, That's My Boy. This feed was better than the Demolition One for sure (mislabelled as Demolition 1 video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImDwXL9cPwUThree various scenes from the Avatar Blu Ray. Again, if you've seen this on this set, you know it looks much better than my crappy video feeds, but it gives an idea. This black scene in the first video particularly is much brighter, but my phone toned it down a lot for the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URs7qEoIRyMFour scenes from the Hobbit. Another great quality Blu Ray that is hard to capture on this camera. The one shot of the grass shows some of the detail that can come out: