XGA scaler w/tuner for under $200? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 208 Old 01-05-2002, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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According to the manual for this it actually does 3:2 pulldown removal - even if the website doesn't say so. Anyone know any more about this box?

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post #2 of 208 Old 01-06-2002, 09:51 AM
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I purchased this scaler because I figured the most I was out was $150. When I first hooked it up it looked horrible. :eek: The up side is that you can make it look good.
The factory defaults for "picture" were set by a blind man. Contrast was so high that all of the colors bled.the bright was equally high my blacks looked light grey. I have a sony 1251 that I am using it on. I brought the contrast down to 176 and the bright to 119 and it fixed the problem.
I am real happy with it. The picture has no noticeable artifacts. Although it does look soft. I also have never used an expensive scaler so I don't have any type of refrence. I am told that a soft picture is part of scaling.
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post #3 of 208 Old 01-06-2002, 11:14 AM
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Can you take a couple of digital pic comparing pre- and post-XGA theater processing, Pleeeeeze ? :D

I'm curious about this one for my VHS and analog cable into my LT150 whose built-in doubler/scaler is mediocre at best.

I use HTPC for DVD playback and don't want to mess with Dscaler, yet.

Huey ;-]
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post #4 of 208 Old 01-12-2002, 01:57 PM
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Mini review of a similar unit Here

Life is short. Enjoy!
Andrew.
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post #5 of 208 Old 01-13-2002, 08:35 AM
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Given the review, I'm thinking of buying the viewsonic over the DVDO, saving my money and buying a scaler in a year or so? Think I'll be happy enough with the viewsonic compared to DVDO v2? I'm using an E'home ECP 4000
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post #6 of 208 Old 01-13-2002, 09:24 PM
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I think the DVDO has more control aspect ratio wise for anamorphic sources and placement of a 4:3 image on a 16:9 screen. However, the DVDO is a doubler only, whereas the VB50 will output up to XGA but is geared mostly for 4:3 displays. That said, the VB50 is compelling only because of its cost. It can not compare to any HT grade scaler.

Thanks,
Andrew.

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Andrew.
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post #7 of 208 Old 01-14-2002, 01:14 PM
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www.pcnation.com/asp/details.asp?item=383583

has the Viewsonic VB50 for $105 USD shipped via UPS ground. I bought one and will let you guys know how it works with the LT150 comparing to its internal scaler and Dscaler via HTPC. I plan on using the VGA pass through for the HTPC:

HTPC and Svideo/composite sources----6 feet VGA cable-->VB50--15 feet VGA cable-->LT150

There is something to be said about showing a movie or watch a game without booting your Winblows HTPC :D

Dscaler was great at analog NTSC and VHS but bands on STB DVD (probably due to compressions as said ealier as other people has the same issues with compressed digital DSS satellite signals). I'm gonna try to see how my Svideo Tosh 2100 player with this cheap scaler/doubler. Heck for $99 I'm willing to gamble. it can always go into my office as a cheap external TV tuner for my computer monitor.

Huey ;-]
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post #8 of 208 Old 01-14-2002, 01:45 PM
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Huey...definitely let me know what you find out.

You're right about aspect control...but I can manage that with my projector. The ECP can store up to 10 different settings so my first setting would be for DVD (set my player to letterbox tv) and squeeze the picture on screen to the right ratio.

For 4:3, I can stretch some or all to fit on setting two.

Am I headed in the right direction??

All this said, my primary use of this projector (95%) will be watching DVD's. 90% of my DVD's are widescreen. Considering that I can squeeze with my projector (like a regular tv), is there ANY advantage to the DVDO?
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post #9 of 208 Old 01-14-2002, 10:08 PM
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DVDo may have better deinterlacing chip with better 3:2 pulldown and motion adaptive doubling. Version 1 ($400) has no AR control while V2 does ($600). V3 or Pro has component inputs and AR. ($800). This unit has primitive 3:2 and NO motion adapt. so may get mild artifacts with sports and action scenes. Of course at $99 it's easier to swallow than DVDo's $400 and up for new units. I'll keep the forum up to date about this and my LT150. PCNation sent me an email charging me on credit card so hopefully it'll ship soon. I expect to get it next week sometimes.

Huey ;-]
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post #10 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 01:13 PM
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I saw the thread on sunday at 2 am. (jan 14, early am). I ordered one. I have it now. It is already getting modified.

It seems to respond really well to modification...as does MOST gear. I have the pass thru behavior working considerably better. It is magnitudes better in all ways.. except for the artifact behavior. Some modes are vitually error free, like 800x600, or 848x480.

All modes support both refresh rates. 60 and 75hz.

As for the artifacts? It MAY be cureable.....

$260 for a fully whacked and warrantied one.

They're ready to go. I can get thise things in 24 hrs, so my turn-around time is very short, unlike the TV tuner capture cards, which are difficult to obtain.

This is very, very decent looking unit. It is modifed to my usual standard, which is... extreme.

It may support other inputs... I am investigating....

Ken Hotte

"Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream." -- Malcolm Muggeridge.
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post #11 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 01:32 PM
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For comparitive purposes, it looks no worse than one of my modified TV capture cards.. on low motion video, or source. The artifacts intrude slightly more, but let's face it.. Dscaler has it's problems as well. This has a noticably cleaner noise floor. So, for those who wish to avoid a HTPC,and want scaling capacity,a nd multiple input capacity.. with remote, a modded one may be the way to go, for the cheapest scaler around..that looks good.

Don't say I never did anything for you. I'm making a few bucks on them, but not much, overall, for the amount of work I will be doing on them.

Ken Hotte

"Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream." -- Malcolm Muggeridge.
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post #12 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 02:11 PM
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I'd bet you'll sell a s*it load if you post some unprocessed, pre-mod processed, and post-mod processed photos. Thanks for tweaking the heck out of everything. You sure make it interesting :D

Huey ;-]
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post #13 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 04:50 PM
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I'm thinking of some interesting hacks to the VB50. What's the scaler (not IVTC or deinterlacing) chip on this thing? What's the decoder chip? Conexant 879 or Fusion 878A?

Dan
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post #14 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 05:27 PM
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KBK, can you do something like this to one of those or does that even make sense?

HBO is guilty of Crimes Against Filmanity!

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post #15 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 05:48 PM
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The input chip is a Phillips SAA7114H.

There is one memory chip on board, for framing, obviously. it's a eliteMT.. M12L16161C.

There is a socketed chip (beside the ubiquitous CSI 24W08 prom chip) called a MYSON MTV230mv. The main chip on the puppy is a "SMART ASIC", and it is: STV102A. Other than that, there is the tuner, and support circuitry.. like regulators, remote interface, audio input chip.. RGBHV out buffer chip, etc.

It is the Phillips chip that I am interested in. component in maybe? digital in? i can't remember off the top top of my head. Anyone know?

Man E: that function MAY be programmable.. who knows? Not at this time, or without serious investigation.

Ken Hotte

"Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream." -- Malcolm Muggeridge.
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post #16 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by KBK
The input chip is a Phillips SAA7114H.
<snip>
It is the Phillips chip that I am interested in. component in maybe? digital in? i can't remember off the top top of my head. Anyone know?

Man E: that function MAY be programmable.. who knows? Not at this time, or without serious investigation.
It's a video decoder/scaler if I recall correctly... let me check real quick - yup, here we go.
Quote:
SAA7114H; PAL/NTSC/SECAM video decoder with adaptive PAL/NTSC comb filter, VBI-data slicer and high performance scaler
datasheets etc at http://www.semiconductors.philips.com/pip/SAA7114H

Darren
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post #17 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 06:34 PM
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KBK: Digital in/out on the X port (D1). digital out on the I-port. You would probably need some external control, though.

It would be fun to pop out the SAA7114 and pop in a component in chip like the SAA7118 or the newer one they have out. It would take a daughterboard, though, so it might be prohibitive $-wise.

Dan
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post #18 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 07:01 PM
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They also have a model above this called "RealScan", an "Advanced Progressive Scan Video Converter". Its a much larger version and says its for "Big Screen TV", where is shows a drawing of a 16x9 TV. Hmmmmmmmm

http://www.zinwell.com.tw/pro_profile.php?productsid=3
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post #19 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 07:53 PM
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This is indeed an interesting quest - I myself have been looking at the AL250 chipset used in the Gamars videobox - not a scaler but apparently a 'pretty good' deinterlacer - like another person suggested, it may be an idea to utilise a SAA7118 but I think that they use a I2R programming interface...grrr...

Maybe this one is worth a look at half the price of the XGA theatre. It does no scaling and is a pure deinterlacer, but with some farnarckling with SAA7118 you could have component inputs - just like a DVDO - problem will be that it doesn't do pulldown. And resolution is dependent on video standard. Also interesting is that Zinwell have an Australian dealer... (useful to me)

Cheers
Heath Young
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post #20 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 07:55 PM
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Who is the Aussie distributor/dealer ? I asked the company that sells the SDTV & HDTV STB's, but he doesn't sell them.
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post #21 of 208 Old 01-15-2002, 10:15 PM
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I keep staring at my RP56 DVD player..and then this little viewsonic box.. and .. hmm......

Ken Hotte

"Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream." -- Malcolm Muggeridge.
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post #22 of 208 Old 01-16-2002, 07:05 AM
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Well, do something that you can replicate without Sage having a fit!

Dan
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post #23 of 208 Old 01-16-2002, 11:28 AM
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KBK (or anyone)-
Do you have any screenshots that show before/after using this scaler? Also when you said you "improved" the VGA passthrough, what exactly was it doing before?

An increasingly interested LT150 owner wants to know...... :)

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
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post #24 of 208 Old 01-16-2002, 01:57 PM
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Before modification, the unit was QUITE bland,and soft. After modification it was very clean, saturated and detailed. Very much like the difference between one of my modified capture cards, vs. un-modified. The difference is from barely acceptable, to very good- to quite decent. If this modified unit is something I find acceptable, well, that says a lot. i use a highly modified CRT with custom screen, etc. I am one picky SOB when it comes to image qualities. If I can watch it without real complaint, then, most should find it quite decent.

Let's be honest. it's not a Faroudja. it's just a little cheesebox scaler. Since I put some work into it, it now looks well beyond it's original considerations.

I have done such work to it that I will honor the $260 for the first 10 sold, but will HAVE to up the price to $280 afterwards. It's too much work, and cost. to go any lower in pricing.

"Improved VGA pass through' means that it does not harm the VGA passing through it as much as normal. it has filters on the VGA in,and filters onthe VGA out. I have removed them ALL.

The filters are there for FCC regulatory purposes only, no real technical reason.. so, out they go. That is is about the LEAST of the things I have done to it. Considering the work done tothe unit, $260 is a real bargain.. besides we might find a way to program this puppy for OTHER resolutions..as it has a I2C port (not connected) for reading the innards..and control of the input/scaler chip.

Perhaps it MAY be able do 'native rate' for 1280x720 LCD and DLP PJ's.

All in this little cheesebox.

Ken Hotte

"Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream." -- Malcolm Muggeridge.
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post #25 of 208 Old 01-16-2002, 04:18 PM
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KBK - I should have figured that you were already on top of this. I had posted on the thread in the DLP forum and just came across this thread.

If you don't have them already, complete specs of the SmartASIC can be found here:

http://www.fine21.net/smartasic/Data/STV102_DS.pdf
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post #26 of 208 Old 01-16-2002, 04:34 PM
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OK, I think we need to understand what is unit was made for.


It was made to let people scale VHS tapes and DVD's and broadcast over a CPU, CRT or LCD.


You guys are trying to make it into something it is not....

Give it time, the Company that made this unit will upgrade them, maybe with added resolutions like 1280x720 and 1280x960 and 1600x1200 and make it work with front LCD and CRT PJ'S? That would be very cool, and make it work much better for that type of use!

But in the end, this thing for "NOW' would be for CPU use!


A good unit for people to use to scale DVD's over their CPU's. Give them HD resolution even if it is soft scaled video, can't beat the price.
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post #27 of 208 Old 01-16-2002, 06:22 PM
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Ken -
How would you rate this next to an HTPC w/Dscaler & an unmodded capture card?

Digital Buzz -
Where's the fun in waiting for the manufacturer to fix the shortcoming? Come on, where's your sense of adventure?

Darren
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post #28 of 208 Old 01-16-2002, 07:10 PM
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Yep I would tend to agree with luvmytivo - if there is nobody modifying these things then there is little hope of the manufacturer waking up to the fact that people want a modified version.

Looks very interesting - but what of us with 800X600 who want a good deinterlacer - DVDO style, but not DVDO price...

Cheers
Heath Young
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post #29 of 208 Old 01-16-2002, 10:52 PM
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The modified unit is noticeably superior to Dscaler with an un-modified card. About the same area as dscaler with a modified card.. but with an improved noise floor. Where it falls down, is with de-interlacing. It is very source/motion sensitive in this regard. Color is a bit off, depending on source.. but so is Dscaler. That's the limitations of the Conexant 878 chip, and the Philips chip in this unit is no different. With an excellent source, the image is very good. Overall, a clean image. The un-modded unit is certainly nothing to write home about. Works nice and all, but..

The modifications i have introduced are severe..and will never be copied by any manufacturer. Incredibly unlikely, at the very most. The price would have to jump by about $500. (typical manufacturing is to multiply by about 6x the parts cost, development, etc.

I'm just going in there by hand. The manufacturers will also have to do the 'value added' extra charge as well. The difference is so extreme that the other gear would not sell, so, it would never happen. As well, they don't know how to build it right in the first place. They might sell a few, but not 200k of them.

Ken Hotte

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post #30 of 208 Old 01-17-2002, 06:48 AM
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We have digital-parallel in..here with this programmable scaler ASIC. WE have YUV out, and RGB out. We may have digital component in, as well. There are multiple capacities available in either direction with these units.. that are not being used. For instance, I MAY be able to loose the audio i/o,and replace those with component ports. who knows.

OR slam the sucker in it's entirety into a RP56..and have a straight digital-DVD-to scaler.. all in one box. With aux inputs. lots of possibilities here. our biggest concern is getting the programming functions of the two chips, the Philips and the Smart ASIC. basically, we have to read the controller chip, and alter it's programming so it controls the Asic/Phillips combo in the way we want.

Who wants to give me a hand here? Lets have some fun.

Ken Hotte

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