Received my Darblet today, only found out about the existence of the thing just a few days ago, guess I got lucky to discover it after the price drop/sale.
I do a lot of digital photography and always ALWAYS use a combination of the various micro-contrast enhancements on my photos, clarity, high-pass filter, unsharp mask, Topaz, etc and feel like I've trained my eyes/brain to detect right when I get the 3D pop without going overboard. I never once considered how this effect would look for video though, so I was super excited to try it out. I would never post a photo of mine without at least adding "clarity", so I went into this review expecting a winner on concept alone.
After hooking up the Darblet to my 65" ST50 plasma (seated 8 feet away) I found that HD 58 was a good setting when watching HGTV HD, around what most reviewers recommend. I then popped in Transformers 2 on Blu-ray and eventually dialed way down to HD 28, which coincidently is about the same opacity % I use in Photoshop for this effect. There's one scene towards the beginning of the movie where there's an overhead shot of the campus Sam is being dropped off at. The buildings, and roofs especially, looked a tad harsh starting at 29 and up, so 28 it is. I've heard that these models of Panasonic plasmas automatically add a similar effect already, which may explain why such a low number works for me.
Is it worth the money? I don't know, the change is so subtle in motion, but knowing/seeing how much detail and contrast pop it adds to a still frame, at this point I couldn't live without it. It's more of a $150 product than $199 to me (or the original $299-350, yikes).
The caveat to using a product like this, as with photography, adding the detail enhancement ends up sharpening the purposeful out-of-focus areas (bokeh) of the picture, which can deemphasize the intended focal point. At the low setting of 28, I'm not too concerned about that though. Not to dig up any old debate, I feel like the over-sharpening of out of focus area is the main culprit of altering the "director's intent." Just to play it safe, I threw in my Spears and Munsil disc after Transformers and as most Darbet owners know, none of my calibrated settings needed any adjustment. Personally, I feel like this device isn't any less true to the director's intent or calibrated standards as would be the significant picture difference between a 1080p LED vs a 4k OLED watching the same material.
Last edited by IntotheBlue; 12-13-2014 at 12:45 AM.