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Join Date: Jul 2002
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I can confirm what we already know - the latest Darbee that was shipped to AVS about a week ago does not work with my Radiance XS without forcing it to output RGB. For reference I am using this with the Sony VW95 (although from other reports the display used doesn't seem to matter).
I will keep my Darbee review brief. IMO the Darbee is a must-have. It is that simple. Most people describe it as a sharpening enhancement, which it does help with because things do get more defined. However for me I really feel it is more of a focus enhancement. For example imagine taking your current focus and manually defocusing it. Not just a tiny bit but enough for things to get a bit blurry. Now imagine what that looks like compared to your perfectly focused image. OK, now imagine that difference of an improvement, but going from your perfectly focused unit to an even more perfectly focused unit! Well that's the improvement I get. Details are nicely enhanced too, like in beards/hair, all sorts of textures etc. And its not just with still-frames. When watching the picture it really does adds another dimension to the realism. When people say the Darbee is like getting an upgraded projector I have to agree with that. I would never want to run without the Darbee, at least in some tamed amount of it. Yes it makes that much of a different IMO. At least with my VW95.
For my tastes I have to use it in moderation or the picture looks too processed/overly digital. I didn't get much time to play around with it. For some HDTV I liked in the low to mid 40's on the HD Darbee setting. But Letterman looked way to processed to me at that setting. I dropped it back to 38% which made it still look a little processed but yet acceptable. So there is of course a tradeoff - as you decrease it the picture looks less processed but also has less advantage from the Darbee. Fortunately the 1% controls give enough flexibility for folks to find a good balance based on their tests. A/B testing between a zoomed-in face at 38% vs no Darbee was still a nice improvement, for example.
It was late so I didn't have much time to view too many things. I watched select scenes from LOTR 1and was rather amazed at how clear it made things look. It was really enjoyable. So much so that I now feel compelled to go through my favorites and watch them all over again, just like people will do when they get a new projector. I put on "Up" and at the 38% it didn't make too much of a difference. I had to raise it closer to 50% to get a difference and yet it was not over processed. If I have to find on fault is that each movie/video may have its own ideal setting, and I really don't want to mess with it. I'd rather set it once and then leave it there for everything. If I wind up doing that I will probably settle on 38-41%.
Oh, something I didn't see noted in this thread is that in the Advanced menu you can set the brightness of the LEDs. I am really happy about that because by default they are way too bright. Fortunately there is a dimmest setting which is slight so you can still see it is on and working without it being a nuisance.
Question for Darbee owners: What are the various modes like HD, GAME, POP etc supposed to do? I read other posts saying they didn't like POP because it was over the top and just used HD etc. So with this in mind I did my viewing only in HD. But at the end of the night I switched between all these modes and it didn't seem to make any difference. I had a still frame and hit HD and it showed "Darbee 38%" in green.Then I hit POP and it showed "Darbee 38%" in red (or yellow can't remember) but the picture didn't change at all. Same thing when I hit GAME mode. As I switched from one to the other it didn't matter. If I turned it on/off then I saw it working, but the mode didn't seem to make any difference. Is something broken or do I just not understand what these modes are and how to use them?