Do I need a Video Processor? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-28-2013, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi. As you can tell I don't have one, that is why I am asking. Do I really need a Video Processor?
It is hard for me to get an answer to this question without walking into some store and experiencing the difference firsthand. There is no such thing. So, I need some help from the owners.
Let me tell you about my setup first.
I have a 40 inch Toshiba TV (more than enough for my small den size wise) with some software that already enhances the picture - Dynalight or something like that. Audio comes through a 100W Harman Kardon AVR 1700, which is a good receiver. Source in the majority of cases is XBOX360 connected to a pretty powerful PC. So, 80% of my video viewings are downloaded .MKVs or . AVIs.
I dont own a Bluray player - seems to be a waste of money. Last time I bought a bluray release was 2-3 years ago, when my Playstation still worked. So, there is a lot of room for improvement as far as picture quality is concerned. Some of these downloaded movies were ripped from ancient art house DVDs.
Keeping all that in mind, how much of a leap purchasing a video processor will be for me? Will the improvement in picture quality be similar to the difference between standard DVD picture and Bluray? Or is it nowhere near that? How will HD picture from lets say DirectTV receiver improve?
I've read online descriptions of some of the Video Processors, but all these features and algorithms dont answer my question: is this processor only for video connoisseurs or is it a must have and watching a movie without it is as obsolete as using your good old VCR?
Thanks.
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-01-2013, 08:46 AM
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I don't think a video processor will do much for you. It's not a magical device that will clean up all the artifacts and make your low-res downloads look like stunning high definition.

Your TV already has a video processor built into it. All HDTVs do. It's what allows you to watch standard-def content on an HD screen, and deinterlaces 1080i broadcasts to 1080p, etc. An external processor may do a better job at that, but on a 40" screen, the differences will probably be subtle. The primary benefit of a video processor these days is to assist in calibration. They also typically add features that high-end users find helpful but would mean nothing to you.

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post #3 of 11 Old 03-01-2013, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, Josh. This is the kind of answer I thought I would get. I still very much would like to try one. What is the entry level processor? DVDO? Crystalio?
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-01-2013, 11:11 AM
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Why don't you look at something like the Oppo BDP-103, which combines a Blu-ray player with a video processor that allows you to connect to HDMI-based external devices? It's $500 but it gets you one of the best BD players on the market with a very capable video processor for less than you'd pay for a dedicated processor.

That said, I tend to agree with Josh. A 40-inch display won't benefit much from advanced video processing and--no insult intended--if you see BD as a waste of money, you may not be as interested in video excellence as you think. On the other hand, if you think BD is a waste of money because you prefer streaming content, then the Oppo (and some less expensive BD players) includes a Netflix streaming app with the ability to display (if your ISP supports it) the Netflix Super HD transfers which look very good Though still not BD quality, they look even better than the HD transfers playable through your Xbox.

Another option might be to connect your PC directly to the TV and then use Nvidia or Radeon software processing to enhance the video.

Nonetheless, as Josh noted, NO processor can radically improve the quality of poor quality source material.
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-01-2013, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boblinds View Post

Why don't you look at something like the Oppo BDP-103, which combines a Blu-ray player with a video processor that allows you to connect to HDMI-based external devices? It's $500 but it gets you one of the best BD players on the market with a very capable video processor for less than you'd pay for a dedicated processor.

Just one point on this: The HDMI input on the BDP-103 is very limited in what audio it will pass through. It won't pass any lossless audio. I forget offhand, but I think it might even be limited to stereo rather than 5.1.

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post #6 of 11 Old 03-01-2013, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by grigorianvlad View Post

Thank you, Josh. This is the kind of answer I thought I would get. I still very much would like to try one. What is the entry level processor? DVDO? Crystalio?

Entry level would probably be the DVDO Edge. Personally, I don't see much point in that product. It has extremely limited functionality, basically just deinterlacing and scaling. It doesn't offer much that isn't already built into your TV. Again, it might do a slightly better job of those things, but the difference will be very subtle at 40".

(I used to be a fan of previous DVDO processors, but the company has stripped down its current products so much that I don't know what use they are to anyone anymore.)

The Lumagen Radiance series of processors (starting with the Radiance Mini-3D) have exponentially more useful features. However, as I said, you may not need any of those if you're not an advanced user. They're also much more expensive than the DVDO Edge.

I don't intend to dissuade you from adding a high-end piece of gear to your system, but given what you're looking to get out of this, I don't think a video processor will give you much bang for your buck. You'd get a lot more out of a nice Blu-ray player such as the OPPO DBP-103 that boblinds recommended.

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post #7 of 11 Old 03-01-2013, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by boblinds View Post

A 40-inch display won't benefit much from advanced video processing and--no insult intended--if you see BD as a waste of money, you may not be as interested in video excellence as you think.
Boblinds, only an ungrateful fool will ask for an advice and get offended by an honest opinion. There is no point in asking something and expecting a sugarcoated reply. I asked, you helped by providing an answer (a very polite one at that) and I am immensely appreciative for your input.
I realize my statement "I think Bluray players are a waste of time, but I want top notch picture" is a contradiction, if not idiotic. After all, Bluray is the top notch source at the time.
But my taste for movies is very old fashioned. 90% of what I watch doesn't even exist on Bluray - and most likely never will. I like old directors, the pioneers of cinema. Most of the people I know have never heard of them ( Kenji Mizoguchi, Robert Bresson, Andrey Tarkovsky, Carl Theodor Dreyer, etc.) But if you ask some of the hot American directors such as Coppola, Scorsese or Soderbergh - they know these old masters by heart. My preference is to watch genesis instead of expensive rip offs, whether on Bluray or 3D. I'd rather watch my dogs take a dump than waste my time on any of the modern Hollywood trash, however colorful or detailed the picture or sound might be. Three dimensional garbage is still garbage.
So, my point being I would love to buy Bluray movies of Bergman and Tarkovsky, but there are only 7 of them ever produced (titles, not physical Bluray discs, of course). And I doubt there will be any more because these pioneers are no longer with us. That is why buying a bluray player is a waste of money for me. I live in the past. There will be nothing for me to watch.
What I have is about 100-200 such downloaded movies of quality ranging from VHS to DVD and a couple of ripped Blurays, each is 8GB in size.
So, I was wondering if there is a video processor that will improve the picture of my downloaded content.
It looks like you answered my question. I looked up the Oppo BDP-103. It looks great, judging by the specs and the description. One question - will I be able to pass video from PC or XBOX (since I will be watching downloaded content) through this Bluray player/processor to the TV and/or receiver? Or is it strictly a source (meaning it does not have any inputs but Network)? The answer is probably "Yes. it takes an input" because I can see an HDMI input in the pictures.
Thank you for your input.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-01-2013, 06:29 PM
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I disagree on the size question. When I got my first LCD back in 2004 I paired it up with a video processor (original Crystalio 2300) and it was awesome.

Your problem lies somewhere else: In order to use a video processor to make DVDs and AVIs look better, you need a player with the ability to output those in the nearest supported resolution, e.g. DVD rips in 480i or 480p. If you can solve this problem (not easy!) you can get a DVDO processor and make DVD quality material look a multitude better.

If you can't I would invest in a proper media player instead. Using the 360 as a media extender is far from perfect. If you got a - let's say - Dune media player, you'll already have a visible improvement for DVD rips, DVD ISOs and 720p MKVs. The Dune's scaling is actually rather close to the DVDOs. You're just missing out on the deinterlacing, but that's only important for DVD ISOs from DVDs mastered on video instead of film (usually pre-2001 discs).
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-01-2013, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Fudoh View Post

I disagree on the size question. When I got my first LCD back in 2004 I paired it up with a video processor (original Crystalio 2300) and it was awesome.

Your problem lies somewhere else: In order to use a video processor to make DVDs and AVIs look better, you need a player with the ability to output those in the nearest supported resolution, e.g. DVD rips in 480i or 480p. If you can solve this problem (not easy!) you can get a DVDO processor and make DVD quality material look a multitude better.

I really don't think he'll find a processor to make that much of an improvement. A video processor may have been a necessity on an LCD in 2004, when all TVs had really crummy processing chips built in, but the chips in today's TVs start at a much higher base level, even in bargain brands. Most are quite competent at deinterlacing and scaling these days.

Your suggestion of upgrading the media player will have a much greater impact.

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post #10 of 11 Old 03-01-2013, 11:00 PM
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Grigorian:

I don't own the Oppo BD-103--I have the BD-93--so I can't give an educated answer about it (and it's worth paying attention to the audio limitations suggested above. I have no info about that, either.)

Our tastes in movies are remarkably similar. And I have to tell you, whether or not the number of classic titles in HD is limited, for me the experience of seeing great films at home in HD is well worth the cost. In fact, several years ago, I initially invested in HD-DVD because three titles became available in that format: The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Searchers, and Casablanca. I actually took a little ribbing from some of the forum members because I (probably stupidly) revealed that tears came to my eyes when I first watched "Robin Hood" in HD. I never thought I'd see the movie look like that again, several years after I had seen a three-strip Technicolor print in a private screening. The HD transfer of Casablanca just GLOWS, so accurately does it capture the silver nitrate visual magic.

If you want a shock, check out the BD of All's Quiet on the Western Front and The Big Trail. Stunning visual quality and both from 1930!

Of course, those I've mentioned are all American films and most of the directors you mentioned are not. There's no denying that among vintage titles, the BD catalog favors American films. Nonetheless, Criterion's BDs of Kurosawa's High and Low (one of my all-time favorites) and Clouzot's The Wages of Fear look wonderful. And there's the restored Metropolis, and The Blue Angel. And more are coming all the time.

Another possibility for you might be to consider a newer receiver with high-quality video processing. On a whim, I recently purchased an Onkyo 818 receiver and its video processing is not only very good, but very flexible and customizable. If the source material is at least very good DVD, I can tweak the Onkyo and my Darblet processor and really spiff up the quality. A high quality BD, given similar tweaking treatment, is absolutely eye-boggling and easily transports you from "having a big TV at home" to "owning a personal film screening room."
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post #11 of 11 Old 03-01-2013, 11:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boblinds View Post

Grigorian:

I don't own the Oppo BD-103--I have the BD-93--so I can't give an educated answer about it (and it's worth paying attention to the audio limitations suggested above. I have no info about that, either.)

Our tastes in movies are remarkably similar. And I have to tell you, whether or not the number of classic titles in HD is limited, for me the experience of seeing great films at home in HD is well worth the cost. In fact, several years ago, I initially invested in HD-DVD because three titles became available in that format: The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Searchers, and Casablanca. I actually took a little ribbing from some of the forum members because I (probably stupidly) revealed that tears came to my eyes when I first watched "Robin Hood" in HD. I never thought I'd see the movie look like that again, several years after I had seen a three-strip Technicolor print in a private screening. The HD transfer of Casablanca just GLOWS, so accurately does it capture the silver nitrate visual magic.

If you want a shock, check out the BD of All's Quiet on the Western Front and The Big Trail. Stunning visual quality and both from 1930!

Of course, those I've mentioned are all American films and most of the directors you mentioned are not. There's no denying that among vintage titles, the BD catalog favors American films. Nonetheless, Criterion's BDs of Kurosawa's High and Low (one of my all-time favorites) and Clouzot's The Wages of Fear look wonderful. And there's the restored Metropolis, and The Blue Angel. And more are coming all the time.

Another possibility for you might be to consider a newer receiver with high-quality video processing. On a whim, I recently purchased an Onkyo 818 receiver and its video processing is not only very good, but very flexible and customizable. If the source material is at least very good DVD, I can tweak the Onkyo and my Darblet processor and really spiff up the quality. A high quality BD, given similar tweaking treatment, is absolutely eye-boggling and easily transports you from "having a big TV at home" to "owning a personal film screening room."

Boblinds, I can't tell you ho great it is to meet another fan of old cinema! Thank you for the post. You are probably right. I should get a Bluray player to see the difference for myself. I exhibited the same level of stubbornness back in my VHS/DVD upgrade. My reasons were precisely the same, yet I did eventually switched 5-6 years after everybody else, I am embarrassed to say.

So, looks like trying the OPPO is the way to go. I will test it keeping in mind all limitations people above graciously shared.

On an unrelated subject, a friend of mind - who is well aware of my passion for the ancient European art house movies suggested something I had no idea about. He said try Hulu Plus for a week for free. It was unbelievable. Most of Bergman, Fellini, Anderson, the entire Bresson, Tarkovsky - they are all there to try for free. The even have 90% of Criterion Collection which I humbly suggest you try. The quality of Hulu Plus is comparable of Netflix. Upcoverting from XBOX to TV sucks, but it is better than watching a DVD. So, I am sold on the OPPO before even seeing it.

Thank you all. Your help is greatly appreciated especially because it was given without expecting anything back.

P.S, Boblinds, can you tell me what audio and video gear do you have. It looks like I should learn a lot from you.
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