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Video Processors

johnbm's Avatar johnbm
07:31 PM Liked: 10
post #91 of 2943
12-22-2003 | Posts: 132
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Hi Dale
I've been a satisfied iScan user since the summer of '99 when I took up the HT habit. While I have moved on to a HTPC as an alternate display choice, the new iScan scaler might make life simpler and as good or better for the rest of my clan. Will the new iScan HD provide for vertical and horizontal blanking as well as 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 image placement within a 1.33:1 frame (I have a 600x800 DLP display)?
EmoryS's Avatar EmoryS
08:09 PM Liked: 10
post #92 of 2943
12-22-2003 | Posts: 79
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Dale,

I was curious to know if the DVI input/output on the HD iScan were DVI-D or DVI-I?

I would assume DVI-D on the output (and maybe even the input) but wanted to check just to be sure.

Thanks again! :)

Regards,

EmoryS
AK47's Avatar AK47
08:59 PM Liked: 10
post #93 of 2943
12-22-2003 | Posts: 456
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Dale,

One more question, if I connect my PC to iScan HD's DVI input, will there be any image from the analog output?

:)

AK47
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
06:17 AM Liked: 10
post #94 of 2943
12-23-2003 | Posts: 1,886
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Quote:
Originally posted by pacemaker
any idea of UK release date/price
I don't have that information right now, but I'll post it as soon as I get it. (It should be soon.)

- Dale Adams
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
06:20 AM Liked: 10
post #95 of 2943
12-23-2003 | Posts: 1,886
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Quote:
Originally posted by EmoryS
I was curious to know if the DVI input/output on the HD iScan were DVI-D or DVI-I?

I would assume DVI-D on the output (and maybe even the input) but wanted to check just to be sure.
The inputs and outputs are both the same. The connectors are DVI-I connectors, but the signaling is DVI-D. The reason for the DVI-I connectors is to allow both types of DVI cabling to be used. If we had DVI-D connectors, then you couldn't plug a DVI-I cable/connector into the iScan HD.

- Dale Adams
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
06:25 AM Liked: 10
post #96 of 2943
12-23-2003 | Posts: 1,886
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Quote:
Originally posted by AK47
One more question, if I connect my PC to iScan HD's DVI input, will there be any image from the analog output?
Only if the PC output is SD resolution (i.e., 480p or 576p).

We've looked at providing a digital-to-analog passthrough functionality. We could do this fairly easily for one discrete configuration - RGBHV output.

The problem with other output formats is that a composite sync signal must be generated. This requires that we delay the video signal by the horizontal sync period, and takes a bit of hardware that we may or may not have. Unfortunately, without composite sync you can't really support YPbPr output since it has composite sync embedded on the Y signal. We are looking at adding this capability in a future software upgrade, but we can't promise anything right now.

- Dale Adams
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
07:07 AM Liked: 10
post #97 of 2943
12-23-2003 | Posts: 1,886
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Quote:
Originally posted by johnbm
I've been a satisfied iScan user since the summer of '99 when I took up the HT habit. While I have moved on to a HTPC as an alternate display choice, the new iScan scaler might make life simpler and as good or better for the rest of my clan. Will the new iScan HD provide for vertical and horizontal blanking as well as 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 image placement within a 1.33:1 frame (I have a 600x800 DLP display)?
The short answer is "yes".

Let me also provide a bit more information about how this all works on the iScan HD for those who may want more detail:

Input and output video formats on the iScan HD use the concept of a 'frame'. A frame has several defining characteristics:

1) Resolution
2) Aspect ratio
3) Active image area / aspect ratio

Resolution is simply the number of horizontal and vertical pixels in the image. Supported input resolutions on the iScan HD are 720x480 (480p) and 720x576 (576p). 480i and 576i are also supported, but are always deinterlaced to 480p and 576p. The input resolution is automatically sensed and set by the iScan. There is a wide variety of output resolutions supported, and the user can define his own if he wishes.

A frame's aspect ratio is the shape of the frame. Supported input frame aspect ratios are 4:3 and 16:9. (This isn't as limiting as it may sound. See the next paragraph.) Supported output aspect ratios are a bit more varied due to a wider universe of display types and aspect ratio modifying devices (e.g., anamorphic lenses), and the user can specify a custom aspect ratio if desired. A frame's aspect ratio combined with the frame's resolution defines the shape of the pixels within the frame.

The active image area of a frame is a sort of 'sub-frame' which has the same pixel shape as the frame but may utilize a subset of the frame's resolution. The active image area is typically defined as an aspect ratio type of value. Based on all three of these parameters, the iScan can determine the resolution and positioning of the active image area, and how to map the active area of the video input to the active area of the display.

For inputs there are 2 predefined active image areas: full-frame (i.e., the entire frame area) and letterbox (which is a vertically-centered, 3/4 height area within the frame). The user may also specify any other active image area / aspect ratio for the input by entering an aspect ratio value of the form 'X.XX:1', or by manually zooming/panning the input image.

The output active area works in a similar fashion. It essentially lets the user specify a subset of a display's active imaging area to use as the effective display area. For instance, if I have an 4:3 XGA projector which I want to project onto a 16:9 screen, I specify the output frame resolution as 1024x768, the output frame aspect ratio as 4:3 (because that's the shape of the projector's imaging element), and the output active image area as 16:9. This causes the iScan to produce XGA output timing but to map all video input data into a vertically-centered 1024x576 area of the display. The display's actual imaging element has unused areas above and below this 'active area', and the iScan will automatically fill these with black or blanking level (as the user chooses). A 16:9 input image will be scaled to fill the full 1024x576 active image area. A 4:3 full-frame input will be horizontally centered within this area, with the sides filled with black or gray bars (at the user's choosing).

Almost all of these automatic mappings can be overridden by the user. For instance, if a 4:3 letterbox input source does not have the widescreen image vertically centered within the 4:3 frame, the user can pan up to ensure that image pixels are not cropped off. Left/right and top/bottom gray/black bars can be repositioned to expose or cut off any desired portions of the image.

There are endless variations of all this. In practice, most users will probably find that the presets we provide will fill their needs. However, those users who need flexibility for their setup and/or who have a very non-standard configuration should be able to tailor the iScan HD's input-to-output mapping to suit their requirements.

- Dale Adams
StooMonster's Avatar StooMonster
08:02 AM Liked: 10
post #98 of 2943
12-23-2003 | Posts: 441
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I have been a fan, and champion of iScan Ultra since it's announcement, and have to say "hey Dale, this looks awesome"; some great new features.

I have some questions (also posted over at the UK's avforums.com), some here:[list=1][*]Have you fixed the slow motion judder on PAL material seen on iScan Ultra
[*]What's the colour bit depth of the iScan HD? Many plasmas there days are 30-bit but achieve that through their internal scaler, feeding a native resolution 24-bit image would not be good.
[*]Does the HD have test pattern generators (different resolutions vs refresh rates): geometries so I can "snap in" my plasma at native resolution? As every resolution vs refresh has it's own settings. Also, grey boxes on blacks would be great for ISF / greyscale calibration.
[*]Native resolutions, seen loads listed but not 1366x768, the resolution of my 50" plasma.
[*]Can you control Aspect Ratio with RS232 -- or even better a pin in -- as digital satellite in Europe has widescreen flag on Scart cables and could tell the iScan HD if material is 4:3 or 16:9 format.
[*]Overscan control: may here in UK would use iScan HD for digital satellite where each channel has different overscan; is this user controllable or configureable?
[*]Video games: does component passthrough support 480p@60fps as well as 480p@30fps? Many games these days (and some new camcorders) support 60 full progressive frames per second. How does the iScan HD handle this? I wanna play F-Zero on my GameCube at 480p@60Hz and not have to unplug any cables. :)
[*]DVI PAL: have you fixed so that output is 576p and not 572p (that most displays won't work with)?[/list=1]

Thanks!

StooMonster
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
09:08 AM Liked: 10
post #99 of 2943
12-23-2003 | Posts: 1,886
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Quote:
Originally posted by StooMonster
1. Have you fixed the slow motion judder on PAL material seen on iScan Ultra
We haven't been able to reproduce exactly this problem (which you've described elsewhere), so I can't be sure we've fixed it. However, we have identified an issue with the SiI504/MC504 deinterlacer/microcontroller combo, where there is a 1 frame difference between video and film processing modes. Film (3:2 or 2:2 pulldown) delay is 4 frames, while video processing has a 3-frame delay. Because of this, you can get a stutter in motion when the 504 transitions into and out of film lock. This would be most visible on a slow pan, so this may very well be what you're seeing.

This problem is fixed in the iScan HD. The solution requires an extra external frame buffer so we couldn't fix it in the Ultra.

Quote:
2. What's the colour bit depth of the iScan HD? Many plasmas there days are 30-bit but achieve that through their internal scaler, feeding a native resolution 24-bit image would not be good.
The bit depth varies depending on which aspect of the iScan's processing we're talking about. The video decoder has 10-bit 4X oversampling A/D converters. The SiI504 is only an 8-bit processor, however, so this somewhat reduces the effectiveness of the converters (although some benefits are retained).

The scaler processes data internally at whatever depth is required to maintain full numeric accuracy. Some portions the scaler data path are well over 10 bits. The output of the scaler to the DAC is 9 bits for both luma and chroma. The DAC itself is a 12-bit implementation. As long as you're using the analog output port you should get at least 9-bit accuracy. If you're using the DVI port, however, the resolution is reduced to 8 bits since that's all DVI can handle.

Quote:
3. Does the HD have test pattern generators (different resolutions vs refresh rates): geometries so I can "snap in" my plasma at native resolution? As every resolution vs refresh has it's own settings. Also, grey boxes on blacks would be great for ISF / greyscale calibration.
Yes. The test patterns are produced at the output resolution, so you can verify that you have 1:1 scaler-to-display mapping. We will be supporting a variety of output test patterns, but the initial shipment will likely only contain a few which are needed for matching the scaler output resolution/timing to the display. More will be available at a later date via a software download.

Quote:
4. Native resolutions, seen loads listed but not 1366x768, the resolution of my 50" plasma.
That is one of the included resolutions. Even if it were not, you can always define your own resolution or tweak one of the predefined ones.

Quote:
5. Can you control Aspect Ratio with RS232 -- or even better a pin in -- as digital satellite in Europe has widescreen flag on Scart cables and could tell the iScan HD if material is 4:3 or 16:9 format.
The iScan HD does allow RS-232 control of aspect ratio. There is no separate pin to do this, however. The iScan also supports RGBs input. I believe the video decoder we're using does detect widescreen signaling standard, so we may be able to offer this in the future as a means of automatic aspect ratio detection (at least in PAL countries).

Quote:
6. Overscan control: may here in UK would use iScan HD for digital satellite where each channel has different overscan; is this user controllable or configureable?
Yes. You can zoom, pan, and crop the input.

Quote:
7. Video games: does component passthrough support 480p@60fps as well as 480p@30fps? Many games these days (and some new camcorders) support 60 full progressive frames per second. How does the iScan HD handle this? I wanna play F-Zero on my GameCube at 480p@60Hz and not have to unplug any cables. :)
First of all, component passthrough is format agnostic. It doesn't care what you feed in - it just passes it through unchanged to the analog output.

Secondly, the iScan will accept and scale 480i, 576i, 480p, and 576p. This means that all the signals you mention above (although I'm not quite sure what 480p@30fps is) can be scaled to your plasma's native resolution by the iScan.

The iScan's component inputs also have an auto-passthrough mode for video formats which the iScan cannot process otherwise. If a component input signal is one of the formats which the iScan can process, it will. If it is in an HD format, for example, the iScan will automatically convert to passthrough mode. This is all on a single component input, so you should never need to move cables around. If you want, you can also manually force a component input into the passthrough mode.

Quote:
8. DVI PAL: have you fixed so that output is 576p and not 572p (that most displays won't work with)?
Yes. We've tracked this down to the way the SiI504's companion microcontroller programs the 504 deinterlacer. It chops off 2 lines from each incoming 576i field so there are only 572 output lines available in PAL/SECAM. We've fixed this for the iScan HD by reprogramming the SiI504. There are issues with a number of PAL video sources sending out fewer than 288 lines per field (which may be why the 504 was programmed that way in the first place), but the iScan HD's input cropping allows you to compensate for this.

- Dale Adams
StooMonster's Avatar StooMonster
09:22 AM Liked: 10
post #100 of 2943
12-23-2003 | Posts: 441
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Dale, thank you for your comprehensive and fast reply!

All the answers are what I wanted to hear, this sounds like a benchmark product and I really want one now! If there is a delay on UK shipping I may have to visit the US just to pick one up a.s.a.p. :)

StooMonster

PS: By 480p@30fps I mean as opposed to 480i with 60 interlaced fields per second, 480p with 30 progressive frames per second; and by 480p@60fps I mean 480p with 60 progressive frames per second.

PPS: If you need a beta-tester to see if you've resolved Issue#1 let me know. It is the most common complaint again iScan Ultra in UK and does put people off so is essential to ensure it's fixed to not lose potential sales.
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
09:42 AM Liked: 10
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12-23-2003 | Posts: 1,886
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Quote:
Originally posted by StooMonster
By 480p@30fps I mean as opposed to 480i with 60 interlaced fields per second, 480p with 30 progressive frames per second; and by 480p@60fps I mean 480p with 60 progressive frames per second.
So 480p@30fps is 480p with 2:2 pulldown from an original 30 FPS progressive source? If so, no problem - the iScan HD will handle this one just fine.

- Dale Adams
StooMonster's Avatar StooMonster
10:00 AM Liked: 10
post #102 of 2943
12-23-2003 | Posts: 441
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Thanks Dale, I think I've not made my question clear -- but I think you've answered it indirectly anyway!

I believe the video signal I am refering to -- 480 raster lines (full progressive frame) rendered at 60 frames per second by games console -- will be passed through iScan HD.

Not 2:2 pulldown, more 1:1 pulldown at 60Hz.

It's a rare output signal from a games console: 480p takes twice the rendering power of 480i, and 480p at 60fps takes twice as much again as 480p (or four times the power of 480i). But some (fast) games have this as a major feature (e.g. Nintendo's F-Zero), i.e. being both progressive and 60 frames per second.

StooMonster
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
10:11 AM Liked: 10
post #103 of 2943
12-23-2003 | Posts: 1,886
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Quote:
Originally posted by StooMonster
I believe the video signal I am refering to -- 480 raster lines (full progressive frame) rendered at 60 frames per second by games console -- will be passed through iScan HD.

Not 2:2 pulldown, more 1:1 pulldown at 60Hz.
Again, just to be absolutely clear - the iScan HD will not only be able to pass through this signal, it will be able to scale it to your chosen output resolution. As far as the iScan is concerned, one 480p signal is the same as any other, whether the content changes with every frame or it stays the same for some frames (as it would with 3:2 or 2:2 pulldown).

- Dale Adams
StooMonster's Avatar StooMonster
10:28 AM Liked: 10
post #104 of 2943
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Even better!

Thank you for indulging me with all these posts -- and when it's so near to the holidays too!

Seasons greetings and Happy New Year.

StooMonster
stubernaut's Avatar stubernaut
12:30 PM Liked: 10
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12-23-2003 | Posts: 59
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I must admit to being more familiar with the greek alphabet, than all of the various anagrams being thrown around on this thread. I'm just a dumb old couch potato, with a bare bones home theater, the backbone of which being my old RCA MM36110 monitor and Panny RP-56 DVD player.

So if somebody could just tell me that I can use the iScan HD Ultra to accept component or S-video from my DVD player and then watch it in 540p, 1080i or 800x600...I'll believe you, honest :) .

Side note to Dale Adams. - While reading this thread, I've been very impressed by your dedication, and helpfulness. If everyone at DVDO displays this kind of devotion to quality and customer service, I can see why they have achieved the legendary status confered by so many in this forum. Best possible luck with your new product.
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
01:59 PM Liked: 10
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Quote:
Originally posted by stubernaut
I must admit to being more familiar with the greek alphabet, than all of the various anagrams being thrown around on this thread. I'm just a dumb old couch potato, with a bare bones home theater, the backbone of which being my old RCA MM36110 monitor and Panny RP-56 DVD player.

So if somebody could just tell me that I can use the iScan HD Ultra to accept component or S-video from my DVD player and then watch it in 540p, 1080i or 800x600...I'll believe you, honest :) .
OK - You can use the iScan HD to take a component output (either interlaced or progressive) from your RP56, scale it to 540p, 1080i or SVGA, and then send it to your TV. This should work fine and should look pretty good.

Will it look significantly better than what you have right now? I don't know. As I recall, the RCA set you have does not have a built-in deinterlacer (or 'line-doubler'), and it has a higher resolution than 480p. Also, I think it has at least one VGA input connector and a component input, although I don't remember whether the latter takes a 480p signal (or higher) or not. Are you currently using the RP56's progressive output to your TV or are you using the interlaced output? If it's the interlaced output, then the iScanHD will make a big difference. If it's the progressive output, then the difference will be less, but the iScan should help to reduce any visible scan lines on the display (assuming that's a problem for you).

There are other potential benefits from the iScan HD, such as the ability to take a 16:9 image from your DVD player and scale it to fit your 4:3 TV. The iScan will almost certainly do a better job at this than your player does. (I'm assuming here that your TV doesn't have the ability to vertically compress a 16:9 output from your DVD player.)

- Dale Adams
Ed Weinman's Avatar Ed Weinman
03:29 PM Liked: 18
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12-23-2003 | Posts: 882
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Hi, Dale:

I have a Philips RP-HDTV (model 55PP9701 - widescreen), a Pioneer DV525 DVD player and the iScan Pro.

The connections are: component out from the Pioneer to the iScan Pro; and, VGA-to-VGA cable from the iScan Pro to the Philips.

How much of an improvement/increase in perceived picture clarity/information would I see by upgrading to the iScan HD and upconverting the image to 1080i? For example, the Two Towers looks, for the most part, excellent via my present set-up.
What could I expect by replacing the Pro with the HD?

Thanks in advance, Ed.
StooMonster's Avatar StooMonster
03:56 PM Liked: 10
post #108 of 2943
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dale Adams
The iScan HD does allow RS-232 control of aspect ratio. There is no separate pin to do this, however. The iScan also supports RGBs input. I believe the video decoder we're using does detect widescreen signaling standard, so we may be able to offer this in the future as a means of automatic aspect ratio detection (at least in PAL countries).
Oogh... as I am sure DVDO knows...

PAL line 23: Wide Screen Signalling (WSS)
Wide Screen Signalling (WSS) on line 23 of PAL's 625 lines, one of the vertical blanking interval lines, contains data of the correct aspect ratio for the content (4:3, 16:9, 14:9) at a low bit-rate (low enough even to even be captured on VCRs). The four bits (of fourteen bits) specify eight aspect ratio (4:3, 14:9, 16:9) / format (full, letterbox, anamorphic), full listing and detail here.

WSS is specified by ITU-R BT.1119 and ETSI EN 300 294, I also understand that a similar system has been developed (but don't know if used) for NTSC by EIA-J CPR-1204 and IEC 61880.

WSS is also used by DVD players to set pin 8 of scart to set televisions to correct ratio.

PAL line 11: Video Index Data (VID)
However, Video Index Data (VID) is also used in broadcast digital television, it is defined by SMPTE RP186 to encode programme and picture related source information in conjunction with a component digital video signal. The data is encoded in bit 2 of the chrominance signal (assuming a 10 bit signal where bit 0 is the lsb and bit 9 is the msb), on lines 11 and 324 for a 625 line signal, or lines 14 and 277 for a 525 line signal. It has been proposed that UK broadcasters will utilised some of the spare unused bits in the SMPTE RP186 standard to convey Active Format Descriptor (AFD). This AFD data will indicate how the picture should be treated / displayed; for example in a 4:3 frame you may have a 14:9 letter box. The source AR is therefore 4:3 and the AFD is 14:9. I'm unsure if this signal is passed out

Is this important?
For PAL market Aspect Ratio switching is much more than a nice to have feature, particularly in the UK where the broadcast system handles 16:9 and 4:3 programming.

If a DVDO iScan HD could handle correct aspect ratio switching from the flags in the video signals it would be a killer feature.

However, in the meantime if aspect ratios can be controlled via RS232 then emerging products such as this one would be a partial solution; assuming that DVDO will publish the RS232 control codes in the manuals.

StooMonster
VideoGrabber's Avatar VideoGrabber
05:06 PM Liked: 10
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Dale Adams responded to stubernaut:
> ...and scale it to fit your 4:3 TV. <

His RCA MM36110 monitor is a widescreen direct-view set.

- Tim
Jay Wilson's Avatar Jay Wilson
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Actually the MM series were 4:3 sets. That was the first generation of RCA's HD ready TVs from about 3-4 years ago.
VideoGrabber's Avatar VideoGrabber
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Well, I'll be darned. You're absolutely right. I must have been confusing it with the visually similar (but totally different) RCA F38xxx models, which really were 16:9 tubes.

Thanks for the correction, Jay, and my apologies, Dale.

- Tim
rogo's Avatar rogo
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"Side note to Dale Adams. - While reading this thread, I've been very impressed by your dedication, and helpfulness. "

I remember more than a decade ago a Dale Adams who was dedicated and helpful on the Apple Usenet groups in the pre-web era....
oferlaor's Avatar oferlaor
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Of course, the aspect ratio should be set as an option, there are many places where this is not in use (e.g., Israel...).

For those places, discrete aspect ratio access (with separate zooming, positioning and overscanning) is needed.
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
05:38 AM Liked: 10
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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
"Side note to Dale Adams. - While reading this thread, I've been very impressed by your dedication, and helpfulness. "

I remember more than a decade ago a Dale Adams who was dedicated and helpful on the Apple Usenet groups in the pre-web era....
Yep - that was me. I worked at Apple Computer for about 9-1/2 years. I designed the graphics subsystem for the first Quadra Macs (68040 processors), and helped design a number of other Macintosh computers. I left Apple about 6-1/2 years ago as one of the founders of DVDO. FWIW, the original DVDO founders were all at Apple.

- Dale Adams
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
05:42 AM Liked: 10
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Quote:
Originally posted by oferlaor
Of course, the aspect ratio should be set as an option, there are many places where this is not in use (e.g., Israel...).

For those places, discrete aspect ratio access (with separate zooming, positioning and overscanning) is needed.
Ofer, I agree completely. Automatic mechanisms are all well and good, but all too often they don't function the way the user would like or they fail under certain circumstances. The rain-sensing wipers on my car, for instance, work well much of the time, but sometimes I would just like to have a standard, intermittent wiper control (which, of course, isn't available if you have the rain-sensing wiper option).

In general, with the iScan HD, the automatic functions (e.g., CUE detection and correction) will be off by default. The user can choose to turn them on if he wishes. This same philosophy would almost certainly be applied to automatic aspect ratio sensing as well.

- Dale Adams
stubernaut's Avatar stubernaut
07:05 AM Liked: 10
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12-24-2003 | Posts: 59
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Dale,

Thank you. For a guy who was talking off the top of his head, you had the specs of my old TV down pretty cold.
In return, if you ever need any help with your golf swing let me know, because frankly...you need to get out more often. :D

Happy Holidays!!
Dale Adams's Avatar Dale Adams
07:48 AM Liked: 10
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Golf? What's golf?

:D :D
rgrossman's Avatar rgrossman
09:19 AM Liked: 10
post #118 of 2943
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It's where you take a stick and hit a ball and chase after it and keep hitting it until you get it in a hole. Then you take it out of the hole. (If you didn't want it in the hole why did you hit it there in the first place????)

Repeat ad nauseum.:D
wojtek's Avatar wojtek
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dale Adams
Yep - that was me. I worked at Apple Computer for about 9-1/2 years. I designed the graphics subsystem for the first Quadra Macs (68040 processors), and helped design a number of other Macintosh computers. I left Apple about 6-1/2 years ago as one of the founders of DVDO. FWIW, the original DVDO founders were all at Apple.

- Dale Adams
That is cool.

I am typing this on the Powermac 8100/100AV with a G3 Crescendo Card. I used it as a graphics workstation a few yeras back when I worked at Agfa. I know, I know - time to get a new Mac. But this one still works - mostly for Internet and MS Word/Excel now. Your Apple credentials make the iScan HD even more appealing to me - you guys know graphics.
SKoprowski's Avatar SKoprowski
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post #120 of 2943
12-24-2003 | Posts: 1,484
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Any price break or trade-in upgrades for current Iscan Ultra owners?

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