Next Weekend: First VP Shootout: Vantage-HD vs. VP50 vs. Crystalio II VPS3300 - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Well-- as the third person at the first shootout yesterday, I guess I should add my comments as well.

First -- thanks to Mark for hosting and the great snacks his wife made for us!

Second-- it was great to have Tom there as he's an ISF calibrator (an excellent one if you need someone in the VA/MD/DC area BTW)-- and as such lent an important methodical discipline and guide to our attempts to review the 4 processors.

Now -- my impressions. It is very, very, hard to evaluate these processors unless you can flip from one to the other almost instantly. As Tom said, the logistics in Mark's theater which were typical for any home setup didn't lend themselves to setting up all 4 processors and flipping between one to another with the touch of a switch.

Next-- the Crystalio had problems interfacing to the SDI input/analog output to Mark's setup. I reviewed the manual last night and there is no specific reason that it should have been as dark an image as it was. When I returned home I hooked the Crystalio into MY home theater setup (Tivo HD, HD-DVD, PElite DVD, HP MD6580 DLP, etc) and saw NO darkness problem when I inserted the HQV disk in the PElite DVD player set to output 480i over HDMI. ALL my home connections are HDMI right now. I will add two component in connections for my XBOX360 and Nintendo WII as soon as I get some RCA/BNC plug converters (Crystalio uses all BNC sockets) which I ordered from monoprice.com last night. So the problems with Mark's setup were NOT seen on my all digital setup. BTW-- the HP DLP takes 1080p60 for input.

I concur that even using the Crystalio on LOW for noise reduction still removes some of the sharpness. However, it does give it a more film-like look and the choice would certainly be in the eyes of the beholder.

I think it would be interesting to repeat the tests with the Lumagen Radiance in the setup. However I don't want to repeat on an analog setup (sorry Mark).

I want an all digital setup (perhaps the Sony Pearl or something better) next time. We also need a long table to setup ALL 4 processors at once, we need a 1x4 HDMI digital splitter to generate 4 equal HDMI streams into each processor and we need a 4x1 HDMI switch on the other side to quickly flip from one processor to the other. Having everything setup like in a lab is the only way to repeat this and not spend 90% of our time with the physical/wire movements. I have a switch but not a digital splitter that we could use. Unfortunately I don't have the space in my extra bedroom where my home theater is to accomodate the testing.

That's about it from here. I will say that all processors produced a nice image from the Superbit "The Fifth Element" DVD that was output over an SDI-interfaced Denon player. But that's not the test for dealing with "difficult" source material. And I was disappointed that we didn't have the time or energy to explore the HD-DVD player input.
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post #92 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 07:39 AM
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I feel better about the fact I didn't manage to do this before I got C2 now
It's obviously a really really difficult thing to do without huge amounts of time, patience and equipment.

Really really appreciate the effort though guys.
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post #93 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 07:49 AM
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I believe there's really only one test which which might be intended (partially) for motion-adaptive deinterlacing - it's the one which actually looks like a test pattern and has color bars, gray ramps, and some alternating black/white line patterns. And it's really only good for testing detection of no motion, as it's not a mixed motion/no-motion test pattern. (Some of the old Sage/Faroudja test disc clips are better for this.)

The Lumagen should do fine on this last test. What were your results for that pattern?

Dale:

As I recall, on this test the Lumagen did fine, as did all the others.

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post #94 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 08:11 AM
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I'm new here, so sorry that I jump in with a question which may be strange, but as a more "scientific" approach where limited by the cirumstances, could each of you just give a subjective opinion on which VP you would prefer after this test?

Personally I trust the gut feelings of an experienced user more then all laboratory tests together.
Thanks
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post #95 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanottt View Post

I'm new here, so sorry that I jump in with a question which may be strange, but as a more "scientific" approach where limited by the cirumstances, could each of you just give a subjective opinion on which VP you would prefer after this test?

Personally I trust the gut feelings of an experienced user more then all laboratory tests together.
Thanks
Stefano

Hi-- I've owned the Vantage-HD for about 5 months, then the VP50 for a few days, and just go the Crystalio II. Its a little soon to pass judgement. I would say that the Vantage produced an outstanding picture on both 480i and 1080i sources-- but was fraught with constant firmware problems. Every time Calibre fixed something, something else "broke." I could never get all my sources working properly at the same time. My conclusion was that the Realta was a great processor that was virtually unprogrammable to the size or quality of the Calibre programming staff. And this may hold true for other companies producing Realta-based systems. They are just too hard for the end-vendor to program. I think Lumagen made an excellent decision to disgard the Realta for a VXP processsor in the upcoming Radiance product. No matter how great a processor is-- if you can't fix/expand/enhance its capabilities with a reasonable amount of man-months its not worth using it in your product.

I worry that the VP50 with is FPGA's may also be in the same boat. Mapping new algorithms (especially with Dale gone) onto their hardware may prove to be extremely complex-- leaving most of the upgrade potential and processing power of these devices essentially left untapped over their lifetime. And considering how complex it must be to debug-- heaven help them if their is a bug in the firmware.

For the couple of days I had the VP50-- I thought it produced an excellent picture from 480i HDMI output of my DVD player. I didn't really test it on 1080i material as it had a hardware flaw in some of its inputs and I wasn anxious to pack it up and exchange it for another. I found DVDO's customer service was OVERrated by alot of folks in this newsgroup. I waited over a week for an RMA so that I could ship it back and still hadn't gotten a replacement for over a month. I then decided to move onto the Crystalio II.

Since I've only hooked it up last night to my theater-- I'm going to need some days to evaluate it. I find the menu/user interface to be the best of all the processors but the proof is in the image. I did use it to deinterlace 1080i/60 recorded on my HD Tivo last night and the image was excellent. I also liked the image it produced from my Tosh HD-DVD player (Mission Impossible III). However the CII is reporting via its test screens that I'm not getting 1:1 pixel presentation on my HP MD6580 DLP set and this I need to explore before I can really test its quality. The question is - does it produce a picture worth the 30-40% price differential over the Calibre Vantage-HD??

I've post further subjective comments next week. Relatives are coming in for Thanksgiving and they want to watch tv not watch test patterns!
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post #96 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorelevitt View Post

Hi-- I've owned the Vantage-HD for about 5 months, then the VP50 for a few days, and just go the Crystalio II. Its a little soon to pass judgement. I would say that the Vantage produced an outstanding picture on both 480i and 1080i sources-- but was fraught with constant firmware problems. Every time Calibre fixed something, something else "broke." I could never get all my sources working properly at the same time. My conclusion was that the Realta was a great processor that was virtually unprogrammable to the size or quality of the Calibre programming staff. And this may hold true for other companies producing Realta-based systems. They are just too hard for the end-vendor to program. I think Lumagen made an excellent decision to disgard the Realta for a VXP processsor in the upcoming Radiance product. No matter how great a processor is-- if you can't fix/expand/enhance its capabilities with a reasonable amount of man-months its not worth using it in your product.

[...]

Thank you for your report but calibre has delivered a very good firmware with 123A which is the last in date. No regression appears and picture is very good. In fact it is the best version until now.

I think that next firmware for vantage HD will be a great version.

Regards
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I'm french .... sorry for my english
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post #97 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 09:02 AM
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Hahaha, so your relatives don't want to see test-patterns? And I thought all the time that test-patterns where made also to free the home from undesired friends and relatives.)

Thank you for you extended describtion. Debugging may be the real criteria how to select today an electronic device, but this info we will hardly get anyway. But to stay in the argument, the other day I went to read the PixelMagic forum, and it seems they also had a lot of problems with the last update 1.24 and apparently many users requested the older version back.

Currently I'm struggling between the Vantage and the Crystalio. Unfortunately in Italy when you don't like a product you cannot just send it back, so the decision making is harder.
So I wait for newer input after your relatives are gone, thanks
Stefano
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post #98 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alex_t View Post

Thank you for your report but calibre has delivered a very good firmware with 123A which is the last in date. No regression appears and picture is very good. In fact it is the best version until now.

I think that next firmware for vantage HD will be a great version.

Regards
alex_t


Alex-- I for one will APPLAUD Calibre if they have finally got their act together and fixed their software team's QA problems. As I said-- their unit produces and outstanding picture for both 480i and 1080i sources. If the operating system is free from gliches-- its a great product that I would recommend highly to anyone.

[BTW-- I still believe that that the Realta chip itself is a nightmare to program and no one has shown otherwise. The software development toolset that Gennum produces for the VXP processor is very user friendly. Does anyone want to show some screen shots of the development tool kit for the Realta???]
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post #99 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 10:36 AM
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You guys are my heros. That has to be a pain in the butt, but you guys do it any way. There should be some Knighthood award for the work that you are doing.

My question is regarding a Plasma Display (i.e. Pioneer Elite Pro-1140HD). Will these processors have the same effect on a Plasma as it does on your projectors?
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post #100 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 02:53 PM
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Our test PJ accepted only RGBHV and had only one input

A nice start guys - but dont give up on the testing using the Marquee. I agree that the HDMI testing is seen as more relevant to 95% of users, but as Mark already mentioned the CRT gives a transparency that a digital panel cannot achieve at all the different resolutions, making comparisons amongst the processors easier to see.

So , why not get yourself a high quality RGBHV switch so that you can swap the video processors over at the touch of a button? If all the output timings are set identically from the video processors then again it should result on the closest, most controlled environment for comparisons.

Oh yes and re the Marquee and C2 issue, did you have known good resolutions set up in the C2 for it? If you need some example settings then I can send them to you , just drop me a PM.

keep up the good work

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post #101 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 03:08 PM
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I hope you do this again once the Radiance is released from Lumagen - as that processor seems more in the league with the others you've tested.

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post #102 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Pluggedin View Post

A nice start guys - but dont give up on the testing using the Marquee. I agree that the HDMI testing is seen as more relevant to 95% of users, but as Mark already mentioned the CRT gives a transparency that a digital panel cannot achieve at all the different resolutions, making comparisons amongst the processors easier to see.

So , why not get yourself a high quality RGBHV switch so that you can swap the video processors over at the touch of a button? If all the output timings are set identically from the video processors then again it should result on the closest, most controlled environment for comparisons.

Oh yes and re the Marquee and C2 issue, did you have known good resolutions set up in the C2 for it? If you need some example settings then I can send them to you , just drop me a PM.

keep up the good work

As an all HDMI user, its just not worth the time and effort for me to do analog testing. There is too much variability in having to reset the phase and sizing of the image when you shift from one processor to another. This would NOT provide an instantaneous shift but would require still a number of minutes of eyeball adjustments to the projector. With a 1920 x 1080p fixed pixel display accepting HDMI 1080p, we could shift instantly from one processor to another.
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post #103 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 06:25 PM
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I will keep using the Marquee for my testing. I have access to a boat load of bulb projectors too but I insist on evaluating a stand alone processor without going into a projector or plasma that has a built in processor.

I warned everyone that the various test discs really don't mean much. It is so easy to score using one but the results for the most part are meaningless. If you a diagonnel filtering etc, you won't see jaggies except on the low angle of the rotor. What does it mean if one rotor gets to 14 degrees befor jaggies and the other 12. How can you tell exactly where. What does it mean. Certainly if a rotor has jaggies high it is not as good as one with much lower.
But if no diagonal filtering, there will be jaggies and one does not need a test to know it. Your picture will have em.

Different weird cadence tests. Not relevant unless you are going to use weird cadences. Anamine, games, not for me but certainly for others. Dig Vid cams, by all means run the test.

Bottom line. Play video and film, report the results. This takes time.

I will borrow a component switcher.

When an unbiased test disc comes out, I will use it.

The real test is watching video and film.

All did well on the film tests on the Silicon Optix test discs.

Personally, I want a processor with various noise reduction capabilities and detail enhancement. With NR, you will lose some detail and sharpness but the price is right when the screen is filled with noise. Any one characteristic, such as sharpness you could pick a winner. But PQ is a function of many things including getting ride of noise in the sky and in dark portions of the pictures and getting rid of mosquito noise when needed.



Last night I watched video 480i and 1080i using the VP 50. Very very few artifacts. Quite enjoyable.

Tonight I'll give the Lumagen a try but since the game is in 720p, I will mostly be testing its scaling to 1080p. I will try some 1080i on it later tonight. My tests like last night, all video. No film.

Lots of stuff to play with the Crystalio. Different types of NR and different settings. A fiddeler's dream come true compared to the VP 50.

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post #104 of 209 Old 11-20-2006, 06:28 PM
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Climbing this mountain can't be done in one day. It won't be easy either. Also HDMI must be tested too.

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post #105 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 03:45 AM
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we all gotta pitch in and convince mark to get a good matrix switcher for future shootouts...

I'm really dissapointed, I was looking forward to:
1. 1080i deinterlacing comparison (which we haven't had so far from anyone)
2. Like Dale says and I agree, reliance on artificial test material is too problematic these days as it is tuned to give good results with very specific algorithms (or algorithm families). I now test mostly with a homemade DVD that I call the "Ofer torture test" and holds almost every PAL (no access to NTSC at all) sequence that has ever given me problems on any processor. Each time I add one test to the list as I route my TV viewing through my PVR...

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post #106 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 05:34 AM
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Hi lorelevitt,

Quote:


There is too much variability in having to reset the phase and sizing of the image when you shift from one processor to another. This would NOT provide an instantaneous shift but would require still a number of minutes of eyeball adjustments to the projector

I feel your pain

If the processors are all outputting *identical* signals however, then this should not be an issue, other than a brief resync for a second or so as the signal gets swapped over - no worse than HDMI. As Mark says, doing these tests with digital projectors means that you are testing not just the video processor itself, but the interaction between the standalone video processor, and the internal video processing in the digital display. This makes the test results less valid , as different digital displays of course have different internal video processing. Of course if the digital display being used happens to be the one that you already own (or are planing to buy!) then this is a good thing, but can you imagine the sheer number of source devices x viewing material x video processor x digital display x refresh rate/resolution combinations there would be

Mark, if you can get a high quality , high bandwidth RGBHV switch then you should be all set. Ofer, how about sending a copy of your test disc - it could become the official standard for video processing testing (much more useful than discs full of cadences that are hardly ever used!), and as a result a much more fair and meaningful test. If you want we can put it up on an ftp site..

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post #107 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 06:02 AM
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David,

Wouldn't Ofer's test DVD be PAL?

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post #108 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 06:20 AM
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Yes. He said it was pal. And I said earlier that I would get a component matrix switcher. I suspect I can get one for free or on loan from Key Digital when they learn its purpose.

I am sorry for the disappontment but I knew that the first session would be a shakedown.

Since the Crystalio does not output 1080p over component but does over RGBHV, it might be better to matrix RGBHV instead of component. After all, matrixing component meant using my MP5 to transcode component to RGBHV.

I was at my store until late last evening and didn't get a chance to turn on my HT.

Paying bills. Between Fri and Monday, about 30 came in.

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post #109 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 06:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post

Since the Crystalio does not output 1080p over component but does over RGBHV, it might be better to matrix RGBHV instead of component. After all, matrixing component meant using my MP5 to transcode component to RGBHV.

Yes, not to mention that standard 1080p timings are probably less than optimal for your PJ.
Do all of these VPs allow complete control over the RGBHV output resolution timings so that you can enter the same figures in each?
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post #110 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 08:09 AM
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reliance on artificial test material is too problematic these days as it is tuned to give good results with very specific algorithms (or algorithm families).

I saw no evidence of this.

The HQV disc revealed superior performance coming from the VXP processor and the DVDO processor relative to the HQV processor on some of the tests. In particular, both did a little better than the HQV unit on the rotating bar jaggies tests. The HQV processor did better on the noise reduction test. With regards to the remaining tests, they seemed to perform about the same.

If the claim is that the HQV tests somehow skew results in favor of the HQV processor, I'd like to see some real evidence of this. BTW, the test disc that DVDO provides with the VP50 contains many of the same tests!

The real problem with using a test disc is not bias but relevance. What I wanted to do, but which we did not have time to complete, was real-world comparisons with actual SD and HD video and film program material. I'd like to see whether a processor's ability to perform better on a benchmark test is clearly reflected in real world improvements in picture quality.

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post #111 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 08:25 AM
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The rotatimg bar is I think an unbised way to test for diag filtering and to what low angle the filtering alg and number crunching will work. The relevance of a few degrees difference in angle is probably none re world world viewing. However, the difference in algs will show up on how smoot the lines become. But once again relatively small differences. if a processor does do diag whatever, it will look pretty pooron this test as well as it will have jaggies on many video edges.

the cadences on the HQV disc are designed to match the cadences in the Realta. Of course the test is useful for determining if the other processors handle those cadences.

I'm sorry but the disc is set up for tests that the Realta will pass.
this does not mean other processors won't do as well on some of the tests.

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post #112 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 08:40 AM
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The cadences are standard cadences used by variety imaging technologies unrelated to the Realta chip. Again, I'd prefer some evidence over mere assertion.

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post #113 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 01:06 PM
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Actually I have done extensive 1080i deinterlacing comparisons between the VPs... And of course using the HDMI ins and outs...

Search or copy and paste-> Joe Rod Home Theater .Com <-to check out my latest Reviews.

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post #114 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 02:27 PM
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And? You big tease!

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post #115 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 04:24 PM
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I believe joerod is referring to the thread he started.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=746512

He is a big fan of the Crystalio.

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post #116 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 06:06 PM
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My opinions though are 100% unbiased. I use what I like best and quite frankly the crystalio II is the best on the market... It just has the total package...

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post #117 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 06:09 PM
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I saw no evidence of this.

If the claim is that the HQV tests somehow skew results in favor of the HQV processor, I'd like to see some real evidence of this.

Are you really that naive? The evidence is pretty apparent to me. HQV fails a lot of tests on the VRS DVD but passes almost all of them on the HQV DVD. The VP50 passes almost all of the test on the VRS DVD but fails some on the HQV DVD. Why? Hmmm...what a mystery. Lets see could it be because both companies want their processing to look its best and their respective marketing departments made sure that was the case when these DVDs were made?

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The real problem with using a test disc is not bias but relevance. What I wanted to do, but which we did not have time to complete, was real-world comparisons with actual SD and HD video and film program material. I'd like to see whether a processor's ability to perform better on a benchmark test is clearly reflected in real world improvements in picture quality.

Agreed. Now you're talking. Yes, that would be the ultimate since nobody sits around watching test patterns....well, then again this crowd just might.

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post #118 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 06:12 PM
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The cadences are standard cadences used by variety imaging technologies unrelated to the Realta chip. Again, I'd prefer some evidence over mere assertion.

OK, watch the hockey test scene on the VRS DVD with your HQV processor. It falls short of the VP50 and DCDi by a mile. Interesting that the HQV DVD doesn't have a hockey test scene on it though, isn't it? That is because the HQV marketing types knew their low angle processing wasn't as good as DCDi at the time they made that DVD.

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post #119 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 07:43 PM
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The VP50 passes almost all of the test on the VRS DVD but fails some on the HQV DVD.

This claim may or may not be true, but it is completely irrelevant to my post. The VP50 passed ALL of the tests on the HQV disc, except noise reduction. In fact, it performed somewhat better on the rotating bar jaggies test than the Realta processor. That it failed noise reduction is not terribly surprising, since the VP50 contains no noise reduction technology.

I asked for evidence "that the HQV tests somehow skew results in favor of the HQV processor." Your responded with name-calling and irrelevant comments about the VRS DVD, a disc about which I offered no opinion. Very helpful.

We looked at the DVDO-supplied disc briefly, but rather quickly determined that the HQV disc was a better tool for the test. Since the results from using it did NOT show the Realta processor was the clear winner, but rather revealed a variety of strengths and weaknesses of the 4 units, I am confident we made the right choice.

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post #120 of 209 Old 11-21-2006, 07:43 PM
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Exactly. Each test by itself has some validity and maybe some relevance, then again maybe not.

Sure as fecal matter, each company's test disc contains a collection of tests chosen to make its chip look good. Its the sum that's biased, not each test.

Ah relevancy. If a processor doesn't have NR, all noise reduction tests are irrelevant.

I am not going to participate in this argument. Dale is an expert and he says both discs are biased. Ofer is an expert, he says the HQV disc is biased. I am just an idiot, prone to mistakes in an area I love but do not completely understand. But logic is logic.

I like Tom and Lore, both good guys. But I disagree with Tom on this.

I have a great microscope, my FP CRT which contains no processing. Testing because of timing issues will not be easy. But hell during a HDTV broadcast with commercials, the phase shifts. I adjust when I change channels and go own. It ain't that big of deal.

I have conclusions but we have a mixture of apples and oranges. I want a processor with the best video algs for normal video cadences. I want NR and detail enhancement. Chips keep getting better. I can hardly wait to get a processor with the new Gennum chip, the Radiance and maybe the next Crystalio. I like all the tweaks on the present Crystalio. But its algs are already somewhat obsolete. The VP50 needs NR and detail enhancement to be competitive with what will come soon. They will come because the boys at ABT are shrewd. They want a big piece of the chip market and won't get it with MNR, general NR, detail enhancement etc.

And guess what, many projectors will be incorporating the latest chips. The real market for new processors will be front and rear sets without the latest, and me and the other CRT boys.

The Realta chip has proven to be difficult to work with by those who have used it. However, don't expect them to so state because their NR and license agreements prevent them from so saying. But I bet those companies with processors incorporating that chip rue the day they decided to do so. Not because the chip is bad, it is just a bitch to bring to market. And duh that market is small and limited. Looks like a money loser to me.

A processor manufacturer must monitor the problems its customers are having and make fixes almost on a continual basis. Lumagen has done a great job at doing this and continually adding features its customers want. It is not in the chip selling business. It is in the processor business. So is Pixel Magic. It chose to wait to bring out its product. It does a lot and doesn't have a lot of bugs. However it is expensive and the chips it uses are almost obsolete. The ability to plug in a new job as the chip manufacturers keep making their stuff better. Lumagen's strategy is very smart here. I expect Nelson at Pixel Magic, a great guy by the way, will follow suit.

The people using the Realta, Algolith and Calibre and a few others, have a tough row to hoe. It is not easy to keep adding things and very substantial investments have been required to get them where they are now. Improvements have been and I suspect will be slow. Calibre has pretty much announced they are about done. I bet they are sorry they ever undertook the project. it ain't gonna be a money maker.

I know most of the major manufacturers rather well. And I like all of them. I am routing for all of them because they bring products to market that I really enjoy and make my HT better. I will do anything I can reasonably to help them. But when I see what I think is marketing ********, I will point it out. My testing will continue. All present products are good. They could and for the most part will be better.

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