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Scaling a DVL-91 LD/DVD to 1080p projector - suggestions?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
So it will soon be time to dust off my old Pioneer Elite DVL-91 LD/DVD combo player and incorporate it into my new home theatre system. I'm not 100% on the projector yet but its likely going to be a JVC IDLA 1080p unit.

2 questions:

First, aside from those popular lungmen (or whatever scalers - I don't see any available online) what is a good above average ($500-$1000) scaler I can get to clean/sharpen up my NTSC LD signal to 1080p and send to projector via HDMI? (or would someone recommend a different output connection?)

Seondly, I've read some posts suggesting my DVL-91 combo player does not contain very good LD guts inside it. I've looked at her specs and I don't believe it has a 3D comb filter. Some posts advised NOT using the S-video output on such players and actually using the Composite video out to send to external processors or scalers. Again, any recommendations would be much appreciated.

I have quite a large collection of LD's which I don't ever plan to replace. Right now anytime I haul my honking DVL-91 upstairs and connect it to my 46" XBR4 LCD via S-video the picture looks terrible. Lots of what I'd describe as blocking or squares appearing in the greyscale. I obviously do what I can to adjust with TV setting. The XBR4's DRC mode (and adjustable pallet) actually does a noticable job of sharpening the image, however it introduces a lot of noise which even the NR filters can't seem to deal with regardless of setting. I actually leave the DRC mode OFF and increase sharpness level to 70+ and find it gives me the most pleasant picture (rather soft but cinema like). But even still, much blocking/squaring remains evident.

***I realise it also doesn't help that I'm taking a native 4:3 output with 1.85 or 2.35 letterbox/widescreen (black bars) and using the ZOOM feature to properly fill a 16:9 screen. I don't suppose there is any processor/scaler technology out there that will take a 4:3 native LD picture with the actual material in a letterbox or WS format (with black bars) and properly format that for a 16:9 screen? (so as to avoid having to use the TV or projectors zoom functions - or is that too rocket science or crazy expensive?)
post #2 of 36
Thread Starter 
I compared the picture from my LD on my XBR4 today between S-video and Composite. Not a HUGE difference but the S-video is clearly better. I'd imagine I'll be using that output to connect to a scaler/processor.

At the same time I started to play with the LD's DNR settings and found when I turned it off, the picture to the XBR was good enough to use the TV's DRC function (BTW this was Sony's internal adjustable processor on these Tvs). I also turned off the LD's "Cinema" mode which I had set some 6 or 7 years ago and forgot about. What I'm viewing now is a decent image and something I can actually watch without being completely disgusted anytime the scene switches from bright to dark... it still sucks thought :S

So it seems the logic of bypassing as many of the LD's internal filters and letting my XBR's modern internal processor do the all work has greatly helped. Question now is what aftermarket scaler/processor out there for $500-1k will do a better job than most current video processors in HD displays? (and projectors).
post #3 of 36
Cheap version: I would look for an older, digital receiver that has also digital video upconversion. That would solve the DTS sound too.
Your Sony TV probably has a similar setup (or better) too for upconversion, but I am not sure about a projector.

That should be better IMO than what is inside the LD player.
Sure, you can spend much more for a full-blown video processor.
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 
If I was to be getting a new(er) receiver then yes I'd run it through the switching and upscaling processor of the amp. Some may laugh but I'm actually looking forward to dusting off my ancient battle axe of an A/V amp and using that to power my home theatre (if I'm talking about LD's you can imagine what type of receiver I have to run along side it).

Since I need/want more video switching inputs I figure I might as well put in for a decent scaler/processor as I have a few legacy components plus modern ones to run.

Interesting about the s-video. I also have an S-VHS player with S-video out that my wife has convinced me to keep for all her disney VHS tapes (even though we'll soon have 150+ titles to view though boxee box). Does the same logic apply to the S-VHS player that it would be better off to feed a scaler via Composite video output rather than S-video? I know the S-video looked better from the LD to my LCD tv.


SO... anyone have suggestions on a good scaler/processor? Are the Altona scalers all crap or what? Should I just get the 2-3 year old DVDO edge? I don't mind paying a bit more for something that is decent.
post #5 of 36
Invest the dollars in a better player, you get much more result form that!
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jantje112 View Post

Invest the dollars in a better player, you get much more result form that!

Really no need to state the obvious... anything new i buy or stream is and will continue to be HD content. But I have no desire to replace my LD collection. Call me nostalgic. That's why I'm prepared to spend some dough on a video switcher & scaler.
post #7 of 36
I think he's saying to buy a better LD player. I don't agree. Your player is fine. The best LD players that Pioneer made will offer a slightly better picture but they also come with a huge price tag. Not worth it in my opinion. stuckin96, you have the right idea about improving your LD picture. Get a high quality video scaler. I have my DVL-90 hooked up via s-video to a DVDO-EDGE. I am outputting at 1080p 24hz to a Optima HD33 projector on a 92" screen. I watched Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace the other night with the LD's AC3 audio and was blown away, especially with the audio. The picture was a little noisy (it's analogue LD after all) but for the most part I was very satisfied with the picture and shocked at how good the audio was. Like you I get very nostalgic and love old technology. I also have a JVC HM-DH40000U DVHS-VCR and a Toshiba HD-A3 HD-DVD player in my system.
post #8 of 36
Read "Watching Laserdiscs in the Digital Age" for a good overview of how to get good LD performance on a modern digital display.

I'd still recommend upgrading your LD player though. I've had a CLD-D604 (the LD insides of the DVL series are supposed to be based on the CLD-D60x series) and a CLD-D703 and I can tell you I saw a much bigger improvement in switching players than I did with switching scalers. The biggest difference is clarity I'd say. The CLD-D70x series will likely give you a sharper and less noisy image than your DVL-91. Personally, I'd recommend the CLD-D704, it isn't elite (but both the CLD-D79 and CLD-D99 are largely based on the CLD-D704), but it should give you all the same LD features as your DVL-91 (including AC-3) and I remember Kurtis (krbahr) at one time saying he was selling one for something like $250.

Also, yes, only use the composite output on a LD player. The thread "Best comb filter EVER? C2? Holo? Entech? Put on your gloves!" has good information on comb filters.

As for scalers, I've had great luck with the DVDO series personally (my iScan HD will do all the reformatting you were asking about), but from what I hear a Lumagen would probably be better.

(sorry I had to post titles instead of links, I really only lurk here, so my post count is too low to post links)
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by naiaru View Post

Read "Watching Laserdiscs in the Digital Age" for a good overview of how to get good LD performance on a modern digital display.

I'd still recommend upgrading your LD player though. I've had a CLD-D604 (the LD insides of the DVL series are supposed to be based on the CLD-D60x series) and a CLD-D703 and I can tell you I saw a much bigger improvement in switching players than I did with switching scalers. The biggest difference is clarity I'd say. The CLD-D70x series will likely give you a sharper and less noisy image than your DVL-91. Personally, I'd recommend the CLD-D704, it isn't elite (but both the CLD-D79 and CLD-D99 are largely based on the CLD-D704), but it should give you all the same LD features as your DVL-91 (including AC-3) and I remember Kurtis (krbahr) at one time saying he was selling one for something like $250.

Also, yes, only use the composite output on a LD player. The thread "Best comb filter EVER? C2? Holo? Entech? Put on your gloves!" has good information on comb filters.

As for scalers, I've had great luck with the DVDO series personally (my iScan HD will do all the reformatting you were asking about), but from what I hear a Lumagen would probably be better.

(sorry I had to post titles instead of links, I really only lurk here, so my post count is too low to post links)

Any idea how my DVL-90 compares and what it is based on? You might be right about composite being superior to s-video. I have had my player hooked up to my DVDO Edge via s-video since getting it off E-bay about a year ago. Never tested the composite connection but I just ordered a high quality composite cable and will be making my comparisons as soon as it arrives.
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlbsyst View Post

Any idea how my DVL-90 compares and what it is based on? You might be right about composite being superior to s-video. I have had my player hooked up to my DVDO Edge via s-video since getting it off E-bay about a year ago. Never tested the composite connection but I just ordered a high quality composite cable and will be making my comparisons as soon as it arrives.

The DVDO line of scalers are great except for their subpar comb filters. If you go to the end of that thread about comb filters I mentioned earlier, you'll see that people have been getting great results with a variety of DVD recorders. So my advise is to test anything that will take composite and output in some Y/C or better format and see which has the best comb filter. You can test for your comb filter's ability using the Snell & Wilcox pattern on Video Essentials (which you will need to calibrate towards LD, which requires different settings than DVDs do).

Also, from what I understand, the DVL-90 and DVL-91 differ only in the DVD section (I think the DVL-91 added component outputs and DTS decoding)
post #11 of 36
"The DVDO line of scalers are great except for their subpar comb filters."

According to their literature, it's supposed to have a 3D comb filter?
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlbsyst View Post

"The DVDO line of scalers are great except for their subpar comb filters."

According to their literature, it's supposed to have a 3D comb filter?

3D comb filters can vary in performance.
Also, 3D comb filtering is only used for stills. For motion, 3D comb filters revert to 2D.
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by naiaru View Post

3D comb filters can vary in performance.
Also, 3D comb filtering is only used for stills. For motion, 3D comb filters revert to 2D.

Well now I'm confused. According to the article "Watching Laserdiscs in the Digital Age" that you had me read, the very best LD players that Pioneer made have 3D comb filters. Did these revert to 2D also? Also being that the DVDO Edge is such a high end scaler why would they skimp on its comb filtering? Please advise.
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlbsyst View Post

Well now I'm confused. According to the article "Watching Laserdiscs in the Digital Age" that you had me read, the very best LD players that Pioneer made have 3D comb filters. Did these revert to 2D also? Also being that the DVDO Edge is such a high end scaler why would they skimp on its comb filtering? Please advise.

Yes, all 3D comb filters have to revert to 2D processing for motion scenes. (See Stacey Spears' review of the Faroudja VP-100 (scroll down to "What about 3D?"))

They likely didn't bother with a good comb filter, because few people would be using the Edge for LaserDisc in this day and age.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by naiaru View Post

Yes, all 3D comb filters have to revert to 2D processing for motion scenes. (See Stacey Spears' review of the Faroudja VP-100 (scroll down to "What about 3D?"))

They likely didn't bother with a good comb filter, because few people would be using the Edge for LaserDisc in this day and age.

Makes sense about the comb filter but I'm not convinced that the comb filter in my Edge is sub-par. So far I have been blown away with the capabilities of this scaler. I am watching Terra Nova at 720P 60hz scaled to 1080P 24hz and it looks amazing on my projector. I would challenge any one to tell that it wasn't native 1080P. My composite cable has shipped and will be here before the end of the week. I will be doing some serious testing after it arrives and will let you know how the comb filter fares.
post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlbsyst View Post

Makes sense about the comb filter but I'm not convinced that the comb filter in my Edge is sub-par. So far I have been blown away with the capabilities of this scaler. I am watching Terra Nova at 720P 60hz scaled to 1080P 24hz and it looks amazing on my projector. I would challenge any one to tell that it wasn't native 1080P. My composite cable has shipped and will be here before the end of the week. I will be doing some serious testing after it arrives and will let you know how the comb filter fares.

The comb filter affects only the separation of colors from a composite source, it's unrelated to resolution or frame rate (though a unit acting as a comb filter can negatively affect other aspects, Y/C separation is the only inherent feature of a comb filter).

The DVDO line is well known for their under-performing comb filters:
See here
And here
And here
And here
And so on
post #17 of 36
Thanks for the links. Looks like I will get a Panasonic DMR-ES15 or better Have a good night. I'm hitting the sack.
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlbsyst View Post

Well now I'm confused. According to the article "Watching Laserdiscs in the Digital Age" that you had me read, the very best LD players that Pioneer made have 3D comb filters. Did these revert to 2D also? Also being that the DVDO Edge is such a high end scaler why would they skimp on its comb filtering? Please advise.

I wrote that article. It's a bit out of date.

In the years since, I've had pretty much terrible experience with 3D comb filters when connected to a modern digital display. They cause an artifact known as "checkerboarding" that causes solid colors to break up into a blocky pattern during motion. The only way to avoid this is to turn off the 3D processing or use the Composite output. When the frame is static, the colors are more vibrant than a 2D filter, but the checkerboarding is so problematic that a good 2D filter is better overall.

The "DVL" combi players are mediocre at both LD and DVD. You'd do better with a high-end LD only player.
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

I wrote that article. It's a bit out of date.

In the years since, I've had pretty much terrible experience with 3D comb filters when connected to a modern digital display. They cause an artifact known as "checkerboarding" that causes solid colors to break up into a blocky pattern during motion. The only way to avoid this is to turn off the 3D processing or use the Composite output. When the frame is static, the colors are more vibrant than a 2D filter, but the checkerboarding is so problematic that a good 2D filter is better overall.

The "DVL" combi players are mediocre at both LD and DVD. You'd do better with a high-end LD only player.

Well, one of these days I am hoping to get a CLD-D704 but right now I have a DVL-90 and I'm trying to make the best of it. Thanks for the info.
post #20 of 36
Thread Starter 
Glad to see such a good discussion

A few of the suggested articles I had read before and I found more interesting stuff in the others. All the suggestions are appreciated. I will definitely search for a copy of video essentials.

With regards to upgrading my LD, I accept the logic (performance vs. price) but the minute I change my LD player I know I will change my receiver and then start using my LD's as Frisbees. I have sentimental reasons for hanging on to my current equipment.

Its interesting how everyone has said to use composite video out - I'll certainly try/compare when the time comes, but as stated the s-video looks better right now on my XBR4.

I've decided to pick up and try a DVDO scaller/processor. Is the "Edge" the most current or popular model to get? (is iScan a DVDO product?).

Finally, I wanted to ask if anyone would recommend running the LD out to a DVD burner (to utilize comb filter) and then output to a scaler such as the DVDO stuff - or would you not have to bother if using a DVDO unit?
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlbsyst View Post

Well, one of these days I am hoping to get a CLD-D704 but right now I have a DVL-90 and I'm trying to make the best of it. Thanks for the info.

LD players are highly variable in quality from one model to another, much more so than DVD players.

The D704 is a better machine than the DVL-90. It should have a sharper and less noisy picture. However, it's still prone to the CLV white smearing artifact that plagues almost all LD players. The expensive HLD-X9 is the only player I've ever used that is completely free of this. I have heard anecdotes that the Panasonic LX900 is also immune, but I haven't verified that for myself.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

LD players are highly variable in quality from one model to another, much more so than DVD players.

The D704 is a better machine than the DVL-90. It should have a sharper and less noisy picture. However, it's still prone to the CLV white smearing artifact that plagues almost all LD players. The expensive HLD-X9 is the only player I've ever used that is completely free of this. I have heard anecdotes that the Panasonic LX900 is also immune, but I haven't verified that for myself.

The Panasonic LX-900 looks like a really good LD player but it doesn't have an RF for AC-3 and that is a deal breaker for me. I have a demodulator so that I can get the DD audio. I would love to get a HLD-X9 but sadly their is no way I would ever have the funds. They get about $2000.00 on E-bay.(
post #23 of 36
Quote:


Finally, I wanted to ask if anyone would recommend running the LD out to a DVD burner (to utilize comb filter) and then output to a scaler such as the DVDO stuff - or would you not have to bother if using a DVDO unit?

I do ! If you search for the comb filter threads here on the board, you'll find plenty of info on that. I've got a HLD-X9 and as Josh pointed out, it's comb filter is utter rubbish. I've gone through a lot of external comb filters and ended up going through a Pioneer DVD recorder (just composite input to 480i component output). Here are some pictures:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...&postcount=129

From there I go through an Algolith Mosquito (analogue version). That's the greatest device for LD playback ever (IF you can go to component before). About $300 on ebay.

Eventually I use a DVDO device (50pro) for deinterlacing and upscaling the Mosquito's YUV signal. Great results!

And a question for Josh: you seem to blame 3D comb filters in general for the checkerboard problem (which I have using my X9's internal comb filter). My Pioneer DVD recorder has a 3D comb filter as well and it performs fantastically with the composite output from my X9, so I would definitely say the X9's internal filter is just bad, not 3D CFs in general.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudoh View Post

And a question for Josh: you seem to blame 3D comb filters in general for the checkerboard problem (which I have using my X9's internal comb filter). My Pioneer DVD recorder has a 3D comb filter as well and it performs fantastically with the composite output from my X9, so I would definitely say the X9's internal filter is just bad, not 3D CFs in general.

Fair enough.

What model is that DVD recorder?
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Fair enough.

What model is that DVD recorder?

I think it was the Pioneer LX70
post #26 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudoh View Post

I do ! If you search for the comb filter threads here on the board, you'll find plenty of info on that. I've got a HLD-X9 and as Josh pointed out, it's comb filter is utter rubbish. I've gone through a lot of external comb filters and ended up going through a Pioneer DVD recorder (just composite input to 480i component output). Here are some pictures:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...&postcount=129

From there I go through an Algolith Mosquito (analogue version). That's the greatest device for LD playback ever (IF you can go to component before). About $300 on ebay.

Eventually I use a DVDO device (50pro) for deinterlacing and upscaling the Mosquito's YUV signal. Great results!

Ok. I'm trying to hang in with you guys lol.

So Fudoh, you run a composite out of your LD player to a pioneer DVD burner, then component video out to a Algolith mosquito, then (component video?) out of that to a DVDO "device" (the "Edge", or "iscan"?), and then output (what HDMI?) to your screen?

Can you do me a big favour and list exactly which model numbers and video cables you use in this sequence. Or if you'd rather not have everyone out there completely copy your setup can you please message me the specifics so I can look into following your lead.

Thanks (BTW I didn't even bother asking about the journey the audio takes along that path... although I suppose you can run the LD audio (analogue, digital-optic/coax, and AC3 RF) directly from LD to receiver right?)
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckin96 View Post

Ok. I'm trying to hang in with you guys lol.

So Fudoh, you run a composite out of your LD player to a pioneer DVD burner, then component video out to a Algolith mosquito, then (component video?) out of that to a DVDO "device" (the "Edge", or "iscan"?), and then output (what HDMI?) to your screen?

Can you do me a big favour and list exactly which model numbers and video cables you use in this sequence. Or if you'd rather not have everyone out there completely copy your setup can you please message me the specifics so I can look into following your lead.

Thanks (BTW I didn't even bother asking about the journey the audio takes along that path... although I suppose you can run the LD audio (analogue, digital-optic/coax, and AC3 RF) directly from LD to receiver right?)

How you described the video signal chain is correct (Sorry, I know the question was for Fudoh, but most people's set-ups are similar to that). (Here's a review of the Algolith Mosquito, by the way)

Be careful about audio delays. Not all video scalers have audio inputs and some have only a certain kind (the DVDO iScan HD only has S/PDIF inputs).

Also, Fudoh has a huge list of reviews he's done of scalers and related equipment (including the DVDO Edge)
post #28 of 36
There's really no magic about the cabling. I use a DVDO iScan VP50Pro, but you would get very similar results using a Edge or Duo.

I hardly use LD for viewing. If you really want to be able to play back all audio tracks from all your LDs, you need at least two audio connections, better three. I have RF AC-3 running directly into my amp (old Denon), SPDIF through the DVDO for delay adjustment and an analogue RCA connection for 80s LDs without a digital track.
post #29 of 36
OK, my composite cable came today and I have been doing some comparisons to s-video. I have both cables connected at the same time so that I can switch back and forth. Right now I am using my 60" Sharp LCD to do the comparison. Later I will be projecting on my Optima HD33 to finalize my results. My preliminary results show that IMO s-video gives a superior picture. It looks sharper and more detailed than composite. Also composite appears to have some pretty noticeable smearing that is absent from the s-video picture. The composite has a little less noise but I will take a little noise over smearing any day. I have set my LD players noise reduction to variable with the Y set to minimum and C set to maximum. This combination really helps to clear the LD's noisy picture without hurting the detail. I have also set my TV's noise reduction on low and this further improves the picture. I will be doing some more tests tonight with my 1080P projector but so far s-video through my DVDO Edge gives the superior picture.
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlbsyst View Post

OK, my composite cable came today and I have been doing some comparisons to s-video. I have both cables connected at the same time so that I can switch back and forth. Right now I am using my 60" Sharp LCD to do the comparison. Later I will be projecting on my Optima HD33 to finalize my results. My preliminary results show that IMO s-video gives a superior picture. It looks sharper and more detailed than composite. Also composite appears to have some pretty noticeable smearing that is absent from the s-video picture. The composite has a little less noise but I will take a little noise over smearing any day. I have set my LD players noise reduction to variable with the Y set to minimum and C set to maximum. This combination really helps to clear the LD's noisy picture without hurting the detail. I have also set my TV's noise reduction on low and this further improves the picture. I will be doing some more tests tonight with my 1080P projector but so far s-video through my DVDO Edge gives the superior picture.

You should use a copy of A Video Standard or Video Essentials to accurately judge comb filter performance.

Also, if you're really going to do DVNR, you should get a Algolith Mosquito.

You should do whatever makes you happiest, but I can speak from experience that using either a DVDO or a LD player for comb filtering is a bad idea. I personally don't have a comb filter in my house worse than the one in my CLD-D703 (which outperforms the DVL-90). The Pioneer LX-70 is rather hard to find in America. I'd recommend either the RCA DRC8335 (I'm using one, it blows both my TV and all my LD players out of the water and I only payed sixty bucks for it) or the Panasonic DMR-ES15, but I'm sure there are plenty of others that will perform just as well.
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