I received the Darblet last Thursday, and have spent a considerable amount of time getting to know it. I have installed it between a Denon 4311 AVR and a Sony XBR52HX909 (a local-dimming LED flat panel with a very good image to start with). Source components include an Oppo BDP-93 (all output options set to Auto), DirecTV HR24 with AM-21 OTA tuner (set to Native: On), and an Apple TV 3. No connectivity issues with any of the source devices. I have no other video processors.
Have I experienced any of the reported issues?
Green screen – No
Loss of signal – No
Audio sync – No
Settings loss – No
HD 3D – the 3D picture is fine, with the same noticeable improvements from PVP as a 2D image. However, the Darblet menu and screen displays are distorted (so small as to be only marginally readable). I do not consider this an issue.
Video test using Spears and Munsil test Blu-ray. I ran all the video tests and noticed no differences with DVP enabled or disabled, with the exception of two tests—“Luma Zone Plate” and “Chroma Zone Plate”. The S&M description of these tests don’t provide enough information for me to understand whether this is a real issue or not. The “Montage” sequences on the S&M disk resulted in clear improvements, especially in fine textures in the lighthouse scene, the bricks on the buildings on the UW campus, and especially the shots of downtown Seattle. I encourage anyone who has doubts regarding the DVP improvements to watch this excellent test disk.
Other viewing. DVP enhancements for television images were all improved. The most noticeable differences were on live HD broadcasts (e.g. evening news, evening talk shows). Sports broadcasts were also significantly improved. For example, take a look at the Dave Letterman opening monologue, and look at the fine detail in the background. Switching DVP in and out results in a dramatic difference, and this scene is a good one to dial in the DVP level. Blu-ray movies look improved as well, the level of perceived improvement varying with the quality of the disk, of course.
Overall impression. Since installing the Darblet, I continue to have the feeling of “Wow, my display is really looking good these days!”. I have yet to encounter a situation in which DVP has degraded the image and forced me to turn it off. I either see no improvement (worst case), somewhat better, or significantly better. Am I keeping it? Absolutely yes.
Final Comments. As others have noted, the Darblet will not win any beauty contests. I wish the HDMI connections were on the back of the unit, rather than the sides. I have ordered an IR Extender, and plan to move the Darblet out of site when it arrives. I have also successfully configured a Harmony One remote with the Darblet commands, and will retire the Darblet remote eventually.
Edit: I have settled in at HD=60% for the time being, and have noticed no artifacts with this setting.