OK, I'm calling it a day for now... tomorrow - greyscale calibration!
Here are my thoughts... deinterlacing works very well... I now think the problems I saw in Fifth Element are actually scaling artefacts, not deinterlacing. HD delinterlacing was perfect, or near as; I saw no major problems at all... I guess SD uses the same deinterlacing algorithm, hence my switch to believing the problems lay with scaling.
Test equipment: Faroudja 5000, Meridian 800 with SDI/component, Barco Reality 812 projector, JVC D-Theater/Panny HD1000, Milori Gregatech Eye for greyscale and, of course, the HD Leeza.
I am not biased towards the Faroudja in any way - I would *love* to replace it with something better, so anything I say below, I believe, is objective. With this in mind, I am primarily looking for areas where the HDL out/underperforms the Faroudja in order to decide whether or not I can replace the F5000 with the HDL.
The unit is very clumsy. It is slow to navigate and I often hit buttons which not only removed the menu, but for some reason blocked me from getting back in. I had to switch inputs, and then switch back again, to reset. There are no navigation buttons on the front of the unit; control is via the remote. No RS232 codes are supplied with the unit so I cannot yet integrate/test it with my Crestron.
The input order on the front panel does not match the selection order via the remote, which is very confusing.
I started with DVD, aiming to set the HDL up to replace my Faroudja for subsequent testing. Unfortunately, there is no true 960p setting as default (quadrupling), but, if I understand the custom settings correctly, I was able to create a 1440 x 960p. Unfortunately, I then discovered that unless you use 1080P, you are unable to switch to HD, as the HDL claims there is no HD source. With 1080P selected as the output resolution I was able to switch between both SD/HD source, so I left output resolution at 1080p. Fortunately, my projector can handle this, but this is a problem which needs fixing.
Input/Output aspect ratios are many, but I settled for 1.33 input and 1.33 output. I assume this means the HDL does no scaling/squashing and that I can control that via the projector for anamorphic sources. Lots of aspect ratios available. There is a DSX mode (on/off) available for 1.33; there is no description of what this means so I left on "off".
I won't cover contrast/brightness/color etc as I'll be doing greyscale tomorrow, but, from initial fiddling, I am concerned that they are not as useful as those found on the Farouda.
I've already posted some initial comments, so here are some more detailed observations:
Sound & Vision Test Disc:
The Focus Pattern:
The bottom 4 rows of pixels are corrupt. This must be due to a problem with the scaling algorithm and could, I guess, affect video images. This needs to be fixed.
Avia Test Disc:
Vertical grey ramp: no banding that I could see, much smoother transitions than the Faroudja, which can exhibit banding in some scenes.
Resolution pattern: With the Faroudja, there is lots of noise in the 3.58Mhz, 4.2Mhz and 6.75Mhz circles. The HDL was totally clean. However, the 6.75Mhz was only fully resolved via the SDI connection. SDI looked sharper than the component connection from the Meridian.
Y/C Delay screen: the Faroudja suffers some chroma delay. The HDL was perfect.
Zone Plate: Faroudja is riddled with noise on this image... the HDL was clean.
Moving zone plate: The Faroudja struggles with this moving pattern but was significantly better at it than the HDL. The HDL display was *nasty* :D
Snell & Wilcox plate: Moving ball - again, the HDL was worse than the Faroudja at displaying the moving image.
I feel this ties in with the Fifth Element scene, which is essentially a set of very close lines in a circular pattern - I guess the scalar must incorrectly interpolate these kinds of patterns.
Montage of images: this was a surprise - the HDL outperformed the Faroudja entirely during this sequence. The HDL seems to handle film and video equally well, and in scenes where the Faroudja failed to deinterlace correctly (the tops of the masts on the swaying yachts) the HDL performed flawlessly. The HDL also rendered the US Flag better than the Faroudja.
It seems that the HDL is deinterlacing very well, but there is definately a problem somewhere, which I now suspect is in the scaling.
The 48Hz NTSC mode does not work well at present, which is a disappointment to me; I was hoping to switch to 48Hz for all my film viewing.
When you first select 48Hz the HDL starts to stutter the image. Selecting it again resolves this problem. Worse than this, however are two problems which show up. Firstly, a very faint picture structure becomes visible; it almost looks like vertical scan lines are visible. Worse still, on static menus, such as the Avia menu, there is a massive amount of twitter visible. This twitter was also visible while watching moving images. 48Hz is, IMO, currently unwatchable. I'm not interested in 72Hz so only switched it to check for the problems I saw with 48Hz, but they weren't there. 72Hz is not available at 1080p.
Contrary to what has been reported, I could not get settings be remembered across inputs. Currently any settings seem to be shared globally across all inputs. This means I will be forced to do all greyscale calibration at the projector and I'm concerned that colour saturation, which is only available at the scalar, will have to be compromised for one of the sources until this is fixed.
I have not yet tested PAL, I will do that tomorrow.
Well, apart from the few visual problems I've noted, I am sufficiently impressed with the image to continue using the HDL in favour of the Faroudja for now. SD images were sharper and cleaner (via SDI) and the lack of Y/C delay, banding, is very welcome. HD images also seemed sharper and the deinterlacing was superb. I now need to do a greyscale calibration and then sit down and actually watch some movies!
I'm sure i've missed a lot of stuff, so if there are any specific question...
PS. If checking with the Fifth Element, during the scene where the police are looking down the tunnel, with leloo on the ledge; as well as checking the right side of the tunnel, check the numbers on the police helmets - the numbers should not be connected in any way, but the HDL renders them with connected white lines - again incorrect scaling it seems...