iSync HD Review First look:
The iSync HD arrived yesterday. It's my first external video processor, so as you can imagine I'm thrilled- Christmas on Thanksgiving! It's a low profile unit at 1.5" tall, only about 8" deep and a standard 17' wide. It was easy to find space in my rack, made difficult only by the fact that the instructions indicate you need to keep it away from major heat sources (amps and in my case the satellite box/HD recorder).
With the black box in place (yes they sent me the black one and not the silver one the AVS powerbuy indicates) I moved on to look at what I had been hoping from an external VP, that is - beautiful pictures. Last night I could only get an initial impression. There is quite a bit of work involved in any kind of detailed review so it will take some time to fully determine if this black box does anything useful and more importantly for what specific types of source and programming material combinations.
Okay enough small talk. I connected a DVD player (my Oppo digital 990) to the iSync HD and a Sony 60" A2000 (with 1080p input) via HDMI. I only reviewed a movie so far and will look at test patterns at some time in the future. The best result was found with the the DVD player outputting it's highest resolution (1080i/60) and having the iSync deinterlace this to 1080P. The differences were subtle but visible on Mission Impossible III. During fast action the picture was smoother at times (fast action). For example, there is a scene shot from helicopter where the MI team is travelling in vehicle across a bridge when all hell breaks loose. The bridge railings wizzing by as the camera follows the car along the bridge and the ensuing crash / battle scene looked smoother and more natural. The PQ directly from the DVD players at 1080i with the TV doing the deinterlacing was okay, but a subtle "choppyness" (if that's a word) was evident. I also tried 480i signal via S-video, but he PQ was definitely not as sharp with processing or passing through with this approach (or w/480p for that matter). I plan a 480i test over component tonight. Even though the documentation says that the iSync does not support 480i input over component, it does.
First impression with upscaling DVD player was positive with subtle, but noticeable improvement in fast motion using iSnc to deinterlace 1080i signal from my upscaling DVD player to 1080p native resolution of my SXRD TV. I also note that edges were improved making the overall picture appear sharper. I was a little disappointed not to see a huge difference, but see my next post below for my first impression on how the iSync handles SD and HD material from a satellite box.