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Discussion Starter #1
right now i've got my LT150 hooked up to a Panasonic RP56 and am 90% satisfied with the image.

i suspect, of that 10% dissatisfaction, a good percentage comes from the software since some titles look spectacular and others less so.

the only problems i can really see are the pixal structure which usually shows up in the white areas (as in superimposed titles...etc)

since the announcement of the power buy, i now have a chance to couple a lens with a progressive player for about the same cost i was considering spending on just a good player alone (one of the new Kenwoods) only 2 months ago.

i like the idea of this still much more than going the PC route for several reasons

1) i'm getting great de-interlacing currently on ALL my material- movie and video based.

i thought i remembered reading that the de-interlacing from a HTPC was really only good with film based material...or am i wrong?

2) don't like the thought of booting up a computer everytime i watch a movie...nor the hassle of a keyboard, etc.


so would the addition of a lens with the PS get me that much closer to the quality of a HTPC sans lens,

or would an HTPC by itself still soundly trounce this combo?


ideally i didn't really feel the NEED to upgrade anything, but a deal is a deal, and right now the lens buy looks to be a good deal and something that will still have value should i go to resell it in the future.


any thoughts on this would be very welcome
 

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ckolchak,


During my time with this crazy hobby I have added items for picture improvement as the funds allowed. I went from a painted wall to an actual screen which produced a bit of improvement. I had my UP-1100 "thumperized" which added some very nice improvements. Then, I was one of the fortunate to receive my Panamorph, which also added quite a bit of improvement, but the absolute best jump I have had yet in picture quality improvement was the switch from a crystal image scaler to a turnkey HTPC.


I bought the CI because it was stated the quality was just about as good as HTPC and I, like you, did not want to bother with a computer for my HT. While I had it, it was nice, good scaling, etc. But in my opinion, HTPC blows it away in many other areas other than scaling. Also, once set up, the HTPC is not nearly as bothersome to operate as I imagined. I do admit, HTPC seems a bit scary at first, but there is no doubt it is the best improvement I have made to my HT.


For the sensitive who use CI scalers, please do no be offended. I did like the scaler, it is a good one. I just think the HTPC is much better.


Jeff
 

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Jeff is right on the money.


A HTPC processes the digital video from a DVD entirely in the digital domain. The only way an external scaler could match this is with a digital input from a digital output on a standalone DVD player.


I am not aware of any standalone DVD player with digital video output.


Work is being done here on AVS to modify certain standalone DVD players for a digital video output interface called SDI.


They are also working on a PC SDI inout card for processing the digital video.


This option would allow the use of a standalone DVD player for those that believe they are significantly easier to use or more stable.


I believe that current PC technology and software is as easy to use, and even easier when considering the multifunction integration of the PC, than a stand alone DVD player for optimized front projection uses.


As far as stability, this is a heated topic. Many claim that a standalone DVD player is more stable than a PC. I disagree. I have owned and tested many brands of DVD players since 1997- Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sharp, Samsung, Phillips , etc. All have had problems playing several DVD titles, or locking up, or freezing the picture, etc. I had to return the player, sell it, or eat the cost.


On the PC, every DVD I own plays fine. In the past, when a new DVD release had problems, fixes here on AVS enabled me to play it, or the DVD software player vendor updated their player to fix the issue with the new DVD.


I can play DVD's I bought while in Australia and New Zealand this past summer, since my DVD drives are region free. All the standalone players I've owned are region locked, artificially preventing me from using products I purchased abroad.


dScaler (free) software combined with a Pinnacle S-video input / cableTV tuner card ($40) de-interlaces my analog cable and SD digital TV with state-of-the-art deinterlacing algorithms, and then the PC video card provides best-in-class scaling to any output resolution I need.


..And that's just the start of the HTPC ;)
 

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Seems to me if you are getting an artifact free image from the progressive scan DVD, the biggest improvment would be to get the lens to take your 16:9 image from 576 to 768 pixels. It virtually eliminates any screen door on white scenes and yields an even smoother picture. One of the things I noticed when I added the lens was on small distant objects that had diagonals (boy getting off the camel and running into the temple-FE) there was some stair stepping on the shoulders (diagonal line) It was eliminated when I added the ISCO II.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Jeff,

thanks for the response.

i've made an appointment w/ Jason to visit the AVS bunker w/ my Lt150 in tow to see how it look hooked up to an HTPC.

i will be interested to see the difference and will try my best to keep an open mind.

a lens improvement, at this point, would be more ideal for me though as i can more easily swing the $1000 as opposed to the $2000+ a turn key HTPC will run me.

and with the quickly depreciating cost associated with computer products, investing in something like a special piece of non-computer hardware makes more sense to me.

but we'll see.

i really didn't want to spend any more $ at this time on the video end at all, and for the past few weeks have been chomping at the bit to start auditioning some speakers to replace the HTIB speakers i've been using.

even though right now, what i already have is 'servicable'.

i feel like i'm at the edge of the precipce and about to take a jump chasing that never-ending/ always elusive "maybe i can get it just a little bit better with this..."


the only reason i was going to put aside upgrades on the audio end was the good deal right now.

then again an HTPC WITH a lens would probably just be even that much more of an improvement

hmmmm....
 

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A top notch HTPC will give you the biggest bang for the buck! I think Jeff has the Panamorph and I have an ISCO II - nice additions for later. I know some will disagree, but a good HTPC is IMO the way to go! What do you want - a big improvement or a subtle improvement? You're lucky - you get a chance to see for yourself. Take The Phantom Menance with you and your proscan DVD player - watch for movement on the faces (noses and cheeks). You won't get this with the HTPC! An ISCO II won't fix this problem.


Go back and read some of my posts re: pixelization and proscan DVD players (RP91).


Cheers,


Grant
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Grant,

those are big bucks we're talking about, so it BETTER be a big bang!

sounds like your only luke-warm on the Isco endorsement.

so if thats the concensus, maybe i'd be better off just putting some money aside toward a pc purchase next spring.

i wish they had an Isco at AVS i could check out as well.

i did plan to bring a wide range of viewing material with me ...but how did you know i owned TPM?...thats spooky ;)

then again, maybe i should just cancel this trip. if it is as impressive as everyone here seems to think, i doubt i'll be able to enjoy my modest little set-up for the next 6 months or so.

i'm actually not joking, either.

i'm eager to understand what everyone is gushing about, but i'm very leary of taking a bite of that apple.


wireless: i don't think i'm educated enough about this stuff to tell whether some given blemish is a scaling artifact or a defiecency of the transfer/mastering.

apart from the problem i mentioned earlier with bright whites ( i also see the screendoor/pixel structure on several areas of the screen in the diva sequence of TFE. But this is MUCH improved ( though still not entirely resolved) on the superbit version that again makes me question how much of fault lies in the software and not neccesarily the hardware) i'm quite happy with the picture now.
 

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And Jeff, Grant, and RGB are probably right. I don't have an HTPC, having a Faroudja video processor instead. Grant certainly has the most experience as he has an ISCO II and a HTPC. I just noticed what I thought was a vastly improved image with the ISCO, albeit not without an added issue of pincushion distortion. I haven't seen a progressive DVD player in action and maybe my assumption of it being as artifact free as my Faroudja, or an HTPC, is erroneous.


Speaking of which..Grant has your opinion of the ISCO changed? I noticed you weren't posting as much so I thought you were too busy watching movies :)
 
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