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I am looking for a video scaler to scale dvd's and maybe HDTV (in the future) onto a 16:9 screen with a 4:3 xga projector. I want 4:3 material to be squeezed into the center of the screen. And no the projector does not have a zoom lens. I am looking for more of a 90/10 solution. How can this be done with a HTPC, or are there any scalers that can do this well and still look good for $2000 on a scaler, and keep in mind my budget is VERY limited. Thanks for all the help.


Greg Lightfoot
 

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Viewsonic is coming out with a new video processor called NextGen 5 and 6 (the latter has component input and the former just has Svideo and composite) for $150-200. It should be nice as its current VB50HRTV is a $90 scaler that will allow scaling to VGA, WideVGA (if your PJ can sync. to this), SVGA, and XGA and deinterlaces Svideo and composite (as well as passes through VGA or component via its VGA pass-through plug). I can vouch for VB50HRTV for improving my TV and Svideo image over my LT150's builtin processor.


HTPC can do this too. Radeon video card is favorite here (check HTPC FAQ in forum for details). With software like Powerstrip, YxY, Zoomplayer, Theatertek you can do it all. HTPC will give you THE best DVD image for under $2000. It matches Faroudja NRS at $3000. As a matter of fact the $4-$6K scalers (Leeza, etc.) uses Geforce graphics card which is actually considered inferior to Radeons for colors (though Geforce is much more stable and more powerful 3D-game wise).
 

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Huey,


That's a great summary there. However:

1. I have the distinct feeling that the Viewsonic scaler will be a joke, having now video mode deinterlacer - so it would be of interest to people looking for a quick and dirty solution (i.e., before they turn critical and get a "good" solution). Should have composite, component, SVideo and maybe even SDI...


2. HTPC is great, but this forum is not the place to market this technology to. It has alot of people who were bound by the idea and then figured out it was too problematic/annoying/complicated/not a good enough solution. The HTPC forum is better for evangelizing this technology. If HTPC was really all it was cracked up to be, there would be no need for "the Rock".


3. True, you can get perfect DVD quality using the software components you described. However, it's a big headache to make it work right (TSF = The Spouse Factor, i.e., can the average home theater owner's wife/husband operate the system). i.e., can the spouse turn the unit on & have it play a DVD with 1 or 2 remote control button presses, not have to understand "aspect ratios", "input selection", PQ control settings, etc.


4. What about Video mode? I have yet to see a single integrated HTPC solution, that also offers "good enough" video mode deinterlacing.


I think that if some company were bold enough to:


a. provide a video capture card that would have all the inputs we'd ever want in a high quality fashion (i.e., not these run-of-the-mill capture cards).


b. offer us the option of using their/our motherboard, their/our chassis.


c. Have an integrated software that offers full pulldown selection, configurable UI, and optional masking of windows UI (i.e., have a simple interface that I can control using a pronto or any other remote control, not through a keyboard).


d. I can only hope that it would have an all digital DVD playback, optional DVI support and even time-shifting...


e. Of course, scaling, aspect ratio controls, etc. would also be needed.


Of course, I can't see any company doing that. The end outcome would be a big scaler (actually alot more than a scaler). Companies doing this would really be marketing a media hub and would want to have you pay for the hub, not a few pieces of hardware and a few hundred bucks for software... I guess they all believe that the revenew they'd get from such a move (+support headaches - imagine having to support every kind of display card...) would be less than selling a turn-key system.
 

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Ofer,


Do you have any experience with any of the things you are talking about?


1. Have you used a VB50? It does 3:2 for film and has 3d motion adaptive deinterlacing. While it has a little trouble with sports, the deinterlacing is definitely not non-existent. For $100, this is an amazing box.


2. I have setup a HTPC and a NRS for me and family members. HTPC is for those who want the best at a good price and are willing to put some effort in. The scalers are more simple solutions for those who don't want to / can't put time into an HTPC. Both have their place.


3. I've made an HTPC work easier than any TV you are likely to see out there. One button turns it all on, sets the volume, lights, pops the DVD tray then plays the movie automatically when you press it back in. It is all a matter of how you set it up.


4. Then you've obviously never seen DScaler with SDI and the GreedyHM codec which has been around near 6 months I think. Beats a Faroudja NRS.
 

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Namlemez,


I do have some experience, YES.


1. Nope. It just struck me as odd that a $100 device would do what everyone else charges $1000+ to do. Either it doesn't do it as well, or everyone is going to own one in a couple of months... I haven't seen anyone else taking this unit seriously, so I'm not going to be the first... I'll want to see it first. If someone on this forum (whom I know) wants to give it a shot & tell us how good/bad this unit is, I'd be interested in hearing about it. I suspect it will not be as good as Omega1 or iScan PRO (I'm comparing to doublers, I don't think it will stand up to any scaler). There are many types of motion adaptive deinterlacers. You can do it with 16x16 blocks, and you can dedicate a processor for each pixel (e.g., Terranex). I'm just saying it might not be what people on this forum are looking for (mid-high end), there are plenty of internal scalers that already do a half-ass job, we don't nee any more...


2. On DVD material, I agree 100%. The problem is video, not DVD (unless it's of video material).


3. Where can I buy the software to make the HTPC work like an appliance? I've yet to see a single solution that isolates you from windows entirely (i.e., never have to hook up a keyboard or mouse again). I have LOTS of computers in my house. My HT is one place I really don't want a computer in. Pretty soon, I'd be playing games, writing emails and doing work (I know myself all too well). I need an appliance that I can tweak, that runs silent (i.e., absolutely no noise, particularly shrieking HDD noise) and self contained software. The closest thing I've seen is "ShowStopper". It does DVD playing (Dscaler plugin), timeshifting, etc.


However, no aspect ratio control, no full 100% isolation from windows, and the interface won't work well under 16:9 displays. Finally, there's no serious video-mode deinterlacing. For me (a plasma owner), the biggest problem is that the UI is completely non-plasma-friendly. It will burn-in after 4-5 days.


4. That's something I don't understand. If you have an internal DVD player, why do you need SDI (unless it's coming out of a modded DirectTV)?


I'd love to build my own appliance and configure it, but I don't want to write all the software to do it, myself. I have yet to find a single all-encompassing solution that will fix it all for me...


Heck, I've only recently seen a fully working infra red remote control solution (I didn't want to get an IR keyboard). I mean one that's not made by someone in his backporch after working hours & doesn't cost $200 to boot...


You'll find that the video processor and HTPC camps are usually exclusive (except Mark Rejhon, who is a real pioneer in both camps). People from one camp don't much like the other one. I'm a windows software engineer, which is probably why I'm in the Video processor camp...
 

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1. I've never played personally with any video processor for a long time besides the Faroudja NRS so that is my reference. While the video deinterlacing of the VB50 is not amazing (it has trouble with fast sports,) it is definitly not a simple bob and weave. I do not think it is up to DCDi quality, but then again it is 1/30th the price. For someone who does not want to spend $1000, I think it is a fine solution over the internal scaler in older devices. It supports VGA, SVGA, XGA, and WVGA (for AE100 and plasmas) so it can cover a lot of bases. When KBK was modifying these things for a short while, he was saying he was quite amazed with what the thing could do. Do you know / trust him?


2. The Greedy High Motion algorithim coupled with the new adaptive noise filter and the amazing amount of tweaking makes DScaler quite competitive for video footage. All the software DVD players do, admittedly suck which isn't good for video DVDs. I only own film DVDs, so this doesn't really matter to me...


3. No there is no single piece of software. It is not easy to setup, as I've been following the HTPC forum for 2 years and I work as a computer technician and it was certainly a challenge. It is possible, and I would much rather go the HTPC route to do the end result and it being much cheaper. My budget is a lot less than most anyone here, so my time is a much better resource rather than money :)


Windows responds pretty well the custom resolutions / aspects. Powerstrip helps a lot, and most DVD players can now be configured for a myriad of aspects. This isn't a big deal though, as most people use Zoomplayer. zoomplayer uses the video and audio decoders of anything you want, and is more aware of aspect ratios than most scalers (I think it has presets for like a dozen different ones to begin with and is configurable past that.)


4. Some people use the HTPC as a simple scaler. They get a DVD player retrofitted with SDI output, an SDI input for their PC and run that into DScaler. Perfect digital path, superior scaling of the Radeon and good deinterlacing of DScaler. This supposedly eliminates all judder you see on pans and makes it pretty easy to work (since you are playing the DVD with a set-top box.)



As for them being exclusive, you'll notice I jump back and forth a lot between. I've put together a HDRPTV + Faroudja NRS setup for my father and I myself up until two days ago had an HTPC with 27" direct view monitor. Now I've got HTPC with AE100. So I frequently visit 6 forums (2x digital projector, direct view, RPTV, HTPC and Video processor) now and see the merit in each one.


They all have their advantages, it is up to your budget, needs and available time to choose which one works best for you.
 

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I never pretended $90 VB50 or the incoming $150-200 Viewsonic is equivalent to the more expensive scalers that you're familiar with. I merely answer the poster's question about "CHEAP" scaler "UNDER $300". I'm just saying there are cheaper options out there for those with different priorities in life than how many jaggies they can count per scene. Some of us are tickled that the cheap VB50 gives a very watchable image for certain PJ with poorer processors. Not all of us want, like, need, or can afford an expensive scaler.


True this is not the place to preach HTPC but I'm just raising the option. The poster may already have a near-HTPC and may be very comfortable PC. He actually ASKED about HTPC in his post. I'm just answering his questions best and as succinct as I can. I did point him to the HTPC forum for more ideas and FAQ. I did not go on and on about HTPC as I know this forum dislike HTPC users (not sure why besides the fact that video processor users usually hate, don't have time, or don't know how to use HTPC), and they pay dearly for the "plug and pray" function of their expensive processors. This is OK as it's their choice but why not allow new ideas for different people? And I hate to break it to you but HTPC is a video processor so it's totally appropriate to discuss HTPC here albeit briefly.
 

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Ageed Huey.


VB50 and HTPC is the reason I could afford my used Sony PJ and my 52" Hi Def capable TV. Neither are absolute top of the line, but the point is I can afford to play the game at my level. To the layman, the PQ of these components are fantstic! I like reading about all the solutions, both high and low end. For me it's just a hobby that provides a lot of fun and relaxation... and this forum is the place I learn new stuff and share all that I discover...nothing wrong with that!


PS: I got the VB50 based on your earlier posts so thanx..a truly great discovery for the money.
 

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Huey,


Where did you find out about the new Viewsonic scalers that are coming out? Did a google search and nothing comes up. Do you think the actual performance of the new product will be better than VB50? Macrovision on DVD is my only complaint, and I actually use HTPC for that. But kids may want to use stand alone DVD player and a new box without macrovision pumping would be nice. Ya know, the strange thing is no one even cares or notices the slight brightness fluctuations but me.
 

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DVD problem can be overcome by using a MV free player like my Daewoo 5700 (5800 now) at Sams Club for $89. Take your MV player and stick it in the bedroom. The Daewoo 5700 looks great into VB50 or straight into PJ's component input (it has great interlaced component out). It can be hacked to be region and MV free. I've test recorded on VHS a few DVDs and works great (who wants too but MV free is great for running through VB50 or VCR without needing RF modulator).


I saw Viewsonic's new units on the same post as Namlemez mentioned.
 

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Huey,


Not sure I understand your post. You say the Daewoo DVD player is MV free, and later in your post it looks like you are saying it can be hacked to be region and MV free. Is it MV free off of the shelf or does it need hacking?


Thanx
 
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