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I just thought I'd update everyone. I had originally started a thread as I performed my own comparison between the Runco PFP-7 and a Faroudja NRS running at 720p, displayed on a 96" wide 1.85:1 screen using a Runco IDP-980 projector. The original thread can be found here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...highlight=pfp7


I use my home theater mostly for films - 90% DVDs, 10% films, but I do also watch a bit of TV and concert DVDs.


I had owned the Runco PFP-7 for a few months, and while I was fairly thrilled with it's performance on film-based DVDs, I was bothered by combing during less than stellar produced material such as movie previews, deleted scenes, TV and DVDs of TV shows. The combing would only occur for a fraction of a second, but depending on the material being viewed, it could happen very often and distracted me (although my wife rarely noticed it).


I had heard the Faroudja was superior when it came to the combing situations and that it also had the benefit of DCDi, superior video processing (smoothing out jagged lines etc).


There seemed to be no consensus on which unit was better for film, so I was very curious to see the differences myself. I obtaned a Faroudja NRS and did a lot of a/b comparisons for a few weeks (driving my wife absolutely nuts in the process).


First, let me say that DCDi (on the Faroudja NRS) is very impressive. When watching concert DVDs, no longer did guitar necks/guitar strings show up as jagged lines - they were smooth. De-interlacing was great. I saw absolutely no combing on TV or DVDs. And even though this is extremely subjective, I think I preferred the colors on the NRS - they came across as bolder. I say 'think' because it takes a minute or so to switch between processors and the difference is fairly subtle.


I liked the user interface better on the Runco, but decided I could get used to the Faroudja - in fact, I did.


However, the Runco PFP-7 performed better on film-based DVD material. Keep in mind that I have a fairly large screen (8 ft wide) and a decent projector, but there was a lot more noise in the NRS. Even recent films with great transfers like Training Day, Bandits came across grainy on the NRS - similar to transfers of older films, while the PFP-7's performance on these films were spectacular. This was killing me - I really wanted to like the NRS better as I hate the aforementioned combing distractions, so I tried everything I could think of to tweak the NRS. I had no luck. I tried obtaining the latest firmware upgrade from Faroudja but had no luck there (no surprise considering what I've read here about Faroudja's customer service).


I have come to believe that the NRS scaling/interpolating algorithms are simply not as good as the PFP's. Before anyone is upset by this, let me state that this is only my subjective opinion and that the NRS is a fine processor. I am very picky and do have a large screen. I suspect that if I had compared them on a smaller display, I may have not noticed the difference, but I just couldn't help feeling like I was seeing a clearer picture with the PFP-7. I considered that possiblity that the 'noise' was true film grain and that I was seeing MORE detail than with the PFP-7, but I came to the conclusion that this was not the case.


Another interesting point is that Runco has two lines of processors - the PFP (pixel for pixel) and the VHD Ultra. I know someone who owns a VHD that does NOT display the combing effects that the PFP does, leading me to believe that if I were to spend a LOT more money, I could have the best of both worlds (well, apart from DCDi that is). Unfortunately, this isn't feasible for me. I'm only considering the NRS and the PFP-7 because they're pretty much the same price (at least for me, anyway).


So... I have returned the Faroudja. It was a tradeoff and I had to go with annoying combing distractions that for the most part only plagued TV and 'special features' of DVDs rather than the distraction of some noise 100% of the time. I hate spending money like this and feeling like I made a compromise, but so be it.


Thanks to everyone who helped out and educated me along the way. It was fun and heartbreaking at the same time.


Ian
 

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Ian:


Thanks for the update. Now the trick is to sit back and enjoy what you're watching without being bothered by the "faults" of the PFP.


I'm like you. Once I've seen something like that it drives me crazy, but that's life.
 

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Very interesting. Runco's processors seem to be getting quite good...but they need to not sit on their laurels and instead go about fixing the combing an artifacts on video material. A few more inputs would be nice, too. And how about a DVI output?
 

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Quote:
I have come to believe that the NRS scaling/interpolating algorithms are simply not as good as the PFP's.
Actually both use the same scaling engine from Genesis. Did you futz with the detail knob on the NRS? It should be set to 0 or 1. (default is 8) The detail will add a lot of noise to the image.
 

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What you are seeing on the Faroudja is detail. I agree with the noise and ringing, when I tested the unit it required all settings related to sharpness be set at 0. This gave the Faroudja a very nice image but, there was always slight ringing and noise to the image. The trade off was that there was far more detail in the image than with the PFP. Test patterns proved me correct, upper frequencies were lost with the PFP while the NR displayed amazing resolution, far beyond what conventional DVD's are capable of today. As noted, I agree that DCDi is quite good with video, arguably the best available on the market.

As Stacey correctly stated, the scaling engines are the same so there is no difference in algoryhtyms related to film, but DCDi should give the NR a better overall picture when edits or cuts are bad, which is most of the time. You obviously were bothered by the ringing, understandably with a 96" screen. I would have lived with the ringing and preferred the detail but, that's me. You are not alone is your desire for a noise free "softer" filmlike image with movies, many people prefer that look, I just like detail and ringing doesn't bother me so much.
 

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IAN,

Thanks so much for your efforts & report.


My setup is considerably smaller than yours, but I agree with every point you raised on the NRS. The 'snap' the NRS provides to my LD collection is a godsend. The 'detail' issue is noticable to me as well on DVDs, but life is full of compromises, isn't it? I believe that the folks at Faroudja are still using processing algorythms that might not be the best for anamorphic DVDs.


One thing I'm contemplating is to access the service menu items controlling EE/detail in the NRS, and adjust them down a bit.


Stacey, any guidance would be appreciated. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Quote:
Actually both use the same scaling engine from Genesis. Did you futz with the detail knob on the NRS? It should be set to 0 or 1. (default is 8) The detail will add a lot of noise to the image.
Yes, I brought the detail down to zero. It certainly helped, and if it could have gone negative, it may have satisfied me.
 

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Ian,


Good job with the review. As always it comes down to user preference - there is no right or wrong. Glad to see some objectivness in this forum regarding these two processors, rather than silly insults and name calling.


Bogdan
 
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