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I'm trying to design a HTPC to replace my DVDO iScan Pro, which I hope to sell for $600ish before the prices drop too much more. Most of my viewing right now is DirecTV and OTA via a standalone TiVo in medium recording quality, with DVD's played from a PS2 comprising the rest of my viewing. The DVDO iScan Pro inputs 480i via s-video from the TiVo (as well as via component from the PS2), does 3:2 pulldown while line-doubling, and outputs 480p VGA/component. My TV is a 7" gun HD-ready RPTV that an independent study clocked at 1600ish horizontal lines when fed 1920x1080i, beating all the other sets in the study. Alas, I cannot get OTA HDTV where I currently live.


I did a search prior to posting and found at least one person who gave up on his HTPC and decided to stick with the simplicity of the DVDO iScan Pro. I have a wife who is smart but impatient, so the final solution needs to be simple. I'm using a HTM MX-1000 LCD touchscreen remote to simplify control.


I'm thinking that a Radeon card at 1920x1080i could rock for this RPTV, which also accepts 600p SVGA. Then again, the Radeon only accepts composite input, ick. I'm confused by reading conflicting reports on the quality of dTV vs. Radeon's internal deinterlacing vs. the DVDO iScan Pro.


Please point me in the right direction for designing a HTPC that can replace my DVDO iScan Pro or else help me forget the idea of a HTPC.


-Abdul



[This message has been edited by Abdul Jalib (edited 05-11-2001).]
 

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The simple way to go will be to build your HTPC and put dScaler (known as dTV) in your startup folder. That way when you start your computer you will automatically get in dScaler. The only operation will be to start your computer. The problem with that approach is that really often each TV channels got is special settings for a (closer to) perfect picture.


Not optimum put really simple.


Bruno


[This message has been edited by bgosselin (edited 05-11-2001).]
 

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Hey Abdul,


Here is my 2 cents on your situation. In my opinion dtv/dscaler is not ready to compete with the iscan v2 on video sources/DirecTV, yet. I have both, and with every release of the Dscaler/Dtv I do a new comparison. And Dscaler comes up short.


My setup is similar to yours. Radeon 32mb for video card. Input card is a KBK modified Zoltrix card. DVDO iScan v2 (the pro is supposed to be even better with DirecTV feeds I hear/read.) The main difference is I'm using an Infocus 735 Front projector and not an HDTV. This may cause our experiences to vary greatly, or not at all. The 735's internal scaler seems to be superior to most other projectors, as I haven't encountered the problems other LCD/DLP users have reported.


In comparison to my DVDO iScan v2, Dscaler (in it's current version), when properly tweaked can look good for movies, and decent for live TV/sitcoms, and not so great for sports. It looks great with DVDs equaling and surpassing the DVDO iScan v2. This is not surprising as it seems the main thrust of dScaler has been for DVDs. Also DVDs simply have a higher resolution than NSTC sources, so they look better regardless.


As for user friendliness, dScaler can be setup like Bruno wrote. Pretty easy to use.


I would recommend getting a video input/capture card compatible with dScaler, and then when the new version of dScaler comes out, compare it to your DVDO iScan Pro. I know I will be doing this again, as I'm anxious to try out the new de-interlacing algos for sports. The cost of the card should only set you back around 40 dollars or so. And the dScaler software is free.


The new version should be out in a week or two.





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Adam
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. What about the Radeon's own deinterlacing compared to the iScan Pro?


-Abdul
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by lawdawg:
Abdul,


The vivo version of the Radeon, doesn't include s-video in, only composite.

-snip-

The general consensus seems to be that the dScaler route is better than the ATI vivo/all-in-wonder route, at this time.


Having A/B-ed various HTPC deinterlacing options, I'd have to say... it depends.


dScaler (aka dTV) is very horsepower intensive and will continue to demand a great deal of processing to improve the picture that the current rev of the software produces. From a static de-interlacing standpoint, the ability to infinitely tweak the settings of dScaler provide you with the 'opportunity' to get a superior picture over the DVDO.


I have a commercial graphics-grade projector and the spot size is so tight that I get scan lines at 480p and need at least 720-960p in order to get rid of the scan lines. So unless I'm going to shell out at least $5k or as much as 15-25K for the big "F", I HAVE to go the HTPC route.


Philosophically, I'd rather invest $5-10K in an HTPC that I can mod and upgrade as needed rather than have a 'closed-box' solution that performs only one task (albeit very well).


Soooo, with those caveats in place, here's my line-up of deinterlacing experience on a PII/450 128MB with NTSC S-Video IN on all sources (via interface Pod or on-card):


dTV 2.1.1/BT848 and Radeon at 1280x720

On the correct settings, razor sharp static images. Motion artifacts, however, would choke a horse. I'm fairly certain that the PII cannot keep up and so I'm getting a P4/1.5Ghz to remove that variable from the equation. I know that dTV/dScaler and similar offerings are the future of home theater, so I'm investing.


Radeon AIW 1280x720:

As expected, fewer visible artifacts (hardware deinterlacing) but not as sharp as dTV and no adjustments for the deinterlacing algorithm to tighten-up the image. Doesn't have an BT8x8 chipset though, so dScaler/dTV don't work on it. If you have less than a PIII, this will probably be your best solution.


Hauppauge WinTV-HD direct HD-Monitor out 1024x768:

Software is buggy and use model stinks. Picture is soft and jaggie (how'd they do that?). Few motion artifacts, but it's really hard to tell since the images are soooo soft. ATSC signals on this baby are *very nice*, but there's no reason they wouldn't be. Judging from the NTSC scaled material, I'd say they haven't done much to the deinterlacing/scaling algorithms in a couple years. If you've got to have and HDTV tuner/decoder, this or one of the other HD cards is the way to go, but keep in mind that NTSC deinterlacing/scaling was not a priority item in the development of these cards. Also does not have an BT8x8 chipset, so dScaler/dTV won't work on it.


Hope that helps. More info to come...


-Sitkom
 

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Abdul,


Unfortunately, I don't have the vivo (video in, video out) version of the Radeon. I've searched some of the posts for you (it's a slow day at work), and have come up with the following. Anyone with different exp, please correct me.


The vivo version of the Radeon, doesn't include s-video in, only composite.


There are some different opinions on the noise output introduced by the Radeon vivo. General conclusion is that it is a little noisier than a standard booktree chipset chips that dScaler uses.


Also it seems that the problems associated with the ATI video in/tv software are too great at this time to recommend it over dScaler.


The general consensus seems to be that the dScaler route is better than the ATI vivo/all-in-wonder route, at this time.



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Adam
 
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