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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(I apologize if this thread seems off-topic. In truth, it pertains specifically to use with a projector, so it is my hope that any information garnered by my queries may prove helpful to others.)


Sometime in the not too distant future, it is anticipated that I will acquire a D-ILA projector, most likely the G150CLZ. The panel resolution is 1365x1024, and there have been recent indications that the projector can handle both 60Hz and 72Hz video, the latter being dealt with in a fashion as to eliminate film judder. The only remaining question is whether or not single-link DVI can handle 1368x1024 @72Hz.


But the main point of this thread is to hopefully get an idea of which external video processor, between the Faroudja Native Rate Series Plus (NRS+) and the Key Digital Leeza, can do a better job of scaling mundane video signals to 1365x1024, or at least a closely-matching resolution.


Scaling isn't the end of the story, of course. The relative excellence of Faroudja hardware is a prevailing subject in many discussions. Consequently, there seems to be a mindset that anything from Faroudja, including of course the NRS, does the best job and is the standard against which competitive hardware should be measured. I personally don't have a problem with this perception. I'm just trying to find out how valid it is in the case of the NRS+.


(Note: The "plus" in "NRS+" seems to be merely a designation that the hardware is calibrated to specifically output ~1365x1024.)


Things that I have already discovered about the NRS+: It outputs 1360x1024, and therefore is not a pixel-perfect match for current D-ILA panels. It does not have digital in or digital out, in any format. It boasts a wide assortment of algorithms specifically aimed at improving the image quality of mundane NTSC signals. Quoting from the hype sheet ( http://www.faroudja.com/products/dvp.nrs.html ), these include "Truelife Enhancer", patented "Directional Correlational Deinterlacing (DCDi)", patented "3/2 pull-down circuit with advanced edit detection", and 10-bit adaptive comb filtering with Cross-Color suppression. They also boast the "best color decoding technology."


Things that I have already discovered about the Leeza, gathered exclusively from the hype sheet ( http://www.keydigital.com/detail.asp..._ID=KD-HT1080P ): The hardware can output 1365x1024, which is a perfect match with current D-ILA panels. (Confirmation, anyone?) It has SDI-input (DVI-input not mentioned) and DVI-output (single- or dual-link not specified). Most of the bells & whistles discussed in detail in Faroudja's hype sheet are mentioned very briefly in this one, including film detection and motion-assisted deinterlacing.


Basically, the impression I get from reading both hype sheets is that the NRS+'s emphasis is on image improvement, with lackluster input/output support, while the Leeza's emphasis is on pixel-perfection, with image improvement taking a decided backseat.


So here's what it comes down to: I am taking it for granted that the Faroudja NRS's ability to process regular NTSC video (such as from an Svideo source) into reasonably watchable 1360x1024 progressive video is second to none. But how does the Leeza stack up? Considering its MSRP, it must at least give the NRS a run for its money. Noticably absent from the Leeza's hype sheet is any mention of a comb filter, or algorithms specifically intended for handling color resolution.


I'll leave it at that. I know lots of readers here have one or both of these models, as they are both mentioned often. Direct comparisons between them are not so easy to find.


PS: Before somebody recommends I hop over to the local video specialist and demo both models and judge for myself, I should mention that I have no such local video specialists. Plus I'm in at least a slight hurry. :)


Thanks in advance!
 

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you will find a lot more in the video processor forum, but here is a bit of a summary:


speaking about the leeza: it will output 72 or 60hz and has a plethora of inputs, including the all digital path. a couple of us have owned the faroudja native rate first and then moved on to the leeza because of flexibility, digital I/O and image quality. a few other considerations: the Leeza firmware is user upgradeable (Faroudja requires a chipset change); the Leeza has outstanding factory support and has demonstrated a keen interest in the feedback from this forum (Faroudja is less AVS friendly); Leeza offers a transferrable warranty. the native rate adds a demonstrated Y/C chroma delay which visibly affects the image quality.


when i changed to the Leeza, it was necessary that image quality be an improvement over the faroudja, not just features, OSD, user interface and I/O.


the main disadvantage of the Leeza is the cost (compared to the NR) and the claim that the strictly video only alogrithms employed by the Native rate are superior. Apparently, faroudja is about to release a combo dvd/nr with dvi out, the Cinema Source, which looks promising (it is $10k), but will be fixed rate, but the word is the standalone NR will not have the dvi.
 

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another location for some interesting comments is in the dvd forum. charles Hansen, developer of the Ayre dvd transport has a few remarks under a thread about the "PMDT...down again" a couple of weeks ago; also a theread lableled "Ayre". also check out the special guest forum; tinsberg was on a few weeks ago, hansen is due next week.


i build most of my confidence from very objective and informative posts provided by indivduals like Hansen, Spears, Strade and Tinsberg (from Key) to mention a few..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
> when i changed to the Leeza, it was necessary that image quality be an improvement over the faroudja, not just features, OSD, user interface and I/O.


The implication here seems to be that the Leeza does indeed provide improved image quality over the NRS. :) Just so there is no confusion, I had better specifically note how I intend to use whichever video processor I get.


DVDs will be played on a HTPC, and the video will bypass the video processor and head directly into the projector. The video sources which will in fact be sent to the video processor include: Gaming consoles (most likely Svideo, at least initially), DirecTV (most likely Svideo, unless I discover something better), VCR (most likely Svideo)... Basically, most or all of the source video will be Svideo.


You said the Leeza gave an improved image, but perhaps you were talking about how it handled DVD video (from SDI) rather than more mundane sources. This is my primary area of concern.


> the main disadvantage of the Leeza is the cost (compared to the NR) and the claim that the strictly video only alogrithms employed by the Native rate are superior.


Yes, I'd be more than happy to discover that the Faroudja hype is actually just that. It seems, going by what I've read, that the aforementioned DCDi is all the unit really has going for it. Although everyone's also in agreement that it's untouchable.
 

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Better deinterlacers are coming from Key and others. Key has hinted about level II and level III versions of its current level I ClearMatrix. This will involve both hardware and software improvements. While there is strong evidence that Key will abandon its current software platform which runs its proprietary ClearMatrix in favor of a new one proprietary to it, I believe they have promised to take care of Leeza purchsers through upgrades or exchanges.


Other companies such as TAW are in the development of programs for use in their own processors to surpass DCDI.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A few questions have popped up regarding the Leeza.


If I wanted to pass a signal from a HTPC to the Leeza, and have it simply move it on through unmodified, is there a way of doing this? The point would be to minimize the various switches and knobs to adjust before watching something from a new source. Haven't decided if RGB or digital would work better. The spec sheet doesn't say whether it can pass either of these signals through. (Obviously digital would _look_ better but there's the matter of cable length to consider. I doubt there's such a thing as a 30 to 50ft SDI &/or DVI cable.)


What does the Leeza do with progressive signals? (Older posts indicated that it "did nothing", which is ambiguous. Their spec sheets seem to indicate otherwise.)


Thanks. Still researching.
 

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Colmino: I think I can add to this thread, I have had both and tested both extensively. JLM is correct in everything he wrote, as are you. The only thing the NR has going for it is DCDI. Ihave to diagree with Mark that clearmatrix2 or anything from TAW will give Faroudja a run for it's money. No one else has in 20 years so I don't expect anyone to surpass F's video deinterlacing.


However, clearmatrix is pretty good. If the next generation is better or if TAW has something unreal, it could give the NR some heavy competition.


Regarding the picture quality. DVI is the real deal. If you can output via DVI compared to RGB you will see the difference clearly. If you go dot for dot or pixel for pixel you will also see quite a difference however, the quality of the source deinterlacer will determine how much or little difference there will be because it will be upconverting 1360 to 1365, which in and of itself requires another conversion and that is never a good thing for PQ.


I found the NR to have slightly brighter more vivid color than any other scaler i have tested.


The Leeza has many pass thru inputs that do not scale and you can run any type of signal you choose thru them.


I do not believe the Leeza or the NR can accept progressive signals, only interlaced.


If you buy a Leeza you should get a modified SDI DVD player with it. I don't think you will choose to run an HTPC direct once you see how they both work and look together. Consider that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
> If you go dot for dot or pixel for pixel you will also see quite a difference however, the quality of the source deinterlacer will determine how much or little difference there will be because it will be upconverting 1360 to 1365, which in and of itself requires another conversion and that is never a good thing for PQ.


Well, I actually didn't have any intention of giving the Leeza the task of processing a 1360x1024 signal (I assume you refer to the hypothesy of an HTPC outputting 1360x1024). I was just making sure it could accept such a (progressive) signal and at least pass it through untampered. The fact that the Leeza has only SDI input and DVI output for digital is a bit of a concern on that front. It would need to convert one to the other. So one would have to hope that it can do this separately from the scaling / deinterlacing / etc. hardware.


Svideo / component was another matter, of course. It would be upconverting 480i in either case.


> I do not believe the Leeza or the NR can accept progressive signals, only interlaced.


Yes, I've read this in a few different places. But on their own webpage (see the link in the first post), they list off some standard HD progressive signals that they claim it can accept. For all I know, this was achieved with recent firmware upgrades. Or it could be an outright lie.
 

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Colmino: It can accept progressive HD signals and pass them thru untouched, that is the explanation of the statement.


You said that "The fact that the Leeza has only SDI input and DVI output for digital is a bit of a concern on that front."


When compared to the NR that has no digital path at all, why are you even considering it then? Certainly the Leeza offers more flexibility with "limited" digital signal path then the NR does with none.


The dot for dot statement was intended as a comparison against the NR, the actual title of this thread. It was not intnended to be compared to an HTPC. The Nr doesn't have a 1365 rate, only 1360. If you sent 1360 out from an NR, your internal scaler would upconvert the signal to 1365. Thus, the NR cannot give you a dot for dot image. That was my point.
 

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I, of course, do not know that some company will be able to surpass DCDI.

Both Key and TAW presently use Key's ClearMatrix. It is avery good deinterlacer but it is a small notch below DCDI. However, DCI is by no means perfection. It is just the best of what is presently available. I am speaking for the $5k range of processors. I can't speak anout the $35K range because of a lack of experience.


One would assume that if ClearMatrix is good, it could be made better. Mike T has said so. ClearMatrix according to Mike was price point driven. Spend more money on writing alg/programs/codes etc and the costs go up. Increase its complexity and additional processing power becomes necessary, ergo new hardware. The issue I suppose is its ultimate capability. Its close as it is, spend the bucks and I think it could surpass DCDI.


Anything can be made better, it is simply an issue of cost. There will always be a better mousetrap.


What will TAW end up with? There are hints all over Phil's forum that TAWs upcoming Pixel Perfect will trounce everything including DCDI. One can assume that increased processing capacity will be needed. I don't know but I think it is safe to assume new hardware will be needed.


The technology used in these video processors is constantly improving and decreasing in cost. Faster, more powerful CPUs and better and better video cards. Also one can expect learning curve engineering and construction improvements as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
> When compared to the NR that has no digital path at all, why are you even considering it then?


Easy. As mentioned, the only reason I wanted digital input to the scaler was so I could make HT application transitions more hands-free. By that I mean for example the steps one needs to take if they were watching DVDs but now want to play something on the X-Box.


The original plan was to pipe the video from the HTPC directly to the projector. This overlooked the issue of DVI cable limitations, but that's another story. Obviously, doing it that way would mean more switches to flip before everything was situated for HTPC use.


Ironically, because of the DVI cable thing, I don't get to do either. Instead I get to use good old RGB, and probably not ever see pixel-perfection with the projector.
 

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Why not mount the processor next to the projector? DVi will work fine. Also even if you use RGB, things are better with very very short RGB runs too. Input runs to the processor can be long. SDI length really no problem. Your Sat receier or cable box can be mounted close to the processor too. The only source that one needs to access is tapes or DVD. Good bless suspended ceilings.
 
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