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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Sony 40KVXBR800 TV, the one with 4:3 aspect ratio. I know that the Focus CS-1 can match the native resolution of my display, but I'm still wondering about one thing. My primary input for TV programming is a Motorola digital cable box (Comcast), which only does 480i through an RCA input no less :-(. I've been considering purchasing a CS-1 to scale this input up to 1080i, but I was wondering if the CS-1 can output 1080i in a 4:3 aspect ratio as opposed to 16:9.


I'm not even sure if there is a 4:3 version of 1080i available, or if my set can display it using the entire screen. Every source I connect to my TV that's HD (720p or 1080i) has been widescreen, so i get a "reduced" screen size, which is fine for 16:9 material, but I want to view my 4:3 material in a 4:3 aspect ratio and have it fill the entire screen, just scaled instead of line doubled like the internal DRC circuitry does.


Is this possible? I really dislike the quality of the internal DRC circuitry, but I don't want to have 480i material appear in a smaller window in the center of the screen. How does the CS-1 handle this?


Thanks for the information; I hope my question makes sense.
 

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You can select different aspects on both the input and output of the CS-1 giving you lots of flex-ability.

Why are you willing to give up so much of the picture to achieve this?


Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Let me try to clarify my question a bit. At 1080i 16:9 you would have a 1920x1080 resolution. This is displayed in Widescreen format on my TV which leaves vertical bars. Is there a 4:3 version of 1080i that would be 1440x1080, that my TV could display using the entire screen? Can the CS-1 scale video to this resolution?


Actually, I know the CRT doesn't support a resolution that high as the native resolution; 1080i material is actually "down-converted" to the native resolution, so whatever the native resolution of the display is, can the CS-1 convert 480i to it and use the entire screen real estate? I don't want to give up screen size just to get a better scaled picture.


This would also be really great for 720p material that is currently "up-sampled" to 1080i. I'm sure the CS-1 will do a much better job of scaling than the internal circuitry.


I don't know if you've seen this TV in action before, but the internal DRC circuitry that is always on for interlaced material is really shoddy. MPEG compression artifacts become very visible, and stair-stepping effects are very noticeable on all edges. You would think that a CRT could display almost any resolution, but it appears that Sony has chosen to drive this display at one resolution only, and internally line double the source to match this resolution, just like an LCD.


Another question I have is regarding inputs. I currently have the following components:


Zenith HDV420 - component outputs, 1080i - Too bad I can't get a sattelite signal or I'd purchase the Sony SAT-200 and use the DVI output. I've been pretty pleased with the video quality from this unit though. 1080i programming looks very nice.


XBox - component outputs, 480p/720p/1080i - I use this as a progressive scan DVD player and for video games. Some of the newer games are now 720p and 1080i format.


Comcast/Motorola digital cable box - RCA outputs, 480i - This is where I get the majority of my TV programming.


With the CS-1, I'm assuming that all of my components will now connect to it, and I'll be able to select which input I want to see using the CS-1 instead of switching inputs on my TV. Is this the way the unit works? How many inputs are available on it, and what type are they? I'm assuming it has a couple S-Video, a couple RCA, and a couple component inputs. Is there a remote for switching inputs?


As you can see I'm pretty new to the video processor market, but I know a little bit about HD (enough to make me dangerous, I guess...) :)


Thanks for all your help people!
 

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good question, but I don't think you will like the answer. The 1080i standard defines a 16:9 display rectangle, and that is what the CS assumes. Even if we were able to set the aspect ratio of the 1080i configuration to 4:3, I'm almost certain that the Sony KV40XBR800 TV is smart enough to automatically display HDTV 1080i in 16:9 mode. If it didn't, true 16:9 material would be the wrong aspect ratio.


I would recommend that you investigate if the display will accept a 4:3 resolution like 1024x768 and display it full screen, and use this resolution for your 4:3 inputs. Unfortunately, I can't see anything on Sony's website that leads me to believe it accepts these resolutions, but their specifications are highly not to technical, so it's unlikely that they would actually put in real technical information. It's still worth a try, or maybe someone at Sony could tell you?
 

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NOTE - to the best of my knowledge, the xbox dvd player, even with the HD output kit and the xbox settings set for 480p, does NOT output 480p, but 480i (interlaced). Someone else feel free to jump in and clarify, but I know *my* xbox never puts out a progressive signal from dvds.


Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Shaun, thanks for this information. I just called Sony tech support and they told me the native resolution of the display is 1024x768, and that it would support the CS-1 through the DVI port. It looks like I should be set, now my only decision is CS-1 or CS-2, because someone in another thread said that the CS-1 doesn't support HDCP. I'm a little leary of buying a device this expensive that might not support a sattelite box that uses DVI-HDCP.


So, with the CS-1 in the picture, connected to DVI and scaling my 480i sources to 1024x768, am I also better off scaling my HD (480p/720p/1080i) sources using the CS-1? I would imagine the CS-1 should do a much better job than the internal circuitry. Or perhaps the TV is already optimized as much as possible for HD sources, so I'm better off using it's component inputs for these. Comcast is going to be rolling out HD in my area so I'm curious if the CS-1 will be obsolete for me then (at that point I'll only have component progressive and DVI sources).


Also, I checked out the website and I'm pretty amazed. I didn't know you guys did the video output chip on the XBox, but that would explain why the video quality I get from it is top notch. It also speaks volumes for your company that you have knowledgeable sales folks here in these forums to help people out. It makes me feel a lot better about choosing Focus to know that you guys are out there to help us if necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In order to get the XBox to output progressive video you have to use the DVD-X application (not the Microsoft Dashboard) to play your DVDs, and you need to patch the .XBE (executable) to enable progressive output.


In other words, you need a modded XBox to do it, but it works great. This saved me quite a bit of money and the video quality seems to be really good to me. I don't have any of those test DVDs to check the quality, but it seems comparable to what I see coming out of most HTPCs.


Quite an ingenious hack, $199 for an XBox and $59 for a mod-chip gets you a nice progressive scan DVD player. Not to mention the best part: XBox Media Player can be patched also. Now my XBox plays Divx movies in beautiful 480p, which are streamed wirelessly (802.11b) from a video server in my office! My dream of having a dedicated video server has finally become reality.


Check out this thread for more information: Progressive Scan DVD on XBox
 

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aha. THat's cool. Alas, I've heard that XBox Live games are hyper-paranoid and are failing to work on modded boxes because of failed checksums, etc. That would suck to go through that trouble then not be able to play the games the box was built for.. ;)



Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Dan, you are correct, XBox Live will not allow you to connect if you have a mod-chip installed. What's more, if you try to connect with a mod-chip installed they will ban your XBox permanently. Fortunately, most of the mod-chips have switches that allow you to disable them for this purpose. You just have to be sure and remember to shut it off before going on Live.


I actually bought a second XBox just to use as an HTPC basically. I have one that is "unmodded" for games and XBox Live.


I think it is a great value just for the progressive scan Divx and DVD playback capability. Where else can you get a decent HTPC for under $300?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by illumin8
Shaun, thanks for this information. I just called Sony tech support and they told me the native resolution of the display is 1024x768, and that it would support the CS-1 through the DVI port. It looks like I should be set, now my only decision is CS-1 or CS-2, because someone in another thread said that the CS-1 doesn't support HDCP. I'm a little leary of buying a device this expensive that might not support a sattelite box that uses DVI-HDCP.


So, with the CS-1 in the picture, connected to DVI and scaling my 480i sources to 1024x768, am I also better off scaling my HD (480p/720p/1080i) sources using the CS-1? I would imagine the CS-1 should do a much better job than the internal circuitry. Or perhaps the TV is already optimized as much as possible for HD sources, so I'm better off using it's component inputs for these. Comcast is going to be rolling out HD in my area so I'm curious if the CS-1 will be obsolete for me then (at that point I'll only have component progressive and DVI sources).


Also, I checked out the website and I'm pretty amazed. I didn't know you guys did the video output chip on the XBox, but that would explain why the video quality I get from it is top notch. It also speaks volumes for your company that you have knowledgeable sales folks here in these forums to help people out. It makes me feel a lot better about choosing Focus to know that you guys are out there to help us if necessary.
This is an easy decision. Does your Sony TV have HDCP support? If not then none of this matters. HDCP has to be supported through the entire video chain, including the display. If your display supports HDCP then I would highly recommend the CS-2. If you get an HDTV receiver that can output DVI I would recommend sending all of your sources through the CS-2 even your HDTV source via DVI and output 1024x768 for all sources since this is the native resolution of the display.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Shaun, the Sony KV-40XBR800 does support DVI-HDCP so it looks like the CS-2 is the video processor I should buy. Thanks again for all of your advice.
 

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Sounds like a real nice setup. Wouldn't mind it myself but I already have some sort of progressive viewing in almost every room. Maybe this set up would go nice in my Bar or bedroom.
 

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A 4:3 version of 1080i is a feature of the TV, not the CS-1. Theoretically a video picture can be stretched into any shape on a picture tube.


Can you use the TV remote to unsqueeze the picture to fill the 4:3 screen when the TV is showing 1080i?


If you can unsqueeze the picture, it is still 1920 x 1080. Pixels do not have to be perfectly square. If the external scaler were to convert the picture to 1440 x 1080 and you did not unsqueeze the TV, there would be black on all four sides.


Video hints:
http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
 
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