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Hi All,

Is the Rock+ worth the extra money over some of the other lower priced brands? And is the Rock+ that much better then the Rock? I will be using an NEC 9pg plus crt, and a 80" wide screen.


Thank you for any opinions and/or suggestions you can provide me.


Don
 

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That really depends on what you need.


As you might have noticed on the boards - each scaler has its own follower "camps". Each has a different approach to scaling:


1. Rock+ - lots of features, major emphasis on future upgradability (hardware and software). VERY high number of aspect ratios/ouptut rates/deinterlacing options/picture controls.


2. Vigatec - standard deinterlacing, major emphasis on different input options. Specific set of aspect ratios and output rates.


3. Faroudja NRS - highest quality deinterlacing, least amount of input options, 1 preselected output rate.


4. LEEZA - many features (not as many as Rock+), empahsis on stability rather than upgradability. Not hardware expandable. Many inputs, and many preset output rates (no custom output rate like Rock+, but a preset list of all rates known to man, and then some).


As you can see, each unit has its own unique fit. Whether one is worth more than any other is subjective.
 

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Hi,


Just wanted to let you know that TAWFORUM is now publicly open to posting by new users if you need to ask questions about the ROCK+ over there.
 

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A nice response Ofer. Without starting or entering any debate about which is better between these brands for this particular poster, I would say that if the choice is a Rock, the Rock Plus is a significant improvement over the Rock (in video deinterlacing if nothing else) which itself is no longer available.
 

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Oferlaor: The Leeza most certainly does have the ability to custom output but, maybe we are talking about two different outputs. If you are talking a custom RATE output, you are correct, the Leeza does not have custom rates. If you are talking custom SCREEN output, the Leeza has the ability to stretch and zoom an image any way you like and save it as a custom preset for future use.
 

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Mark H.,


Thanks. Again - it's an idividual choice. Some people only have a DVD player and the Faroudja NRS may have exactly their native rate settings, so the NRS might be the best choice for them.


Others may have a "cutting edge" mentality (e.g., myself) and want frequent updates to their equipment. Instead of changing a scaler every 6-18 months, they can now get a Rock and maintain their investment over a long period of time as TAW's technology advances further and further.


Some may need more inputs (I guess TAW would be able to supply that as well with their 5 card option), and want an SDI - DVI solution (e.g., Ericbee) - so LEEZA is their top choice.


The Vigatec is the only currently selling solution (until the LEEZA comes out at the end of the year) with many input options, and is the only unit with 3 SDI inputs and several choices for SDI players...


Ericbee - yes, I meant about a custom RATE output. The Rock+ has a neat option (or so I've heard) that lets you specify width, height, as well as vertical frequency and timing information - to generate your very own output rate. This is quite neat if you have (or want) a resolution that doesn't quite fit the mold.


It can also apply when a particular plasma or projector has special timings that allow the unit to bypass the built-in scaler. For example, about 6 months ago I found out that Fujitsu has special timing settings that if you can match them - you get perfect convergence. Sadly, I only got this information after returning my Rock, so I never got a chance to find out. However, I relayed the information to Mark R. and I believe that they work with this option on the Rock!


Ofer.
 

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my impressions based on personal observations of the units in my own system:


Inputs and outputs: if you want to ever go to a mostly, or all, digital path, the Leeza, vig and rock+ are the only players. so far, the vig and rock+ only offer sdi (digital in) and i don't think have indicated that they will add DVI (digital out). The Leeza presently offers SDI and DVI.

My experience with the Leeza (using Clearmatrix), Faroudja and Vig would rate the de-interlacing quality in the same order. Given that the rock+ uses Clearmatrix, its probably at the front as well.


as far as features, nothing has equaled the rock+;

as far as user-friendliness, the Leeza and Rock+ share Mark Rejohn's excellent interface, although the leeza is a subset of the rock+; the vig is a little clumsy and so is the faroudja;

as far as upgrade-ablity and customer support, the Faoudja is still in the middle ages;

as far as build quality, i like the Leeza and vig; have seen the rock, but not the rock+. reports are good for the rock+ though.

as far as cost, if the F is 3,200, the leeza, vig and Rock+ (all with sdi and or DVI) are in the 5-6000 range.
 

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Originally posted by jlm

my impressions based on personal observations of the units in my own system:


Inputs and outputs: if you want to ever go to a mostly, or all, digital path, the Leeza, vig and rock+ are the only players. so far, the vig and rock+ only offer sdi (digital in) and i don't think have indicated that they will add DVI (digital out). The Leeza presently offers SDI and DVI.

My experience with the Leeza (using Clearmatrix), Faroudja and Vig would rate the de-interlacing quality in the same order. Given that the rock+ uses Clearmatrix, its probably at the front as well.


Hi jlm,

Are you saying you feel the clear matrix deinterlacing is better than faroudja's? If yes, is that for both video and film based material?
 

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No,

The Rock+ is still a little behind the Faj. in video but excellent for Film. SDI isn't out yet for the Rock+ but they hope soon. The only shipping SDI vid processor right now is the Vig. with the Rock+ coming soon.


Jim

Quote:
Originally posted by mburnstein


Hi jlm,

Are you saying you feel the clear matrix deinterlacing is better than faroudja's? If yes, is that for both video and film based material? [/b]
 

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who was that who anwered "No"?


iv'e been watching with the leeza for about two weeks and had the NR for several months; i did not have them at the same time however.


My impression is that i am seeing fewer de-interlacing problems now with the leeza than i did at any time before. When looking at dvd material, it always looked great with F or L; however, with sat material, i used to see a lot of tweed suits on acid; (a moire/shimmer on pans) as well as electrified venetian blinds. i am convinced these effects are lessened with the L. Frankly, the video material was never high on my watching list, so i'm no expert there. Of course now i am feeding the plas its native rate, which i could not do wiith the F...so who knows what the cause is. Most likely the extra bit of scaling introduced by the pioneer had some part to play. another factor with the f was the slight Y/C delay, which always smeared colors a bit. not so with the L
 

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Then there is the option of Custom HTPC, over a scaler with inputs. If the Scaler is handled by a compotent individual, who desires maximum signal quality, then there is no reason to go with anything but a well executed HTPC. If the person using the unit does not wish to deal with the minimal hassles of a HTPC, and can get a direct digital input to the scaler, then the scaler has a decent chance of equalling -or exceeding- the DVD througput of a HTPC. The HTPC has the extreme advantage of manipulating the DVD inthe digital domain, and then converting to analog at the final stage. As I said, if video quality is the most sought standpoint, and DVD is the primary source of choice,, well. $2500 less, and a HTPC will bring superior image fidelity. That's hard to turn down. With the advance of specific video TV capture cards (hint, hint) bring about a situation where the capture fidelity is quite high, when using external analog inputs. With proper parts choices, the image fidelity gets waaaayyy up there. Each type of scaler has it's advantages and faults. Some will weigh differently accoring to your scaler critera and bias and needs. I personally chose the HTPC route, as it was cheap, and excels at video performance. Some od trhe posts here are specificlly dealing with CUSTOM HTPC's, that have been re-badged as scalers (to the largish and most correct interpretation), so why not go with the original, at a considerably lower fee?


What it comes down to, is that for ultimate video perofmance...analog input devices on a scaler are no longer a vaible option. They have been left dead inthe wake of other advances. So, digtal input scalers are the ONLY way to go if you ever wish to compete with the fidelity of a HTPC produced image.
 

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Hi KBK,Have you done any side by side comparisons of your HTPC'S deinterlacing with any of the so called $5000 plus scalers?
 

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With the 8 bit (output color depth per pixel) manipulation of older HTPC's (with Ge-Force 2 chipset based VGA cards) doing the scaling and de-interlacing duties, the image was less than it could have been, but if properly chosen overlay (DVD pixel ratio vs that of the chosen output format) ratio's where chosen, the results where superior in most respects-when related to analog input standalone scalers.


With the advent of 10-bit VGA chips being now in the realm of HTPC's, the question of proper scaling at any pixel ratio (width x height) becomes much less of a problem. This means that the ratio or scanning rate that best complements the display device of choice can be chosen instead, with very little or none of the possible artifacts rearing their ugly heads.


For instance, I just tried out ATI's latest VGA card. It has very clean output at my chosen scanning frequency, of 89khz. I run at 1920x1200, and DEMAND a clean image be presented to the PJ.


You have to understand, the actual device that does the work in a given scaler (most of them) is a single chip, or limited chipset,and that item on it's own, comes in at a very reasonable cost, definitely less than $100. More like about $30. The rest is extra money spent on ancillary parts and whatnot (chassis, power supply, etc.)


It should be clear that the choices for internal components are actually QUITE similar and limited. There are only so many chipsets and components to go around, so differences are minimal between scalers,and will not only remain so, but will eventually seem to disappear. The advantage to HTPC(besides the hassle as a drawback) is the near instantaneous upgradability.


Scalers, the reality being that they are NEARLY the same device these days (I am not talking about re-badged custom HTPC's), either) are increasing in their ability to quickly upgraded. If flexibility is a concern, as well,and you are competent with PC's, then the advantage of HTPC comes to the fore in a very hard way. You are suddenly in no way subject to the vagaries of fate that may visit a given manufacturer, when it comes to servicing. True, you are on your own, but your avenues remain open, and ever changing. Sorta like the stock-room-floor of scalers, so to speak. Things happen NOW.


With the stand alone scalers, most of your upgrades are possible,and happen, and are there.. but REAL changes tot he scaler demand a complete new purchase of hardware. They may be user friendly in many ways, but this advantage can and generally comes at great cost to the end user, as far as initial purchase price goes.


As you move upwards in pixel density capacities of display device, the HTPC really shines as a viable choice,as the increased densities (lets say 1280x1024 and above) lessen any tendency towards image presentation problems. Since they have a lower bit depth than many scalers (true scalers, that is.. many have a decent bit depth when manipulating video) high scanning or output frequencies (or pixel densities) are to their advantage. I suspect that most new scalers are in the 10-bit-per-pixel depth at this time. The Snell & Wilcox scaler is at 12-bit depth, and is considered to be very, very good.


When a new round of chips come out, you will see a new round of scalers come out. Re-purchase may be the requirement, due to the fact that a whole motherboard replacement in the scaler may be the minimal requirement. In a HTPC, it's anew VGA card that needs to be purchased when this happens. This happens at a faster pace than the Scaler market, in the general sense.


When the PC market finally realizes that their only place left to expand is in the Home theater market (as they have reached saturation in the new-PC marketplace, and are in replacement mode as of recently), you will see this beast begin to take off. Imagine the juggernaut of the PC marketplace attacking your home theater. The ONLY thing holding them back to some degree is the manipulative practices of the software (viewing material) industry as a whole. You see, the digital-level upgrading of the Home theater or entertainment market space is nearly as huge as the PC market (in some ways), merely because it has YET to be actually serviced.


So, the PC marketplace can stave off stagnation if they pry their way into this space in a wholesale fashion. Digtially derived video intergrated systems for the 'average man' so to speak. But..the MPAA will have nothing to do with that. Let's see how this 'organization' fares against the PC industry. We are about to find out.


This was my round-about way of saying, 'no, I haven't done any comparisons'. I don't have access to those scalers. I could have an opinion to you in a matter of minutes if I did, I suspect. ( when I go to audio shows, I am tuned enough to sound quality, that I can accurately evaluate a speaker playing in a room well enough to judge it correctly from the hall outside, before I enter the room it is playing in) The differences should be gross enough to be quite visible and easily seen. It all comes down to 'precieved value to end users, vs. what they have seen and know of'.


A cheaper option may be in place, (HTPC's and the like) but.. are they (end user-purchaser) aware of the existence of such? The fact that I do not have any access to scalers does not nessessarily make my remarks invalid to any immediate degree. I have a largeish backgorund in the qualitive analysis of individual componentry and the parts (and ways) that a given piece of electronics can be executed or constructed. Basically, approx. 20 years of messing with gear in the whole and individual part level.
 

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Hi,


I have both ROCK and a HTPC but really can't comment as I'd be considered biased or interpreted as selling a product (I'm the Lead Software Engineer for ROCK, if you guessed!) ....


KBK lists a lot of strong reasons for HTPC. So I will simply list general reasons that haven't been already mentioned by other wonderful forum members...


On HTPC's versus scalers....

A very well-configured HTPC can have surprisingly good picture quality but there are frequently reasons to still go with scalers -- Wife Acceptance Factor! That's a biggie for many people -- wives who don't want to see a computer in the home theater. Or people who wants the ease of use of a user friendly scaler. Another thing is that a scaler with a VERY good commercial deinterlacing algorithm for sports material can still be better than a HTPC or a software DVD player's own video-source deinterlace algorithm. Various companies such as TheaterTek can go a long way towards that. And other reasons -- some people just aren't comfortable with a PC in a home theater setting. While others like to have both a PC and a video processor together in the same HT for maximum flexibility. And many people can frequently find it difficult to tell the difference between a good scaler and direct digital playback (until they've been spoiled and now start to pay attention to the nitty gritty picture quality details). And some scalers may be better at judder removal (at 72 Hz) than certain DVD players in HTPC's, too, if you are a person who is sensitive to judder. Also, the input electronics of high end scalers can be superior to the best 8x8 TV input board available for HTPC's too, some of them have crystal clear 6.75 Mhz AVIA pattern even for an analog S-Video or Component connection that makes you almost think it's direct-digital. SDI (albiet not Component) will be available for HTPC's in the near future though, to bypass 8x8 deficiencies. Also, some scalers also have SDI capability or can be later upgraded as such, so that you can do digital between DVD and scaler. There are also other reasons, such as an adjustable Chroma Delay in the scaler, if the DVD player is not outputting perfect Chroma.


Depending on your needs, you may want to get both a scaler and a HTPC -- if you want the best of both worlds. That way, you're easing yourself into the HTPC world.
 

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For example, this month's issue of "Maximum PC" magazine has a large milti page (5 or so) article on DOLBY 5.1 DIGITAL, and wht to do as a sonic solution for your PC,and how to use a ROOM in these situations. This in conjunction with your PC DVD drive. They where focussing on the Game aspect, but did go through the trouble of mentioning the sound card and DVD drive. Hmmmm.....


Here they come.....
 

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Let's not forget another difference in the many choices is that the Vigatec can accept a non NTSC input, such as 1080I, and be able to output 1080P.

Thanks,

Bob
 

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A useful feature for those who have 9 inch CRTs. Tough to use 1080p otherwise. This is not a slap at Alan's ("affordable" baby), it indeed has many neat features. 1080i in for 1080 out is just probably not that useful for most.
 

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the vig can also input 1080i HD and output 720p or 768p HD so it can provide quality de-interlacing of HD material and still talk to affordable displays, like plasma.
 

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You are correct of course. I still tend to think only in the CRT box. The new DLP chip machines down convert 1080i to 720p and a processor that can do this better than the internal processors in those projectors can only help. Ditto for plasmas that can not handle 1080i without down conversion. Point taken.
 
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