Can you tell the quality of the line doubler inside an RPT from any of the specifications listed for the set? For example, is a line doubler that converts NTSC to 1080i better than one that converts it to 960i (Sony's for example)?
No, not really. If I were building a line doubler, I would choose 960i over 1080i, since 960i is an even multiple of 480i, but 1080i can work fine too. The larger the screen and the finer the beam spot size, the larger amount of scaling you'd like in your line double. But many with Sony 53HS10's and 61HS10's disable to the 960i line doubling and use 480p instead, preferring the more steady picture with fewer artifacts.
About the only important spec is whether the line doubler has "3:2 pulldown", and even that is only a weak indicator. I prefer Sony's 960i DRC or even Sony's 480p mode, both lacking 3:2 pulldown, over Philips' internal line doubler, which I believe has 3:2 pulldown.
You can always add a DVDO iScan Pro or a HTPC to do external line doubling better than most internal line doublers, so you should not insist on having an internal line doubler, much less a great internal line doubler.
The Sony 960i can be incredibly good, given good source material. I wonder if anyone else has been watching HBO's Six Feet Under? Last night, I couldn't believe how much detail DirecTV was letting through on Channel 501, which used to be so compressed I couldn't watch the 960i at all. Last night, the image looked like a 4:3 cut from the center of The Sopranos (well, not quite, but it was really good for DBS). I think *D has reduced compression on HBO stuff, or at least they do sometimes.
I've seen no reason to switch my HS to 480p, as visible jaggies, etc., seem minimal.
Yeah, I'm actually a big fan of Sony DRC 960i. Sony is adding 3:2 pulldown this year, so they have the potential for something really exciting there.
I personally watch DirecTV upscaled to 1200i, using dScaler (the line doubler formerly known as "dTV") and an ATI Radeon card on my HTPC, and I used to watch at 480p on a DVDO iScan Pro. I don't use the internal line doubler on my set at all.
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