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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Read and find out http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


My setup: Hitachi 36" Direct View 36SDX01S

Pioneer F727 300+1 DVD Changer

Iscan Pro


All results using component from DVD to IScan. (Silver Serpent) RGB from Iscan to VGA input on Hitachi. (belkin Gold)


To warmup, I watched a Barney DVD with my daughter - nice line doubling! Then moved on to some familiar discs, Toy Story 2, You've Got Mail, While You Were Sleeping. (Hey, my wife and I watch chick movies on great equipment and we're both happy http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif )


All looked good and I was happy. Wasn't as great as I'd hoped but very very improved over the internal doubler of the Hitachi and about as good as my Radeon VE HTCP.


Another important plus. There have been complaints about the Hitachi's "squeeze mode" not squeezing enough. Well with the 480P out from the IScan the squeeze was a mere .5" from perfect! Easily tweaked with the H and V size controls to get a good 4:3 to 16:9 and back without fuss. (This is important as my DVD changers letterbox conversion is poor - anamorphic Yeah!)


I'm happy enough now to know this is a keeper system with my major concerns taken care of. Time to calibrate, tweak, and enjoy.


What I didn't expect was how near perfect the calibration would go! I was able to achieve great white and black levels. (A slight bending on the needle pulse but very slight) In RGB mode there is no sharpness and the Sharpness screen was absolutely perfect. The Iscan has a sharpness control but I just left it in the center position that seems to have minimal if any effect.

Onto color. RGB mode on the Hitachi only has contrast and brightness so I wasn't sure how this was going to work. Well the Iscan came to the rescue here. With the Saturation control on the Iscan (listen carefully this is key) I was able to achieve perfect matching with the blue filter on the color chart. The Hue was dead on and required no adjustment. Then comes the next screen I'm all to familiar with that shows the errors in the color decoder that means the achievments on the last screen must now be undone to get rid of red push etc.

To my amazement the red was at 0% and green and blue were both ~2.5%!!! (about half way between 0% and 5%)

I quickly went through gray tracking and geometry but it was only a verification of very near perfect!


Something that took me by surprise was that usually after an Avia or VE calibration I wind up turning up the contrast and/or brightness just a bit because it appears "dark" to me. I've read this same thing from many others as well. Not this time! The display is bright and colorful with great shadow detail and no sharpness/SVM distortions of any kind.


This combination is highly recommended. I've used DTC-100, HDT-2000, TW cable, DVD through composite, Svideo, and component; HTPC at various resolutions and refresh. This is my favorite so far. (Well HD is certainly nicer but DVD's are still my bread and butter)


With reports of these Hitachi's on closeout from Sears for as low as $999 and Iscan Pro's going for $500-$550 used - This is a nobrainer. Once you get it calibrated properly you'll be a happy camper.


In case you're wondering. I'm a very picky person about image quality. I write imaging code for a living and I sent my DTC-100 back because of its softening of the image on 480i broadcasts. (I found the HD output on the DTC-100 to be breathtaking on this set however)


Recap - Iscan Pro's deinterlacing and color controls combined with the 36SDX01S's get-out-of-the-way highres RBG tube is an excellent must see.


Disclaimer: YMMV. See another review in this forum with a similar combination with great but not quite as steller results. The same setup using the S-video out on the DVD changer gives mediocre (by comparison) results.


Now, what to do about HD and cable? http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

Ken

 

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I guess this will be the extended thread from before!


Great results! I should have my iScan Pro today or tomorrow.


Robert
 

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Quick dumb ?.


What is an Iscan / Iscan Pro. How much (new, used, whatever)? Any weblinks anyone knows about? iscan.com is a domain seller.


many thanks
 

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Cab,

Go into the Video Processors forum to read more, but basically it's a high-end de-interlacer that is much better than the one built into the Hitachi. You can read about it here:
http://www.siimage.com/dvdo/iscanpro.asp


The nice thing about it being external is it can line double all analog sources like VHS, CableTV (through a VCR or other external tuner), DVD, 8mm Camcorder, etc. Progressive DVD players can, of course, only deinterlace DVD content. While the Hitachi line-doubler is pretty good, and very sharp, it does introduce artifacts quite easily.


See a review here in reference with progressive DVD players: http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...t-12-2000.html


Now, that review is for the V2. The iScan Pro supposedly has even a better video output. You can find some for sale on eBay, or through an authorized dealer.


-Robert
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
To followup with more detail. I took David's suggestion and used the Circle screen in Avia to tweak the aspect ratio.


The procedure was to adjust the minimum height in 4:3 mode and then switch to 16:9 mode and adjust the width until correct aspect ratio.


So my final solution has a 17" high squeeze mode. I used the Avia anamorphic circle to adjust and add a bit of width overscan until the aspect ratio was perfect. This led to 14 pixels or 2% of the width being cropped off.


I can live with this. Now, switching back and forth between wide and normal requires no further fiddling.


Ken
 

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Well I went and got one of these 36SDX01S at Sears since you guys were raving about them. I wish I could see what you are talking about with the iScan to know whether I should start budgeting for one of those too. Too bad none of you are here in Atlanta.
 

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kenland, have you tried running component into the iscan pro and component (vs. vga) out to your set. if so what is the difference in picture between the vga out and the component out on the iscan to the hitachi. ive noticed the picture to be much duller and less crisp on my hitachi's vga input vs. the component input. thanks.
 

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Well, I hooked up my iScan Pro tonight and configured it with AVIA for both the component and VGA input on my Hitachi 36SDX01S. I have a high-quality VGA cable and a Better Cables VGA-to-Component breakout cable. I adjusted the hue, saturation, geometry, etc with either the built-in Hitachi controls or iScan dials as required. Since the Hitachi RGB/VGA mode doesn't have color settings, I set the iScan so the cables could be swapped easily without needing any further adjustments on any devices, in any modes. That took a chunk of my time tonight to find the happy medium to make comparisons quick & easy.


1)For David:

I too noticed the VGA mode wasn't as bright as the other inputs and the user menu Contrast didn't go high enough. I adjusted the subcontrast "ceiling" for RGB mode through the service menu. I took the parameter P16 from 20 to 36 with no ill effects, so far. That allowed me to set the contrast in VGA mode to 60, with a couple points of headroom (max 63).


2)The deinterlacing:

Not much to say on this. It's just plain perfect. You don't even notice it because it doesn't leave you any artifacts to pick apart! Over the last month, I used to run from my bedroom to my living room comparing line-doubler artifacts on the Hitachi to an analog 19" TV. Of course, the 19" has no issues (other than interlace flickering & scanlines) but it was always perfect with motion, diagonals, circles, etc. Well, now with the iScan, so is my Hitachi! I can't find a bloody thing wrong with the picture and the jaggies which I so hated are gone. No combing in sports events, no problems with cartoons, nada. 'nuff said.


3) Impressions:

No question the iScan is staying- the question is how am I going to use it. Objective results with AVIA say I should use it in RGB/VGA mode because the SVM isn't active and the tests in AVIA are perfect in that mode. Welp, call me a product of artificial enhancement, but I think the like the sharpness more in component mode. I realize it's filtered through the SVM, but years of looking at that kind of picture & brainwashing is hard to shake off. Objectively the RGB mode is better (according to AVIA), but subjective impressions are just as important. We'll see. I have to watch some high-quality DVD's in both modes to see which I prefer, but preliminary testing with NTSC CableTV proves that SVM does have it's place with low-grade signals.


I will watch some movies, for more than 2 minutes at a time, starting tomorrow night and post more findings as I play more. But it's safe to say, that if you have a Hitachi 36SDX01S or RCA MM36110 coupled with an iScan Pro, you have a fantastic combination for less than $2000, and NO QUESTION it blows away the Panasonics and Sony XBR series for the same price.


-Robert
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Chuck,


On my set using only the interlaced component inputs directly to the TV the 6.75 MHz patch is extremely detailed. Problem is it throws the internal doubler into a fit and flashing occurs.


Component into the Iscan Pro and VGA to my TV yields a not quite as detailed rendition, but it is rock stable. The lines are still clearly discernable.


Ken
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by KenLand:
On my set using only the interlaced component inputs directly to the TV the 6.75 MHz patch is extremely detailed. Problem is it throws the internal doubler into a fit and flashing occurs.


Component into the Iscan Pro and VGA to my TV yields a not quite as detailed rendition, but it is rock stable. The lines are still clearly discernable.
Keep in mind that in the first instance the SVM is in use, but not in the second. Could that be making you *think* that it looks more detailed? I know it fooled me when comparing regular video content.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
David,


Could be. I'm not really concerned with the component inputs anymore however. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif It's clear that the RGB inputs take most if not all of the signal degrading "extras" out of the video path.


I'm seeing exactly what you saw regarding SVM. I don't believe the RGB input goes through that circuit.


What does the 6.75MHz patch look like through your Iscan, and which input on the Iscan are you using? Oh yeah, can you describe the patch for both component and RGB TV inputs?

I don't have the component breakout cable.

Thanks,

Ken

 

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I got my iScan Pro in today at work. It's sitting happily beside my feet right now.


I hope to have it plugged in and tested this evening, although it may take an extra night before I report back with thorough results.


-Robert
 

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Just a comment regarding some posters opinions regarding the sharpness of the image when fed via the VGA input.


As several of you know, I have the RCA with the Iscan. With the RCA it has two modes for a signal fed through the VGA input. The one is Computer/Text and the other is Video. With both modes there are contrast, colour, tint and black level. The only difference is that the Video mode also has a sharpness setting. Light output is a bit lower than Video mode but still more than adquate.


Now in Computer/Text mode there is no SVM active whereas in the Video mode SVM is active unless one sets sharpness to zero whereupon SVM is disabled.


However, I did find, and my ISF calibrator Michael Chen has found that sharpness at zero is not the best position for the RCA. It softens the picture definitely. Setting it at minimum is not the best position and something like a setting of 25-33% is the best. This is probably the equivalent of 0 db and not the minimum setting. I have found that I could not get as good a picture with the "Computer/Text" mode setting and used the Video Mode, despite the SVM.


This quandary (sharpness vis-a-vis SVM) was solved by physically disconnecting the SVM and using the Video mode with the aforementioned sharpness level.


How this translates with the Hitachi I am not sure but it is food for thought. The processing transition from component to RGB is not huge and I doubt you would notice the difference.


What I am saying is that, if you have no control over sharpness via the RGB input and in fact your signal is getting dulled try and see if you can turn off SVM via the service menu and if not consider a physical disconnect. Then use the component input via a break-out cable for the Iscan.


Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·


Valnar,


Congratulations! I'm glad you're getting great results too. I am perplexed that you and David and kkarve get dimmed results through the VGA port.

Not only is it bright on mine but it's sharp and has a wide dynamic range from very black to bright white and linear in between. I believe all of you and I know what it looks like with me being the only one of 4, but I promise I know what dim vs. bright looks like. I also know what too much or too little sharpness looks like. It's just dead on on my set. The sharpness screen looks like its on a pixel based display.

I guess I'm going to have to get a breakout cable though.

I wonder if the difference could be that I'm *only* running high quality DVD signals. Perhaps if I had an external cable tuner I'd be reaching for the Sharpness and SVM.

I'm very familiar with the effects of both Sharpness and SVM. (I turned SVM off in the service menu of my Zenith Inteq in '98)


The other funny thing is both you and David seem to need more range on some of your adjustments. I barely had to touch mine! I'll get the exact numbers later but brightness is 41 and contrast is 47-50. Both just to the right of center. If I turn contrast up higher the blacks get black and the whites get white with too little in between for a pleasing picture. All Iscan settings are in their center detent positions save for Saturation which is quite high.

Anyway, publish your exact settings and I'll publish mine and then we can compare.


The reason I didn't post last night was that I was watching movies. I did the 2-5 minute thing on Anna&the King, Star Trek Insurection, Mickey Blue Eyes, a few others and then we watched Fifth Element from start to finish.

Man, that picture looks like those digital photos people have been posting over in the Processor forum to show off their Rock+'s. My wife and I both kept commenting on the clarity. Stunning is the word. Anyone seeing this picture would definitely not be using words like dim or soft.


I'm real happy with the squeeze setup now. My player is set to 16:9 output but in reality that means it does nothing. So 4:3 material still comes out 4:3 and I turn squeeze off. So the rule is simple. If the people are too tall and thin, turn squeeze on otherwise leave it off.

Proper anamorphic display is a key element in my view and should definitely affect any purchase decisions.

As in no-squeeze? no buy.


Wayne, I paid $1399 plus $40 delivery. Included in the $40 they moved the old 31" upstairs and setup the new 36".
 

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Ken,

When you say you turn squeeze "on" for anamorphic movies, you are referring to just turning down the vertical size in the user menu (VGA mode), right? The way you worded it, it sounds like you just press a magic button!


-Robert
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Valnar:
When you say you turn squeeze "on" for anamorphic movies, you are referring to just turning down the vertical size in the user menu (VGA mode), right? The way you worded it, it sounds like you just press a magic button!
No, it's the "magic" 4:3/16:9 setting. In VGA mode go into settings (the lower left icon), then scroll down (there are two pages of settings -- I think you're missing the second) to aspect ratio and choose between 4:3 and 16:9. Or just RTFM http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif


Everyone: My previous preference for the component inputs with SVM was only for lower quality sources. The RGB input with DVD was quite acceptable. Since those initial impressions, I've done a more exacting calibration in RGB (oh, that pesky contrast setting), and done more critical long-term comparision. Using SVM does provide more punch, but the picture without it is starting to grow on me. The RGB (without SVM) is definitely more solid and uniform, and it passes test patterns better than the fake effect of SVM. I can understand how someone would prefer the effect of SVM. But I think I may now be a convert to the RGB input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·


Oh, it is a Fine manual isn't it?


Here are my settings for my DVD Player through component outputs, through the Iscan's RGB outputs to TV:

I've made no adjustments to the service menu.

H-Pos 36

V-Pos 36

H-Siz 57

V-Siz 54 <-works with "magic button" on/off

PinCush 32

Color Temp 6500K

Contrast 55

Brightness 41 <-Must lower in squeeze mode a touch

Tilt 30

That's it for TV

Iscan:

Saturation 14 minutes past the hour

All Others Detent


When I go to squeeze mode it raises the light "density" and the brightness must be lowered to compensate otherwise the black borders are a bit too light. Haven't really tried to find the happy medium.


Ken
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by KenLand:
Color Temp 6500K
For those looking for a bit more punch from the RGB inputs (increasing the whites and boosting apparent contrast), see if you like the 8000K setting better. I know I personally prefer a cooler picture. Perhaps it's because my TV is in a bright sunlit room. But I'm also someone who adjusts my computer monitor from 9300 up to 9500.


Anyone know the color temperature of the "cool" setting with the video inputs?

Quote:
Iscan:

Saturation 14 minutes past the hour
Holy cow! Something must be wrong. With component inputs to the iScan and RGB out to TV, color information is separated from the source straight through to the tube. No adjustments should be necessary.
 
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