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Wow--


I have to say this was one of the more interesting afternoons of testing I've done. Tom Huffman will chime in later when he gets home with his option as well.


Bottom line-- there is NO REASON TO BUY AN EXTERNAL VIDEO PROCESSOR if you buy the XA2. Not only did it match in virtually all the tests and visual observations the Gennum VXP chip in the Crystallio II VP but in some cases was VISUALLY SUPERIOR. The Toshiba XA2 is without a doubt the best upscaling SD DVD player that I have ever seen. It certainly leaves me depressed about the money I spent a month ago on the CII.


OK-- here was the test setup. The display device was an HP MD6580N DLP rear projector (65") that was recently calibrated by well regarded calibrator Gregg Loewen of Lion Audio Video Consultants. This display device has TWO HDMI inputs which each accept a 1080p60 signal. The display was set to Studio mode with 1:1 pixel mapping confirmed with test patterns.


In one corner we had the new Toshiba HD-DVD XA2 player. Its video settings were set to output 1080p60 over HDMI directly into HDMI slot2 on the HP set.

Its picture settings were Selective Color Enhancement- OFF, Edge Enhancement - OFF, Mosquito Noise Reduction ON, Block Noise Reduction ON, Random Noise Reduction ON.


In the other corner we had a Pioneer Elite 59AVI DVD player that had been modified professionally to produce an SDI output. The SDI output was connected to the Crystallio II video processor running the latest firmware (2.0). The VXP chip in the Crystallio was turned on and Noise Reduction was turned off. The Crystallio than output over HDMI a 1080p60 signal into the HP's HDMI slot1.


This enabled us to flip back and forth quickly between HDMI inputs on the HP.


Tests


We first started with the HQV test disk. We expected the XA2 to do well containing a Silicon Optix chip-- the Reon VX. It was outstanding.


Test1 - Color Bar/Vertical Detail -- XA2 and CII both score 10/10.

Test2 - Jaggies Pattern 1 - XA2 and CII both pass with 5/5.

Test 3 - Jaggies Pattern 2 - XA2 and CII both pass. [Edited] Tom and I agree

that we would score the XA2 at 5/5 and the Crystallio at 4/5. (the first surprise). I could see some jaggies on the lowest bar with the CII.

Test 4 - Test Waving Flag. - XA2 and CII both pass. Again Tom didn't see a difference but again I could see some minor inperfections with the CII. He would 10/10 for each. I would go 10/10 on the XA2 and 9/10 on the CII.

Test 5 - Picture Detail - here we had a slight problem due to the fact that the XA2 would only output the test disk at 4:3 and not 16:9. I've only seen this with the HQV test disk and not any movies. Here the CII looked a little sharper but I would call them even. I would call both 9/10, Tom might call the CII a 10/10 and the XA2 an 8 or 9/10 but I'll let him chime in later as we didn't record our numbers during the session.

Test 6 Noise Reduction -- here again I thought that the XA2 was superior to the CII without removing detail. I think we would both give the XA2 a 10/10 and the CII about a 5/10 or so as it becomes noticeably less detailed when noise reduction is turned on.

Test 7 Motion Adaptive Noise Reduction-- again significantly better with the XA2 than with the CII. Perhaps 8-9/10 for the XA2 and only 5/10 for the CII.

Test 8 3:2 Detection - the only test that the CII excelled on and it wasn't by much. It locked on instantly where the XA2 took between 1/4 -1/8 of a second-- what most users would never notice. The CII is 10/10 here and the XA2 8-9/10.

Test 9 Film Cadence - both pass with 10/10.

Test 10 Mixed 3:2 film with added video titles - both pass with 10/10.


That completed the formal tests. We then moved onto the qualitative tests. We put SUPERBIT copies of The Fifth Element into both players so we could flip back and forth both between motion scenes and freeze frames. I think we both agreed that the image off of the XA2 was SUPERIOR to the external VP the CII. You would have to see them side by side but the image from the XA2 was outstandingly sharp-- almost appearing HD-like at times, excellent color saturation, and what some have described as a 3D depth or sparkle to it. It seems that reflective surfaces in the image appear more real and on the CII a little more dull. We also viewed the Spiderman II Superbit DVD and again the image from the XA2 was outstanding.


For Tom's benefit we took a look at Phantom of the Opera in HD DVD and he was extremely impressed by the sharpness and color displayed on the HP set. It was one of the best rear projection images he had ever seen and he's a professional ISF calibrator!


What does this all mean? Well Toshiba has produced a phenomenal combination upscaling SD DVD player and HD DVD player. For the price it doesn't appear that anything can touch it. Certainly it puts ALL of the BR players to shame on upscaling alone--let alone its HD 1080p60 output. I have to congratulate Silicon Optix as well in their production of the ReonVX chip-- I believe it clearly beats the image produced by the Gennum VXP chip in the Crystallio II. Not good news for the external processor market if someone is primarly looking to display movies and not video/tv. I can not imagine improving the picture produced from the XA2. The movie studios should be ashamed that they conspired to eliminate the HD DVD technology.


Now -- go out and order one from Robert at VE. I'm going to put my Pioneer Elite SDI DVD player up for sale this week on the forum. Fortunately I still have to deinterlace and upscale the tv I watch or the Crystallio II would be a waste. Its too bad that Calibre couldn't get its firmware working very well or the Realta chip in their video processor would probably have blown everything away.
 

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Even more reason to own an XA-2



Excellent write up. Thanks for posting!
 

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Thanks for putting your time and effort into that. It sounds really impressive.
 

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Sounds fantastic. And given the fact I have the HP MD6580N DLP it brings a smile to my face. I have a big question here though. Have you tried the 1080p/24 on the HP yet?


(Edit: Just realized this was a dumb question as the XA2 itself doesn't have 1080p/24 support yet.)
 

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you're making it harder and harder for me not to buy one of these
 

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Great review.


Pretty impressive that the XA2 can hold its own with the Crystallio.


Thumbs up to Toshiba and Silicon Optix.
 

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How is the De-Interlacing of the XA2? There are some really hard tests out there. I know the test disc of the VP50 for example, which has some nice racing scenes on it, the perfect test for the de-interlacer.
 

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Thanks for this info, very interesting! It seems that this would make the internal scaler a projector meaningless as well--for example, the impressive internal scaler/processor in the forthcoming JVC. Right?
 

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Discussion Starter #9

Quote:
Originally Posted by HPforMe /forum/post/0


Sounds fantastic. And given the fact I have the HP MD6580N DLP it brings a smile to my face. I have a big question here though. Have you tried the 1080p/24 on the HP yet?

Yes-- I tried it with the Superman Returns HD-DVD and found the motion jerky-- it was in no way smooth. I guess it doesn't multiply the 24 to 48 or 72 for display but displays at 24. I much preferred 1080p60 output in the HP set.
 

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Well I can't wait till the XA2 drops down to where the prices of the XA1 went. I'll pick one up then.


Great review btw.
 

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Discussion Starter #11

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedro2 /forum/post/0


Thanks for this info, very interesting! It seems that this would make the internal scaler a projector meaningless as well--for example, the impressive internal scaler/processor in the forthcoming JVC. Right?

I think the XA2 renders other internal scalers meaningless once the have both 1080p60 and 1080p24 working EXCEPT for non-dvd/hd-dvd sources. So if you want to upscale and deinterlace tv or video games-- there would still be a use. But for home theater and just movies, I wouldn't waste money on any other video processor and go with the ReonVx in the XA2
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorelevitt /forum/post/0


Yes-- I tried it with the Superman Returns HD-DVD and found the motion jerky-- it was in no way smooth. I guess it doesn't multiply the 24 to 48 or 72 for display but displays at 24. I much preferred 1080p60 output in the HP set.

Ok this has been a big issue for us HP owners. A Sony blu ray owner was getting the same clipping issues. I asked for an explanation from HP and this is what they stated:

Please note that some devices can have an "clipping" issue caused by

either an over scan or underscan issue (more or less lines of resolution

then expected) this issue is caused by the source device. The issue will

be more or less noticeable depending on the resolution the source device

is running at, and the native resolution of the TV. The TV has a native

resolution of 1920×1080. A true 1080i or 1080p image should have no

clipping issues on the TV. If the source device is set to 24 or 30

frames/second, the image should be fine, and you should be able to enjoy

the TV as intended.



This needs to be confirmed because the suggestion is with the player being at fault. I wonder if there is any way to confirm the XA2 as either overscanning or underscanning?


Sorry I don't want to hijack what is a great report on the XA2 abilities on upscaling.
 

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Discussion Starter #13

Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalMovie /forum/post/0


How is the De-Interlacing of the XA2? There are some really hard tests out there. I know the test disc of the VP50 for example, which has some nice racing scenes on it, the perfect test for the de-interlacer.

We did not have the VP50 test disk. I would be glad to run it through the XA2 if someone wants to send me a copy (PM me) or can produce an ISO on the web that I can download and burn myself to run the tests.


I can only give you qualitative impressions and the 1080p60 output from SD DVD's on the XA2 was the most impressive image I have ever seen from an SD DVD. The HQV tests of waving flag and the jaggies tests test deinterlacing and the output was the best I have seen. Absolutely PERFECT on these deinterlacing tests.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorelevitt /forum/post/0


We did not have the VP50 test disk. I would be glad to run it through the XA2 if someone wants to send me a copy (PM me) or can produce an ISO on the web that I can download and burn myself to run the tests.


I can only give you qualitative impressions and the 1080p60 output from SD DVD's on the XA2 was the most impressive image I have ever seen from an SD DVD. The HQV tests of waving flag and the jaggies tests test deinterlacing and the output was the best I have seen. Absolutely PERFECT on these deinterlacing tests.


The car racing scene I mentioned is the shown on:

http://www.hqv.com/


Is this the disc you had for testing?
 

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Discussion Starter #15

HPforMe said:
Ok this has been a big issue for us HP owners. A Sony blu ray owner was getting the same clipping issues. I asked for an explanation from HP and this is what they stated:


Please note that some devices can have an "clipping" issue caused by

either an over scan or underscan issue (more or less lines of resolution

then expected) this issue is caused by the source device. QUOTE]


HP fed you a load of crap. I have the HP set on all the parameters for 1:1 pixel mapping. This is confirmed while outputting 1080p60 test patterns built into the Crystallio II. There is NO overscan or underscan coming from the Crystallio. Just 1920x1080p60. When I tell the Crystallio to output 1080p24, I see a far inferior image re: motion and the jutter etc. Other folks are using the Crystallio at 1080p24 in their front projectors which multiply the refresh rate with No problems.


But I agree -- you should start a thread in 1080p24 in the HP perhaps in the Rear Projection forum.
 

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SUPERRIFFIC VALIDATION!


Confirms what most of us XA2 owners have been saying. It seems that keeping installation simple, is the best way to go.


BTW: I just finished watching the LOTR trilogy, It was like watching it again for the 1st time all over again. There is almost no need to buy them on HD(well I will anyway), the upconversion is so good. Honestly, my friends do not believe it's not HD DVD, I'm getting "Wow", "simply amazing", "I gotta have one" from them.


The XA2 is a marvel of engineering, and I can only hope Toshiba gets the kudos it deserves from the experts out there, and no BD bias hurts it. Any expert that says it's just OK, or that PQ is disappointing, is either BD biased, using a poor TV or doesn't know his nose from his elbow.


If one is unsure they want to spend the $$$, but do if the PQ is this good, wait till major retailers get it in, and return it if not up to snuff. I don't think you will return it though.


My simple setup...My personal DVD bliss:

40" Sony Bravia KDL-40v2500 1080P LCD TV(small room, sit 7 feet away)

Yamaha YSP-800 Digital Sound projector w/ powered subwoofer(awesome for this room)

Toshiba XA2

HDMI Cable, Digital coax audio cable, Subwoofer coax cable.
 

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Discussion Starter #17

Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalMovie /forum/post/0


The car racing scene I mentioned is the shown on:

http://www.hqv.com/


Is this the disc you had for testing?

Yes. The car racing scene is a test of 3:2 detection. It appears to take from 1/8-1/4 of a second for the XA2 to lock on. The Crystallio II is faster than the eye can see. What is interesting is that back in November, Tom and I looked at the Calibre Vantage HD containing the Silicon Optix Realta chip, the ReonVX's big brother, against the CII and found the same thing. The Realt chip as well had an extremely short time before it locked on.
 

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Really extraordinary. Other than some bugs in the first units being reported and the ongoing format wars, in terms of picture quality it seems this is close to perfection. Rarely does one ever say (or see!) that. One can only hope that this level of picture quality can be achieved sooner rather than later on the universal players...
 

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lorelevitt said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by HPforMe /forum/post/0


Ok this has been a big issue for us HP owners. A Sony blu ray owner was getting the same clipping issues. I asked for an explanation from HP and this is what they stated:


Please note that some devices can have an "clipping" issue caused by

either an over scan or underscan issue (more or less lines of resolution

then expected) this issue is caused by the source device. QUOTE]


HP fed you a load of crap. I have the HP set on all the parameters for 1:1 pixel mapping. This is confirmed while outputting 1080p60 test patterns built into the Crystallio II. There is NO overscan or underscan coming from the Crystallio. Just 1920x1080p60. When I tell the Crystallio to output 1080p24, I see a far inferior image re: motion and the jutter etc. Other folks are using the Crystallio at 1080p24 in their front projectors which multiply the refresh rate with No problems.


But I agree -- you should start a thread in 1080p24 in the HP perhaps in the Rear Projection forum.



Ok. Done. If you want to contribute it's in the already huge HP thread instead of a separate thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=592933
 
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