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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was toying with the idea of buying a quality upscaler, like the DVDO Edge or a receiver that upscales (though apparently many of them do poor jobs) when someone was kind enough to inform me that I have an HTPC and I could use that to do the upscaling/processing to make my Wii, PS2, and other non-HD devices look better.


I am completely unfamiliar with this topic, and was looking for some help. What I gather is that using some sort of capture card, I can plug in all my SD devices, and have my HTPC output them via HDMI (while using some program to increase the upscale quality). I have a 50" 1080p Panasonic plasma and I love it, but I feel it does a lackluster job at upscaling the Wii and other non-HD stuff.


I'm not expecting miracles, but I do know a good scaler does wonders (hence why the DVDO Edge is so popular). I'd like to know what capture card is recommended most for this. I have a PCI All In Wonder Pro laying around, but I'd rather not use that if possible only because my HTPC has no free PCI slots. I do in fact have a Hauppauge HD-PVR which has component and S-video inputs, and outputs video to my PC (it can capture high-def). However, I have no idea if a USB solution like this will work, so I am coming to you all for help. It would be great if it did work for this because I spent over $200 on it, not to mention it is already hooked up to my HTPC anyway, and it won't use a PCI slot.


To anyone who read this far or anyone who can help, big thanks in advance.
 

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The current generation of most Nvidia and ATI graphic cards contain excellent upscaling instructions which can be used by the video player/decoder software at the time the video content is output to your display.
 

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Most main brand TVs these days have as good of a scaler as Nvidia/ATI would, and I couldn't imagine your Wii looking better going through S-video or composite over using the component (red, green, blue) kit directly to your TV that you can buy for the Wii.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by walford /forum/post/16929552


The current generation of most Nvidia and ATI graphic cards contain excellent upscaling instructions which can be used by the video player/decoder software at the time the video content is output to your display.

Ok, so I am going to use what to connect the Wii to my HTPC though?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaddyLongLegs /forum/post/16929883


Ok, so I am going to use what to connect the Wii to my HTPC though?

That's my point. As far as i know, the best you can currently get on a PC is s-video. If your device in question supports component or HDMI, you're better off going straight to the receiver or TV.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaddyLongLegs /forum/post/16926908


I was toying with the idea of buying a quality upscaler, like the DVDO Edge or a receiver that upscales (though apparently many of them do poor jobs) when someone was kind enough to inform me that I have an HTPC and I could use that to do the upscaling/processing to make my Wii, PS2, and other non-HD devices look better.


I am completely unfamiliar with this topic, and was looking for some help. What I gather is that using some sort of capture card, I can plug in all my SD devices, and have my HTPC output them via HDMI (while using some program to increase the upscale quality). I have a 50" 1080p Panasonic plasma and I love it, but I feel it does a lackluster job at upscaling the Wii and other non-HD stuff.

Back in the day, the PMS Video PDI Deluxe card with Dscaler is what you'd use to do that. It has/had SD component, S/Video, and I think composite inputs. Dscaler would deinterlace (pretty well for the time) and your video card would scale.


Another option was the Immersive Inc. Holo3D Graph and Holo3D Graph II, which had Faroudja video processors (the II could scale the "I" used your video card).

Quote:
I'm not expecting miracles, but I do know a good scaler does wonders (hence why the DVDO Edge is so popular). I'd like to know what capture card is recommended most for this. I have a PCI All In Wonder Pro laying around, but I'd rather not use that if possible only because my HTPC has no free PCI slots. I do in fact have a Hauppauge HD-PVR which has component and S-video inputs, and outputs video to my PC (it can capture high-def). However, I have no idea if a USB solution like this will work, so I am coming to you all for help. It would be great if it did work for this because I spent over $200 on it, not to mention it is already hooked up to my HTPC anyway, and it won't use a PCI slot.


To anyone who read this far or anyone who can help, big thanks in advance.

Well there's several stumbling blocks for you:


1) It's going to be somewhat hard to find a good, non-PCI capture card I think. All the "good" ones (which I think would be required to approach an Edge) are PCI AFAIK.


2) You're going to have trouble finding a good way to deal with multiple inputs. Capture cards usually only have one input, or at least only one good (component/s-video) input. Essentially you'll need a video switch anyway.


3) I doubt DScaler will even match an Edge for deinterlacing/video processing.


The HD PVR is not the solution you want IMO, because it encodes everything to H.264 which is a problem for two reasons, first it introduces a good 1-2 second delay, and second, it degrades quality (slightly) but more importantly it introduces complexity requiring an app to decode the video.


If I were you I'd throw the AIW in, grab a copy of Dscaler and see for yourself if the whole idea is even worth pursuing. FWIW I used a Hauppauge TV card + dscaler to play my Xbox on my PC monitor when I was in college (I had no TV at the time). But the quality was inferior to what I got with a direct connection when I got an HDTV (at least if I remember right, that was over 5 years ago
).
 

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pdi deluxe/sweetspot card and dscaler is a pretty good combo for what you are after.


It has at least a couple of inputs RGB/component and s-video at least, possibly a couple of composite inputs too. Dscaler allows me to switch between RGB and s-video no problem.


The deinterlacing in Dscaler is pretty good , it uses the graphics card for scaling.


Its only SD obviously but I used this combo for years with my PS2 and xbox. Its also very effective with badly mastered material that tends to trip up other deinterlacers.


Dscaler is free so you could always try it with an inexpensive capture card first. The sweetspot/pdi deluxe offers considerable picture quality improvement though.
 

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The Simlifi Digital AV Expander card might be another option (would also require you to free up a PCI slot though). I've never used the card myself but the specs claim it's "directshow compatible" so I'd guess you can plug ffdshow in to the video pipeline to clean up the source. One thing you need to be careful of though - any processing you add to the pipeline is going to add some delay to the video which could be problematic considering your mostly interested in game consoles..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If there is going to be any lag I will forget the whole thing. But I really just don't feel like spending hundreds of dollars on the DVDO Edge only to make the Wii and PS2 look better (someone here said it actually makes consoles like the Saturn look worse because of the odd resolutions).


I do have a DVCam laying around that has S-Video pass-through...perhaps dscaler works with that? It's firewire, and DV footage, but I think I remember being able to capture raw if I wanted to...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaddyLongLegs /forum/post/16931319



I do have a DVCam laying around that has S-Video pass-through...perhaps dscaler works with that? It's firewire, and DV footage, but I think I remember being able to capture raw if I wanted to...



Nope won't work.


Dscaler needs a PCI card . Even though this is SD we are talking about it needs to be able to digitize the analogue signal , convert it to RGB, deinterlace , perform any filtering you want (sharpening , denoising, chroma shift correction for example) and pass it to the graphics card with acceptable latency. Its actually quite a lot of data to throw about.


Trust me Dscaler and a decent card is what you are after. My Q6600 barely notices Dscaler running, my P4 3.0 got a good work out and my 1.4 P3 was in meltdown with more than a sharpen filter.


Dscaler also has deinterlacing routines specifically for unusual consoles ( saturn).


I noticed zero delay problems with gaming through this sort of combo even with a cheap pinacle PCTV card.
 

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If any of the OPs sources have the ability to output anything other then SD 480i over S-video or composite even it takes an adapte such as the one mentioned above for the WII he should use that option.

This is because if either a PC or the TV is used to upscale SD content to 1080p then 75% of the pixels displayed have to be Invented by the indexpensive graphics chip in the PC or int the tV

This is why the networks use hardware scalers costing many thousands of $ to upscale SD content to HD resolutions since the algorithims built into these hardware use algorithims in their design that do an excellent job of inventing the additional pixels based on their analysis of the SD pixel content.

As more and more TV broadcasts will be available in HD resolutions the benefit of buying a stanalone scaler for home use will be less and less of a worthwhile investment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks so much everyone for the replies. I did try my DVCam, and you were right, it did not work.


So I threw in my old ATI TV Wonder Pro PCI card and it worked, but DScaler made a bunch of complaints about the chipset and drivers and they recommended using their drivers and so on. So that's what I did. Tested the Wii out using S-Video and so far I have not gotten it to look better than when it is hooked up to my TV regularly. I tried all sorts of sharpening filters and such, but DScaler seems a bit confusing. If there's a good setup someone could recommend, I'd really appreciate it. Perhaps the ATI card is to blame?


Another thing I thought of is that the Wii does widescreen, and I had a lot of trouble getting DScaler to show the game in widescreen (Smash Brawl if anyone cares). The few times I did get it to show, there were pretty sizable black bars on the screen telling me I was doing something wrong (believe me when I say I clicked and unclicked every option I saw).


If the card I am using is a waste of time, please say so, but if there's some options I should be messing with, I'd appreciate some beginners guide to getting the best possible image. My TV is a 1080p Panasonic plasma if that helps. Thanks a million, everybody.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaddyLongLegs /forum/post/16931832


Thanks so much everyone for the replies. I did try my DVCam, and you were right, it did not work.


So I threw in my old ATI TV Wonder Pro PCI card and it worked, but DScaler made a bunch of complaints about the chipset and drivers and they recommended using their drivers and so on. So that's what I did. Tested the Wii out using S-Video and so far I have not gotten it to look better than when it is hooked up to my TV regularly. I tried all sorts of sharpening filters and such, but DScaler seems a bit confusing. If there's a good setup someone could recommend, I'd really appreciate it. Perhaps the ATI card is to blame?

What were you expecting? What are you trying to "improve"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 /forum/post/16932164


What were you expecting? What are you trying to "improve"?

Just trying to improve the picture quality. A lot of people said on a budget, the DVDO Edge is a great piece of hardware to make SD material look great on an HDTV. Someone else mentioned since I have an HTPC, I can run my Wii/PS2 through that (which outputs to my TV via HDMI) and by using filters and other stuff that is essentially what the DVDO Edge is doing, I can get amazing upscaling for much less money ($0 in my case since I already have a capture card and HTPC).

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockytt /forum/post/16932889


+1 - not going to do any better than that...

Then what's the point of scalers (some of them costing thousands of dollars) if the best picture quality I can ever get is through $15 component cables?


I noticed my PS3 upscales DVDs way better than my Toshiba DVD player. I don't think I'm insane.
 

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You're not getting the point of the main issue. The best video quality you can deliver to your PC is S-Video. It's resolution quality compared to component SUCKS. If you went the PC route, it would have to fill in resolution loss AND upscale it. You'll get a better picture starting out with the much better picture quality from the component cable and letting the TV upscale the 480p resolution the Wii uses with component.


In addition, the component cable can do 480 progressive. Composite can only do 480 interlaced. This means your PC will also have to fill in the missing frame every other frame.


You can't make something better out of nothing (low quality video, interlaced) than something that already has more to offer (3 seperate, high quality video streams and progressive).


This is the reason people upgrade to component and or HDMI devices and not hardware scalers - because for a fraction of a cost, the component/HDMI device will always output better than the scaler using their old composite or s-video connection.


This isn't to say a scaler won't make a 480p component or HDMI signal look better. The problem is getting the component or HDMI signal to the PC.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwalte /forum/post/16934099


You're not getting the point of the main issue. The best video quality you can deliver to your PC is S-Video. It's resolution quality compared to component SUCKS. If you went the PC route, it would have to fill in resolution loss AND upscale it. You'll get a better picture starting out with the much better picture quality from the component cable and letting the TV upscale the 480p resolution the Wii uses with component.

Not true the only resolution difference between component and s-video is down to the chroma color encoding, the luminance resolution is identical to component. I doubt you are losing much if anything from going s-video rather than component with the wii or any other SD console. Color design on games is rarely subtle enough to make the difference between component and chroma encoding apparent especially in SD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwalte /forum/post/16934099



In addition, the component cable can do 480 progressive. Composite can only do 480 interlaced. This means your PC will also have to fill in the missing frame every other frame.

Depends on what sort of cadence the Wii outputs in interlaced mode. Either way Dscaler should make a good job of retaining as much resolution as possible it has a very effective motion adaptive deinterlacer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwalte /forum/post/16934099


You can't make something better out of nothing (low quality video, interlaced) than something that already has more to offer (3 seperate, high quality video streams and progressive).


This is the reason people upgrade to component and or HDMI devices and not hardware scalers - because for a fraction of a cost, the component/HDMI device will always output better than the scaler.

Different issues. The material has to be scaled somewhere just depends what is more capable. Dscaler and a good card is at least as capable as most onboard scaling and deinterlacing solutions , in certain circumstances its often better and a good s-video card can be had for less than $40.
 
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