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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wow, see what I mean! You guys are there right away and willing to help and have opinions. I was ignored out of hand mostly.

Well, ok I'll ask questions but I think we've been through some of this.

The consensus with most of you guys is that scalers aren't going to work, or at best work poorly. But as some of you know, HD is but a dream for me as far as satellite goes so I HAVE to find a solution.

But I've got beleive they have to work because they are building new ones all the time and they even have one they are advertising for beta testers "over there" at AVS. Also they are way expensive! So I can't imagine they could charge that much money for something that doesn't work.

I have done some research and have posted it before. The 2 I'm looking at are the GefenTV HTS Pro which is supposed to have the same Realta chip that the DVDO models have and sells pre-order for around $500. The DVDO VP20 is the other one I'm considering and it retails for $1499, but probably can be had for less. Also I found a site called Second Act that sells the DVDO for $699 refurb, but you get 1 yr parts and labor from DVDO.

You guys know my situation, no HD and none coming down the pike as far as D* goes.

So ok, let er rip with the thoughts/advice/opinions.....I'm all ears.


And thanks!!

dudeman
 

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the_dudeman said:
Wow, see what I mean! You guys are there right away and willing to help and have opinions. I was ignored out of hand mostly.

Well, ok I'll ask questions but I think we've been through some of this.

The consensus with most of you guys is that scalers aren't going to work, or at best work poorly. But as some of you know, HD is but a dream for me as far as satellite goes so I HAVE to find a solution.

But I've got beleive they have to work because they are building new ones all the time and they even have one they are advertising for beta testers "over there" at AVS. Also they are way expensive! So I can't imagine they could charge that much money for something that doesn't work.

I have done some research and have posted it before. The 2 I'm looking at are the GefenTV HTS Pro which is supposed to have the same Realta chip that the DVDO models have and sells pre-order for around $500. The DVDO VP20 is the other one I'm considering and it retails for $1499, but probably can be had for less. Also I found a site called Second Act that sells the DVDO for $699 refurb, but you get 1 yr parts and labor from DVDO.

You guys know my situation, no HD and none coming down the pike as far as D* goes.

So ok, let er rip with the thoughts/advice/opinions.....I'm all ears.

And thanks!!

dudeman
This sounds like a question you should ask over at avsforms.com.

I'm kidding of course (I saw your other post).

My best advice to anyone considering such a purchase...find a place you can demo the unit (and make sure the place is reputable). If they give you a proper demonstration and you want to get it...don't then leave and order it for $50 less on the net.

We could sit here and go back and forth on theories and specifications, but like many other components in an A/V system...the only way to tell if something is what you want is to see/hear it in action in an environment similar to yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ken S said:
This sounds like a question you should ask over at avsforms.com.

I'm kidding of course (I saw your other post).

My best advice to anyone considering such a purchase...find a place you can demo the unit (and make sure the place is reputable). If they give you a proper demonstration and you want to get it...don't then leave and order it for $50 less on the net.

We could sit here and go back and forth on theories and specifications, but like many other components in an A/V system...the only way to tell if something is what you want is to see/hear it in action in an environment similar to yours.
Thanks, and yes that would be a great idea but I have no idea what brick and mortar store around me would sell these scalers. I would probably have to go to L.A. to find one. The Gefen site only lists distributors. I'll take a look and see about a DVDO store.

dudeman
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
spartanstew said:
I have no idea what your situation is.

Why do you want a scaler?
Well if you search for my posts you will see my struggle with DirecTV, or rather the lack of HD programming.

In a nutshell, I live in apartment with no chance of getting a 5lmb dish installed so all of my programming is SD.

I need a scaler to try and turn crummy looking (some channels are ok ) into better looking scaled (resolution improved) signals on my HDTV.

dudeman
 

· Broadcast Engineer
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Your HDTV already has a scaler built in. Anything that comes in at a different resolution than the native rez of the TV is automatically scaled to the native rez. For instance, 480i SD content is scaled to 1080p on a "1080p" HDTV. But the perceived resolution will still be 480i-quality, which would not be improved in the slightest by adding an outboard scaler.

Scalers can't really improve video quality, and they have no way of increasing perceived resolution. Resolution is much more than how many scan lines or pixels are displayed in the final stage of the display.

If you were to use a scaler in between SD content and your HDTV, if set at anything other than the native rez of the TV itself, would likely degrade the quality rather than improve it.

The only real solution? Move.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
TomCat said:
Your HDTV already has a scaler built in. Anything that comes in at a different resolution than the native rez of the TV is automatically scaled to the native rez. For instance, 480i SD content is scaled to 1080p on a "1080p" HDTV. But the perceived resolution will still be 480i-quality, which would not be improved in the slightest by adding an outboard scaler.

Scalers can't really improve video quality, and they have no way of increasing perceived resolution. Resolution is much more than how many scan lines or pixels are displayed in the final stage of the display.

If you were to use a scaler in between SD content and your HDTV, if set at anything other than the native rez of the TV itself, would likely degrade the quality rather than improve it.

The only real solution? Move.
But these scalers are line doublers or triplers.......no? If not why would anyone want one?

dudeman
 

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the_dudeman said:
But these scalers are line doublers or triplers.......no? If not why would anyone want one?

dudeman
Sure, and they do more than that. But the point is, if your HDTV is relatively new, the difference you will see between it and a $1000+ outboard scaler is probably very minimal.

A few years ago, when the processing power required was expensive, the outboard gear would clearly outperform what was available in an HDTV. Nowadays, not so much. Sufficient processors are commonplace. I expect TomCat could give us some numbers on that...

I personally wouldn't spend the money, but that's just me. If it looks better to you, and you've got the dough, well, that's a personal choice...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
cygnusloop said:
Sure, and they do more than that. But the point is, if your HDTV is relatively new, the difference you will see between it and a $1000+ outboard scaler is probably very minimal.

A few years ago, when the processing power required was expensive, the outboard gear would clearly outperform what was available in an HDTV. Nowadays, not so much. Sufficient processors are commonplace. I expect TomCat could give us some numbers on that...

I personally wouldn't spend the money, but that's just me. If it looks better to you, and you've got the dough, well, that's a personal choice...
Well it needs to look a WHOLE LOT better, or its getting returned. But my question that hopefully will be answered on Monday whn I call DVDO is: Who are you selling these things to if everyones modern TV does the job of your $1400 up to $3200 scalers?

Also, a member in another room here offered to sell me an older model DVDO and he told me that in situation ( which is very similar to mine) the scaler doubled his resolution from 480 to 960 and looked great on his HDTV. So if it did that for him, why not for me?

dudeman
 

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the_dudeman said:
Also, a member in another room here offered to sell me an older model DVDO and he told me that in situation ( which is very similar to mine) the scaler doubled his resolution from 480 to 960 and looked great on his HDTV. So if it did that for him, why not for me?
Why do you suppose he's trying to unload the unit? Do you share the same idea of what looks great if your buying as opposed to selling?

This is the silk purse out of a sow's ear question. There simply isn't enough information in a heavily scaled and compressed SD image to re-create the original. Remember that you're asking to take a picture that is 320x200 and scale it up by a factor of 300-500%. Do that with a picture of a loved on using your most trusted image processing program on a computer and see if it still looks great. A scaler has to do this in real time.

In the grand scheme, if you can't get some sort of proper HD service you would be better served with an SD or ED TV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
harsh said:
Why do you suppose he's trying to unload the unit? Do you share the same idea of what looks great if your buying as opposed to selling?

This is the silk purse out of a sow's ear question. There simply isn't enough information in a heavily scaled and compressed SD image to re-create the original. Remember that you're asking to take a picture that is 320x200 and scale it up by a factor of 300-500%. Do that with a picture of a loved on using your most trusted image processing program on a computer and see if it still looks great. A scaler has to do this in real time.

In the grand scheme, if you can't get some sort of proper HD service you would be better served with an SD or ED TV.
He told me he bought the unit back in the day when there weren't vary many HD channels. He was dissapointed as am I with SD. He now has the 90+ channels of HD that directv offers and doesn't need it anymore, but says it still works great.

dudeman
 

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Dude, it has been suggested to you, countless times, in many ways, that what you want to get isn't going to happen, to your satisfaction anyway. Spend your money on an inexpensive upconverting DVD player and a subscription to Netflix. You will still have money left over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
davring said:
Dude, it has been suggested to you, countless times, in many ways, that what you want to get isn't going to happen, to your satisfaction anyway. Spend your money on an inexpensive upconverting DVD player and a subscription to Netflix. You will still have money left over.
I have a hd dvd/blu-ray player in my htpc. Even the few HD channels I get dont compare to hd dvd/blu-ray. The images from my htpc are so incredibly clear and vibrant that it blows me away everytime. I'm not expecting that any scaler is going to make SD look like HD, just looking for an improvement. Nothing is as good as the true HD I get from my htpc and nothing made right now wiIl be better. I just talked to Magnolia and the have the dvdo unit. They sell them for the exact reason I need it for and for projectors because of the size of some home theater rooms. The guy told me it works fantastcally but he is salesman. He told me to come in and he would set it up on an lcd tv and run directv sd through it. I'm going to go demo the unit either today or next Saturday. I'll let you know what happened.

I've had netflix for over a year now, dude.

dudeman
 

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the_dudeman said:
But these scalers are line doublers or triplers.......no? If not why would anyone want one?

dudeman
They are kind of yesterday's technology, now that scalers with equivalent (or sufficient) processing power today come automagically in every garden-variety HD display you can buy. But there are a lot of folks who just don't really know what a scaler does and why what it does may or may not be important anymore, so people will fall prey to sales tactics and manufacturers still have a small (if diminishing) niche market with very high profit margins.

Think of it this way: If you have a 480i or a 480p image, that limits its resolution in the vertical dimension to being able to resolve half that many changes from light to dark, white to black, red to blue, etc. (and Kell factor limits it even further, possibly to about 335 perceived lines of vertical resolution). If you double or triple the lines, you have 2 or 3 lines in a row that have the same information representing each original line. Line doubling and tripling only increases the number of lines, and not the amount of information that can be resolved, meaning that the image will be just as "un-resolved", or blurry as it was originally.

The purpose of a line doubler is to prevent the ability to distinguish the original scan lines (by making more of them) which is pretty-much precluded by the fact that every 1080p TV already scans 1080 lines. Image enhancement (a feature added to some scalers) might help a bit, but not really. There really is no need for an outboard scaler anymore.

Actually, SD video on a flat panel display looks blurrier than it does on an older CRT for two reasons. The CRT is typically smaller, of course, and the larger the image the more visible the blurriness is. Also, CRTs have a natural tendency to enhance edges of scanned video, making it appear less-blurry than its actual resolution might imply, and why we could accept 335 lines of resolution for so many decades. Flat panels (and projectors) just don't have that natural ability. Dude.
 

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the_dudeman said:
I have a hd dvd/blu-ray player in my htpc. Even the few HD channels I get dont compare to hd dvd/blu-ray. The images from my htpc are so incredibly clear and vibrant that it blows me away everytime. I'm not expecting that any scaler is going to make SD look like HD, just looking for an improvement. Nothing is as good as the true HD I get from my htpc and nothing made right now wiIl be better. I just talked to Magnolia and the have the dvdo unit. They sell them for the exact reason I need it for and for projectors because of the size of some home theater rooms. The guy told me it works fantastcally but he is salesman. He told me to come in and he would set it up on an lcd tv and run directv sd through it. I'm going to go demo the unit either today or next Saturday. I'll let you know what happened.

I've had netflix for over a year now, dude.

dudeman
Maybe he'll sell Monster cables to "really improve the SD picture." :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The verdict is in!

Lets just say I will be giving the piggy bank a workout in the next couple of months.

I just got home from the Magnolia store and the same guy that I spoke to on the phone, Roy let me domo the DVDO VP50.

All I can tell you is it was amazing! He had an open box unit and hooked it up to a Samsung 52" (mine is 46, otherwise identical) TV. This guy was cool and we talked for over an hour.

Anyway so they have DirecTV running in there and he ran it throught the unit and we switched it around on several channels, Most SD and a couple HD.

On SD, I was blown away. It looked almost ( and when I say that I mean if you were walking by and not standing there staring at every pixel like I was, you wouldn't know the difference ), HD! Yup that's right, it looked as close as you could get to HD that I have seen. On the HD channels it looked great but that is to be expected. But he turned it to pass through, which you can do when there is an HD souce coming in and you could see the de-interlacing at work when he switched it back on. It cleaned up all the edges and colors looked better too.

But it did all that on SD as well. The jaggies were much much better, the color was better and most importantly the detail. Like were watching some sports thing and guys were talking and one guy had like 5 oclock shadow and you could see the hairs. It was fantastic. It really, really worked good. I was amazed. Again, it was as close to HD as you could get. Amazing.

Just to make sure the TV wasnt scaling or overscanning, he put the TV in Just scan mode. I have done this at home and you sometimes get some black edges and at home those edges are fuzzy and not straight and have noise. So I leave the TV on 16:9 so I don't see underscan. But on the DVDO unit, the underscan edges are razor sharp with no noise. And you can adjust out the underscan.

Just to be a pain, I asked him to unhook it for a moment because I wanted to see just straight SD into that TV so I could re-calibrate my eyes to exactly what I was looking at. He was cool and said lets even hook up a dvd player to see what it will do for that. So he ran the directv straight to the TV and went out on the floor to get at dvd player.

This is when I was the most blown away. because when he was gone about 10 mins I was surfing and oh man I could tell what an incredible job it had been doing on the signal. The TV was still in just scan and as I flipped through a couple of channels I could see the same underscan noise and overall bad PQ of SD. That TV was doing a pretty good job, but nothing like the DVDO unit. I found my way back to the sports thing and they guys were still talking and the 5 oclock shadow was gone. Well it was there, but just looked like his face was dirty. No more hairs to be seen, just like crummy SD always is.

So he came back with a Magnavox POS dual VHS/DVD and I was like what the heck, why would Magnolia have one of these? He said well they do sell some lower end gear but not much. But I thought he was going to come back with an upconverting DVD or Blu-ray but he showed up with this thing. This guy was an enthusiast for these scalers, and I got a good bunch of info from him. He was talking about the Gefen units and other ones. He knew his stuff, and had sold a bunch of thse units to people buying projectors, so he knew what this DVDO would do. He showed me another room with a projector running the same unit and it was amazing. He was like oh yeah these DVDOs make a normal projector look like a much much higher priced one which is why I sell them and like them.

So anyway, he hooked up the DVD and we watched some of Spiderman....2?...3? Can't remember, but it was awsome. I swear it was like watching an HD channel. Not as good as Blu-ray, but again that is to be expected. But it was clean and crisp and beautiful.

So to be a pain again, I asked can we go back to SD? He was like no problem and I wanted to put it on PBS because that is really bad channel for me at home. Unfortunately, at the store, PBS didn't look as bad as mine does, but I still got to see the improvement. Again, amazing. It's like it turning the picture into a whole other picture. And he actually said oh yeah it does and you will need to run the audio through the DVDO unit so it can do the lipsync because there is a 3-4 frame delay while it does all the work on the signal. So it really is changing and improving the signal, by a lot. A lot.

Anyway, like I said I'm in total saving mode now and will be buying one of these units. But he was saying the new DVDO Edge is coming out and will have all the same features and will be more affordable, so I might wait for that and see if it's as good.

I'm so happy because I know now there is a solution for the crummy SD I'm forced to watch.

dudeman
 

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the_dudeman said:
The verdict is in!

Lets just say I will be giving the piggy bank a workout in the next couple of months.

I just got home from the Magnolia store and the same guy that I spoke to on the phone, Roy let me domo the DVDO VP50.

All I can tell you is it was amazing! He had an open box unit and hooked it up to a Samsung 52" (mine is 46, otherwise identical) TV. This guy was cool and we talked for over an hour.

Anyway so they have DirecTV running in there and he ran it throught the unit and we switched it around on several channels, Most SD and a couple HD.

On SD, I was blown away. It looked almost ( and when I say that I mean if you were walking by and not standing there staring at every pixel like I was, you wouldn't know the difference ), HD! Yup that's right, it looked as close as you could get to HD that I have seen. On the HD channels it looked great but that is to be expected. But he turned it to pass through, which you can do when there is an HD souce coming in and you could see the de-interlacing at work when he switched it back on. It cleaned up all the edges and colors looked better too.

But it did all that on SD as well. The jaggies were much much better, the color was better and most importantly the detail. Like were watching some sports thing and guys were talking and one guy had like 5 oclock shadow and you could see the hairs. It was fantastic. It really, really worked good. I was amazed. Again, it was as close to HD as you could get. Amazing.

Just to make sure the TV wasnt scaling or overscanning, he put the TV in Just scan mode. I have done this at home and you sometimes get some black edges and at home those edges are fuzzy and not straight and have noise. So I leave the TV on 16:9 so I don't see underscan. But on the DVDO unit, the underscan edges are razor sharp with no noise. And you can adjust out the underscan.

Just to be a pain, I asked him to unhook it for a moment because I wanted to see just straight SD into that TV so I could re-calibrate my eyes to exactly what I was looking at. He was cool and said lets even hook up a dvd player to see what it will do for that. So he ran the directv straight to the TV and went out on the floor to get at dvd player.

This is when I was the most blown away. because when he was gone about 10 mins I was surfing and oh man I could tell what an incredible job it had been doing on the signal. The TV was still in just scan and as I flipped through a couple of channels I could see the same underscan noise and overall bad PQ of SD. That TV was doing a pretty good job, but nothing like the DVDO unit. I found my way back to the sports thing and they guys were still talking and the 5 oclock shadow was gone. Well it was there, but just looked like his face was dirty. No more hairs to be seen, just like crummy SD always is.

So he came back with a Magnavox POS dual VHS/DVD and I was like what the heck, why would Magnolia have one of these? He said well they do sell some lower end gear but not much. But I thought he was going to come back with an upconverting DVD or Blu-ray but he showed up with this thing. This guy was an enthusiast for these scalers, and I got a good bunch of info from him. He was talking about the Gefen units and other ones. He knew his stuff, and had sold a bunch of thse units to people buying projectors, so he knew what this DVDO would do. He showed me another room with a projector running the same unit and it was amazing. He was like oh yeah these DVDOs make a normal projector look like a much much higher priced one which is why I sell them and like them.

So anyway, he hooked up the DVD and we watched some of Spiderman....2?...3? Can't remember, but it was awsome. I swear it was like watching an HD channel. Not as good as Blu-ray, but again that is to be expected. But it was clean and crisp and beautiful.

So to be a pain again, I asked can we go back to SD? He was like no problem and I wanted to put it on PBS because that is really bad channel for me at home. Unfortunately, at the store, PBS didn't look as bad as mine does, but I still got to see the improvement. Again, amazing. It's like it turning the picture into a whole other picture. And he actually said oh yeah it does and you will need to run the audio through the DVDO unit so it can do the lipsync because there is a 3-4 frame delay while it does all the work on the signal. So it really is changing and improving the signal, by a lot. A lot.

Anyway, like I said I'm in total saving mode now and will be buying one of these units. But he was saying the new DVDO Edge is coming out and will have all the same features and will be more affordable, so I might wait for that and see if it's as good.

I'm so happy because I know now there is a solution for the crummy SD I'm forced to watch.

dudeman
That sounds great...I'm glad you were able to find something that does what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Ken! That is a nice comment, one of the few nice ones.

One thing I forgot to mention in post was that one of the first things I was asking Roy at Magnolia before I was actually watching the DVDO unit work, was why would I need one of these since my TV and HR21 could scale the signal and for alot less money?

His answer that totally made sense and that I hadn't thought of, yet lots of people commented on and were wrong about was: "The chips that do the scaling that are put into the TVs and set top boxes are cheap and worth about $10." And his question back to me was: "Do you think they could still charge $100 for an upconverting DVD player if it had anything more than one of these $10 chips in it? Same with TVs. If TVs had these Silicon Optix chips they would cost twice what they do now. Which is why these scalers exist, and which is why there are average priced projectors and others that can cost $10k."

You know I just gotta say it's funny how first hand experience immedietly silences all the negative comments. It also immedietly silences all the nay sayers who had no first hand experience yet went on to spew theory and conjecture as pure fact that they were absolutely sure of. How people can convice themselves that they are right because of what they read or heard without first hand knowledge is amazing.

I guess the old addage is true: Seeing is believing.

dudeman
 
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