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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 10 Dec 2015, 02:10 
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I plan to make an official video processors thread soon with pictures(hopefully captures) and explanations. For now, I can talk about the Crystalio II in brief. Most manufacturers gave up on NTSC/PAL decoding chips long ago. The latest and most advance NTSC/PAL decoders are TVP5160 from Texas Instruments(TI) around 2004 and ADV7800 from Analog Devices around 2008. These manufacturers later released system on chips (SoC) geared towards HD/4K video with NTSC/PAL support but they implemented only 2D comb filters on the composite inputs.

Both TVP5160 and ADV7800 are adaptive 3D comb filters with line TBC. Both chips require additional chips and memory to work. TVP5160 in its standard configuration can do 3D comb filter or analog noise reduction, it can't perform both. TVP5160 with 4mb flash memory can do both. Same limitations apply to ADV7800 but I don't know as much detail, it might even be a 2D comb filter in its basic configuration without flash memory. Both decoders need outboard analog to digital converters (ADC). The quality of these ADC used can vastly effect the performance.

Lumagen VisionHDQ, PMS Crystalio II(CII) VPS-3300 and VPS-3800 have the TVP5160 chip (all confirmed). CII has the comb filters registers available to user, you can make a million adjustments.

Lumagen Radiance 2124/44(confirmed), DVDO Iscan EDGE and DUO has the ADV7800 chip. I didn't open up the DVDO units and confirmed myself. I emailed their tech support and they informed me both units have the ADV7800. It is difficult to communicate with the DVDO guys, their answers are very brief and sound unsure. Lumagen on the other hand, I am in contact with the founder/CEO. Lumagen Radiance 2124 units will have the comb filter registers available to user soon via firmware(thanks to me).

480i interlaced film content comes from 24 progressive frames, so film mode de-interlacing aka 3:2 reverse pull down is rather simple process to reconstruct 24 progressive frames from 60 fields(odd or even half of the frame = 240 lines), as long as the cadence remains faithful to 3:2. In simpler explanation, when combined every two fields(out of 60) should make up 1 actual frame it was converted from(out of 24). To relate 24 frames to 60 fields, fields are repeated 3:2(cadence) ratio hence the name 3:2 pull down (i.e. odd, odd, odd, even, even, odd, odd, odd, even so on). Video content on the other hand, comes from 60 unique fields, each field do no match any other. For this, in video mode, each field is literally scaled to full 480 lines from 240 lines. The scaling algorithm differs among chips. If you are scaling stationary scenes, you can combine two subsequent fields but if there is motion, the next field will differ from one before. The chip needs to apply interpolation to avoid jaggies and inconstancies. The most difficult is the diagonal lines in the video. The chip must detect motion and adjust its scaling accordingly. In rare instances, film content loses 3:2 cadence due to film edited lousily(i.e cutting a scene on the first odd field then pasting a scene from the second even field hence creating 1:2 cadence). The video chip must be able to detect this and switch to video mode in case two matching fields do not exist in that cadence. If you watch well mastered film contents then most de-interlacers from 2003 and on will work fine but if you watch a lot of video content such as concerts, sports, music videos then you want a de-interlacer with state of the art video mode. Note: most TV shows are shot on film so film mode de-interlacing is used but CGI and composite effects are done in video. In PAL, 24 frame film is converted 50 frames using 2:2 cadence (odd, odd, even, even) and %4 speed up. Decent reverse pull down isn't possible for PAL due to speed up.

Lumagen VisionHDQ is the oldest. It uses a silicon optix sil504 chip for de-interlacing. Its one of the early generation pixel based motion adaptive de-interlacers. It will lock to 3:2 cadence and perform film mode flawlessly but its video mode is outdated by todays standards. sil504 has a decent cadence detection but Lumagen bypassed it and uses its own cadence detection in its fpga. Lumagen also bypassed its video mode and uses its own video mode on the fpga. These codes were written almost 10 years ago and since this product has been discontinued, expect no more updates. HDQ uses the Lumagen no ringing scaling which is slightly different than the current version but still very good. The latest firmware also added color management system(CMS) where you can dial in to you calibration much more precise. It only has DVI with HDCP output so no audio here.

DVDO EDGE and DUO uses the same ABT2015 SoC which does de-interlacing, scaling, enhancements and color management(DUO only). It is the latest generation from Anchor Bay Technologies(ABT). It's film and video mode are as good as it gets. Cadence detection is second to none. Scaling is the most aggressive which will cause ringing (halos around objects). Its enhancements (EE, DNR) are useless for LD and will result loss in detail. Duo has a CMS which isn't anymore advance than HDQ but it supports auto calibration if you have Calman. They can pass through 3D video (no processing) and lossless audio codecs like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA.

Crystalio II is the most interesting and enthusiastic. It has two de-interlacer chips. Faroudja Fli2300 and Gennum VXP. You can select which one you want for SD video. Fli2300 is as old as sil504. It's film mode is like any but video mode uses Faroudja patented Diagonal Correlation De-Interlacing (DCDi). It was the best 10 years ago but there is better since then. Gennum VXP in the CII is GF9350 chip. It is the latest generation and on par with the ABT2015 and similar(HQV Realta, Marvel QDEO). It doesn't have a locked film mode (forced to stay in film mode always) but Fli2300 does, probably why CII includes both. Forced film mode is sometimes useful when you know the content comes from film but badly edited(i.e Star Wars JSC disc). It has noise reduction only and I don't recommend it for LD. It has a very complicated CMS. It has other goodies like "pip/pop(two separate any inputs shown on the same screen). It has two HDMI outputs and both can show different inputs. You can watch LD in HDMI out 1 and cable tv in HDMI out 2 thanks to dual de-interlacers. All I/o HDMI are spec 1.1 with HDCP 1.1 so no 3D video or lossless audio. It can pass and process video up to 1080p, Dolby Digital, DTS and PCM no problem. CII has a zillion adjustment in everything.

Lumagen Radiance 2124/44 uses Gennum VXP for video de-interlacing only. It is the revised GF9450 model which adds odd anime cadences (anime can have weird 6:6,7:7, 4:5 etc..) and more enhancements (mosquito noise reduction, edge enhancements). Lumagen uses its own scaling and film mode de-interlacing in its fpga. Scaling is the best there is, causes zero ringing and very fluid. It has the most sophisticated CMS. You can auto calibrate up to 4913 points in the grey scale. It can process 3D video and pass all audio codecs. It has built in Darbee Darblet video enhancement. 2144 model can upscale any input to 4k.

Jumping to CII was the biggest improvement I have seen in LD. If you hook up a couple of different DVDO units and a Faroudja and such onto two separate monitors, you would have to look hard to see small differences. When you watch the same content on CII, the change was drastic. My upgrade reason to Lumagen was the more up to date HDMI on it. To my surprise, it even improved the video a little over the CII. CII is sharper but 2144 has no dot crawl. I could see 3D to 2D changes on motion on CII, I can't notice it on 2144, its really fast. In the end, its a toss up between TVP5160 and ADV7800, you could go with either. The greatest improvement from Lumagen was its no ringing scaling which LD really needs. It's very CRT like picture on my plasma. The new noise reduction on GF9450 chip is better(not perfect still). I used another outboard processor(Algolith Mosquito HDMI) for noise reduction when I had CII in my setup.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 10 Dec 2015, 13:08 
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Thank you for a very detailed reply. I've seen some footage from a player using Crystalio II VPS-3800, and I'm very pleased with what I see. Seems like it is the unit I'll go for.

EDIT:
I also tested the TBC issue. Hooked up my Canopus ADVC-300 that I use to capture video from VHS and old video game systems. It can act as a passthough. The result? VHS played just fine. I guess the TBC in the Canopus device is much better than the one in my VHS player.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 11 Dec 2015, 11:05 
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Quick question about the Crystalio 2, I see it have coxal inputs etc, will it downmix demodulated ac3 to standard analog stereo?
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 11 Dec 2015, 19:35 
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Crystalio II has the following audio capabilities.

-true audio matrix: i.e if you are on video input HDMI1, you can go into audio menu and select a different any audio input for audio.
-It has multiple audio outputs, It will output audio through its HDMI outputs, coax, optical and analog RCA.
-you can delay or advance the audio for lipsync adjustments.
-it has 3 coax, 1 optical, 3 analog RCA audio inputs, also all 4 HDMI inputs can access audio.
-HDMI inputs are spec 1.1 which can pass up to Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES 6.1, PCM 24/96.
-analog RCA audio outputs are on Cirrus Logic 24/96kHz dacs so the sound quality is audiophile grade (similar to OPPO players 93/103)
-VPS-3800 model has its clocks upgraded for even better analog audio accuracy.

for your question cpix, coax, optical and hdmi will pass whatever it receives. i.e AC-3 in -> AC-3 out. I haven't tried its analog audio outputs. These might be forced to perform a down mix. The way I used it was
Coax 1 = Coax from LD player for DTS/PCM
Coax 2 = Coax from RF demodulator for AC-3
RCA 1 = Analog audio from LD player

I can select which audio I want to access and CII would output it along with video on its HDMI output.

CII has two zones. HDMI 1 out is zone 1/main zone and HDMI 2 out is zone 2. Each zone has the audio matrix ability. You can run two separate LD players playing different content on two separate TVs, 1 would be using Gennum VXP chip and the other would Faroudja DCDi both up to 1080p. You can also view two LD players on the same screen with its PIP/POP function.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 11 Dec 2015, 19:43 
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Also for those who owns and considers a CRT projector(rear or front), CII can output refresh rates up to 72Hz. It can do 1080p72 on HDMI as well but I haven't been able to find any HDMI device which can accept that. But it has 5 prong component(Y+Cb+Cr+Hsync+Vsync) video output which can send 1080p72 some CRT projectors can accept. 72Hz is 3 times the film refresh rate of 24fps, it allows the most fluid motion. In the days of CRT projectors, CII was the only choice. Note: most HDMI TVs accept 1080p48 (2x24fps) which CII can output as well.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 13 Dec 2015, 14:14 
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substance wrote:
Its enhancements (EE, DNR) are useless for LD and will result loss in detail.


Yes I found the Duo's EE to be nasty to LD. Turned it up and compared and it was very noticeable in 'busy' parts of the picture (long-shots, backgrounds etc with lots of objects/detail and hence edges) that it turned them to over-enhanced blurry over-exposed looking messes. At least you can in fact adjust it to below 'standard' level which is what I've done and the result is then good.

Unless I'm wrong it only has mosquito NR so no use for LD.

The detail enhancement function actually seems to work quite well without nasty artefacts. Visually much like how I remember the sharpness control on a CRT working, up for more sharpness/detail but at the cost of making the video noise more obvious too, down reduces appearance of noise but going too low gives an overly soft picture. A real personal preference compromise that one I think.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 02 Nov 2017, 08:38 
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I just picked up a Lumagen HDQ for about $150. Decided to take my second foray into higher-level upscaling.
I heard the TI TVP5160 chip in the Lumagen HDQ was good for a 3D filter and that it scaled well.
I had a DVDO edge green in the past that looked worse than DScaler.

I had been using an S-Video capture card to DScaler on the PC.

The switch to the Lumagen HDQ was astounding.

It looks like an alternate future where digital wasn't invented and HD went analog instead. Well worth the $150. As someone else said, I'd take a mediocre LD player and a good processor over the best LD player and no/decent processor.

I only wish it had some noise reduction functions.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2017, 08:49 
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ruinatokyo wrote:

It looks like an alternate future where digital wasn't invented and HD went analog instead.


you mean HD continued in analog instead.

But yeah I want to live in this alternate future so bad,,
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2017, 09:13 
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samaron wrote:

Using the CRT is out of the question.


Rephrase the question. Get a bigger house, CRT was, is and will always be ultimate.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2017, 05:36 
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OLED, Plasma, and even a high end LED LCD are all totally superior to CRT.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2017, 21:41 
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alien wrote:
OLED, Plasma, and even a high end LED LCD are all totally superior to CRT.


Lol
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 06 Nov 2017, 04:28 
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forper wrote:
alien wrote:
OLED, Plasma, and even a high end LED LCD are all totally superior to CRT.


Lol

It's true for Blu-Ray, UHD and even arguably for DVD and LD with the right hardware.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 07 Nov 2017, 03:09 
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My low end LED television has a better image with LD than the last high end CRT I had.
No broken back anymore either.

Anybody who can't see that there are nice modern flat screen sets to give a great LD image then you haven't really tried one.
I used to think CRT was the best but not anymore, I'll go with a flat screen monitor anyday now.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 06:49 
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Are there any other good outboard noise reduction options than the algolith mosquito/flea?

I have searched around for those but no luck.
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 09:57 
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rein-o wrote:
My low end LED television has a better image with LD than the last high end CRT I had.


Really? How were the blacks? How about movement?
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 Post subject: Re: Suggestions on improving picture quality
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2017, 15:52 
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forper wrote:
rein-o wrote:
My low end LED television has a better image with LD than the last high end CRT I had.


Really? How were the blacks? How about movement?

Perfect.
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