Video Processor Reviews

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Kris Deering  |  Mar 28, 2014  |  1 comments

PRICE $399

Full 3D and UHD support
Blazing fast switching
Options for legacy device support
USB location may be tricky for some

DVDO redefines what to expect from an HDMI switcher and lets your older gear play nice with the new stuff.

When I think of a video switcher, my mind’s eye typically sees a boring little box (with some buttons on the front) that does nothing more than link one of its inputs to a common output. DVDO’s Quick6 is entirely different. Not only is it the fastest HDMI switching device I’ve ever come across, but it also has a ton of useful features that can help both new and old systems alike with today’s cutting-edge gear.

David Vaughn  |  Sep 17, 2012  |  0 comments
Price: $199

At a Glance: Four-port HDMI switch • Inconsistent 2D-to-3D conversion • 3D conversion of video games causes lag

Believe it or not, the idea behind 3D movies started in the 1890s when William Friese-Greene filed a patent for a 3D movie process in which two films would be projected side by side on the screen and the viewers would look through a stereoscope to converge the two images. Needless to say, this didn't take off given the impractical viewing conditions. Over the next 100-plus years, 3D would attempt—and fail—to catch on with audiences.

Kris Deering  |  Aug 22, 2012  |  14 comments
I’ll put this out right up front: I’m not a fan of image enhancements. They almost always hurt the image more than they ever help it, and nowadays there is an almost never-ending list of them in just about every display device. From 240 Hz smooth frame modes, to skin tone correctors and detail enhancers, we’re watching them pile up in our menus. Most are garbage and the first thing I turn off when I set up any display. So, on that note, imagine my skepticism when I got the Darbee Darblet in for review. It’s a new video processor that claims to increase depth perception, sharpness and realism with any display at any resolution, including 3D.

Kris Deering  |  May 03, 2012  |  1 comments

Lumagen Radiance Series

DVDO iScan Duo
Price: Lumagen Radiance Series: $1,995-$4,995; DVDO iScan Duo $1,299 At A Glance: Lumagen: Fully supports 2D/3D processing • Delivers staggering customization and features set • DVDO: Great value with lots of connectivity

When I got started in this great hobby of ours, video processors were pretty much reserved for the higher-end theaters I only dreamed of. We didn’t have pristine 1080p24 sources to feed our displays; we had stuff like VHS and Laserdisc. Displays weren’t nearly as consistent, either. Projectors were mainly for the ultrarich and required brute strength to install. Beyond that, it took considerable work to get them looking right. Calibration was anything but easy. Expensive outboard video processors were also a necessity for these beasts to wring the most out of our then-limited video options.

Now we’re living the video dream. Some may scoff or say otherwise, but they probably haven’t been around as long as I have. These days, even low-end projectors outperform the majority of the reference designs back in the day. Sources are of a much higher quality, and new prerecorded formats are progressive by design and require very little, if any, tinkering. Sure, we have some DVDs lingering around that still need to be deinterlaced, but the proliferation of high-end video-processing chips into TVs, Blu-ray players, and even A/V receivers has made it easier than ever to get solid deinterlacing and scaling in a relatively cheap platform.

David Vaughn  |  Jan 26, 2009  |  0 comments

Ten years ago, virtually all displays on the market were CRTs, but they've gone the way of the dinosaur, replaced with digital technology—LCD, plasma, DLP, and LCoS. The resolutions of these displays are all over the map, from as low as 480p (remember those EDTV plasmas?) to as high as 1080p. In order to produce a picture, a display must convert the incoming signal to its native resolution, which requires some type of video processing and scaling.

Adrienne Maxwell  |  Nov 02, 2007  |  0 comments
Is a 1080p video processor worth the investment?

Remember the days when interlaced was a term used primarily by basket-weavers, and scaling was something the dentist did to your teeth when you didn't floss? Ah, those were good times. . . simpler times, when you didn't need a degree in electrical engineering to pick out a new television set. As we enter the era of large-screen 1080p displays, video processing—or the ability to convert all signal types, from 480i SDTV and DVD to 720p/1080i HDTV to 1080p high-def DVD, to a TV's native resolution—plays a more important role than ever before in overall performance. Even an average TV can make high-quality HD sources look good; the real test is how good a lesser-quality 480i signal looks when blown up on that big 1080p screen.

Gary Merson  |  Jul 24, 2006  |  0 comments
One of the biggest complaints about high-definition televisions pertains to the poor way they handle standard-definition television signals (broadcast, over-the-air, cable, satellite) and SD DVDs. The culprit? Mediocre to poor source material and the herculean effort needed for an HDTV using as many as 1,920 by 1,080 pixels to calculate all the missing pixels when it upconverts a signal that is interlaced with only 720 by 480 pixels or less. In the words of President Bush, "It's hard work."
Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 26, 2005  |  0 comments

What's the most annoying flaw in digital programming from DVDs or HDTV? Video artifacts? Macroblocking? Freeze-ups? Standard definition commercials? David Letterman?

Steven Stone  |  Jun 19, 2005  |  First Published: Jun 20, 2005  |  0 comments

The modern world revolves around easy. Look at the home-theater-in-a-box products. Consumers only need to make one shopping decision to purchase an entire home theater sound system. Unfortunately, they still need to set up the speakers and connect everything together.

Peter Putman  |  May 08, 2005  |  0 comments

Key Digital Systems (KDS) is no stranger to the world of video signal processing. They've been manufacturing video scalers for several years, including some models that had more functions than a Swiss army knife.

Steven Stone  |  Feb 06, 2005  |  0 comments

The most expensive and problematic component of any home theater system is the room. Changing speakers or electronics seems like child's play compared with trying to change the room in an attempt to tame its resonant frequency nodes (areas where certain frequencies are cancelled) and antinodes (areas of reinforcement). Correcting a room electronically is a far more practical solution to most rooms' problems.

Chris Lewis  |  Nov 07, 2004  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2004  |  0 comments
Room correction as it was meant to be.

The room-correction band-wagon is already rolling across the home theater plain, and it's rapidly gaining momentum with each new batch of model releases. Several products, from the highest-end pre/pros to the lowest-end receivers, are touting room assistance these days. This is hardly surprising—in fact, the more-surprising part is that it's taken this long for the broader run of electronics manufacturers to embrace the idea. After all, room interaction will always be the single most important factor, by far, in making an audio system sound right in its particular listening environment. Naturally, it's in the manufacturer's best interest to provide as much help as possible. Fair or not, the vast majority of users are going to blame the product, not the room, when they hook up their system and it doesn't sound good. Considering the challenges that the vast majority of users' listening environments are going to present, it's easy to see why even a little correction could go a long way.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Nov 07, 2004  |  0 comments

TacT is a company with a mission. Their amps are all digital, and their 2-channel and AV preamplifier-processors are dedicated to solving the single biggest puzzle in home audio reproduction: the effect of the room.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Oct 17, 2004  |  0 comments

Despite the encroachment of progressive-scan component and DVI outputs from DVD players, and HD video displays with their own built-in deinterlacing and scaling, there is still a market for standalone video processors. They provide flexible switching. Many will convert inputs of all flavors to a single output format. And most CRT projectors still need a separate processor to upconvert standard-definition sources.

Steven Stone  |  Aug 02, 2004  |  0 comments

Back in the bad old days of early digital sound, most CD players produced horrendous amounts of jitter—mistiming of the bits in the digital bitstream. Some high-end audio companies came up with devices for reducing jitter that were often referred to as "jitter boxes." Audio Alchemy was among the most well-known of these specialty makers. AA ceased operations long ago, but one of their principal designers, Doug Goldberg, has created a similar device for Camelot Technology called the Dragon 5.1 Plus. It promises to do for DVD players what the Audio Alchemy box did for CD players: make them sound a lot better.