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Scalers Augusta GA

Video processors, often called scalers, aren’t a new concept. More than a dozen years ago at a CES show, I borrowed a high-end front projection setup to complement a surround sound demonstration. Runco provided a CRT-based front projector (back then, that technology, now defunct, was really the only game in town for top picture quality).

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Scalers

Provided By:

June 2, 2009 By David Birch-Jones

The latest video processors seek to minimize picture artifacts and expand system capabilities

Jaggies, judder, combing, tearing, mosquito noise, block noise —these are just a handful of the terms to describe picture anomalies that degrade high definition picture quality.

Thankfully, the latest generation of stand-alone scalers/video processors aims to fix all of that.

Video processors, often called scalers, aren’t a new concept. More than a dozen years ago at a CES show, I borrowed a high-end front projection setup to complement a surround sound demonstration. Runco provided a CRT-based front projector (back then, that technology, now defunct, was really the only game in town for top picture quality).

Stewart Filmscreen provided a 16:9 screen and Faroudja loaned one of their video processors. The Faroudja’s principal task was to take the standard-definition, interlaced signal from the laser disc player and de-interlace it to progressive.

Known at the time as a “line doubler,” the Faroudja actually provided the more difficult task of true deinterlacing, and for years was the industry standard for high-end video aficionados. At a price of $15,000 (in mid-’90s dollars), the Faroudja was far from cheap. For the really high-end front projection enthusiast who could afford a true data-grade/HD-capable projector, Faroudja also offered a “line quadrupler,” priced then at a breathtaking $30,000.

Today, upconverting DVD players that output 1080p via HDMI can be had for a pittance, and recent CES 2009 Blu-ray announcements have players coming to market this year for under $200. A raft of high performance video processing chips are now available from a number of chip vendors, allowing improved video processing in both outboard scalers as well as onboard in HDTVs and other video source components, like Blu-ray players.

An external video processor can make a lot of sense for many HDTV owners, as early generation sets didn’t usually feature the kind of video processing prowess that would prevent objectionable artifacts. Many sets featured only one or two HDMI inputs, hindering system expansion capabilities. Other HDTV sets suffer from limited picture adjustments over a range of inputs, which is another area where an external video processor will provide tangible benefits.

Before we get started, if you want a sort of "101" class on all the terms and technology we're talking about, check out Geoff's Definitive Guide to Video Processing .

Lumagen/Sencore RadianceXD

Lumagen/Sencore RadianceXD

For the die-hard video purist, Sencore (a leading maker of test equipment) has teamed with Lumagen and recently introduced the RadianceXD external processor, which features multiple picture adjustments for each and every input.

The key advantage to the RadianceXD is its ability to precisely tune the video output to the HDTV display and provide the same set of extensive adjustment capabilities for all of the inputs. Sencore’s Tom ...

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