Scaler... should I?


New Member
Ok guys, Wife and I did it this years for Christmas.... 60in DLP ;) . Has DVI, does 1080i, etc. Connected to it is TiVo.... Not HD, connected with s-video and looks poorly lots of artifacts. Cable channels (Comcast) about the same as TiVo on the large screen...poor at best. DVD player 480p connected using component. Looks good but not up to HD clarity (periodic artifact). All video is run directly to DLP, sound through Denon. No sound problems.

Now the question: If I bought a scaler to at least bring all video input up to 1080i would the artifacts be reduced noticable and make non-HD viewing more tolarable? If yes, any suggestions on a scaler?

Thanks ;)
60in DLP, I assume you are refering to a Rear Projection TV as you specified the size (DLP is just the technology - Digital Light Processing, and is used for both front and rear firing projectors).

Short answer to your question: maybe, but not neccessarily.

As this is not a particularly helpful answer, I'll expand somewhat.

Most recent HDTVs have an integrated scaler (obviously I can't be sure about yours without the brandname and model no), BUT it might not be producing as good results as an external one, see link below:

BTW, I am not suggesting that you should get this one if you decide on one, just using link as helpful info for my reply.
This site has reviewed a lot of scalers though, so it might be worth checking out some of the reviews, if you do decide to get one (there's a link at the bottom of the review).

A few things you can try first:

Do you watch any HD content at all (ie from PC, D-VHS or other)?

If you already use your PC with the projector, I found a free software scaler which could be worth trying:

Is your Denon just an amp, or is it an AV receiver (ie does it have AV in/outs)?

If it is a receiver, you could try hooking your video through this as they commonly have signal boosters and signal processing that could possibly help, it may even upconvert.

Do you have digital cable?

If not, you may want to try running composite video from your set-top box to the TV (through the Denon or not). It is very likely that your expensive new HDTV has a better Y/C filter than an analog set-top box (same goes for TiVo).

If you have digital cable, you mentioned through comcast, you'll probably want to receive HDTV broadcasts, as no upconverting can ever compare to a "pure HD" source, see link below:

You'll probably need to upgrade your TiVo though.

As for the DVD player, it would probably be cheaper (and produce better results) to get an up-converting DVD player, most of which output DVI. The artifacts you experience at the moment are probably due to the player, or the TV trying to upconvert (dsp errors). If you describe the artifacts, I might be able to clarify.

Hope some of this helps and congrats on your new purchase ;) !
You might consider adding an HTPC to the mix and use software based scaling like DScaler (freeware). Downsides are not as "plug and play" as a commercial scaler hardware, upside is cheaper performance and very high end results as well as upgradeable with new software releases.
Wow! Didn't realize I ask such a complex question. Thaks for the rersponse Techtooth. Ok let me try and respond to some of the points.

1. I have Comcast HD and connect that directly to the HDTV (Samsung DLP617w) with DIV to DVI, Cable box output is set to 1080i and I assume TV takes that directly. Discovery HD is my benchmark for comparing things. Local channels on HD look fine but if I switch to "regular" channels It looks worse than when I just had digital TV without HD. Looking for improvement here.

2. DVD PLayer is a Denon 1610. Older but capable of some level of 480P. I send its component output direct to the TV with a high quality cable. Artifacts are mostly during panning an aspects of the picture that are close. I've made no special selections on the DVD player so assume its sending a 480P quality signal. Nothing done on the TV at the component inputs.

3. TiVo is a Series 1. Older, but I have replaced the hd with a higher capacity 5400 rpm drive. I've been holding off upgrading TiVo anticipating the HDTV model...:] but like all of us I'm still waiting. I was hoping the scaler might help a bit in this area as well. Comcast offers a DVR in my area but I don't seem to be able to get any detailed spec info from them to make a judgement if it would be a good "stop gap" till TiVi HD. Anyone know more about this Comcast DVR box?

4. HTPC... Considering this in place of TiVo but have not done enough research. HD cards adquate number of connections and connection options are my current concerns. The SW scaler sounds great if I can make the connections.

5. Receiver is a Danon 1803. Has AV capability but I been advised from Internet shop where I purchased TV to only use it for audio. Doesn't seem to have made a difference so I left things setup with "less" stuff in between.

If anyone has any added thoughts based on the expanded info it would be appreciated. Based on Techtooth's, response above I'm reluctant to consider spending another grand on the "possibility" it might improve things.
Right then, now you've described a little more detail, I personally wouldn't get a scaler (only my opinion though) and I'll try to explain why, following your numbered points:

1. There will always be a HUGE difference between the "regular" channels and the HD broadcasts even with a scaler. It is possible you are only thinking that it looks worse than before because you are now comaparing it to something much better.
It could also be that it IS scaling them up, but as most scalers mainly use linear interpolation, it is just making already present artifacts more noticeable.

2. Again, artifacts could be to do with your benchmark. However, it would be worth checking your settings (you may need to eject the disc), to make sure that it is in fact displaying progressive scan, it should be fairly easy to check. Some PS DVD players can only display composite video and S-video correctly when set to interlace, so they default on interlace.

3. TiVo: not informed enough about this to give you good advice, but I would probably lean toward a HTPC as a PVR.

4. Again, not an expert on these, but many people on this site are. Might be worth starting a post in the relevant forum asking people what they recommend.
As for the software scaler mentioned by DavidL, as it happens it is the same as the one I linked to on my first post (2nd link), but I haven't tried it myself.

5. Fair enough, let it be.

Judging by the fact that you say scalers cost about a grand, you might be interested in the IO-Data DVD player that has been discussed in a couple of threads here.
It retails at about $250, will upconvert DVDs, play HD formats (WMV-HD, DivX-HD) and can connect to your computer via WIFI or LAN to read music or video files from the HDD.
Thanks Techtooth. I'm at the same place.. no scaler. Apprecate your assistance. Thanks to the rest of you for your comments as well.

Off to do some more research on the HTPC (here). The I O Data Linkplayer2 also looks interesting... I use Audiotron today for my music.