Product Review

DVDO iScan VP30 High Definition Video Processor

Part I

February, 2006

Ofer LaOr




● Scales Video Input Resolution to Choice of
    Video Output Resolution

● User Customizable Output Resolution from
    480p (720x480) to 1080p (1920x1080)

● DTV Standards: 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i,

● PC Standards: VGA, SVGA, XGA, SXGA

● Plasma Resolutions: 852x480, 1280x768,
    1024x1024, 1366x768

● DLP Resolutions: 1280x720, 1024x576,

● LCoS Resolutions: 1400x1050, 1365x1024,

● CRT Resolutions: 1280x960, 1440x960,

● Inputs: Two Composite, Two S-Video, Two
    Component, One RGBHV, Four HDMI, One
    SDI (SDI is Optional), Two Coaxial Digital,
    Two Toslink Optical Digital, One Pair
    Analog Audio

● Outputs: One Component Video, Two
    HDMI, One Coaxial Digital, One Toslink
    Optical Digital

● 27 Built-in Test Patterns

● Picture Controls: Brightness, Contrast,
    Saturation, Hue, Y/C Delay, Sharpness

● Selectable Input and Output Aspect Ratios

● Dimensions: 2.2" H x 17" W x 10.4" D

● Weight: 6.4 pounds

● MSRP: $1,999 USA




I'm what some people could call an "artifact nut", not the kind to go into antique shops, but the type that finds endless problems with video. I can see every flaw, mistake, or problem on a display with excruciating detail.

That's why, quite a few years ago, I started using scalers (changes the input resolution, such as 480p, to a chosen output resolution, such as 720p) and video processors (eliminates such things as combing) to try and alleviate my artifact pain.

The beginning wasn't easy. I started with some line doublers which did an adequate job (certainly better than what was available from displays themselves).

Still, the feature set was poor, usability was inadequate, and the picture quality was still lacking. The cost was no small number either . . . thousands and thousands.

Then along came the iScan V1. This product was revolutionary in quite a few ways, but it was a very inexpensive (a few hundred dollars) compared to other products at the time. The iScan V1 was created by a little known company called DVDO, and served as a line doubler.

However, it not only doubled lines, but it actually de-interlaced video (converted 480i to 480p). This was achieved by one of the precursors to the Sil504 chip.

The iScan V1 was really mostly a showcase product for the DVDO de-interlacing technology. The chip and its kindred went into quite a few DVD players and devices, and later spawned the Sil504+co processor combination by Silicon Imaging, who subsequently purchased DVDO, lock stock, and barrel.

The iScan and Sil504 did not progress from that point, and the original team that created DVDO came back out of Silicon Imaging to create Anchor Bay Technologies (ABT for short). They even went as far as repurchasing the DVDO moniker from Silicon Imaging, so that  really points to ABT's website.

The Design

Since its creation, the ABT team has gone all out to create a new type of low cost scaler, using the base Sil504, but with quite a few additional features, keeping the original DVDO idea of providing new capabilities at extremely attractive prices.

A lot has changed internally since the introduction of the iScan HD, ABTís first departure into video processor territory.

The VP30 still uses the Sil504 for SDTV de-interlacing. The aging chip has its good points (sticking to film mode when it should), as well as its bad points (video mode is much more jaggy and less detailed than more updated technologies such as HQV by Silicon Optix or VXP by Gennum).

Externally, the VP30 is somewhat of a departure from the old black box solution that ABT traditionally used to showcase its technologies. It has a panel containing a bright and useful full alphanumeric LCD, as well as all the buttons one would need to set up or even use the unit without a remote. This is critically important when setting up the system blindly (i.e., displays without the versatility to display many output display modes).

Below is shown a block diagram of the various input resolutions that can be used with the iScan, and corresponding output resolutions that also can be chosen. Flexibility is the buzzword here.


Click Here to Go to Part II.

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