Product Review

Lumagen VisionPro HDP Video Processor

Part II

March, 2006

Ofer LaOr


The unit hosts two digital SDI inputs. These are configured as inputs 0 and 9.

The HDP also supports DVI (with HDCP) and has two DVI jacks. These inputs will support HDMI as well, although I did have trouble with 480i and 576i through the DVI jacks with HDMI sources.

By way of outputs, the unit contains a set of five BNC connectors (RGBHV or HD Component) as well as a single output DVI connector. You can turn on both outputs through the service menu.

Finally, the unit contains a useful RS-232 jack that can be connected to a home automation system (Crestron, AMX, and the like) and also serves to upload the frequent firmware update.

The unit does not provide global audio delay (lipsync) support. I personally do not normally use the lipsync features on other scalers, but I do think this is an important feature for Lumagen to add in future products, particularly as so many A/V receivers do such an awful job at doing digital lipsync adjustment. (Lipsync is needed when the video ends up perhaps 30 milliseconds later than the audio, due to video processing delaying the picture getting to the display).

Connecting with the Display

Although the original Vision processor had somewhat of a learning curve, once you adapted to its mindset, there was almost nothing you couldn't do with it. The endless range of features could be adapted to most common (and uncommon) scenarios.

Well, the list of features on the HDP VisionPro puts the original Vision and most other processors to shame.

While it did take some time for all of these features to interact flawlessly, Lumagen worked tirelessly and did not abandon the product. This earned the company a great reputation with customer support and reliability.

The unit uses almost the same UI as the original Vision, an old school textual menu system that should have been improved ages ago. The VisionPro HDP has an LCD that helps figure out where you are in the menu system. This is particularly useful when no image is shown on screen, which can happen when playing with output parameters like resolution or output rate.

The menu system is not always easy to understand, because of its extensive use of acronyms. This is due to simple lack of on-screen space. There are not too many items to learn, so the installer can easily learn them. Regular consumers wouldn't usually need to use the menu system at all, as the unit would typically be put into Home Theater installations that either have some automation in them or that use a smart macro-enabled remote control. The processor provides discrete access to most common features so the unit can be made virtually transparent to the end user.

Step by Step

The first part of setting up any processor is setting up the output timing. This is performed by specifying the output format. Advanced users can also set up specific timing values, albeit the menu system can make this procedure a tad complex. I would love to have the option of changing individual output timing values like back and front porch by scrolling up and down and not just entering them manually. The unit comes with quite a few preset timing values that fit most displays. From those base settings, one can adjust the rest of the parameters to achieve virtually any timing that the unit supports.

Once the output timing has been set, one can use the HDP's test patterns to ensure that black and white detail levels are set up correctly, ensure that the signal is being mapped on screen correctly, as well as to determine if native rate (the display's sweet spot resolution) has been achieved. A special warm-up menu is intended for warming up projectors slowly.

Reaching the test patterns requires use of the menus. This is one feature that I would prefer to be able to reach discretely using one touch of the original remote control. But, again, this is something that the consumer would not need on a day to day basis.

Click Here to Go to Part III.

Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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