Product Review (June 2001) - Silicon Image (DVDO) iScan Pro Pure Progressive Line Doubler



The DVDO iScan Pro is the third version of the highly regarded iScan PureProgressive scan converter. Several significant changes have been made in the iScan Pro. The most exciting addition is the component video inputs not available on earlier iScan models. The component input eliminates the need for the video decoder chip to demodulate the color on the s-video signal which typically results in some loss of color detail and accuracy. The new iScan Pro uses a different video decoder chip (Philips SAA7118E) than was used in the earlier iScan units. The Philips video decoder utilizes 9-bit A/D converters instead of the 8-bit A/D converters found in the Samsung KS0127B chip used in the original iScan.

The image processing capabilities of the latest Silicon Image (DVDO) chip, the SIL-503, has been regarded as one of the best performing chips when it comes to 3-2 inverse telecine. The motion-adaptive processing compares information from several fields of video to accurately determine the source material for optimal deinterlacing. In fact, the chip is so good that Denon has decided to incorporate it into their new DVD-2800 DVD player. In addition, Ayre Acoustics utilizes the Silicon Image PureProgressive technology in their high-end D-1 as does Camelot in their Round-Table unit. These progressive scan DVD players benefit from this technology by not relying solely on the First Field Repeat Flags (FFRF) to determine the frame reconstruction information. DVDO's original goal was to supply high performance chips to the industry. Now that Silicon Image has acquired DVDO and the iScan has been considered one of the best performing video processors for the dollar, convincing companies to use the chips in upcoming products has been easy. Don't be surprised if more companies introduce products with this image processor.

The iScan Pro has some new features not found in the previous models. The front panel now consists of several analog-like controls for adjusting video parameters. They include Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Hue and Sharpness. They feel like analog controls, but in reality they are converted to digital data to be processed and written into the internal registers of the images processing chips. The YPbPr/RGB switch used to select between component and RGB outputs has been moved from the back of the iScan on the V2 to the front on the iScan Pro. This makes room for the three component input connectors needed on the iScan Pro.

The ability to accurately detect the source material of the incoming video is key during the reconstruction of the original video frames. The iScan Pro did a great job converting 480i film-based material to 480p, while minimizing interlacing artifacts commonly seen with mainstream line-doublers found in many HD displays.

The new iScan Pro is clearly a state-of-the-art product and is based on their two previous generation deinterlacing chips. Image quality has surpassed the performance of the previous units, which I considered to be an incredible bang for the buck. Simply put, the iScan makes high performance deinterlacing affordable and with the many options available on this latest iScan Pro, any home theater on a budget should be considering this product.
- Kevin Nakano

Review System:
Pioneer Elite PRO-610HD HD-Ready TV
Sony DVP-S9000ES Progressive Scan DVD/SACD player
Pioneer Elite CLD-99 Laserdisc Player
Mitsubishi SR-HD400 HDTV/DSS Receiver



Review - At a glance
Silicon Image (DVDO) - iScan Pro Upconverter

Inputs

  • One composite
  • One S-Video
  • One set of component (Y-Pr-Pb)

    Outputs

  • 15-pin VGA (RGB/HV or Y-Pb-Pr)

    Features

  • Component video inputs for maximum video performance.
  • Auto detection of original source (i.e. film, computer graphics, or video).
  • De-interlacing of detected video source.
  • Squeeze mode for 16:9 displays.
  • Front panel controls for adjusting Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Hue and Sharpness.
  • High quality adaptive comb filter for composite sources.

    Company Information
    Silicon Image
    1060 E. Arques Avenue
    Sunnyvale, CA 94085

    Phone: (888) 726-3554
    Website: http://www.siimage.com

    Source: Manufacturer Loan
    Serial Number: SYM00120189
    Price: $899
    Size: 8.3" x 5.8" x 1.4" (LxWxH)
    Weight: 1.3 pounds
    Warranty: 1 year

  • Any comments or questions regarding the LAAF Web Site should be forwarded to laaudiofile@socal.rr.com

    Copyright © 1985-2001 L.A. Audio File.