Product Review (April 2001) - Silicon Image (DVDO) iScan Plus V2 Pure Progressive Line Doubler


DVDO's introduction of the original iScan Plus took the industry by surprise by offering consumers high quality de-interlacing performance at an affordable price. The unit not only de-interlaces, but does so by properly detecting the source material to minimize motion artifacts associated with interlaced video. Depending upon how the video originated (film, computer graphics, or standard video) the deinterlacer uses a difference algorithm to prevent visible artifacts. The iScan performs this task by analyzing multiple fields of video. The result is a 480p picture that looks good from any clean 480i source. This review is a follow-up from the original iScan review a few months ago.

Recently, DVDO was acquired by Silicon Image, another company involved with image processing. Although not much has appeared to have changed from the outside at DVDO, the iScan has been updated with an important new feature. Labeled the iScan V2, this new unit features an additional switch on the front for squeezing the picture horizontally. Many customers who were using the original iScan Plus had 16:9 digital televisions that locked into a "full" mode when receiving 480 progressive video. This wasn't a problem for anamorphic (16x9 enhanced) DVD's, but did result in a horizontally stretched image for non-anamorphic discs. DVDO addressed this problem by incorporating a horizontal squeeze feature in the next generation chip (the DV-102). This feature maintains the proper aspect ratio of a 4:3 image on a 16:9 screen. While some high-end DVD players like the Panasonic DVD-H1000 have a similar squeeze feature, not all do. Having the squeeze mode in the iScan gives consumers the most flexibility in their system. Like the original iScan, the V2 accepts one composite and two s-video signals.

The picture through the iScan V2 appeared a bit softer than what I have seen through some of the best progressive scan DVD players. This was most likely due to the limitations in processing the s-video signal. S-video requires color demodulation to extract the color difference (R-Y, B-Y, and Y) signals. Component signals can then be converted to RGB with minimal loss. Component video inputs would certainly increase the video performance capabilities in the iScan V2 since component data can be extracted directly from the analog-to-digital converters. However, composite formats like laserdisc looked very good through the iScan's front-end video decoder chip. With all the poor line-doublers built into early digital televisions, the iScan V2 can make a tremendous improvement in image quality.

DVDO's latest iScan V2 with improved features is an incredible bargain with the new low price of $499. The latest squeeze mode enhancement resolves a problem encountered with many current displays. The one feature videophiles have been asking for is component video inputs. Well, DVDO was listening and has introduced a newer version of the iScan called the iScan Pro. We'll take a look at this new unit in an upcoming review.
- Kevin Nakano

Review System:
Pioneer Elite PRO-610HD HD-Ready TV
Panasonic DVD-H1000 Progressive Scan DVD player
Pioneer Elite CLD-99 Laserdisc Player
RCA DTC100 HDTV/DSS Receiver



Review - At a glance
Silicon Image (DVDO) - iScan Plus V2 Line Doubler

Inputs

  • One composite
  • Two S-Video

    Outputs
    15-pin VGA (RGB/HV or Y-Pb-Pr)

    Features

  • Auto detection of original source (i.e. film, computer graphics, or video)
  • De-interlacing of detected video source
  • Squeeze mode for 16:9 displays
  • 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.dvdo.com
    Product Brief
    User's Manual

    Source: Manufacturer Loan
    Serial Number: QE000801662
    Price: $499
    Size: 8-1/4" x 5-1/4" x 1-1/4" (LxWxH)
    Weight: 2-1/2 pounds
    Warranty: 1 year

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