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Old 08-17-2008   #88
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 4
Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

Originally Posted by fitzcaraldo215 View Post
If video performance is really that important to you (it's not to me), you are probably going to get the best video by using an external scaler. Trying to find a pre/pro with the best video performance and audio performance and features combined is going to be well-nigh impossible. Anthem may be as close as you can come, but I personally would not want anything without HDMI 1.3 to avoid potential obsolescence. As Kenny has already explained, 1.3 is not absolutely essential now, but it might be in the future. Then again, it might never be. I think the odds favor that it will be important eventually.

Also, if you want to play SACD's with their native DSD format going to the pre/pro via HDMI (I do), you need at least HDMI 1.2. HDMI 1.3 has higher bandwidth than earlier versions, and it allows the 7.1 lossless Blu-Ray codecs to be sent to the pre/pro in bitstream format, rather than requiring conversion of these formats to PCM in the player. I think this is a good idea, since I expect the pre/pro to do a better bitstream-to-PCM conversion than the player, unless the player is very expensive. Less expensive, basic BR players only output bitstream via HDMI 1.3, not PCM.

I myself am totally satisfied with the REON video processing in my Integra DTC 9.8. I think most pre/pros do no processing of Blu-Ray, just switching/repeating. The video processing is just for less than 1080p sources, DVD and TV, mostly.
Though I agree with you that video processing is just for non blu ray sources, at least in my application watching TV and DVD still constitute about 1/2 to 2/3 of daily viewing. So in my setup, 1080i/720p scaling and deinterlacing are important. Also, many projectors would benefit from a color management setup. Your statement that I would get the best performance from an external VP is right on the money, but there is one significant hurdle - how do you connect your HDMI sources to 2 devices (the SSP and the VP)? Option number one is connect all sources to the VP so that each (non BR) source can be set up independently in terms of color management (rec 601 vs. 709), deinterlacing, scaling, and frame rate. The HDMI output then would run to one of the inputs on the SSP. Assuming the VP is also 1.3, the new codecs are sent to the SSP for conversion to multichannel PCM and processing. In this setup, only one input of the SSP is used. None of the scaling or other features are utilized. I feel this is a terrible waste and that's the reason it makes sense to me to combine all these functions in one box.
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