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Faroudja DVP1080MF Video Processor Print E-mail
Monday, 01 January 2007
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Faroudja DVP1080MF Video Processor
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The Downside
My old recording teacher at music school used to talk about fixing bad recordings by saying, “You can rub all you want, but you can’t polish a turd.” The same goes for the Meridian MF1 and Faroudja DVP1080MF1. There is no question that they can make mediocre video look better and good video look simply fantastic, but when it comes to spectacular crap – well, it can still look like crap. For example, when watching a local broadcast of an NHL game in standard definition (channel 56 for Anaheim Ducks games, to be exact), the video is so compressed that the MF1 and Faroudja simply can’t resolve the details. The scoreboard looks blurry, the puck is hard to follow and you feel like you need glasses. Conversely, CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada (not in HD on DirecTV) looks five times better to me, with great resolution, beautiful colors and compelling game action. Movies and content from DVD tells the same story. As much as I love HBO’s The Sopranos, the DVDs (and the HD broadcasts) are shot dark by David Chase and his crew. This makes the inside scenes coming from the Meridian 800 DVD player, one of the world’s best if not THE best, look low-resolution when compared to the way things look on a better-made movie in HD. At the same time, playing back South Park episodes from DVD on the Meridian 800 in the MF1 and Faroudja show a brightness and life that you would expect from your HD receiver. While the Faroudja can fix a host of video problems, this rig still loves getting fed high-octane fuel.

Until you start looking at professional 4k projectors from Sony that you literally can’t buy, because they are designed for professional Cineplex use on 20- to 40-foot screens, you simply can’t do better than the Meridian MF1 three-chip D-ILA video projector and the Faroudja DVP1080MF1 video processor. Yes, they are expensive, and yes, they will be worth less when video progresses to the next stage (they say 1440p at some point after 2010), but for right now, this is as good a video projector as you are going to set your eyes on. The colors are rich, vibrant and lifelike. The blacks, which some critics say are better on DLP, can hang with the best that DLP has to offer when calibrated the way Meridian does it. Factor in per source calibration as we did and each source looks even better. The Faroudja processor can’t turn standard definition into native HD, but it does fix many of the awful maladies that you get on SD broadcasts, a remedy that is very welcome. Then consider that no company in the history of home theater has had a better record of upgrades than Meridian and you see why your investment is going to be a good one. I am not saying they can magically upgrade your projector to some new resolution, but I am saying they have the staff, the interest and the track record to support, calibrate and care for your video investment as well as any other.

At the ultra-high-end, it always comes down to the cliché of you get what you pay for, but this isn’t always true in video. There are cheap projectors that make a big beautiful picture, but they aren’t truly high-end complete with the service, the performance and the overall results of a top-performing projector and processor like the Meridian-Faroudja. On the other hand, there are high-end projectors that cost less than the Meridian that you can make the mistake of getting – and then becoming half-pregnant. SIM2’s three-chip DLP for under $20,000 comes to mind as a projector I would avoid. Instead, I’d either buy a less expensive projector or go all the way with the Meridian MF1.

With Meridian MF1 and the Faroudja DVP1080MF1, you get the best that the world of high-end video has to offer, paired with a total system solution that also includes some of the world’s finest electronics and speakers, coupled with some of the best customer service and performance calibration available at any price. When you add all of these factors together, you not only have one of the world’s best projectors, you have a tremendous value as well. If you are in the market for the world’s finest video for your home theater, the Meridian MF1 and the Faroudja DVP1080MF1 must be on your very, very short list of auditions. Even if the idea of $30,000 on a video system would require you to sell your wife and children, it’s worth considering.

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