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The new DVDO iScan VP30 Video Processor


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:blink: Unbelievable... is there any other reported issues elsewhere like this?

What happens if you uninstall the card? Are you able to downgrade back to 1.0? Makes me worried about installing mine.

Can you tell us a bit more about it Gino? What resolution etc etc have you reset the VP30 to? Remeber, you have to reset ALL settings after the 1.07 upgrade.

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Can you tell us a bit more about it Gino? What resolution etc etc have you reset the VP30 to? Remeber, you have to reset ALL settings after the 1.07 upgrade.

What do you mean reset all settings? How? It already lost all settings after the firmware upgrade as far as i could tell.

The good news is that PAL DVD's look better, really good in fact. It is mainly the HD Topfield which now looks lowsy...stranegely it did improve alittle after switching it off and back on, but it still only appears marginally better than the SD Topfield.

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What do you mean reset all settings? How? It already lost all settings after the firmware upgrade as far as i could tell.

The good news is that PAL DVD's look better, really good in fact. It is mainly the HD Topfield which now looks lowsy...stranegely it did improve alittle after switching it off and back on, but it still only appears marginally better than the SD Topfield.

Some people have reported that they needed to do a factory reset, i.e invoke the "set to default" on the VP30 after the FW upgrade. After that, they were able to get everything back to where it was or better. How or in what way does the HD Toppy now look lowsy compared to what it was?

Phil.

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It looks like standard def where as before it looked like glorious high def.....

OK, let's go through a typical setup using both HD and SD Tuner sources. I'll use my setup as an example. I have a STRONG HD STB and a Toppy SD PVR (MP).

Toppy @ 576i 50Hz (PAL) via RGBs -->VP30-->Display @ 50Hz and 1280 x 768 Native Res and Native Frame Rate.

Strong @ 1080i 50Hz via DVI -->VP30-->Display @ 50Hz and 1280 x 768 NR and NFR.

Now, the reason for setting the Strong HD STB up at 1080i and NOT at 5761 is that I don't want it to first downscale from 1080i to 576i internally, thereby throwing away resolution. This means though, that if I watch anything else but Chan 9HD or 10HD (both 1080i), the Strong will upscale from 567p to 1080i for SBSHD, 2HD and 7HD, which is not really desirable.

But, in reality, I rarely use the Strong. I find the Toppy output, when fed into the VP30 via RGBs (RGB + sync [composite video line]), is as good as I get out of HD on the Strong. Every time I watch a quality program on the Toppy, I say to myself, wow, this would look really fantastic on HD (only chan 9&10 programs). So, I quickly switch over to the Strong and compare. It's no different - still just as great, but not discernably better than on SD through the Toppy.

Now, my display has a limit of 768 lines (on a 40 inch screen), so if the broadcast was really a genuine 1080 lines, I would miss some. Perhaps if I had a 1080i/p projector on a 100 inch screen, I might see a difference. But, the VP30 is so good, particularly now with the ABT102 board, that on my screen size and using native res, I don't see any. Bear in mind that most film stock used by TV channels is limited in resolution that's less than the equivalent of 1080i/p to begin with. Most times, the film is simply being upscaled by the broadcaster from 576 to 1080. The reason that it looks so much better on most displays/panels, is that their upscalers are better than those in your own display. When watching SD programs, an HD tuner is nothing more than an SD tuner with a built-in scaler. Now that you have your own scaler, a quality SD tuner is all you need.

By the way, if your HD tuner has a pass-through mode, whereby, like the Toshy J35, it can pass through the native resolution of the broadcaster, you should use that setting as then you'll always be sure that the tuner isn't doing any scaling or de-interlacing.

So, that would mean that SD channels get passed through at 576i, and HD channels at 576p and 1080i.

Personally, with my setup as described above, a HD tuner is a bit of a waste of time until either I get a 1080p PJ (and with a genuine 1920 horizontal resolution) and have this displaying on a 2m+ screen, and/or we get genuine HD material being broadcast. I do use it when I'm recording 2 channels and want to watch a third (non-mux or sub-channel) to the ones I am recording on the Toppy.

So, I'm not sure if any of this has helped you with your problem as you haven't given any of your setup details, but it may help you in setting it up optimally and understand the limitations of HD. Your display also has a great bearing on the overall PQ of course - you may not be able to show your sources at native frame rates - most Plasmas convert internally to 60Hz (NTSC), so you will always see some judder. You can choose to let the VP30 do the frame rate conversion instead (50-->59.94Hz), rather than have it pass through the source frame rate (50Hz lock 50Hz). Try out both ways to see which gives you the better performance - least judder. Don't forget to use the VP30's Info panel - it always tells you what you're feeding into it from the source you're watching.

Phil.

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So, I'm not sure if any of this has helped you with your problem as you haven't given any of your setup details, but it may help you in setting it up optimally and understand the limitations of HD.

Phil,

Thanks for the effort in explaining this, however I am not new to the DVDO I have been using it since it was released and loved it. Keep in mind that PRIOR to the upgrade to the Deinterlacing card I could see a very much improved picture from the HD Topfield over that from the SD Topfield. It was not a slight improvement, it was huge! And yes the SD Toppy did look great through the DVDO, but not as good as true HD Toppy.

I do in fact have the HD Topfield set to pass through the broadcast res and the DVDO changes to suit. In fact I have the DVDO set up just as I did prior to upgrading and it is now difficult to tell the difference between the SD and HD Topfiled picture. It is not that the SD picture is so much better now, it is that the HD picture is so poor.

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OK, but you'll have to tell us in what way the HD STB is now worse. Lower horizontal res, poorer de-interlacing? How is it connected to the VP30 etc etc. When I upgraded to Vs 1.07 FW, nothing changed apart from a smaller display size on ALL inputs - had to use the overscan and zoom functions to completely fill the screen on most sources. Adding the ABT102 improved de-interlacing on 480/5761 material, just as it was meant to. I'm just thinking that you might have "finger" trouble here - some connections/settings changed when you added the ABT102 card. I've not read any reports on the AVS forums that report the problem you appear to be having. For a quick check, you can use the colour bar on Teletext page 695 channel 7 SD. You can then view and compare this with the half height colour bar test pattern on the VP30

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OK, but you'll have to tell us in what way the HD STB is now worse.Lower horizontal res, poorer de-interlacing?

I thought I had twice already - the image now looks like standard def, not high def. There areno interlacing issues, it simply does not look like High def.

How is it connected to the VP30 etc etc.

HDMI same as it was prior to upgrade.

When I upgraded to Vs 1.07 FW, nothing changed apart from a smaller display size on ALL inputs - had to use the overscan and zoom functions to completely fill the screen on most sources.

Yes I have noticed that too.

Adding the ABT102 improved de-interlacing on 480/5761 material, just as it was meant to. I'm just thinking that you might have "finger" trouble here - some connections/settings changed when you added the ABT102 card. I've not read any reports on the AVS forums that report the problem you appear to be having. For a quick check, you can use the colour bar on Teletext page 695 channel 7 SD. You can then view and compare this with the half height colour bar test pattern on the VP30

All of my set-up remains the same as it was before in terms of connections. If indeed it is finger trouble, which I hope it is, then what setting could I have set wrong to cause this? I can not think of anything....

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Does it look the same when viewing SD and HD channels out of the Toppy HD tuner? How confident are you that the Toppy is OK? What happens when you swap HDMI inputs on the VP30? There's a host of things you'll have to go through to pin it down. I'm reasonably confident it's not the ABT102 card per se though.

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Does it look the same when viewing SD and HD channels out of the Toppy HD tuner? How confident are you that the Toppy is OK? What happens when you swap HDMI inputs on the VP30? There's a host of things you'll have to go through to pin it down. I'm reasonably confident it's not the ABT102 upgrade though.

Well the Toppy is brand spanking new - I have been using from the day they released it here about two weeks ago and it has been working perfectly with a brilliant picture. Ther eis a visible diference between the SD and HD channels, but not a lot anymore.

I have tried swapping inputs in vain. I also do not think it is the ABT102 either, I do howver suspect it is the firmware upgrade which has all but rendered the audio form HDMI useless with drop outs every 5-10 seconds. Never happened prior to upgrade either.

For what is now a $4000 box (with ABT and Silver front panel upgrade) I am starting to really get annoyed because up to now it was brilliant. The only improvement I can see is on DVD playback. I will play around again tonight to see if I can nut it out....

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For what is now a $4000 box (with ABT and Silver front panel upgrade) I am starting to really get annoyed because up to now it was brilliant. The only improvement I can see is on DVD playback. I will play around again tonight to see if I can nut it out....

Good luck! :blink: Let's know what you find. I've just been catching up on the TF7000HT thread - I'll be very interested to see how precisely it compares to the Strong 5400 - you say in one of your posts that you also have or had this HD STB - a very similar box apart from resolution pass-through.

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Phil,

Thanks for the effort in explaining this, however I am not new to the DVDO I have been using it since it was released and loved it. Keep in mind that PRIOR to the upgrade to the Deinterlacing card I could see a very much improved picture from the HD Topfield over that from the SD Topfield. It was not a slight improvement, it was huge! And yes the SD Toppy did look great through the DVDO, but not as good as true HD Toppy.

I do in fact have the HD Topfield set to pass through the broadcast res and the DVDO changes to suit. In fact I have the DVDO set up just as I did prior to upgrading and it is now difficult to tell the difference between the SD and HD Topfiled picture. It is not that the SD picture is so much better now, it is that the HD picture is so poor.

Sounds strange - perhaps an email to DVDO support?

BTW, I have only used the DVDO with the new card so I can't compare, but it does definitely help the output of the Toshiba J35.

I also found that leaving the output resolution to "auto" gave the best results - quite noticeable on 7HD and SD. This is because the DVDO upscales better than STB's.

Keep us posted with any developments.

Tasso

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Good luck! :blink: Let's know what you find. I've just been catching up on the TF7000HT thread - I'll be very interested to see how precisely it compares to the Strong 5400 - you say in one of your posts that you also have or had this HD STB - a very similar box apart from resolution pass-through.

Yes I did test out the Strong HD, the Topfield is better - in fact I regard it to be the best HD STB I have tested out of the following:

Strong, AUSID, Humax, Sharp, Force and of course the Topfield.

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Yes I did test out the Strong HD, the Topfield is better - in fact I regard it to be the best HD STB I have tested out of the following:

Strong, AUSID, Humax, Sharp, Force and of course the Topfield.

Yes, it's interesting. Apart from handling the received signal better, i.e better standing wave rejection, better sensitivity, quicker channel changing to name the most important factors, there shouldn't be any difference between STBs if you are connecting to their passed-through digital connections. Digital outputs don't suffer from the digital to analog conversions that drive the component, s-video and video connections on the STBs. I'm curious therefore in what way(s) you find the Toppy to be better, particularly if you find it so PQ wise.

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Yes, it's interesting. Apart from handling the received signal better, i.e better standing wave rejection, better sensitivity, quicker channel changing to name the most important factors, there shouldn't be any difference between STBs if you are connecting to their passed-through digital connections. Digital outputs don't suffer from the digital to analog conversions that drive the component, s-video and video connections on the STBs. I'm curious therefore in what way(s) you find the Toppy to be better, particularly if you find it so PQ wise.

Main reason it is better - VERY smooth colour gradations, better than any I have seen. The level of pixelisation on fast motion is also extremely low compared to others.

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Main reason it is better - VERY smooth colour gradations, better than any I have seen. The level of pixelisation on fast motion is also extremely low compared to others.

OK, thanks. I'll see if I can get one from the local return-if-you're-not-happy GG store. The auto pass-through is one thing I'm missing with the 5400. Posters also say that channel switching is fast, so that would be a bonus, especially for my channel surfing missus :blink: . Will go to the TF7000 thread to post my findings there - we're getting a bit O/T here.

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Just thinking about this some more since my last post. Pixelisation and colour gradations are usually functions/aberrations of the internal scalers in HD STBs. Did you happen to check your earlier STBs on their digital native resolutions. If you were to feed your Strong and Force HD STBs through the VP30 at the native resolution of the channel you are watching, and using their digital outputs, I wonder if you would now see a different picture :blink: . I imagine you compared them before you had the VP30? When I looked at the Force unit, before I had the VP30, it was pretty bad at banding on 720p and 1080i when I fed it directly into my display. Since using the VP30 in the chain and using the digital outputs of my STBs without them doing any scaling or de-interlacing, I don't get any of the artifacts you mention. All very interesting, but frustrating too I know. Hope you find out what's gone wrong with your setup soon.

Phil.

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I do in fact have the HD Topfield set to pass through the broadcast res and the DVDO changes to suit. In fact I have the DVDO set up just as I did prior to upgrading and it is now difficult to tell the difference between the SD and HD Topfiled picture. It is not that the SD picture is so much better now, it is that the HD picture is so poor.

Please tell me if I'm wrong, but I don't see that the new ABT102 deinterlacer should come into play if you are passing through HD signals:

ABC, SBS, Ch 7 - 576p, so already deinterlaced

Ch 9,10 - 1080i. ABT102 will only deinterlace 480i and 576i, so deinterlacing is presumably done by existing hardware.

Logically, it would appear the new card wouldn't have any effect (on HD), but maybe there some indirect interference happening?

My only HD box is a Toshiba J35 and I've found I get an excellent image with a fixed 720p setting. With the VP30 set to output 720p-50, it should mean it is just passing through the J35 signal. The VP30 is just functioning as a hub as far as the J35 is concerned.

I expect to pick up my ABT102 tomorrow, so I'll let you know how it goes later in the day. I'll make sure to check out the effect of the firmware upgrade before installing the card in case it's simply the firmware screwing things up.

Got as far as ripping out the VP30 tonight to do the firmware upgrade, by my UPS decided to start playing up and I was too chicken to try a firmware upgrade and have the PC die halfway through!

Boy, the VP30 is a bugger to unplug - got nearly every socket used, so it's a cabling nightmare

- Toshiba J35 (HDMI)

- Topfield 5000PVRt (component/sync)

- VCR (composite)

- Xbox (s-video)

- DVD (component)

- PC (RGBHV)

As messy as it is it, I love it as a hub - it makes it so much easier to switch between inputs:).

Cheers,

Cliff

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Please tell me if I'm wrong, but I don't see that the new ABT102 deinterlacer should come into play if you are passing through HD signals:

ABC, SBS, Ch 7 - 576p, so already deinterlaced

Ch 9,10 - 1080i. ABT102 will only deinterlace 480i and 576i, so deinterlacing is presumably done by existing hardware.

No, you're dead right Cliff. :D

As messy as it is it, I love it as a hub - it makes it so much easier to switch between inputs.

Love takes time to grow. :blink:

Phil.

Well tonight I did a FACTORY RESET as suggested. NO CHANGE. HD STB Still looks like SD, and audio from the HDMI connection is dropping out every 5-10 seconds...F%$%$#%^$#!!!!

How about giving your HD Strong a go - at least you'll be able to get a handle on where the problem lies.

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How about giving your HD Strong a go - at least you'll be able to get a handle on where the problem lies.

I know where the problem is, it is the bloody DVDO. And yes I realise the card may not be to blame. I am sure it is the firmware upgrade, prior to which I was running V1.0. and had no audio drop outs and excellent HD STB picture. It has all turned to S#%t since the upgrade.

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Well tonight I did a FACTORY RESET as suggested. NO CHANGE. HD STB Still looks like SD, and audio from the HDMI connection is dropping out every 5-10 seconds...F%$%$#%^$#!!!!

Here's an interesting thought. Is your Toppy asking for HDCP acknowledgement? And, if it doesn't get it, is it putting out SD and doesn't really like giving you sound either? Are your HDCP settings on the VP30 correctly set? There's a whole new bunch of settings for the HDMI inputs.

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Here's an interesting thought. Is your Toppy asking for HDCP acknowledgement?

No not that i am aware of...

And, if it doesn't get it, is it putting out SD and doesn't really like giving you sound either?

No when I check the DVDO'd 'info' it shows it is receiving 1080i so i do not think that is the problem...

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No not that i am aware of...

No when I check the DVDO'd 'info' it shows it is receiving 1080i so i do not think that is the problem...

I don't think that the info showing you 1080i is being received means that it's not HDCP encoded - it just shows that that's the signal coming in, encoded or not. Did you catch my edit re extra functions to set on HDMI input menus?

I'm going to try to get some shut eye now, so catch you in the morning.

Just one last thought. You said a minute ago that HD still looked like crap. What are you watching on your STB at the moment? AFAIK, in Sydney there's nothing but SD (and crappy SD at that) on right now. That'll look just as crappy on HD as it does on SD. Which shows do you use to "showcase" HD on your Toppy? SBS, ABC and Chan 7 will never look any better on HD as they're only 576p (and 720 hor res). You don't have an HD PVR do you?

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I don't think that the info showing you 1080i is being received means that it's not HDCP encoded - it just shows that that's the signal coming in, encoded or not. Did you catch my edit re extra functions to set on HDMI input menus?

Yeah what do you suggest I try - there is not a lot to tweak that I can see....

Just one last thought. You said a minute ago that HD still looked like crap. What are you watching on your STB at the moment? AFAIK, in Sydney there's nothing but SD (and crappy SD at that) on right now. That'll look just as crappy on HD as it does on SD. Which shows do you use to "showcase" HD on your Toppy? SBS, ABC and Chan 7 will never look any better on HD as they're only 576p (and 720 hor res).

True there is little on right now in HD, but....

Which shows do you use to "showcase" HD on your Toppy?

Generally any of the CSI shows on NINE are damn sharp, normally.

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So there is no way of going back to firmware v1.0? I mean then your new card won't work though you can get the PQs u liked before at least..

Or even.. try loading the firmware again??? just like we sometimes reinstall Windows to make it work properly...

Sorry I may have not added any valued comments but I am worried (cuz my card is on its way and I have also only used v1.0 so far...)...

How come JPP isn't having any issue with his firmware and his gears...hmmm...

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How come JPP isn't having any issue with his firmware and his gears...hmmm...

Oh, but he is... :blink: . I've posted plenty on this and the AVS forum about that! Still have a very occassional audio drop out, although much less so now since 1.07 and ABT102. But, the DD audio stream from the Toppy doesn't come through at all now. Before it would, but drop out as soon as you switched to another source and then come back to it. Still not a happy Jan.

But, when it all sings, you have to take your hat off and be impressed by what it can do - just want it to do it all the time :D .

Just on the issue on HD programs, there is a thread somewhere that list them all and the quality of each. Personally, I don't watch CSI that much, but although sharp, it's pretty grainy. I've found Six Foot Under to be much cleaner. Last night, whilst I was posting on Stratman's problems, I happened to catch something on chan 10 HD, around 9-10pm I think. Don't know what it was called - my Toppy's 7 day EPG has clicked over to today now, but it was very clean and sharp with no crushing of blacks. I could actually tell a difference between SD and HD when about 1.5m or closer from the screen. My normal viewing position is around 4m away, and at that distance SD and HD look the same on the average SD quality shows (when ported through the VP30). More than 90% of SD shows don't even come up to the maximum SD can support!

A so called HD show on chan 7, Boston Legal, is of course only in 576p, but is remarkable for its sharpness given the limited horizontal resolution. It badly suffers from crushed blacks though. And, it's much better viewed on SD through the VP30 than on HD 70.

If you want to see a really clean picture, have a look on the ABT102 test DVD montage. Viewed through an SDI modded Oppo, it rivals HD. Interestingly, the DVI output of the Oppo still has some noise on it. Again, when viewing it more than about 2 meters from the screen, you don't consiously see the grain, but the overall effect is still noticible even at my 4m viewing distance. To see fine lines, no more than 2 pixels wide, without any fringing or shadowing whatsoever, even when putting your nose to the screen, is a new experience. That chan 10 shows I talked about before came very close to that.

Phil.

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I could actually tell a difference between SD and HD when about 1.5m or closer from the screen. My normal viewing position is around 4m away, and at that distance SD and HD look the same (when ported through the VP30).

Phil I find this statement extraordinary, perhaps....

If you are saying that you can see no discernable difference between SD and HD when runnign through the VP30, then that can mean one of two things:

1) The VP30 is so damn good at scaling that it makes SD look just like HD

2) The VP30 is not passing through HD content very well and makes HD look more like SD

For me it was VERY obvious from 4 metres away which was SD and which was HD. Blind Freddy could see it!

Since upgrading, it is difficult to tell, but not because it is scaling SD so well, it is that it is killing the HD signal and making it look like SD. Does anyone else on this forum agree with Phil's experience?

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Don't forget what I said earlier re screen size and screen resolution. Mine is 40in at 768 x 1280. It's well documented that at distances more than about 3m, you won't be able to resolve single pixels with this setup, but you will get the sensation that the picture is sharper, when going from say 2 to 1 pixel wide lines. With single pixel wide strands of hair for example, it will look a sharper picture the brighter that single pixel is.

Are you able to address your display at native resolution? If not, you won't be able to get the very best out of the VP30 as your display is doing some scaling. As a test, apart from using all the test patterns on the VP30, you should be able to see the VP30 menus with single pixel resolution - no bluriness around the pixels. The first few test patterns on the VP30 have single width pixel patterns. Can you see each and every pixel without any banding, either horizontally or vertically? If you have NR addressing, you can, if your display is scaling, you will see banding or dropped pixels.

I'm at a loss on what to further advise you to look for in your setup to fix your problem, apart from doing some thorough testing and reporting these finding here. I'd be very surprised if the VP30 is responsible for this - it does screw up many things, like locking up completely and having to literally pull the plug on it to get it going again, but lowering the resolution doesn't sound like one of them.

Phil.

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Phil...help!

I've been sitting here all morning trying to do the firmware upgrade, but without success. Is there a trick? The VP30 just sits there with the 'Load .abt file now..' message but nothing comes up on Tera Term.

Initially there was a problem with my UPS having control of the COM1 port, but I've uninstalled the UPS software and the port seems to function okay now. I also uninstalled the port (via Device Manager) and rebooted to freshen things up - my COM1 is now my COM3.

I've been able to confirm the port is woking okay using a test I found on the net - shorting pins2 and 3 and using Hyperterminal to verify that keystrokes are being echoed.

Is it something to do with the cable? The only cables I have are null modem cables. I've tried two - a Belkin and another freebie that came with the Toshiba J35. The DVDO site doesn't specifically say to use a null model cable (just mentions serial cable), but given I've always used null modem cables for firmware updates (e.g. Strong 5290 and Toshiba J35), I assumed it would be the same in this case...maybe not?

Suggestion please :blink:

Cliff

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Cliff, go back and check your VP30 box. There was a cable provided in the box that was specifically for upgrade purposes.

Thanks for that. Unfortunately, the box in buried within a bunch of other boxes in Fort Knox storage - poo! Don't know if can be bothered hunting for it, or maybe a quick trip to Harvey Norman might be quicker.

After a bit more hunting, I came across this which suggests that I definitely need a 'straight through' cable instead of the null modem ones I've been using. Doh!

Thanks again,

Cliff

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Phil...help!

Suggestion please :blink:

Cliff

Sorry Cliff, still tying up loose ends before I set of on hols for a few weeks.

Foggy has already made the first suggestion I had and you've helped yourself since.

It is a bit tricky getting the FW U/G done, but it's difficult to stuff up the VP30, even though it may look like it. Basically, set the VP30 up first and have it waiting on the PC. So, set the VP30 menu up to Upgrade before sending the file. It will wait for you for a long time, so no rush. I know you read manuals, so you'll have all the right bits set up in TeraTerm. Remember to set them everytime you load the program though, as many of the parameters reset after exit. Make sure the baud rates of the VP30 and Teraterm match - the VP30 will default to 19200 whilst Teraterm defaults to 56 something KBaud. I set the VP30 to the highest baud rate, but your PC/Notebook might not sing along at that speed, so best to be conservative and stick to 19200 baud.

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So there is no way of going back to firmware v1.0? I mean then your new card won't work though you can get the PQs u liked before at least..

Or even.. try loading the firmware again??? just like we sometimes reinstall Windows to make it work properly...

Sorry I may have not added any valued comments but I am worried (cuz my card is on its way and I have also only used v1.0 so far...)...

How come JPP isn't having any issue with his firmware and his gears...hmmm...

I did the FW upgrade not long after release in anticipation of the ABT102 arriving. For me the audio dropouts have reduced. I'd say I'd get 1-2 dropouts per DVD length program.

Like others, there was a need for zoom/pan on some inputs, but that's it. I have seen no drop in PQ since the upgrade, but that's without the DI card yet. Fingers crossed.

Stratmans problems seem serious (especially if his expletives are anything to go by :blink: ). A dumb question if I may - is the splash screen on the VP30 showing 'VP30 + ABT102' to confirm that the card is being recognised. Apologies if you mentioned this.

Cheers,

Chui

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Sorry Cliff, still tying up loose ends before I set of on hols for a few weeks.

Thanks for getting back Phil.

Followed Foggy's suggestion and managed to dig the VP30 box out of storage and found the serial cable enclosed. No problems after that - hooked up the PC and VP30 and they started talking to each other. That was a huge relief because I've always had problems doing firmware updates (to Strong and Topfield) - I was convinced there was a problem with the COM1 port on the PC. It was only after a bit of poking around I found a tip that the UPS (Powerware) might have locked up the COM1 port - UPS is connected via USB, but it can also use the serial port so the software (Lansafe) must take control of it even if its not being used.

Firmware upgrade went without a hitch - now at 1.07.

Got everything plugged backed in and was expecting the worse after StratMan's problems.

I was half convinced that the I was having a similar problem as the picture quality was way off with the factory defaults. Initially it was horrible, then I got it to the point where it was 'okay' but HD stuff still didn't seem to shine (had some good HD material recorded on the J35).

Tried switching the HDMI connector from the J35 between the VP30 and directly to the display. Play the HD same footage over and over. My inclination is that it doesn't look as good via the VP30 as it does directly, but the difference is minimal and probably due to some fine tuning that needs to be with the Picture Control settings.

I was also having some 'sparkles' via the VP30. I knew these were due to cable issues, and found that the HDMI plug (from VP30 to display) wasn't full inserted into the VP30 - pushed it in a little further and the sparkles were gone.

Been running a couple of hours now and haven't had any audio dropouts. Very relieved at that. Note that I've never had audio dropouts before.

Toppy and DVD both look okay.

On the positive side, I've had a couple of fixes from the new firmware.

(1) My HDMI1,2 ports are now working again. These stopped working months ago, so I've been using HDMI3,4.

(2) The pulsating curtain problem that I had when HDCP was enabled is now fixed. HDCP is set on without any problems.

At this point, everything looking good. Looking forward to gettin ABT102 tomorrow and see what wonders it will do for the Toppy:)

Cheers,

Cliff

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My day just gets worse - I noticed my 1 and 2 ports were not working too, and after the upgrade they STILL do not work!

Did you buy your unit from Geoff at eHome? When I mentioned the problems I'd had with my VP30, he was keen to arrange for the unit to be checked out by the distributors. I got the impression that he felt there shouldn't be any issues with the unit.

After the horror stories of the Toshiba J35, I can well accept that not all units are equal. Some units function near flawlessly while others refuse to play ball. It could be worth checking out if you find you alone in your problems.

I can't remember the name of the distributor, but I'll ask when I pick up the ABT102 tomorrow.

Cheers,

Cliff

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