There was one fly in the ointment, though. When I started using the VP30 with the BenQ LCD, it would not take a 1080p signal, and I finally had to change the setting for 1920 x 1080i. This was rather strange because, as I already mentioned, it is a 1920 x 1080p display. Undeterred, I pressed on to assess the picture quality. The VP30 puts out a decidedly smooth, film-like picture. When hooked up via the component inputs to the Krell DVD Standard, it was able to transfer its already excellent image quality and successfully upsample it to 1920 x 1080i, making it look even better. The Time Warner 8300HD cable box was set to output whatever the native format of the programming, whether 480i, 480p, 720p, or 1080i. Again, the image was smooth and film-like with lots of detail. There is only so much you can do with SD programming, but it's good that the VP30 was able to interpolate enough detail that the picture seemed not only smoother, but also more three-dimensional. The black level appeared even darker, as there was less overall noise, and dark detail seemed to improve.
I decided to try the VP30 on another system with a larger display,
so I took it to the theater in my home and hooked it up to the Pioneer
DV-59AVi outputting 480i via HDMI and another Time Warner 8300 HD box.
The VP30 outputted to my Fujitsu 50inch 720p display. Here the
differences were less apparent, as the Fujitsu has a pretty good scaler
already, and the Pioneer does a very nice job of upscaling also.
What this did tell me, though, was that the VP30 was probably most effective in systems with less-than-stellar internal scalers, systems with really large displays or screens, and probably even most 1920 x 1080 systems, as to upscale successfully to that level requires a very good scaler. What the VP30 also offers is the host of controls to enhance, tweak, and correct your home theater system, as well as the ability to add efficient HDMI switching to your system. The fact that it does this for $1,999 is just astounding to someone like me who remembers the days of scalers that cost tens of thousands of dollars. The iScan VP30 is a truly phenomenal value.
Video Inputs: Two Composite, Two S-Video,
Two Component (YPbPr or RGB/S),
One RGBHV/Component, Four HDMI,
One SD-SDI (Optional)
Audio Inputs: Four HDMI, Two Coaxial Digital,
Two Optical Digital, One Analog Pair (L/R)
Video Outputs: One BNC Analog Component Video Output (BNC) configurable for YPbPr, RGBHV, RGB/S, or RGB; one HDMI output
Audio Outputs: One Coaxial Digital, One Optical Digital
Automatic Chroma Upsampling Error Detection & Correction;
10-bit, 300 MHz DACs, with up to 10x oversampling
and 2x oversampling for 1080p.
Flexible Input and Output Aspect Ratio Control
Full-frame Timebase Correction
Motion and source adaptive video deinterlacing for
NTSC with 3:2 and 2:2 pulldown.
User-defined output resolution from 480p to 1080p