Video Processors

DVDO Edge Video Processor

ARTICLE INDEX
DVDO Edge Video Processor front

Introduction

Many years ago, CRT projector owners had an annoying problem, if they increased their projection area, scan lines would become visible. The idea of line doubling – duplicating the number of lines to avoid the empty spaces between the scan lines became the first consumer video processing technique available.

Since all of our video sources at the time were video, but were originally film – Yvves Faroudja introduced the world to the concept of 3:2 pulldown de-interlacing. De-interlacers were able to double lines but effectively turned the image into a progressive one – a single image that contained data from both interlaced fields at once.

Specifications

  • Design: DVDO Edge by Anchor Bay Technologies
  • Inputs: HDMI, 2 x Component, Composite, S-Video, Optical Audio, Stereo Analog
  • Outputs: HDMI, Digital Audio
  • Input Standards: PAL, NTSC, 720P, 1080i, 1080p, VGA, SVGA, XGA @24, 50, and 60 Hz
  • Output Standards: EDID (Auto), 1080i, 1080p, 720p, and Other Standard Resolutions
  • Dimensions: 2.1" H x 16.9" W x 10.3" D"
  • Weight: 6.2 Pounds
  • MSRP: $799
  • Anchor Bay Technologies

The main problem with de-interlacers was that they were a costly proposition. Along came DVDO, a small company which had an interesting notion. They created a chip that they wanted to market for de-interlacing, but also needed a platform on which to demonstrate it. Since this was primarily intended as a demonstration platform, DVDO was essentially the first to create a standalone de-interlacer for the consumer market, as other contenders in this market had their prices well above DVDO’s price range. Several models were created at the time, all under the iScan brand (iScan plus and iScan ultra were particular favorites).

The company, DVDO, was sold, lock stock and algorithm, to Silicon Imaging in 2000, which meant that the company focused primarily on making and selling their de-interlacing chip: the Sil504. After a while, the original DVDO team decided to refocus their efforts and created Anchor Bay Technologies which later purchased the iScan and DVDO brand names back from Silicon Imaging.

At first, Anchor Bay Technologies created processors. Among these were two main product lines: the iScan line (iScan HD, HD+) and the VP line (VP20, 30, 50 and 50Pro). As time progressed, prices increased and the top of the line product from ABT is currently  priced at $3499.

The DVDO Edge marks another paradigm shift in ABT’s history. Anchor Bay Technologies is back in the chip making business, this time with the ABT 2010 chip. Since creating the Sil504, remarkable improvements have been made by the ABT team and this is clearly seen in all of the latest ABT products. The scaling engine has been improved, de-interlacing has been dramatically changed and is now on par with the best consumer oriented algorithms out there (major competition includes Marvel’s QDEO, Silicon optix with HQV and Sigma designs/Genum’s VXP). More algorithms include some MPEG artifact removal, edge and detail enhancement algorithms, genlocking (the act of locking the output frequency to the source frequency, twice the source frequency or three times the source frequency) and PReP (an ingenious idea by video processing master Dale Adams which is able to undo a badly deinterlaced image even when the interlaced source is unavailable).

These algorithms, which had made the VP50-Pro so attractive have now been placed on the ABT2010 chip. Now, Anchor Bay wanted another platform to demonstrate its capabilities – enter the Edge.

The Anchor Bay Techologies “DVDO Edge” is essentially a single chip oriented solution designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the ABT2010 chip (which is able to do pretty much anything the VP50Pro can do). This is becoming ever more important as more projector, A/V receiver, Blu-ray players and flat screen display manufacturers try to gain market share by improving picture quality. However, the DVDO Edge is revolutionary in another aspect – it also has shifted dramatically the pricing of video processors. This is one of the first video processors that has an MSRP of $799. Competing products with similar feature sets (including from ABT themselves) are priced at over 3-5 times this amount, an intereting turn of events.

ABT envisions making this a household product, that anyone can use. That means not just catering to the typical video processor sales channels (integrators, primarily) but also selling the unit online through Amazon.com , buy.com and tigerdirect.com – something that has not yet been attempted.

This goal means that the unit would have to be designed so that anyone can use it, not a simple thing when it comes to video processors.