576i to the rescue

I mentioned below that ‘what we really need is a HD TV receiver that can either output 576i over a HDMI output (DVI outputs do a weird output when set to 576i, which isn’t compatible with all the displays I’ve tested), or incorporates high quality video processing that checks the interlaced status of the actual video, and then weaves progressive source material.’

I’ve had a Topfield TF7000PVRt sitting around here for several months. There were significant problems with it when I first received it (a few weeks prior to it becoming available for sale), mostly to do with some of the advertised functions not working. Anyway, I supplied a long list of problems to Topfield over a period of several weeks, then I put it on the backburner while I waited for them to fix it. Today, in an endeavour to avoid doing real work, I plugged the Topfield back in, downloaded the latest firmware from the Topfield site, and updated the unit’s firmware. I’m happy to report that many of the issues I had raised have been fixed. Most importantly, the ‘Auto’ resolution setting now works, including over HDMI, and it is possible that some HDMI compatibility issues have been eased. When I plugged in the TF7000PVRt this afternoon, I couldn’t get the DVDO iScan VP50 to accept its HDMI output. I switched over to component video, upgraded the firmware, and then the VP50 was happy with it via HDMI at all resolutions.

What’s most important is that now that the TF7000PVRt has ‘Auto’, when you switch from a 1080i station to a 576i station, then the output also changes to match. The relevance? Well, I haven’t checked the TF7000PVRt’s scaling and deinterlacing capabilities yet, but with the ability to deliver 576i, you can take advantage of video processors not blessed with the inclusion of a VP50-like Prep function. The Mitsubishi HC5000 HD projector, for example, uses the Silicon Optix HQV processor. It can’t un-deinterlace the mess that may have been made with the source device, but it does do a fine job with 576i input.

In other words, while most of us would benefit from from having a VP50, few of us can afford it. But with the Topfield TF7000PVRt, and a display device with decent quality processing, very good results can be achieved.

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