Remember when you watched high definition for the first time? Mine was a HDNet hockey broadcast on a 34-inch Sony XBR Tube (800 series, I think). There was a sort of magic that first time, and this DVDO scaler brought back that feeling on my old plasma. I have been watching a 37-inch Panasonic plasma for a few years, but this little $800 box made it seem new again. It even improved the Hitachi Director Series and Pioneer Elite sets that I am currently reviewing.
The beauty of this scaler is that it is so easy to use. Plug in all your devices — hopefully they have HDMI — and it will only take a few minutes to configure everything. The setup wizard does most of the work and it’s easy to fine-tune settings later.
You should notice a picture quality difference immediately. The biggest change you’ll find is that every source will be silky smooth. In fact, the picture was so fluid at first, it was somewhat nauseating. The refresh rate isn’t the only thing improved, either. The colors are better, the detail is higher, and it even helps to resolve TV-specific issues.
The Edge makes colors more vibrant and saturated. Unfortunately, if your HDTV is painstakingly calibrated, like mine, you will have to recalibrate it. Once it’s redone, you will notice blacker blacks and whiter whites. It’s impressive.
The Hitachi plasma I reviewed has a great scaler that works wonders on standard definition content, but the Edge made my 3-year old Panasonic plasma just as good. If your set doesn’t handle non-HD material well, this will help a lot. Also, remember how the Hitachi had weird horizontal line issues? This mostly resolved it. Those lines are still present, but not nearly as prominent.
There are some quarks and limitations, but the benefits easily outweigh ’em. For instance, when the content switches between resolutions — like when changing from an HD to SD channel — a blue screen flashes for about a 1/2 second before the new content is displayed. It isn’t a deal breaker for me, but it might annoy others. Also, the unit only has one S-Video and composite inputs, along with only has two component inputs, but the full array of HDMI inputs shows this is built for the modern AV rack.
Anchor Bay has been making similar scalers for a while and this is their lowest-priced unit yet. Don’t think the price is a knock on the scaling capability, however, because due to some in-house engineering on the scaler (which saves money on licensing), this unit is still impressive.
It doesn’t sport RS-232 control but it does have an IR input. The only output is HDMI, but at least it can split the audio off onto its own HDMI stream. It can’t be rack mounted, but it’s sexy enough to sit exposed on a TV stand. The Edge is aimed at the Best Buy crowd instead of the custom install market, which is great for you and me.
A good amount of HDTVs have lackluster and/or older processors. The DVDO Edge is a wonder of modern day high definition technology, and will improve any viewing experience. It should be noted that the upcoming Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player will have the same internal processor and hopefully that player will be equally as impressive. At $799, this scaler isn’t cheap — but the results are more than worth it. Don’t buy a new HDTV before checking out what the DVDO Edge can do for the one you already own.
So you want this scaler, do ya? Drop us a comment below with the model number of your HDTV, how long you’ve owned it, and why you want this scaler so badly. Is that begging? Yup. Don’t forget the Edge only outputs via HDMI, so make sure you can actually use this unit before entering the contest. A winner will be chosen at random.