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Darbeevision
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VideoGrabber



Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 933
Location: Michigan


PostLink    Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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Lupin3 wrote:
VideoGrabber wrote:
This is also incorrect. They can be upgraded easily.

If you think returning the unit is something "easily" or even considerable then you're nuts! Razz

I may well be nuts, but I did already differentiate between the upgrading process (which Darbee most definitely CAN do, contrary to your claims otherwise), and the need to send the unit back to them. The actual updating (or reprogramming, reflashing, etc. whatever term you care to call it), IS extremely easy to do... given the proper equipment, and takes less than a minute.

And your new complaint that returning the unit is not even "considerable" is another false exaggeration.

If you had simply said, "not field upgradable", then we would have no argument. While I definitely agree that it was not the best decision on their part, I disagree with your assessment that it is a "huge FAIL!". They assumed that the need for updates would be rare (possibly never, for some folks, and only limited to adding new features or tweaks). I know better, because one responsibility of my day job is devising and implementing protocols for updating ECUs in the field, to avoid product recalls. The failure at Darbee was to realize they might have some bugs left, which would inconvenience far more of their customers (though even now, certainly not ALL of them) than they anticipated.

Quote:
Don't think you cannot replace this FPGA as plugin, unless you never programmed in ASM nor considered CUDA or DXVA too.

Thanks. Yes, I have programmed extensively in Assembly, have even written microcode for bit-sliced architectures (back in the 70's), write embedded firmware every day (though now usually in C), and am aware of CUDA and DXVA (though I don't write code in those areas).

The CUDA you refer to is precisely how Darbeevision makes their algorithm firmware available for licensed use with GPUs (nVidia only, in fact). And as I mentioned, it is not capable of handling 1080p. It can only manage 1080i.

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WanMan



Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 10261



PostLink    Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, the one thing that I'm bewildered by is the incapability of handling 1080P. I would have thought non-interlaced frame manipulation was a lot easier than interlaced frames, unless 1080 throws away half the fields to get a progressive frame to manipulate.
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ecrabb
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Joined: 13 Mar 2006
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TV/Projector: JVC RS40, Epson 5010


PostLink    Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's simply frame size, Wan. 1080i = 1920x540p as far as bandwidth and processing power required. So, you need exactly double the processing power to handle 1080p in real-time as compared to 1080i.

When you consider that 1080p is essentially a series of 2MP images, and that you'd then have to run transformations on those 2MP images, and do it 24-30 times a second, in real time, you get a sense for just how much computational horsepower it takes to do this.

Knowing that, I suspect Tim is probably correct and Lupin is not. I can't see even the fastest PC hardware doing this reliably and effectively in real-time. When you think about it, the standalone hardware is really a bargain compared to doing it with a PC - even if you could do it with a $50 software license. I don't see how being able to do something with a $1000+ PC instead of a piece of $250 hardware is in any way beneficial from a cost standpoint.

Like everything technology-related, the situation will probably be different in a few years.

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Lupin3



Joined: 29 Nov 2008
Posts: 24



PostLink    Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecrabb: You need to think many of us already have a very good PC ($3K or more). Myself included.

As for 1920x1080 * 24 in realtime, isn't something impossible at all, just need to look at h.264, there is the real "lag" on scheme.
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WanMan



Joined: 19 Mar 2006
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PostLink    Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve, I get that, but I thought that was the limiting argument three years ago. Today's ability to process 1080P I would have thought to be not much of an issue, but maybe I am not looking at what is being done, or needing to be done with it.
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Lupin3



Joined: 29 Nov 2008
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PostLink    Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a real idea on how it can be done:
http://www.homecinema-hd.com/mpc-hc-introduction_en.html
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VideoGrabber



Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 933
Location: Michigan


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecrabb wrote:

> When you think about it, the standalone hardware is really a bargain compared to doing it with a PC - even if you could do it with a $50 software license. I don't see how being able to do something with a $1000+ PC instead of a piece of $250 hardware is in any way beneficial from a cost standpoint. <

I agree. Not only that, the solution that Lupin would prefer only works for HD content already on your HTPC. That leaves the problem of how to get some types of real-time HD content into your PC in the first place, given that it is usually HDCP protected. The Darbee box avoids all that, since it is a secure/compliant inline device.

> Like everything technology-related, the situation will probably be different in a few years. <

It might be different right now. As in, with the properly parallelized algorithm on a quad-core machine, maybe it could be done even today. Sounds like a good job for Lupin, since he's highly motivated in this direction, and certain it is possible. Smile

Wanman commented:

> Today's ability to process 1080P I would have thought to be not much of an issue, but maybe I am not looking at what is being done, or needing to be done with it. <

Think of it this way. Take a 2 MP image in Photoshop, and perform an unsharp-mask operation on it. Did it take more than 33 mS?

What the Darblet is doing isn't exactly the same thing, but there are aspects that are very similar in nature and complexity.

Lupin wrote:

> You need to think many of us already have a very good PC ($3K or more). Myself included. <

Wow! I have a very good PC as well, and it cost nothing near $3k. But yes, that definitely sounds like a huge demographic that Darbee is missing the boat on. Wink

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Lupin3



Joined: 29 Nov 2008
Posts: 24



PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@VideoGrabber: you're wrong, on PC it would playback blu-ray directly on it, so no need to convert anything into another thing like Darbee does.

Not everyone has a $3K PC, but starting half of it ($1500) is enough for video processing.
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VideoGrabber



Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 933
Location: Michigan


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lupin3 wrote:
@VideoGrabber: you're wrong, on PC it would playback blu-ray directly on it, so no need to convert anything into another thing like Darbee does.

No, I am not wrong. However, you might want to brush up on your reading skills, and reread what I actually wrote. You're embarrassing yourself.

BR is not the only HD source that people have. (And Blu-ray IS content that I "already have on my HTPC", as mentioned above.)

Quote:
Not everyone has a $3K PC, but starting half of it ($1500) is enough for video processing.

Or even less. No argument there. My comment was in reference to your "many of us already have" $3k PCs. I think your definition of "many" would differ from someone like Darbee, for example.

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Lupin3



Joined: 29 Nov 2008
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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what about BR? I'm not talking about BR content only of course. That is not the point.
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Spanky Ham



Joined: 22 Mar 2006
Posts: 5634
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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't get your point, Lupin. Darbee makes a device that can be hooked into any display, which means they have a potential of 100% of the market. With a HTPC, they are limited to only those who use a computer with their video device. While that is still probably a significant number, it is far less than the overall video market. On top of that, how many HTPC owners have the power to do what you are describing? Wouldn't it be easier to add a Darblet to an existing HTPC than buy a new one with the requisite power?

Honestly, for the price I can't see why anyone would complain.
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mc86



Joined: 20 Sep 2008
Posts: 760
Location: pittsburgh, pa

TV/Projector: ECP 4500 (Vidikron box), ECP4500+, wanting 07MS/07MTS, evaluating pc soft-blend


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecrabb wrote:
I don't see how being able to do something with a $1000+ PC instead of a piece of $250 hardware is in any way beneficial from a cost standpoint.
SC


spankyham wrote:
I don't get your point, Lupin. Darbee makes a device that can be hooked into any display, which means they have a potential of 100% of the market. With a HTPC, they are limited to only those who use a computer with their video device. While that is still probably a significant number, it is far less than the overall video market. On top of that, how many HTPC owners have the power to do what you are describing? Wouldn't it be easier to add a Darblet to an existing HTPC than buy a new one with the requisite power?


Spanky / SC - I think the point Lupin is trying to make is that there could be a market of folks who would not be willing to spend $250 on additional hardware, but who would a) have a sufficiently-capable HTPC and b) would be willing to spend $50 for a bit of software.

Maybe I am not understanding what you guys are not understanding! Wink Mr. Green

Cheers,
Matt
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VideoGrabber



Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 933
Location: Michigan


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lupin3 wrote:
So what about BR? I'm not talking about BR content only of course. That is not the point.

I'm not sure I even know what your point is. Rolling Eyes

Let me ask you this: how do you get (e.g.) satellite HD content from the HDCP-protected HDMI output of your satellite receiver into your PC, so you can process it through a DirectShow filter and output it through the GPU in your HTPC?

With an external Darblet unit, neither this nor any other external source is a problem, since the unit is an HDMI-inline processor, plugs in before the display, and handles everything independent of source.

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VideoGrabber



Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 933
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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matt,

> I think the point Lupin is trying to make is that there could be a market of folks who would not be willing to spend $250 on additional hardware, but who would a) have a sufficiently-capable HTPC and b) would be willing to spend $50 for a bit of software. <

He's claiming not just that there would be such a market, but that a) such software would be easy to do, and b) would make them even more profits than their modules:

"This stuff can be made with a simple plugin on PC (plugin for Media Player HT for example)."

The trap that he's running into here is that just because he knows that there are many powerful and sophisticated processing operations possible with current hardware and plug-ins (sharpening, smoothing, denoise-ing, etc.), that the algorithm that Darbee created which produces its results without introducing artifacting (an attribute NOT shared by any plugins I'm familiar with), is doable as well. However, he has no foundation for that supposition.

OTOH, the folks at Darbee probably have an intimate awareness of what is and is not possible to do on PCs, because they've already created the code to run there. And as I mentioned, their tailored, custom GPU firmware cannot handle 1080p without dropping frames. They also have a standalone processing App that runs on a PC (or in a multi-PC render-farm). That cannot handle the video stream in real-time either, but instead manages about 75% of real-time (~1.5 Mpixels/sec).

That's the main reason they went with an expensive Cyclone part, and wrapped the hardware around it to handle the I/O chores.

And his assertion, "But selling a plugin for $50, they would profit MUCH MORE." is also incorrect, because to do so would require a larger number of customers with powerful HTPCs, than those who could simply plug in a Darblet box. That's obviously fallacious.

Your interpretation could be true, Matt, that by offering a cheaper software version, they could make some additional sales they would not otherwise. (Though one might think that those willing to spend $3k on their HTPC might be less concerned about $270 for an outboard box than someone who had invested only $300 for their Blu-ray player.) That's IF it were technically feasible to implement such a plug-in, and IF they priced it low enough to appeal, and IF the software didn't get hacked and pirated 15-minutes after it was released.

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Spanky Ham



Joined: 22 Mar 2006
Posts: 5634
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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim summed it up better than I could, Matt. His last point is probably one of the biggest reasons they don't want to do. I am sure there are a lot of people chomping at the bit to get this software for free and those same people are probably the most vocal critics. My guess is the biggest reason is that they just don't have the manpower or resources to do everything that they want.
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ecrabb
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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spanky Ham wrote:
My guess is the biggest reason is that they just don't have the manpower or resources to do everything that they want.

That problem is easily overcome if there's a market for good return on the investment, so it's a secondary problem. The primary problem is that a box like the Darbee box is already a device for a niche market: A/V enthusiasts with large displays and an interest in improving their picture beyond what the display does out of the box. That's a tiny segment of a huge market (TV owners).

Now, HTPC users - specifically those with systems powerful enough to run a set of filters like this - if it's even possible. Now you're talking about a tiny slice of what is already a tiny slice of a large market. Not a good start. Then, throw in that support costs go way up (compared to the standalone device), you've got piracy taking away a chunk of sales, and you end up with a software product with revenue that probably wouldn't even support the ongoing marketing costs, let alone the upfront development.

Talk is cheap. Some people think software development is easy. But, bringing software to market - making it salable, supporting it, promoting it, and more important, making money on it to make the whole thing worthwhile - is NOT easy.

The Darbee thing as a software HTPC plugin is a perfect example of a product that would work fine for a programmer working out of a spare bedroom in his spare time to make some fun money, but would be a very poor investment for a company paying a lease, salaries and benefits, etc. It doesn't scale.

SC
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Lupin3



Joined: 29 Nov 2008
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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spanky Ham wrote:
I don't get your point, Lupin. Darbee makes a device that can be hooked into any display, which means they have a potential of 100% of the market. With a HTPC, they are limited to only those who use a computer with their video device. While that is still probably a significant number, it is far less than the overall video market. On top of that, how many HTPC owners have the power to do what you are describing? Wouldn't it be easier to add a Darblet to an existing HTPC than buy a new one with the requisite power?

Honestly, for the price I can't see why anyone would complain.


The big problem is outside U.S./Canada, you cannot import hardware above $50 bucks, since some government steal (I cannot find a better word for it) the people via taxes, and here can easily go over 100%. This is why I'm looking for a software solution, free or commercial.

So far I managed good results with free software (see the link I posted on my last post here).
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Spanky Ham



Joined: 22 Mar 2006
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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crabb,
I agree, but we both know what their ultimate goal is. They want to hook up with manufacturers and embed this into the displays.

Lupin,
I understand what you are saying. Unfortunately, your problem is with your govt not Darbee.
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VideoGrabber



Joined: 09 Apr 2006
Posts: 933
Location: Michigan


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lupin3 wrote:
The big problem is outside U.S./Canada, you cannot import hardware above $50 bucks, since some government steal (I cannot find a better word for it) the people via taxes, and here can easily go over 100%. This is why I'm looking for a software solution, free or commercial.

Oh. Wow. I can definitely see your motivation then. However, as Spanky already pointed out, this is in no way a Darbee problem. It's universal to all hardware manufacturers, and hardware products. Your criticism of Darbee really isn't justified.

Quote:
So far I managed good results with free software (see the link I posted on my last post here).

That's great! And yes, it definitely IS possible to achieve some of the same elements of what the Darblet box provides. There are ffdshow filters that do realtime sharpening, contrast enhancement, etc. And they can tweak images somewhat to compensate for losses. The problem with all of them though is that they have to be used in very low doses, otherwise their negatives quickly outweigh any positive enhancements. For some folks, any at all is already too much.

What Darbee managed to achieve is to reduce those negatives far enough that more enhancement could be applied before they became the limiting condition. It's still possible to overdo it, and get several types of artifacting that are unpleasant, and undesirable. But there is a range where the results are worthwhile. For some, like UMR, that range is very small (5-15%). For many, it's more like 25-45%. For some it can be 50-70%. The amount is dependent on both the viewer, the display device, and the video chain.

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VideoGrabber



Joined: 09 Apr 2006
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PostLink    Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ecrabb wrote:
The primary problem is that a box like the Darbee box is already a device for a niche market: A/V enthusiasts with large displays and an interest in improving their picture beyond what the display does out of the box. That's a tiny segment of a huge market (TV owners).

Now, HTPC users - specifically those with systems powerful enough to run a set of filters like this - if it's even possible. Now you're talking about a tiny slice of what is already a tiny slice of a large market. Not a good start.

Yes, the small size of this potential market (contrary to Lupin's claims) was one point I was trying to make.

The other was that an HTPC is only a solution for content you you already have available to the HTPC. So HD recordings or transport streams you may have are fine (perhaps from an OTA-HD tuner). And Blu-rays are playable via software, or after ripping to an HDD. But what about other HDMI sources with HDCP, that are not an issue for the Darblet? How do you get satellite or cable content into your HTPC in the first place, so you can apply the inexpensive software filtering? Notice that after being asked twice, Lupin has chosen to ignore that question. And thus his desired HTPC software is only a partial solution, even if it did exist.

Quote:
Talk is cheap. Some people think software development is easy. But, bringing software to market - making it salable, supporting it, promoting it, and more important, making money on it to make the whole thing worthwhile - is NOT easy.

Truer words were never spoken.

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