Darbee DVP-5000S Visual Presence Processor Review

Add more depth and clarity to TV viewing, even if you don't have a 3D TV

Darbee DVP-5000S Visual Presence Processor
Darbee DVP-5000S Visual Presence Processor. Image provided by DarbeeVision

Many HD and 4K Ultra HD TVs employ a variety of technologies designed to improve performance: upscaling, video noise reduction, full array backlighting with local dimming, enhanced motion processing, HDR, wide color gamut, and Quantum Dots.

However, although not as well-known as the above technologies, another video processing technology that can improve what you see on your screen is Darbee Visual Presence.

What Darbee Visual Presence Technology Is

Unlike other popular video processing technologies and devices, Darbee Visual Presence does not upscale resolution, suppress background video noise or edge artifacts, and does not smooth motion response.

However, what the Darbee Visual Presence does do is add depth information in the image using pixel level real-time contrast, brightness, and sharpness manipulation (referred to as luminous modulation). This process restores the missing natural-like "3D" information that the brain is trying to see the 2D image. As a result, the image seems to "pops" with more texture, depth, and contrast range.

If used appropriately, Darbee Visual Presence can be a great addition to the TV and home theater viewing experience. In fact, it has garnered quite a following amongst a growing number of consumers and professionals.

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Introduction To The Darbee DVP-5000S Visual Presence Processor

Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S Video Processor - Package Contents
Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S Video Processor - Package Contents. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to Lifewire

One way to add the benefits of Darbee Visual Presence processing is via the Darbee DVP-5000S. The DVP-5000S is a small external box that you can place between an HDMI-equipped source device, such as Blu-ray Disc player, media streamer, cable/satellite box, or even the HDMI output of a home theater receiver.

Core Features of the DVP-5000S

  • Viewing Modes: Hi-Def, Gaming, Full Pop, Demo
  • Resolution Capability: Accepts video input signals with up to 1080p/60(1920x1080 pixels) (1920x1200 for PC signals).
  • Connections: 1 HDMI-in, 1 HDMI-out (HDMI-to-DVI-HDCP compatible via adapter cable or connector), 1 IR sensor input. The HDMI connection adheres to version 1.4 specifications - includes both 2D and 3D compatibility.
  • Additional Features: 3v IR Remote Control Extender input, LED status indicators, Onscreen Menu.
  • Remote Control: Wireless remote provided.
  • Power Adapter: 5 VDC (volts DC).
  • Dimension (LxWxH): 4-1/2 x 2 x 2-1/8 inches.

What Comes In The Box

Darbee DVP-5000S unit, Remote Control, Power Adapter with international adapter plugs, 1 4 foot HDMI cable, 1 IR extender cable.

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Darbee DVP-5000S - Connection and Setup

Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S Video Processor - Phyiscal Setup
Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S Video Processor - Phyiscal Setup. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to Lifewire

As shown in the above photo, connecting the DVP-5000S is easy.

First, plug your HDMI source to the input and then connect the HDMI output to your TV or video projector.

Also, if you plan on placing the unit behind your TV, or otherwise out of sight, you also have the option of connecting the supplied IR extender.

Finally, connect the power adapter. If the power adapter is working, you will see a small red light on it glow.

Once powered on, the DVP-5000S, its red LED status indicator will light up, and a green LED will start blinking steadily. When you turn your signal source on, a blue LED will light up and stay on until the source is turned off or disconnected.

Now, just turn on your TV or video projector and switch to the input that the 's output signal is connected to.

Now that the SVP-S5000 is connected, find out how to operate it using the supplied remote control.

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Darbee DVP-5000S - Control Features

Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S Video Processor - Remote Control
Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S Video Processor - Remote Control. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to Lifewire

There are no onboard controls provided with the Darbee DVP-5000S, everything is controlled via the remote shown in the photo.

The remote control is 5-3/4 Inches long and fits easily in any hand.

The button labeled Darbee on the top center of the remote is Darbee processing on or off (when off, the video signal just passes through).

Moving down are four buttons that activate the Hi-Def, Gaming, Full Pop, and Demo modes.

Hi-Def is the most natural, Gaming emphasizes more depth, and Full Pop provides the most exaggerated result, but if used inappropriately, may result in some visible artifacts - most likely with text and facial detail.

The Demo Mode actives a selectable before split-screen or wipe before/after comparison.

The Menu button and Arrows are used to navigate the onscreen menu system.

The Darbee Level buttons allow the user to adjust how much Darbee processing to use in conjunction with the Hi-Def, Gaming, and Full Pop modes.

The next step is to get familiar with the onscreen menu system.

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Darbee DVP- S5000 - Onscreen Menu System

Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S Video Processor - Onscreen Menu System
Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S Video Processor - Onscreen Menu System. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to Lifewire

Darbee DVP- S5000 - Onscreen Menu System

Shown above is a look at the DVP-S500S onscreen menu system.

Shown on the left side is the Main Menu.

The first three entries duplicate the HiDef, Gaming, and Full Pop mode selections on the remote control.

The Help menu (more fully shown on the right) simply takes to brief explanations of each processing option.

Shown on the bottom left is the Settings menu.

  • Demo Mode - Activates the split screen or sweep screen before/after processing comparison features.
  • Logo Properties - Allows users to place the DarbeeVision logo (which includes the processing effect percentage display) on the left, middle, or right of the screen - and further set the logo display to be persistent (always on) or not persistent (goes off after several seconds).
  • LED Brightness - Brightens or dims the LED indicator lights on the DVP-5000S unit.
  • Language - Sets menu language (English, Spanish, German, French).
  • Advanced Settings - Adjusts fine detail - Do not use - Contact Darbee for more info.
  • Reset All Settings - If you aren't happy with your own settings - this takes you back to the factory defaults.

Shown on the bottom right is the About (System Information) Menu, which provides the website, Facebook, and Twitter information, as well as the DVP-5000S software/firmware and serial number information. The "See Credits" icon displays the list of people at Darbee responsible for developing and marketing the product.

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The Darbee DVP-5000S In Operation

Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S - Before/After Processing Example - Waterfall
Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S - Before/After Processing Example - Waterfall. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to Lifewire

Just as with all Darbee products (and Darbee features in other products) the video processing feature does not work by upscaling resolution. In other words, whatever resolution comes in is the same resolution that does out), reducing background video noise, eliminating edge artifacts, or smoothing motion response, everything original or processed in the signal chain before it reaches the is retained, whether good or ill.

However, what the does is add depth information to the image via a clever use of real-time contrast, brightness, and sharpness manipulation (referred to as luminous modulation) - which restores the missing "3D" information that the brain is trying to see in the 2D image. The result is that the image "pops" with improved texture, depth, and contrast range, giving it a more real-world look, without having to resort to true stereoscopic viewing to get a similar effect.

Although the effect is not the same as watching something in true 3D, the DVP-5000 definitely adds depth to traditional 2D image viewing. In fact, the DVP-5000S is compatible with both 2D and 3D signal sources.

The DVP-5000S is adjustable according to user preference. When you first set it up - the thing to do is spend some time checking out samples of different content sources using the split screen and swipe screen tools, and then determine what works best for you.

Shown in the above photo is a split screen comparison between a normal image (left side) and a Darbee-processed image (right side).

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Darbee DVP-5000S - Observations

Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S - Before/After Processing - Water
Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S - Before/After Processing - Water. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to Lifewire

For this review, I used a lot of Blu-ray content and found that whatever movie, whether live-action or animated, benefited from the use of the DVP-5000S.

The DVP-5000S also worked very well for HD cable and broadcast TV, as well as some online content from sources such as Netflix.

However, with regards to the examples shown in this review, I avoided any possible copyright infringement, so the comparison images shown were provided by the standardized test discs from Spears and Munsil (High Definition Benchmark Test Disc, HD Benchmark Disc 2nd Edition (Blu-ray Editions).

The picture mode I found most useful was Hi-Def (this mode was used for all the comparison photos shown in this review), set at about 75% to 100% depending on the source. Although, at first the 100% setting was a lot of fun, as you can definitely see a change in how the image looks, I found that the 75-80% setting was the most practical for most Blu-ray Disc sources, as it provided just enough increased depth and contrast that was pleasing over a long period of time.

On the other hand, I found that the Full Pop mode looked too coarse for me - especially as you go from 75% to 100%.

However, when using the DVP-5000S Hi Def mode with native 3D sources, even at the 50% level, it can restore edge loss that normally occurs when 3D movie images are normally displayed - making for a more natural 3D viewing experience.

Another thing to point out that is that DVP-5000S is not 4K-enabled. The effect works with up to 1080p input resolutions. However, if you have the DVP-5000S connected to a 4K UHD TV, the TV will upscale the incoming Darbee-processed video signal and it does add more detail on what you see on the screen than a traditional 1080p input signal.

However, Darbee has both demonstrated (at the 2016 CES) and indicated that a 4K-enabled Visual Presence Processor may be introduced. To further this goal, Darbee has also joined the Ultra HD Forum.

On the other hand, it must be pointed out the Darbee Visual Presence Processing in general, and the DVP-5000S particular, can't correct what might already wrong with poor content sources. For example, analog cable and lower resolution streaming content already containing the edge and noise artifacts can be magnified by the, since it enhances everything in the image. In those cases, a very minimal use (50% or less) using the Hi-Def mode is more appropriate, per your preference.

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Darbee DVP-5000S - Additional Settings Info

Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S - Before/After Processing Example - Trees
Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S - Before/After Processing Example - Trees. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to Lifewire

When making your settings, the percentage of the effect is applied to all available modes. In other words, if you set the Hi-Def mode to 80%, that percentage will also be applied to the Game and Full Pop modes - so when you access those other modes, you may need to change the percentage of the effect.

It would be great if the DVP-5000S provided the ability to pre-set effect percentages for each mode (say three or four) for different content sources. This would make using the even more practical and convenient, and the effect needed for best result from film-based content, streaming, broadcast TV or gaming sources might be different.

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Darbee DVP-S5000 - The Bottom LIne

Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S - Before/After Processing Example - Wall
Darbee Visual Presence - DVP-5000S - Before/After Processing Example - Wall. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to Lifewire

Taking all into consideration, the DVP-5000S can be a very useful addition to TV, movie, or even gaming video experience. In fact, Darbee has licensed Visual Presence technology for other video products, such as the OPPO BDP-103D Darbee Edition Blu-ray Disc Player and Optoma HD28DSE Darbee-enabled DLP Video Projector.

The Darbee DVP-5000S Visual Presence Processor earns 4.5 of 5 Stars.

DVP-5000S - Pros

  • The DVP-5000S is small and can fit anywhere you have a little extra space, including hidden behind a TV.
  • Flexible setting options enable users to tailor the degree of Darbee processing.
  • The remote control and on-screen menu system are easy to use.
  • Before and After real-time split-screen comparison feature allows you to see the effect of the as you make setting changes.

DVP-5000S - Cons

  • Only one HDMI input - However, if you connect your sources through a switcher or home theater receiver, just plug the HDMI output of the switcher or home theater receiver to the HDMI input on the DVP-5000S.
  • The remote control functions cannot be integrated into a universal remote.
  • There is no power on/off function. Although you can turn the effects of the on and off, the only power to power off the unit entirely is to unplug the AC adapter.

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