DVDO Edge Video Scaler and Processor - Review

Introduction To The DVDO Edge Video Scaler - Processor

DVDO Edge Video Scaler By Anchor Bay - Front View With Accessories
DVDO Edge Video Scaler By Anchor Bay - Front View With Accessories. Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The DVDO Edge is a feature-packed, affordable, standalone video scaler and processor that delivers what it promises. Anchor Bay VRS Technology enables the DVDO Edge to deliver the best possible image on an HDTV from Composite, S-video, Component, PC, or HDMI sources. In addition, other features, such as 6 HDMI inputs (including one on the front panel), a complete array of NTSC, PAL, and High Definition output resolutions, variable zoom adjustment, mosquito noise reduction, and audio/video synch give the DVDO Edge a great deal of flexibility. To find out more about the DVDO Edge, keep reading...

NOTE: Since this review was published, additional firmware updates provided by DVDO have added video test patterns and 3D signal pass-through.

Product Overview

The question you may be asking reading this review is "Why would I need a standalone Video Scaler?" After all, a growing number of consumers own HDTVs and DVD players with built-in scalers, as well components that are already high-definition capable, such as an HD-Cable or Satellite Box, Blu-ray Disc player, Sony PS3 or Xbox.

However, not all upscaling DVD players, or other upscaled or high definition sources are created equal. With so many sources connected our HDTVs, including old VCRs, how do you know if you are getting the best results possible from each unit on your TV screen?

This is where the DVDO Edge comes in. Here are its main features:

1. Deinterlacing of SD and HD signals and Video Scaling up to 1080p for matching native HDTV pixel resolutions.

2. Mosquito Noise Reduction to remove video compression artifacts.

3. Detail and Edge Enhancement allow accurate adjustment the sharpness of the picture to personal taste.

4. Exclusive PReP - Progressive ReProcessing cleans up poor source video processing.

5. Elimination of LipSync Problems by removing any delay between audio and video signals.

6. Intuitive onscreen interface with Set-Up Wizards. On Screen Hints guide provided for easier menu navigation.

7. Automatic Power On/Off when the source is connected and turned on or off.

7. Backlit Universal Remote Control provided.

8. 6 HDMI 1.3 Audio/Video Inputs, including 1 on the front panel for Game Consoles, Digital Cameras, Camcorders, or any other device with HDMI.

9. 4 Analog Video Inputs, including 2 Component, 1 S-Video, and 1 Composite Video.

10. 5 assignable audio inputs for any of the video inputs, including 3 Digital Optical, 1 Digital Coaxial, and 1 Stereo Analog input.

11. 2 HDMI 1.3 Outputs - 1 that supports audio and video that can be connected directly to an HDTV and 1 that supports audio only that can be connected directly to A/V Receiver. An Optical Digital audio output is also available for legacy A/V receivers that do not support HDMI.

12. Compatible with TVs with an HDMI audio/video input or a DVI input (via adapter cable) and AV Receivers with an HDMI or Digital Optical audio input.

Overview of HDMI

HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. Get a closer look at an HDMI connector.

The DVDO Edge has the ability to convert all analog and digital video signals and then transfer the scaled and processed video information via its HDMI output to an HDTV equipped with an HDMI or DVI-HDCP (via a connection adapter) input. HDMI can transfer both video and audio signals. In fact, the DVDO Edge has two HDMI outputs, one for both audio and video, and one solely devoted to audio output only.

Overview of Video Upscaling

You can enable the DVDO Edge to either feed its video output signal as either 720p, 1080i, or 1080p (in addition to 480p) to your HDTV.

720p is 1,280 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally and 720 pixels down the screen vertically. This arrangement yields 720 horizontal lines on the screen, which are, in turn, displayed progressively, or each line displayed following another.

1080i represents 1,920 pixels displayed across a screen horizontally and 1,080 pixels down a screen vertically. This arrangement yields 1,080 horizontal lines, which are, in turn, displayed alternately. In other words, all the odd lines are displayed, followed by all the even lines.

1080p represents the same pixel resolution as 1080i, however, the lines are displayed progressively, rather than alternately, providing a better visual look. Check out more details on 1080p.

The Practical Side Of Video Upscaling

The capability of the DVDO Edge to output a video signal in 720p, 1080i, or 1080p format allows its video output to more closely match the capabilities of today's HDTVs.

Although this is not the same as watching your DVDs or other standard definition sources in true high definition, you will experience increased detail and color you didn't think was possible; unless you purchase an HD-DVD or Blu-ray Player and view HD-DVD or Blu-ray Discs.

The upscaling function works best on fixed pixel displays, such as LCD or Plasma sets, the upscaling process may sometimes result in harsh images on standard CRT and Projection sets.

In addition, if your television has a native display resolution other than 720p, 1080i, or 1080p, you can select the correct output resolution via the DVDO Edge or you can let the TV's on internal video processor rescale the incoming signal to its own specification, which can also yield different results on the final, displayed television image. The best option is to set the DVDO Edge to the correct output resolution that matches your HDTV.

Hardware Used In This Review

Home Theater Receivers: Onkyo TX-SR705, Harman Kardon AVR147.

Source Components: Sony BD-PS1 and Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc Players, and OPPO DV-983H DVD Player (used for standard DVD upscaling comparison), and OPPO Digital DV-980H DVD Player (using standard definition Composite, S-Video, and Component Video outputs only). Panasonic LX-1000U Laserdisc Player, and LG RC897T DVD Recorder/VCR Combo(on loan).

Loudspeaker System 1: 2 Klipsch F-2's, 2 Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2 Center, 2 Polk R300s, Klipsch Synergy Sub10.

TV/Monitors: A Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor, and Syntax LT-32HV 720p LCD TV. Displays calibrated using SpyderTV Software.

Audio/Video connections made with Accell, Cobalt, and AR Interconnect cables. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used.

Software Used

Standard DVDs: Crank, House of the Flying Daggers, The Cave, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, V For Vendetta, U571, Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander.

Blu-ray Discs: 300, Across The Universe, A Night at the Museum, Blade Runner, Iron Man, Starship Troopers, Wall-E.

Laserdiscs: Jason and the Argonauts, Lawrence of Arabia, Jurassic Park

VHS Tapes: Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, Predator, Spartacus

Deinterlacing and Upscaling performance for standard DVDs was tested using the Silicon Optix HQV Test Disc.

Video Performance

The DVDO Edge serves two purposes for video, as hub or switcher, and as video processor/scaler.

As a hub, the Edge allows connection and switching of up to 10 analog and digital video sources, which also includes a PC or European SCART sources (via the proper adapter cables).

As a scaler, the Edge accommodates any standard or HD resolution, and then scales the input signal to any commonly employed resolution from 480p to 1080p via its HDMI output. For a look at the video scaling performance of the DVDO Edge, check out my Video Performance Test Results Gallery.

In addition to upscaling, the Edge provides adjustable settings for Detail Enhancement, Edge Enhancement, and Mosquito Noise removal. These functions worked very well, but they should be applied sparringly, only when needed. Probably the most practical of the three is the Mosquito Noise removal as this removes annoying compression artifacts around edges, such as text and trees, providing a smoother look in detailed parts of the image.

Audio Performance

Although the main role of the DVDO Edge is to provide a practical connection hub and video processing for a home theater system, it has two audio features that are worth noting.

The first feature is AV synch. Some consumers have found after connecting their HDTV to a home theater system that there is a persistent problem with the sound not matching the picture. This is most evident with dialog.

To correct this, the DVDO Edge has a "audio delay" adjustment that can be used to match the audio and video synch whether the audio is behind or ahead of the video.

Note: I do not have an inherent AV synch problem with my own systems, so I wasn't able to test this function in that regard - but I was able to make the audio and video go "out of synch" just to make sure the adjustment was able to affect the audio and video match.

The next important audio feature that is included are the types of audio output options provided by the DVDO Edge. If you are using the DVDO with just an HDTV, then the primary HDMI output provides both a video and audio signal to your HDTV. However, if your are using the DVDO with a home theater receiver, then you have two additional connection options for audio.

One audio connection option is via the second HDMI output, which outputs only audio signals. Use this HDMI connection if you are using a home theater receiver that can access audio signals via HDMI.

The second audio-only connection option is via the DVDO's digital optical audio output. Use this audio output if you have an older home theater receiver that does not have an HDMI input connection with audio access.

What I Liked About The DVDO Edge

1. The Edge offers excellent video processing for the price. With the exception of VHS source material (which still looks soft), the Edge does a great job of improving the quality of input sources, bringing a more consistent look to viewing movies and programs on an HDTV or video projector.

2. Lots of connection flexibility. With 6 HDMI inputs there is plenty of room to add future components. In addition, the inclusion of PC input and the accommodation of European SCART connectivity is a great touch.

3. Inclusion of both HDMI audio/video and HDMI-audio only outputs. The additional of an HDMI output devoted to audio-only is a nice feature for home theater receivers that have HDMI audio access.

4. Easy to set up and use. The onscreen menus are clear and self-explanatory. Also, the menu superimposes over the source image so you can make changes and see the results while watching your program or movie.

5. Easy to use universal backlit remote control. You don't have to fumble around in the dark to find that one button you need to use. This is especially useful with video projection setups which required a darkened room. The remote can also be used to operate most TVs, Cable Boxes, and DVD players.

What I Didn't Like About The DVDO Edge

Although I found that the DVDO Edge is an excellent product, no product is perfect, and although none of the negatives I found would be considered "deal breakers", I none-the-less feel that they should be noted.

1. Functions can only be operated via remote control - no front panel controls provided. The front panel of the DVDO EDGE has no LCD status display or buttons, on a single HDMI input in the center. It would be nice to have a menu access button and four navigation buttons on the front panel.

2. Would have liked additional composite and/or S-video input. Although Component Video and HDMI connections are the most common video connections used on new equipment these days, many VCRs and other video sources using Composite and S-Video connections are still in use. Having more than one of each would be nice.

3. No front panel video inputs in addition to HDMI. Having a more convenient front option to connect temporary devices, such as camcorders and game consoles would be better than having to go around the back of the unit.

4. Would have liked second digital coaxial audio input option. There are three digital optical audio inputs and only one digital coaxial audio input. Adding a second digital coaxial audio input would add more connection flexibility in this area.

5. No built-in color bars or test patterns. NOTE: Since this review was written a firmware update has added test patterns. 

Final Take

After running a variety of sources through the Edge, including a Laserdisc player and VCR, I found that it did a good job improving the image quality from Laserdisc, but VHS sources remain somewhat soft, as there is not enough contrast and edge information to work with. Upscaled VHS definitely does not look as good as Upscaled DVD.

However, the upscaling performance of the Edge was superior to the DVD upscaling performed by my upscaling DVD and Blu-ray Disc players. The only upscaling DVD player that came close, was the OPPO DV-983H, which uses similar core video processing technology as the Edge. 

If you have a lots of video sources going to your HDTV, the Edge is a great way to get the best results possible from each component, even from devices that already have built-in scalers.

I give the DVDO Edge Video Scaler and Processor a 5 out of 5 Star Rating.

NOTE: Since the above review was written, DVDO has issued a new version of the EDGE, refered to as the EDGE Green. This newer version has a more efficient power supply and new remote control - also, the front panel HDMI input that is included on the EDGE has been eliminated on the EDGE Green. The firmware for both units is essentially the same (firmware updates for the EDGE are still being provided).

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.