HDTV picture quality may not be any better than that of a standard TV set in some cases. This is because most programming is still delivered as Standard Definition. Even true HDTV transmissions, Blu-Ray, and HD-DVD sources often are interlaced or have significant noise and compression artifacts. Moreover, Standard Definition images must be enlarged to fill high-resolution HDTV screens, which also magnifies any flaws in the original images.

But plasma displays equipped with Vantage-HD scaler/switcher chipsets from Saelig Co. Inc., Pittsford, N.Y., get around the problem. They use special algorithms to rid images of inherent noise and grayscale irregularities. Projection displays benefit from what is being billed as the sharpest, mostflexible keystone correction available. Keystone correction adjusts for trapezoidal image distortions caused by projectors that illuminate screens at an angle to the screen surface.

Signals from DVD and digital cable/satellite get real-time MPEG artifact reduction that leaves picture detail intact. Conventional external scalers lack real-time processing power to run their full deinterlace algorithms on HD signals and reduce MPEG noise. Vantage-HD uses a speedy 1-teraflop DSP to perform deinterlacing at a level said to be on par with high-end studios. It also automatically detects scene changes for clean cuts between scenes, processes mixed film/video sequences, and corrects lip-sync errors that can otherwise degrade the home-theater experience.

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