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DVDO iScan VP50Pro Video Processor
If you're of a technically or financially fragile disposition, you might want to look away now. For the DVDO VP50Pro is a video processor clearly designed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, with a £2,250 price tag that makes it probably only truly affordable to the sort of person prone to spending £10k-£15k on a serious home cinema installation.
Funnily enough, though, its uncompromising and ‘hardcore' nature is actually one of the reasons I've ended up loving the thing so much. Especially as any major shortcomings in your AV knowledge can be handily overcome by the fact that the VP50Pro is intended to be installed for you by a professional, as part of a wider home cinema installation.
As for the price, having been lucky/scary enough to have spent some quality time in the company of numerous megabucks video processors, the VP50Pro actually doesn't look very expensive at all for the features and THX-certified quality on offer.
But of course, I'm getting ahead of myself here, giving away my conclusions before I've even told you exactly what the VP50Pro is/does. So let's get down to business, shall we?
The first thing I should have said about the VP50Pro is that it's, um, a bit ugly. Maybe that's a touch harsh; its slender black body does at least sport a decently metallic fascia and feels heavy enough to hint at some good build quality. But overall the VP50Pro definitely feels like a product designed to be placed in a dedicated and hidden AV gear rack rather than left out for public consumption.
Considering the VP50Pro stands just 55mm high, it sure packs a lot of connections. On the left as you look at the rear panel, for instance, you'll find a v1.3 HDMI output, with no less than four v1.3 HDMI inputs sat next to it. Then above these HDMIs are two 12v triggers for firing up a motorised projection screen and, potentially, aspect ratio adjustment curtains, plus a couple of spare bays where Prosumer and broadcast users could fit optional (£399) HD-SDI inputs.
Moving along to the right we find a BNC-type RGBHV/component video input, and an RGBHV/component output. And to their right you get two RCA-type component video inputs complete with sync jack; two S-Video ports; two composite video ports, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, two optical and coaxial digital audio inputs, a stereo RCA audio input, and finally a 9-pin serial port you can use to control the unit via a wider automated system, or upgrade the unit's firmware. Phew.
Two final points to make about all the VP50Pro's connectivity are that it can be used as a very handy AV switching box, and that it can hugely reduce cable spaghetti. After all, while you can shove all manner of jacks into the VP50Pro, you can squirt all of its images out via a single HDMI or RGBVH connection, meaning you only need one cable going into your TV.