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With PC’s supporting 1080p graphics output natively, you might think that there’s little need for a video-processor such as the DVDO Edge. Depending on how you game on your PC though, it can be quite useful. One of my favourite original Xbox games was a game called Mashed. This was a multiplayer racing game in a similar style to Micro Machines. The Xbox version runs in 480i though, so I was pretty delighted to discover that there was a PC version too. After tracking down a copy I was finally able to get it running using my old Windows XP installation.
Like many older PC games, Mashed will allow you to choose any screen-mode to run in, but is actually only designed for running in 4:3 screen modes. Select 1080p from the resolution options and you get a stretched image. Here’s where the DVDO Edge becomes invaluable. Firstly, unlike most TV’s, the Edge allows you to change aspect ratios regardless of the input signal. This means if you get a game running in 1080p that should be 4:3 aspect, you simply hit the 4:3 button on the Edge’s remote and normality is restored.
Even better, the DVDO Edge supports way more screen modes than the average TV too. For example, I play my PC games on a 1080p HDTV. Using the NVidia control panel, I added a custom resolution of 1400 × 1050 (SXGA+). This is in theory an ideal resolution for running 4:3 content on a 1080p display. In reality, many TV’s will simply reject this resolution. Not the DVDO Edge though, it is perfectly happy to process 1400 x 1050 into a pin-sharp 1080p image that the TV will accept. All this and there’s only a 6ms input lag penalty, ABT’s DVDO Edge processor beating the XRGB mini’s input lag times by some margin in game mode.
The only fly in the ointment is a rather puzzling bug with 1080p content. Feed in 1080p content from a PC with a refresh rate of 59.94 and the edge places interference patterns over the image. This has happened to me with two different graphics cards (both Nvidia). It doesn’t happen with 1080p content from the PS3 or the Xbox 360 so it seems to be a uniquely PC problem, I am also not aware of it happening on the original Edge, only the Edge Green. The workaround is to use a HDMI splitter of course, allowing you to bypass the Edge when necessary. UPDATE – I’ve since tracked this problem down to the PReP feature on the unit. PReP is a system that supposedly takes badly deinterlaced content from your up-scaling DVD player or media streamer and re-interlaces it before the Edge’s own deinterlacer gets hold of it. However the system seems to be somewhat buggy. If you have picture display problems on any 1080p/50hz or 60hz source, try going into the Edge’s advanced settings and toggling the PReP mode either to on (Auto) or Off. This applies even when using Game mode.
No video processor is perfect and while I might grumble at my humble little DVDO Edge sometimes, there’s no denying it’s a very useful bit of kit for the retro-gamer.