DarbeeVision has been a household name for decades — well, if you happen to be a home theater enthusiast. That said, they have a presence in the background and have been instrumental in enhancing anything shown in HD. They’ve gotten recent exposure being featured in Blu-ray players like the Oppo BDP-103D and BDP-105D, and the Optoma HD28DSE DLP projector. Fortunately, you can still enjoy the benefits of a sharper picture with existing setups with the DVP-5000S HDMI Video Processor.
This is a cost-effective addition to bump up native image quality, and it works by increasing sharpness and pop without degradation elsewhere, coming from a converter box no bigger than a smartphone. The case is made of brushed aluminum with a DARBEE logo up top with HDMI ports (input/output) on both ends and a single IR input, all done up in unobtrusive form. The included wand-style remote is equally simple with each main function and adjustment having its own button for access.
The only setup involved is hooking it up between whatever output source you have (whether it’s an AV receiver, soundbar hub, or game console) and main display. Afterwards the DVP-5000S should automatically work as long as you have power and compatible HDMI/HDCP link.
When everything works proper, the DVR-5000S improves the sharpness and depth of an image significantly for FHD/1080p. The optimal enhancements may vary depending on the TV used but there’s something to be gained if you’re still rocking an older display, especially on LCD/LEDs, plasma, and single-chip DLPs. A lot of it has to do with real-time contrast and luminous modulation that restores lost information, the immediate differences accentuate the bright and shadow details out of the box.
There are three picture modes: High Def, Gaming, and Full Pop that each default at 100% and maxes out at 120% intensity. “High Def” is the most refined and balanced for current HDTV and Blu-ray media eliminating almost all unsightly artifacts and mitigating hue blossoming. Meanwhile, “Gaming” is suited for (as you guessed) video games and “Full Pop” works the strongest to really bring out the detail in SDTV and DVD legacy sources.
The DARBEE Visual Presence engine does work its magic overall, but you can have too much of a good thing when things are close-up in facial shots. The details can look harsh and artificial whenever the DVP-5000S exceeds 70%-80% so you might actually have to turn the intensity down to avoid a unnatural effect — unsurprisingly, this is the same the criticism we had with the Optoma HD28DSE DarbeeVision mode.
Another potential issue with the DVP-5000S is futureproofing because the HDMI ports utilize version 1.4 (HDCP 2.1), and that means it can’t be upgraded to take advantage of 4K/HDR passthrough. In order words: the DVP-5000S has a potentially limited life if you’ve adopted UltraHD and relevant HDMI 2.0a/2.1 equipment, although game consoles (i.e. Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4) and most video streaming apps remain viable.
The DarbeeVision DVP-5000S HDMI Video Processor is a good holdout for existing AV setups. It’s discreet, easy to install, and doesn’t cost a fortune to enrich the picture on any HDTV or projector. That said, the DVR-5000S is at a crossroads where UltraHD is concerned, as more people eventually move towards newer displays, and is more viable for enthusiasts who keep with current equipment for the long haul. at the very least, this will be an easy last mile upgrade for full HD holdouts.