Upconverting DVD Players: What are your thoughts?

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Is an upconverting DVD player worth the money? Here's part of a Washington Post article on how upconverting works. I know some of you A/V gurus have an opinion too. ;)

Is Upconverting Worth It?

Lincoln Spector
PC World
Tuesday, July 21, 2009; 12:19 AM
Gordon Walter wants to know if an upscaling DVD player will improve the picture on his HDTV.

Probably, but there's no guarantee.

The fact is that, even without a new DVD player, the image will be upconverted. Unlike old-fashioned CRTs, plasma, LCD, and DLP displays have fixed resolutions. When an HDTV built around one of these technologies receives a DVD's 480-line signal, the television upconverts the image before displaying it. If your DVD player does the upconverting, the TV doesn't have to.

Upconverting, or upscaling, is a complicated process. Some DVD players do it better than others. Same with HDTVs. And there's no absolute rule that promises that DVD players will always do a better job than HDTVs. In my experience they usually do, but the differences are seldom significant.

Upscaling at the player level has one theoretical advantage. If your DVD player doesn't upscale, chances are it sends its signal to the TV via an analog connection. The digital image on the DVD is thus converted to analog, then back to digital, before it's upscaled. That can't improve the quality and probably hurts it, especially if the connection is S-Video or composite video. But a really good HDTV might still upscale better than a mediocre player.
Read the rest here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/20/AR2009072001531.html
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#2
There are arguments to be made both ways. I happen to have a HDTV that, in its day, did a great job upscaling, but it is over three years old, and technology advances by leaps and bounds. I figure that a top-shelf upscaling DVD player will do a better job upscaling than even the best top-shelf HDTV that is more than a couple of years old. And that's besides the technical advantage of keeping digital data digital all the way through.

Having said that, I did not buy one. I waited an extra year and bought a BD player. At this point, I don't see any logic in buying a DVD player. BD is very affordable, and sets you up for the future.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#3
There are arguments to be made both ways. I happen to have a HDTV that, in its day, did a great job upscaling, but it is over three years old, and technology advances by leaps and bounds. I figure that a top-shelf upscaling DVD player will do a better job upscaling than even the best top-shelf HDTV that is more than a couple of years old. And that's besides the technical advantage of keeping digital data digital all the way through.

Having said that, I did not buy one. I waited an extra year and bought a BD player. At this point, I don't see any logic in buying a DVD player. BD is very affordable, and sets you up for the future.
and isn't your BD player in essence an upconverter too for your older DVDs?

I'd go blue-ray too if my 55" rear projection could display 1080p. :)
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#5
An upconverting DVD player can be beneficial. Now is it beneficial enough for your average consumer. Probably not.

The key is to have a better image processing chipset in the DVD player than the TV. This is still very doable. Reon and Realta chipsets blow most everything else away. The only Flat Screen HDTVs that had these chips that I know of are the Olevia 747i (a fantastic LCD) and the Vizio 505 which used a Panasonic panel as well (a fantastic Plasma).

What DVD Players do I have?

I have a Panasonic RP56 with the classic hidden Sage chip with Faroudja DCDi technology before it became widespread in other chipsets.

Panasonic S97, this one has a bit of red push that works well with my Optomo H31 projector.

Oppo 970 Great universal DVD player.


I think that the universal DVD players are the way to go. Philips is great with these...and most of these have USB ports which are really handy too.

Philips 642
5960
5962
5980
5682
probably more...

Some old units upconvert over component which is a godsend for people with early generation HDTVs (especially CRT versions).

LG 418
Zenith 318
Momitsu 880
a few others...
 

dgs

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#6
I bought a Philips DVP5990 and hooked it up to my 1080p Sony via HDMI hoping to see some wonderful 1080p pictures from normal DVDs. Well I was very disappointed. First, the picture quality was probably worse. Based on what I read above, I suspect the chipset in the Sony TV is better that what is in the very low cost Philips. However, the real flaw in this plan is that the DVP5990 provided distorted pictures to my TV and I had no way to control the output from the DVP. With my older Sony DVD player I would get whatever was native to the CD and control the zoom with the TV itself, resulting in much better pictures. While some higher end upconverting DVD players may do a better job with improved functionality and controls, I was disappointed in these results. The new Philips upconverting player is disconnected in favor of my older Sony standard DVD player. My next purchase will be a Blu-Ray player so I can get a real 1080p source.
 

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#7
When my sister gifted me with a new TV, she included the HDMI. She says she sees a difference, but for me, it's very minimal. I don't know that the difference is all that noticeable to the average person.
 

scandiskwindows9x

Moderator of DTV Latino
#8
i have read in a PC magazine edition that the LG blu ray player the old one had the worst upscaling of the market, showed MPEG artifacsts in the motion objects when did upscaling, i do not have any DVd player that upscale at home all ones are normal ones with s video-Videocomponent and RCA video connection , i had an home theatre system that did upscaling but i have returned it because at 15 days of purchased later of upgrade the firmware i discovered that the model was for europe zone 2 so the DVD zone 4 was rejected, so have an LG home theatre without HDMI port but is ok of anyway have to get an Blu ray player.

the difference that can she see is the color spectrum in HD some colors have a wider palette, so greens and reds have more shades
 
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