What's the deal with DVD upconverters?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mac000, Dec 30, 2006.

  1. mac000 macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 6, 2005
    #1
    Are they worth it? do they do the trick? HDTV do not upconvert dvds playing on a regular dvd player correct?
     
  2. Motley macrumors 6502

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    Dec 11, 2005
    #2
    I've heard some people say that it makes the DVDs look better, not HD-DVD or Blu-Ray quality, but still better than normal. I got my brother an up-converting DVD for christmas for his new HD-TV and he thinks it looks better (I've not had a chance to see it in action).

    It most likely depends on the hardware doing the upconversion. Supposedly one of the better brands is Oppo, which aren't cheap.

    No, they do not.
     
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #3
    Well, at least in some sense, all LCD TVs (including all LCD HDTVs) clearly upconvert or downconvert everything that is not playing at their native resolution, since they only have one native resolution. But they may not do nearly as good a job as the separate upconverters...

    Do you have the HDTV and the DVD player already, or are you looking to get an HDTV but do not have one now?
     
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #4
    Yes, they do. A fixed pixel (plasma, LCD) HDTV has 1024X768 pixels (or whatever). A DVD (on a progressive scan player) has 640X480 pixels. Unless you want the DVD to show up in a small box in the center of the screen, some upconversion MUST take place. The QUALITY of the upconversion is another matter. Many of the cheaper HDTVs do poor upconversion resulting in lousy DVDs and standard definition broadcasts. A decent upconverting DVD player can do a better job, but it cannot add more information than is already there. That is why DVDs look best on EDTVs rather than HDTVs.
     
  5. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #5
    Edit: Beaten to it by flopticalcube - regardless, you are correct, upconversion/downconversion always takes place in these types of situations since the TV only has one native resolution. As you say, it totally depends on how the conversion is processed.
     
  6. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

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    Northern California
    #6
    What about when movies are shown in HD on cable. Are those being upconverted, or might they be using special (unreleased) re-mastered HD sources? Because the ones I've seen are CLEARLY better looking than regular DVDs, and in an upconverting DVD player makes them look like that, it's totally worth it.
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Jan 9, 2004
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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #7
    High-def cable channels are converted to digital from the original source... which has relatively high resolution (e.g. film limited, or whatever definition they're shooting at, if they shoot digitally). You'll never get back what you lost in the conversion to DVD. All you can hope to get is that things will look "smoother" -- you're less likely to see jaggies or flurries and so on.

    If you want better than that, you have to go straight to Blu-Ray or HD-DVD....
     
  8. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #8
    HD movies on cable (like you'd see on HBO HD, SHO HD, HDNet Movies, etc.) are usually broadcast from a hi-def source. So you'd be getting an actual 1080i or 720p picture, not an upconverted DVD.

    Here's the big difference between a true HD source (HD-DVD, Blu-ray, HD TV channel broadcasting from an HD source) and an upconverted DVD: While the upconverted DVD has the same resolution as the HD movie, it does NOT have the same amount of detail. An upconverter can stretch the image to fit your TV and smooth out the pixels through interpolation, but it cannot create "new" pixels. That's why a true HD source will always look better; it contains more "unique" or "new" pixels than the non-HD source.
     

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