Questions about Upconverting DVD Players

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Macnator, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. Macnator macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2008
    Hey everyone..

    In the near future, I am going to be getting a home theater receiver. I am also going to getting a new DVD player as my current one is not working so well.
    My questions are these:

    Are upconverting DVD's players worth buying? I have a 23" Samsung HDTV, it is capable of displaying resolutions up to 1080i. It does not display 1080p. Will upconverting players show a clearer picture, opposed to a regular DVD player? What kind of video cables would I need to use to get the best picture on my HDTV if I were to use an UpConverting DVD Player? Component or HDMI cables? Would my DVD's upconvert/play in 720p using which cable?

    Maybe there isn't a big difference in quality when using upconverting players?
    Would screen size also affect the picture quality?

    I know that was a lot of questions there, I just need to fully understand these players as I don't really know too much about them.

    Thanks for the help guys! Very much appreciated! :)
  2. MajereXYU macrumors regular

    May 11, 2005

    Just chiming in.

    DVD players are really cheap nowadays so buying one over a regular DVD player does not represent a big budget difference.

    I would say go for the upconverting player if you can.

    On a 23" inch TV, sitting more than 5 feet away, you won't notice that much of a difference between 480p (regular player) and the 720P / 1080i your upconverting player will output. You would notice a difference on a 40"+ TV though.

    Getting the upconverting player now will allow you to enjoy a slightly better picture now, and in the future as well, should you buy a bigger TV.

    As for connection, component is analog in nature so it requires high quality cables to get the best picture and even then, it is susceptible to interference, whereas HDMI, being digital in nature, gives you the best picture quality possible with even a $3 cable.

    For cables, do not buy the overpriced cables sold at most retail stores, rather look into Monoprice.

    They are an online store located in California, with really affordable shipping to Canada and they offer astonishingly good quality cables for really cheap.
    For example:

    Monoprice is a really wonderful store for everything cable related (adapters, couplers, extensions etc.).

    If you have further questions, do not hesitate to ask.

    Also, by the way, if you like gaming, you might want to look into buying an Xbox 360. It's a really capable upconverting DVD player (with HDMI output) and a good gaming console and with the prices as low as they are these days, it makes a good alternative.
  3. iVeBeenDrinkin' macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2008
    Agreed, 23 inch isn't much but, buy Blu-ray or up convertor DVD, incase you ever do get a bigger HDTV.
  4. Macnator thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2008
    Funny you should suggest the Xbox 360. I have an xbox 360, its pretty much the main thing I do. Im always playing it! I don't like playing DVD's on the xbox 360 for 2 reasons:

    1. The DVD Drive is way to loud.
    2. I like to have my xbox off as much as possible. When Im not playing games I want it off.

    I do, however, have that HD DVD Add-on for the Xbox 360. It from what I can tell, shows a slightly clearer picture when playing standard DVD's. Using component cables. But then again, I don't like to have my Xbox 360 turned on, unless Im playing games. It does prevent wear on the 360's DVD drive. But I prefer it off.

    Thats my problem, I don't know if I should just continue to use the HD-DVD player, or buy a Upconverting DVD Player to play my normal DVD's.
  5. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    A couple random comments...

    Upconverting players (with rare exceptions) will only output HD over HDMI, so you'll need to use HDMI or there's no point in buying an upconverting player (they will not upconvert over component).

    It is questionable if it's worth buying an upconverting player unless you get a really good one like one of the Oppos. After all, it is impossible to add detail that isn't there. The signal will be upconverted by some part of your chain. If the player doesn't do it, your TV will. A cheap upconverting player is unlikely to do a better job than your TV. I have to admint, though, that I like the one-cable convenience of an HDMI connection.
  6. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2008
    imho, my oppo upscaling looks just as good, if not better than HD on Apple TV. This is on my 1080i Vizio.

    They are worth it if you have large dvd collections. The smaller the set, the less you will notice the HD. So def don't go BluRay with that size TV.

    Now, upconverting on future ATV releases? how awesome would that be? Ofcourse it will kill itunes HD it will never happen...
  7. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA

    I thought that ATV already does upconverting. If not, what happens when you set the TV Ouput to 1080P when the input is much less?
  8. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    I'd agree they're worth it if you get a good one (and the Oppos are probably the best). However, they probably make little to no difference if you don't get one of the good ones.
  9. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2008
    You know, that's a good question. Anybody know just exactly why ATV would ask you if your set is 1080p? The highest the ATV can go is 720p from everything I've read. And it will only do that with HD content from itunes. In other words, the best SD content you will ever see on ATV from itunes is 480p.
  10. sycho macrumors 6502a


    Oct 7, 2006
    Playing DVDs from the HD-DVD drive is no different then playing from the internal drive, just quieter. Both are subject to the 480P limit over component and both display the same data, the only real difference is the drive interface, which will not affect the image quality.
  11. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    If you have a new higher-quality HDTV, does the upconvert function of DVD players help you any, or does the TV's own processor do the upconverting work for you?

    I have a 50" panasonic plasma, want to get a DVD player for it, and just am not sure it's worth it to spend the extra money on the upconverting player.
  12. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2006
    New Zealand
    Depending on the upconverter in your TV, it may not be worth it. My HD projector has a very good upscaler and does a better job than the one built into my upconverting DVD player. Either way, upscaled DVD is not comparable with true HD. I wouldn't worry about it. At some point, you might get a Blu-ray player which will have an upconverter in it for normal DVD and you might see some improvement then, but the difference between a 480p DVD player being upscaled by the TV versus one with an upscaler built in is very minimal and subjective. The main thing is to only have one scaling operation, so you might actually find that scaling in the DVD player to say 1080p and driving a non 1080 display such as an LCD which drops it back to say 768p like mine does results in a worse picture than just feeding the set with 480p and letting the set do the scaling since there is only the single scaling step.
  13. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    The TV will upconvert for you. In my opinion, there's little point in spending extra for an upconverting DVD player unless you spring for a really good one (like the Oppo). The TV will probably do just as good a job.

    There is actually one other advantage of using an upconverting player and that's the simplicity of using one HDMI cable for your connections vs the multiple cable approach required when using analog.
  14. MacinJosh macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2006
    QFT. Scaling is *always* bad unless it's by a multiplier ie. 960x540 x2 = 1920x1080 or 640x360 x2 = 1280x720. There are good and bad scalers. There are dedicated scalers that cost thousands that do a great job. However, like I said, scaling is always bad but when a good scaler is in question, the naked eye can't tell the difference between a native and scaled image.
  15. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Photographs are most often taken at an HD resolution. Probably wants to put the most amount of pixels on the screen that it can.
  16. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    Thank you both for validating my thoughts. The HDMI point is a very good one as well. My decision should be fairly easy now. Thanks.

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