bus_driverOctober 10, 2009

Recently I bought a new TV with 1080p, 4 HDMI inputs. Not too bad with my old DVD player. Bought upconvert/upscaling DVD player, Onkyo DV-SP406. Hookup with HDMI cable. The picture looks no worse, but no better either. The TV shows to be playing from that player at 480p SD. The manual says that the TV selects the proper resolution. So what now? Is this the way it is supposed to be? I do not plan to go to BluRay now, perhaps never.

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my off brand up convert works ok, not high def but better than standard mode. you have to go in the menu of teh dvd player to set what mode you want it to output at. i think i set mine for 780p as that gave the best picture in general. older dvds and self burnt dvds have worse resolution than brand new store bought ones, so i found the middle ground.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2009 at 8:17PM
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Finally found the menu item for the resolution. Thanks for the information. The 1080p setting does not seem to improve quality. But now I know how to get that setting.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 9:15AM
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An upconverting DVD player won't work any better than a standard DVD player, it'll just cost more. All decent DVD players output 480p resolution, which is what's stored on a DVD. Your TV displays 1080p. When fed a 480p signal from a cheap DVD player, the signal travels intact across the HDMI cable to the TV, which then upconverts to 1080p. The exact same thing happens with an upconverting DVD player, except that the upconversion occurs in the DVD player and then sent through the HDMI cable, where the TV receives what it perceives as 1080p and displays as is.

Thus, the only real difference when using an upconverting DVD player is that the 480p-to-1080p conversion is done in the DVD player rather than your TV. So any difference in picture quality, if any, depends on whether your DVD player or TV has a better upconversion algorithm. And given a $99 DVD player and a $1500 flat-screen HDTV, the TV probably has the better upconversion electronics, and if anything the upconverting DVD player could hurt image quality slightly.

To get true 1080p from your new TV, you need a Blu-Ray player and discs (or an X360 or PS3 video game system). Upconverters just make their best guess as what a sharper picture would look like.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:35AM
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Thanks for taking the time to explain that. The upconvert player has HDMI output and the other players do not. Supposedly that HDMI helps some. Monster cable at $70+ did not make sense to me. So I bought HDMI cable on eBay for MUCH less. Works. Is the cost of Monster cable worth it?
My personal library of DVD, bought mostly used at bargain prices or home transferred from VHS, is larger than I will ever have time to watch and I probably will not go to BluRay format at all. Yes, I am frugal. Keeps me out of financial trouble.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:51PM
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The cost of Monster cable is pretty much never worth it. I have always bought my cables from monoprice.com. They are very highly regarded on avsforum.com by people who are pretty OCD about this sort of thing.

As for the benefits of an upconverting DVD player, lee767 pretty much laid out the basics. The only addition I would make is that there are some expensive flat screen TVs that do a relatively poor job of upconverting. And there are some really good cheap players that do an excellent job. Oppo made some of the best upscaling products but unfortunately they no longer make dvd players (just blu ray only and they are pricey). You can find used 980H players for well under $200. The JVC BP1 is a very highly regarded blu-ray player that incidentally also does a great job of upconverting and can be found for $150 (not to be confused with the newer BP11, which hasn't been extensively reviewed).

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 10:14PM
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Stick with your HDMI cable.

I was going to write pretty much what queequeg wrote. I've had a couple of pieces of hardware that upscaled, but my upscaling Oppo DVD player is far superior to any of the upscalers that I've used.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 12:09PM
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For some analog interconnect cables, better quality (i.e. Monster or other brands) are good, especially if you have interference issues (i.e. crowded signal and power cables in the back of your gear).

For speaker cables, the pricey cable doesn't really sound any better than regular ol' zip cord, but it looks impressive.

However, for a digital signal (HDMI), cheap cables appear to work just as well as the pricey brands (according to several AV magazines and forums).

I'm still trying to learn about upscaling and all that, but I think the basics are that you can't really improve upon the original, so a DVD encoded at 480p is never going to look as good as a 1080p source.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 5:39PM
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