What is an Upconverting DVD Player
An upconverting DVD player takes your standard definition dvd and does something called "upsampling" so that the image resolution appears to be higher than it actually is, by increasing the amount of detail. DVDs are normally 480i, and by upsampling this can be increased to somewhere between 720p and 1080i. It will never be quite as good as a native 1080i HD image, but for many tv shows or films it may suffice.
This is something that your television would normally do, but by moving the process to your dvd player, the theory is that it improves picture quality by maintaining a digital signal transmission.
The keywords on every article I've read about this though is "slightly better", so you'll have to decide for yourself whether you can actually see the improvement.
Upconverting DVD Players
Upconverting and your Television
Pairing an upconverting DVD player with a standard CRT television or an lcd projector is pretty useless and you'll see the best results with your plasma or LCD Tv. Ideally you would use an upconverting DVD player with your High Definition TV to help bridge the gap on those DVDs that you are not going to repurchase on Blu-Ray.
But if you already own a Blu-Ray player, you do not need an upconverting DVD player, your Blu-Ray machine will do the job very well so there's no need to duplicate equipment.
For that matter, if you have an HDTV and a regular DVD player, your HDTV will do the upsampling. And for many people it is questionable whether you can really detect a difference between the quality of image provided by your HDTV doing the upsampling vs an upsampling DVD Player. It will not be as huge a visible difference as that seen between VHS and DVD.
And finally, upsampling DVD players will only work through the HDMI cable. If you have an older model HDTV that doesn't have an HDMI input (or DVI with HDCP), then the best output you'll get from the DVD Player is 480p, so there would be no point in upgrading the player. In this case, I would recommend simply using component cables if you are currently using the RCA or S-Video inputs. You should see a decent difference with component.
Upconverting versus Blu-Ray
Upconverting from a standard definition DVD will never match the image that you'll find on a blu-ray disc because Blu-Ray offers a true HD picture. Blu-Ray players themselves, however, make great upconverters. So if you have an extensive standard definition DVD collection, don't feel you have to start buyings discs all over again.
Your Blu-Ray player will do a great job with a standard definition image. It won't be true high definition, but for many films you won't need it.Then you can save your movie budget for new Blu-Ray releases, and just duplicate purchases for movies in which the blu-ray release is particularly worthwhile.
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