HDMI, Component Video or Composite from DVD?

I’ve a spanky new 42 inch plasma EDTV. For the most part I’m happy with it however I think the picture should be a bit better for DVD.

At first I hooked it up using Composite. Kind of grainy. Component hookup proved to display a cleaner picture but I notice the gradients aren’t as smooth as they could be.

The shops I’ve seen this TV in are all showing a HDTV signals entering the television through component. The pictures look great. I notice very little of the gradient problem I see on my set.

Is this gradient issue because DVD doesn’t output as much data or because we’re seeing an image on a much larger screen - something DVD wasn’t really designed to disply on?

Would my gradients improve if I used a DVD player with HDMI hookups?

I have a similar situation, just bought a 50" HDTV and noticed that in many cases the picture looks WORSE than it did on my old 27" JVC.

Part of the problem is that on a smaller screen the flaws are harder to see. On a great big screen they leap out at you.

I did a little bit of experimenting and found that the best picture (subject to the constraint of not buying a lot of expensive stuff) comes from my old (like 5-8 years) Toshiba DVD player using the component video outputs. Brand new players using DVI and HDMI produced a picture so cruddy that I returned them.

The major flaws are caused by how MPEG decoding is done. There’s only a couple of decoding chipsets out there and many of them use the same problematic code which leads to jagged edges, color problems and “blocking” or “blotching” (areas of solid color have a blotchy appearance - like a night sky or a concrete floor).

These guys have a great series of articles on this along with very in-depth ratings of how various DVD players handle the problems:


Surprisingly, some of the highest-rated video comes from some inexpensive players.

There might also be some issues with how the 480 lines of resolution on a DVD are displayed in ED format (which is high quality but lower than HD, which is 720 lines).

I’m sure that a video whiz will be along to go into more detail soon, but I think that hits the high points.

Sorry, one other thought; if there is an electronics store near you with a good return policy (many of them will let you return gear in new condition for a full refund within a couple of weeks) you can buy a player, try it out and see what works best for you.

I tried some inexpensive players from Samsung and Denon and found that the HDMI output was worse than my other choices (component, S video and even plain old composite) and none of them were an improvement over my old player, so I returned them - why pay a few hundred bucks for that?

If you do decide that HDMI/DVI is working great, check out the cable prices and shop around. The big box stores will really ream you there, we’re talking $100 for a 1m cable; more snake-oil than with speaker cables. A few manufacturers will include the cable but many don’t.

an HDTV signal is better quality than a DVD, so watching a DVD will never be as good as the display in the store. A better judge of quality would be to watch an HDTV channel.

That’s what it looks like to me. A compression issue. Take a nice full colour picture and convert it to a gif using only 100 colours.

I’ve heard about the high prices on HDMI cables so if I go that route I’ll order my cable from the old standby - Parts Express. $15 for a 1m cable.

You always pay a bit more for shipping, but hey, they always send you a mini screwdriver with the order. :smiley: