Upconversion DVD Player?

My DVD player has given up the ghost. It won’t respond to the remote or any of the buttons on the front panel. Time to get a new one.

I went out and did some browsing today, and it seems like DVD players (ignoring multi-disc changers, DVR, and the warring HD formats) come in two basic flavors: dirt cheap standard, and something called “upconversion”, which promises to show my DVDs in near-HD quality.

Does this actually do anything? I plan to get a new TV soon, and I’ll probably spring for an HD model, IOW, something that I should be able to tell the difference on. Is it worth it? Or is the supposed upswing in quality either not worth the jump in price or marred by artifacts. (I’m a stickler for watching a film the way the director intended. I never get fullscreen when I can avoid it, and I don’t want to see my movie compromised by what my DVD player thinks is higher quality).

If you have/are getting a HDTV, go for it. IMHO it brings the image to about 80-90% of HD, particularily movies with a lot of CGI and other digitized goodies. And they are cheap now- (I have an LG similar to this , but a couple of years old- you can probably find an upconverting player cheaper than that). Just be sure to use a HDMI cable (and make sure any TV you get is HDMI-able) You probably won’t notice a difference on a standard TV, but if you have to get a DVD player anyhow…

I’ve seen several upconerting DVD players in action. The good ones are phenomenal – as good or even better than a real HD DVD. (In my opinion, these upconverting players will doom both HD DVD standards. But, that’s another thread.) The bad ones are worse than useless. Unfortunately, what’s available changes quickly so it’s hard to say which ones now available to you are good. I suggest checking a few in the store on a good HD monitor. Do make sure the monitor has the same native resolution as your TV/monitor at home; the algorithms used to upscale can be resolution dependant. Pick one that looks good.

Hmm, you’ve had different experiences than mine. I’ve seen several examples of upscaled DVDs and while they do look great they can’t touch a real HD-DVD or Blue-Ray disk. I currently own the XBOX HD-DVD player which can also upsample though its in the middle of the pack performance wise.

I’m thinking of replacing my old Toshiba and at least for now I see no reason to buy an HD or Blu-Ray player. I have heard nothing but great things about Oppo, who have a new player out:

$230 list. Tons of features, supposed to do great at reducing playback errors that are common to other players, upgradeable firmware, etc. One of my coworkers has the previous model and loves it. A fellow at CES said that unless you actually compared it side by side with an HD DVD you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference.

I have an upconverting Sony DVD player sending 1080i to my Toshiba DLP (720p). The picture from the DVD player is stunning. It rivals the true HD I get from DirecTV. (I know, I know, purists will say that DirecTV’s HD isn’t really HD. It’s still better than standard 420i.) I strongly recommend it. The DVD player that I have is a stand-alone unit that came with a home theater amp. It can be bought on its own for ~$125 or less. Well worth it, IMHO.

Any idea if that one does PAL-to-NTSC conversion? (I have a CD of an Australian TV series I’d like to be able to watch.) The specs say “PAL/NTSC disc and TV compatible with automatic or manual system conversion”, but I don’t know if that means PAL-disc to PAL-TV only, or if it will convert one format to another.

PAL -> NTSC is not particularly common. There are reasonably priced exceptions, though :slight_smile:


I’d be interested to hear what TV show it is you would like to watch as it isn’t very often you hear an American wanting to watch something of ours. Quite often the other way around though.

Other Hijack:

Does anyone know whether there is such a thing as an HDMI Tee connector, similar to an RJ-11 Tee connector? Our Sony Vega has only one HDMI input, which is currently used by the cable box. We’d like to get an upconversion DVD player like the one linked above, but its output is HDMI. If we could connect both the cable box and the DVD player to an HDMI Tee, then we could connect the Tee to the TV.

My HDTV has only a few component video inputs and one DVI input and “no” hdmi inputs.
Is an upconverting dvd player of no use to me since there is no way to hook it up?

What us dweebs do is connect both HDMIs to the receiver. That way you get your Dobly Sound through your 5.1 speakers and you send a HD video signal to the TV through another HDMI.

Not exactly. You’ll need an HDMI switch, like this one. A simple Y connector won’t work properly.

The Games. One of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen. I’ve got the first series only, as far as I can tell, the second hasn’t been released on DVD.

Most upconverting DVD players will upconvert on component (not composite) as well as HDMI – but be sure to check the box or web site!

Thank you! That looks like it would work perfectly. :slight_smile:

Glad to help, as always. :slight_smile:

And just so I’m clear, I’m not recommending that unit in particular, it’s just an example of the kind of thing you’d need. I’m sure you can shop around and do better on the price/features, etc.

I just picked up a Yamaha single disc DVD player that does upconversion to 1080i, converts PAL <–> NTSC (both ways), has great sound and can be set to be region-free. It also has a HDMI interface (for high-end HD sets), and can play DivX video (if you download unlicensed video from the web and burn it to CD/DVD-ROM). I recommend it highly. Linkie.


I went to Best Buy and got myself a Samsung model which also has a VCR.

When I got home to unpack it, my old DVD player was working perfectly again. I don’t know what happened, if a cord or connection was jiggered loose, or if I just didn’t hit the power button hard enough multiple times. But it’s working now. Isn’t that always how it works?

So, the new one’s in the closet until I get a TV worthy of it. The upconversion’s a good intermediary step until Blu-Ray and HD-DVD hash it out, and I would have needed to get a VCR for it anyway. My old DVD player, assuming it stays functional, can just stay hooked up to my old TV, which I’ll probably put in the bedroom or something.

You could use a HDMI to DVI cable. You’ll have to hook the sound to your tv (or through your receiver) separately, since HDMI is both video and sound, but DVI is only video.