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SD DVD Players and Discs A place to discuss DVD players and discs including SD movie DVDs with the emphasis on upscaling to 720p/1080i. Please do not discuss Blu-Ray or HD DVD technology here. RSS - DVD Players

Don't even buy an Upscaler

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Old 07-03-2007, 06:02 PM   #1
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Default Don't even buy an Upscaler

So far, I've gone through three types of DVD players with my two High Definition TV's:

-Regular Sony DVD Player
-Upscaler Sony DVD Player
-Toshiba HD-DVD Player

When I first got my first HD TV, I just had the regular DVD player. I wasn't happy with the picture from the regular Sony DVD player though, so I bought an Sony Upscaler DVD player. And the upscaler DVD player did make a pretty noticeable difference in the picture quality, and I was happy with it, and I used that upscaler DVD player for about a year with my 32" HDTV.

Then... I got a 50" Plasma the other day, and I was no longer happy with the picture quality of Standard Definition DVDs with the upscaler DVD. So... I bought an Toshiba HD-DVD player... not for the upscaling qualities, but rather because I thought the HD-DVD was the only way I'd ever get a decent picture of my 50" screen.

However, I learned after hooking up the Toshiba HD-DVD player right after I unhooked my Sony upscaler DVD player, that the HD-DVD player did a MUCH, MUCH better job of upscaling. I watched the same exact show ("The Office") on both the upscaler and HD-DVD player, and the differences were apparent. The upscaler DVD player's picture still had blockiness and was a little bit fuzzy. But the HD-DVD player's upscaled picture removed the blockiness and the fuzziness completely. The Standard Definition picture with the HD-DVD player is still limited because it's only in 480i, but the HD-DVD player makes the Standard Definition DVD's look as good as they possibly could on an HD TV. I remember someone saying that the HD DVD [and Blu-Ray players] have more advanced chips and algorithms for outputting pictures in HD and that regular upscaler DVD players couldn't compete with their upscaling capabilities... and now I completely believe them because I've seen it with my own eyes.

Now, I can't comment on how the more expensive upscaler DVD players work, as my upscaler DVD player was just a $120 Sony Upscaler player, and I know there are more advanced upscalers in the $200 range... but like I said, the $100 upscalers aren't worth it, and if you're gonna spend up to $200 on an upscaler DVD player, you might as well spend the extra $100 for the HD-DVD player [since you'll be getting the upscaler you wanted, plus also be getting an HD-DVD player... plus 5 free movies just for purchasing the HD DVD player which is worth $100 in itself.]

So... I would just save your money and not buy an stand-alone upscaler DVD player, and just spring for the High Definition player which has upscaling capabilities built-in.

Last edited by mswoods1; 07-03-2007 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 07-03-2007, 06:14 PM   #2
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Nice I just ordered my HD-A2. If HD-DVD ever fails, I have an awesome upscaler!
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Old 07-03-2007, 06:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjc View Post
Nice I just ordered my HD-A2. If HD-DVD ever fails, I have an awesome upscaler!
Yeah, that's basically how I rationalized spending $300 on the A2 and also how I rationalized investing in one of the competing formats [HD or BR] when one of them may be obsolete eventually.

So, with the 5 free movies with a $100 value when you buy a Toshiba HD-DVD player [plus the $100 I would've spent on a second upscaler anyway], that makes about $200 which won't go wasted. Thus, even if HD-DVD fails... I'd only have lost about $100 out of the $300 I spent on the HD-DVD Player. And I can live with losing $100... but I'd probably feel sick with the $400 or so I'd lose if I bought a BR player right now and it only turned into an upscaler later [with no free movies].

Of course, the offer for the 5 free HD-DVD ends soon. You have to purchase the HD-DVD player by at least 7/31/07, and your forms to get the free DVD's must be postmarked by 8/31/07... so make sure you send in the rebate ASAP.

Last edited by mswoods1; 07-03-2007 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:02 PM   #4
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It is true that the Toshiba HD-DVD player and the BD players do a fine job of upscaling DVDs . . . but Denon and Oppo upscaling players are indeed remarkable) not even in the same class as the Sony, Panasonic, and others) and will play almost any CD, DVD, DVD-A, DIVIX, memory card, and etc you can throw at it-- if sound/music is important to play-- as well a a great video upscaler, Oppo is hard to beat. But with Toshiba A2 at under $299, the 970 Oppo at $149 is not quite as attractive as it used to be-- and just how many Updaling DVD players can (will-- they all CAN) give you 1080i/720P signal over COMPONENT . . . ? If you're you a BD fan and are waiting for the price to drop, the Oppo for under $150 can be a good buy-- as it will still make a great "second" upscaling player when you get that hew BD player . . .

Last edited by Rick-F; 07-03-2007 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 07-06-2007, 03:54 PM   #5
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To illustrate my point further, I decided to take pictures of the same show displayed by my Sony Upscale DVD player and my Toshiba HD-DVD player. I found the photos to be even more dramatically different than I thought. Check out the attached photo to this point to see the results. Some technical explanations first though:

I took the photos from about 8 feet away from the screen of my Vizio 50" plasma. Both the Upscale DVD player and HD-DVD player were hooked up using an HDMI cable. The Upscale DVD player used was the "Sony DVPNS75H Single Disc Upscaling DVD Player" and the HD-DVD player used was the "Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD Player."

Also, a little comment on the photo differences too:

To really see the difference, look at the line on Steve Carell's shoulder. On the upscale DVD player image, you can see blocky pixels on his shoulder. On the HD DVD player image though, his shoulder line is smoothed out and you can't see any pixels. Also, look at the top of the collar where the collar meets the tie, on the upscale DVD player image you can again see blocky pixels, but the HD DVD player's image is smooth once again. Also, check out Steve Carell's forehead, and notice on the HD DVD player there's a line on his forhead that you can't even see on the upscale DVD player image. Plus, the HD DVD player seems to do the coloring of the image a little better on the face. Lastly, I think you can see a difference overall in the face being a bit more clearer on the HD DVD player image.
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File Type: jpg Comparison_of_Upscaled_Images.jpg (50.2 KB, 167 views)
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Old 07-06-2007, 04:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for the photos. It sure makes the point.
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Old 07-06-2007, 04:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mswoods1 View Post
To really see the difference, look at the line on Steve Carell's shoulder. On the upscale DVD player image, you can see blocky pixels on his shoulder. On the HD DVD player image though, his shoulder line is smoothed out and you can't see any pixels. Also, look at the top of the collar where the collar meets the tie, on the upscale DVD player image you can again see blocky pixels, but the HD DVD player's image is smooth once again.
At first, I was going to chalk the dramatic difference up to TV settings for the respective players (i.e., if you changed the settings, you could get a better picture from just the upscaling player).

However, the blocky pixels / jagged lines are a clear advantage that the HD DVD player has over the DVD upscaling unit. There is no doubt these new HD format players have much more advance hardware (similar to PC tech) and it shows.

Nice picture comparison. I always thought upscalers were generally a waste (as they provide no additional detail), but have also read nothing but praise about the A2/A20 upscaling abilites.
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Old 07-06-2007, 04:44 PM   #8
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nice pics!!!...can't wait to get my A2!
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Old 07-16-2007, 01:59 PM   #9
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Default HD-A2 worth it just for the upconversion of SD dvds?

Hi, I have Sony DVP - NS75H hooked up to my Samsung HL-S4266W. I get pretty good performance, but I do notice some macroblocking and it is driving me crazy.
Do you think I will notice as much of an improvement as you did even though I am using a DLP? Is this improvement worth the $250 - $300 for the player, or should I just stick with the Sony if I have no plans to adopt HDDVD on a big scale?
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Old 07-16-2007, 02:10 PM   #10
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I almost went through the same process, I bought an HD set and still had a SD DVD player and figured I sit on the sidelines and wait for a format to be victorious. In the meantime I figured I'd but a nice upconverter like the Oppo DV-970HD, and although I've heard/read that it's a phenomenal upconverter I decided to just wait, save my pennies and buy an A2. I'm glad I did, it's a great upconverter. Cool picture comparison btw.
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Old 07-16-2007, 02:30 PM   #11
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Hmm..
Well, I am so tempted to buy the A2, but I am afraid I may not notice much difference in picture on SD dvd. (The screen shots are really helpful, but I know different tv's will get different results.) If I plop down that kind of money and I don't notice a difference in SD quality, my wife - who is pretty tired of my messing with the picture on the dvd and tv - may hurt me.
Plus, I am worried by all the stories of its bugs and instability. Has anyone reading this thread run into these issues with the A2? (Namely, HDMI drop-out, disc lock-up requiring unplugging, and difficultly reading scratched discs that other players read just fine.) The Sony has at least been really reliable.
Thanks for any help. This is a really informative thread, by the way. Thanks to all.
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Old 07-16-2007, 02:43 PM   #12
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I think the Sony DVP-NS75H is a really good DVD player. It does very little other than region 1 DVD-V and CD, but if that is all you need, I think DVD-V performance is comparable to my Oppo DV970HD and since both use the Mediatek chip, that is no surprise. The Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity agree and rate the DVP-NS75H highly for a budget player.

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Old 07-16-2007, 03:05 PM   #13
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Thank you! I'm glad to hear it. Overall I have been happy with the DVP - NS75H, but the macroblocking on my DLP during some scenes (ones with smoke, solid-color surfaces, some faces) is noticable - to me at least. I have watched the same scenes on my SDtv and noticed that similar issues appear (although not in the form of blocking - more often in fuzzines), so I don't think there is anything "wrong" with the Sony or the DLP. Just the compression on the dvds.
I switched the Sony's output from YCbCr to RGB and this seemed to solve some of the issues on some discs, but the problem still persists on others. I am going to keep playing around with it.
In any case, thanks for the response. The HD-A2 looks like a really great deal, but I may stay on the sidelines just a bit longer since I plan to stick with SD DVD for the time being.
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Old 07-16-2007, 03:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdm0744 View Post
but I may stay on the sidelines just a bit longer since I plan to stick with SD DVD for the time being.
You will have lots of company if you do decide to do just that. In other words, join the crowd.

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Old 07-17-2007, 05:08 AM   #15
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Guys I'm creating a webpage about upscalers. I have both the Sony & The HD DVD players.
In order to get a full upconversion, the DVD has to be shot in or mastered in HD to begin with. Like the Ghost Whisper/CSI CBS series on DVD.
Second you need the HDMI connection. Then you need a flat panel fixed pixel display that is 768px1366 or what works best is a 768px1024 plasma. Put the player in 720p with the anamorphic mastered in HD DVD disk, you will get a full 720p upconversion.

The way you could never up convert a standard 4.3 DVD that was never shot in HD, to convert to 16.9 HD.... is the same way you could never get a 16.9 disk that was shot in HD to ever fully down convert to a real 480i 4.3 format.
If you follow the guide I provided, the 720p setting will bring out the HD 16.9 that the disk was mastered in.
I am formerly buford pusser....
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