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HDTV's & "Upconvertable" DVD Players


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#1 of 14 kemcha

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Posted February 13 2010 - 11:21 AM

Well, I just purchased my first HDTV and I have a question, if anyone can help me out with this. Anyway, I have a standard DVD player connected to my 32" Samsung HDTV and when watching DVD's, I get a blurry image. Now, if I purchase a DVD player that "upconverts," will the "blurry image" problem go away? I'm pretty sure that it's a resolution problem, which may be connected to the standard DVD player I'm currently using.

I'm just wondering if purchasing an upconvertable DVD player (with HDMI) will solve that problem.

#2 of 14 Matt Hough

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Posted February 14 2010 - 02:18 AM

What kind of connection are you using to your TV? If you're using, say, the yellow-red-white composite cable that likely came with your DVD player, the image is going to look soft since that's the lowest possible video delivery cable.

You'll get the best picture with an HDMI cable, but if your DVD player is old and doesn't have an HDMI connection, then next best bet is the red-blue-green component cable for video (You can continue to use the red-white cables for audio from the player). If you purchase a new upconverting DVD player, be sure to also get an HDMI cable (they don't usually come in the box; you have to buy them separately most of the time). The player won't convert DVDs to near-HDTV resolution without HDMI.

You must also be sure you're not using your set's vivid picture setting which can overamplify colors and smear them.

#3 of 14 Eddie W.

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Posted February 14 2010 - 03:28 AM

For the most part, upconverting is just a marketing gimmick.   Your TV will upconvert the signal anyway.   That said, you can probably get a better picture out of your existing player by checking the following:

As Matt H said, make sure you're connecting with at least componenet cables (Red, blue, green)

Go into your DVD players menu setting & make sure it's set to 16x9.  I probably isn't if you were previously using it with a standard def set.  This will allow you to take advantage of most movies' anamorphic enhancement & give you quite a bit more resolution.  If it's set to 4x3 it downscales the anamorphically enhanced picture for a square TV.

Make sure the player is set to output progressive scan.  Note - you can ONLY use progressive scan with componet cables.  If you try this with yellow composite or S-video you won't get a picture.

After making these adjustments, make sure you're watching in the FULL mode on your TV.

This should give you at least an acceptable picture, but really nothing is going to add resolution where there isn't any to begin with.


#4 of 14 Leo Kerr

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Posted February 14 2010 - 12:22 PM

even so, there are upconverters and there are upconverters.

Both my display (Panasonic AE3000) and my player (Oppo BD83) have upconverting circuits in them.  To the average viewer, they're indistinguishable.  To the critical viewer, the player handles some things better than the player does.  It may also handle other things worse than the display does.

Then there are a lot of other converters that are... poor, at best. 

How do you tell if one player has a better one than another?  That's the real trick.  

But again, the best upcoverter in the world won't work unless you've got a signal path it can use (see above.)

Leo


#5 of 14 kemcha

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Posted February 14 2010 - 06:15 PM

MattH, thanks. Right now, I just bought a new 32" Samsung HDTV. I'm heading out this morning to purchase a new Phillips DVD Player with HDMI and Upconversion. My main question is that I'mn wondering if the soft picture and the somewhat blurry image will become clearer once I hook up this new DVD player.

This is the DVD model that I'm considering:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Philips-DVD-Player-with-Upconversion-DivX-Ultra-DVP3982-F7/11600020 

#6 of 14 Joseph DeMartino

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Posted February 15 2010 - 01:39 AM

Jaref:

Have you calibrated your TV?  Most new HDTV buyers are disappointed at how standard def content, whether cable/satellite or DVD, looks on their sets.  That's because most sets leave the factory horribly maladjusted so that the screen images are eye-catching on the sales floor of a big box store.  Color, brightness and contrast are often maxed out, as is the "sharpness" control, which makes the edges of objects stand out more by adding video noise to the signal.  All of this makes everything you watch look worse than it should, and makes SD material look worst of all.

You need to buy or rent something like Digital Video Essentials or Avia Guide to Home Theater and adjust the user-accessible controls on your set to get it to industry standard instead of "hey look at me" "torch-mode."  At the very least you should immediately turn the "sharpness" control down to no more than 25%, and reduce the brightness and contrast to no more than 50%.  Also turn off all automatic picture processing features.  I'll bet your SD DVDs will look at least 75% better just with these adjustments.  

A good primer on TV adjustment, and why digital TVs, especially, can look like crap straight out of the box, can be found here.

I doubt buying an upconverting player will make much of a difference in the way your SD content looks, but a good consumer calibration will.  (Not to be confused with a professional calibration which can cost a couple of hundred dollars, involves a trained technician, special instruments and accessing the TV's service menu.)  

Regards,

Joe


#7 of 14 kemcha

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Posted February 15 2010 - 08:41 AM

Joseph, thanks. I think I'm going to go out and purchase a guide on HDTV's and setting up your home theater system. Thanks for listing those two books. I don't normally buy guides but I think this time I'm going to have to buy some.

Just returned from Target and purchased an upconvertable DVD player and the picture is a lot better, but there's a little fuzziness. I did purchase an HDMI cable so that helped as well. The picture clarity is better than before, where I was using an older DVD player.

 

#8 of 14 Joseph DeMartino

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Posted February 15 2010 - 05:14 PM


Quote:
 Joseph, thanks. I think I'm going to go out and purchase a guide on HDTV's and setting up your home theater system. Thanks for listing those two books. I don't normally buy guides but I think this time I'm going to have to buy some.

Sorry, I should have been clearer.  Avia and DVE aren't books, they're DVDs.  They contain test patterns, step-by-step instructions for adjusting each setting on your TV and even filter gels that you look through while using the test-patterns.  They also include test tones for adjusting your sound system (although you'll need a sound pressure level meter to use these.)  There's really no way a book can tell you how to adjust your TV to look best in your home under your viewing conditions.  That's the real purpose of the calibration discs.

If you click on the titles you'll be linked to Amazon's page for each of the discs with full descriptions of them. 

Regards,

Joe


#9 of 14 kemcha

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Posted February 15 2010 - 06:19 PM

I bought an unconvertable DVD player and I'm not too impressed. I'm going to buy a Philips blu ray player, seeing as how they're $120. If the picture quality is better than this DVD player, I plan to take this DVD player back to Target. 

#10 of 14 Douglas Monce

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Posted February 15 2010 - 06:26 PM

Try getting a few movies on blu-ray too. If they also look blurry, there MAY be something wrong with the TV itself.

Doug



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#11 of 14 Steve Schaffer

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Posted February 16 2010 - 02:30 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by kemcha View Post

I bought an unconvertable DVD player and I'm not too impressed. I'm going to buy a Philips blu ray player, seeing as how they're $120. If the picture quality is better than this DVD player, I plan to take this DVD player back to Target. 
You can get a Sony 360 or Panasonic 60 series BD player at Sears for only $9 more than that Philips BD machine, much better choices imho.  Philips just isn't that good a brand anymore in North America.

Steve S.
I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.

#12 of 14 kemcha

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Posted February 17 2010 - 03:35 AM

I'm seriously thinking about picking up that Sony 360 model and if there aren't any problems with playing DVD's, then  I'll return the upconvert DVD player I purchased a few days ago.

#13 of 14 Stephen_J_H

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Posted February 18 2010 - 09:48 AM

I have a Sony 350. It's not the best upconverter out there, but it gets the job done. Most of the time, I revert to using my Toshiba HD-A30 HD DVD Player, since it has better upconverting circuitry, but it still doesn't look as good as BD or HD DVD.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#14 of 14 kemcha

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Posted February 18 2010 - 11:01 AM

Well, I picked up the Sony S360 and it's does a fine average job. While the picture isn't perfect, it gets the job done. 




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