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Upconverting v. Blu-ray


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#1 of 51 haroldS

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Posted September 12 2011 - 08:54 AM

I was thinking about some HBO series such as The Pacific, Rome and, in particular, Deadwood. All are now available in both DVD and Blu-ray. Presuming there is upconverting to either 720 or 1080 p for the DVD and a TV set 32" or smaller, is it worth the extra cost, usually 25 to 33 1/3% more, to buy the Blu-ray version?

#2 of 51 Jeff Willis

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Posted September 14 2011 - 12:42 AM

Just speaking for myself, I haven't upgraded to BR yet, but that's mainly due to the limited choices of older TV/DVD BR releases.  I have the "Pacific" set in std DVD and it looks great upconverted from my Pioneer 1880p player into my 50" Panasonic Plasma TV.


The "Pacific is currently Amazon's "Deal of the Day" here  at $31.49 for the std set and $38.99 for the BR set.



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#3 of 51 Brian McHale

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Posted September 14 2011 - 01:10 AM

Unless you're sitting very close to that 32" TV, it's going to be difficult to take advantage of the extra resolution that Blu-ray has to offer. And you would have a hard time reading some of the menus (they often use smaller text). The sound can be noticeably better on BD, but that's not much of a factor unless you have a system that can handle the lossless codecs (and I'm assuming someone with a 32" TV probably doesn't have a recent receiver that can decode the new codecs). So, for the case you have posed, I would say that the extra cost for Blu-ray is probably not worth it. Unless you want to take into account the fact that the situation will probably change some day, you'll get a BD player and a large TV and might have to repurchase some of those movies/shows on BD.
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#4 of 51 Regulus

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Posted September 14 2011 - 01:43 AM

Unless you're sitting very close to that 32" TV, it's going to be difficult to take advantage of the extra resolution that Blu-ray has to offer. And you would have a hard time reading some of the menus (they often use smaller text). The sound can be noticeably better on BD, but that's not much of a factor unless you have a system that can handle the lossless codecs (and I'm assuming someone with a 32" TV probably doesn't have a recent receiver that can decode the new codecs). So, for the case you have posed, I would say that the extra cost for Blu-ray is probably not worth it. Unless you want to take into account the fact that the situation will probably change some day, you'll get a BD player and a large TV and might have to repurchase some of those movies/shows on BD.

You said it! I'm PERFECTLY CONTENT with my Current Setup (32" Screen, Standard DVD-VHS Player) and as they say: "If it ain't Broke DON'T FIX IT!" :laugh:

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#5 of 51 AndyMcKinney

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Posted September 14 2011 - 08:53 AM

I have a 60" screen and an Oppo BDP-83 for upscaling. Most DVDs look just fine using the Oppo's excellent scaler. I've only noticed some slight picture issues with FX-heavy blockbusters (I think it was The Source Code rental DVD where I noticed some less that great picture at times), so as others have said, if you're staying with a small screen size, it probably won't be any gain to buy the BR version, but if you plan to get a 50" or bigger TV, you might want to reconsider (and if you decide to get a big TV, I'd definitely also consider an Oppo player or an external scaler like the DVDOedge to upscale your DVDs).

#6 of 51 Corey3rd

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Posted September 14 2011 - 09:01 AM

It's broke cause you've yet to experience it working - I spent the weekend at a pal's house with his home theater. He has an 3-D HD Projector set up to fill a wall 16 feet by 9 feet. It was better than any of my local digital theaters. The 3-D part was OK. But when he stuck in the Blu-ray of Dark Knight for the Imax scenes, I didn't want to go home. I stare at my 34 inch set and plot its demise. far as upconverting to Blu-ray, wait till the price is right.
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#7 of 51 Jeff Willis

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Posted September 14 2011 - 10:40 AM



Originally Posted by Regulus 

You said it! I'm PERFECTLY CONTENT with my Current Setup (32" Screen, Standard DVD-VHS Player) and as they say:

"If it ain't Broke DON'T FIX IT!" Posted Image


William,  I hear you, I was there once and was very cautious about upgrading my home viewing setup from the CRT TV era.  I will say that since '08, when I bought my 1st WS HDTV, there's been no looking back.  The larger screens add a lot of enjoyment to the overall viewing experience and that's coming from one that watches mostly older TV/DVD's on a 50" Plasma set in 4:3 format.


Back in '08, when I was shopping and comparing these WS sets, I used some of my own TV/DVD's to view in my local store, simulating the viewing distance at home.  I was concerned about WS (HD) TV's magnifying inherent transfer imperfections in my TV/DVD shows but my experience is that this concern was a moot point.   That said, I understand that there are variables that factor into that pov, viewing distances, screen size.

I'm sitting about 8.5 ft from my 50" Plasma TV and it all looks great.  The only programming that I've seen where the picture looked significantly better on the old CRT TV was non-HD sports programming, like football, baseball, etc.  However, nowadays, just about all providers' sports feeds are produced in HD.


Bottom line to me is that with these recent HDTV's, you get the best of both worlds; great 4:3 older TV/DVD viewing, as well as movies from my collection that are released in anamorphic format (enhanced for WS).



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#8 of 51 LeoA

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Posted September 14 2011 - 01:48 PM



Bottom line to me is that with these recent HDTV's, you get the best of both worlds; great 4:3 older TV/DVD viewing, as well as movies from my collection that are released in anamorphic format (enhanced for WS).

Modern HDTV's are just fine if you can feed them their native resolution (Either natively through a HD channel feed, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, a modern HD videogame, or DVD via an upscaling DVD player). But try to view something that isn't feeding the television it's native resolution, such as a Laserdisc, a CED (Anyone remember that format?), a DVD through a non upscaling DVD player (Especially one that can't do progressive scan, which many were until recent years; HDTV scalers often do particularly poorly when they have to deinterlace the signal), VHS, a standard definition television feed, or most any videogame outside of the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 (HDTV's don't much like the low res signals of years gone by that consoles put out, sometimes you won't even get a picture with an older console.), and that notion quickly falls apart. The built in scaling chips in the vast majority of HDTV's are poor to terrible since all the focus is on HD and getting it to look as good as possible on the show room floor, with support for other resolutions just given a minimum of effort (Just look at s-video ports to see how important lower resolutions are, they've been gone from the vast majority of HDTV's for a few years now). My Trinitron won't be leaving me anytime soon for these more specialized needs.(Older video formats, and I play console videogames dating back to the 1970's regularly). Keeping both around is the way to go if one has the room for it and wants to continue to be able to fully enjoy something like a Laserdisc collection (I imagine we have a few Laserdisc fans at this forum).

#9 of 51 Ethan Riley

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Posted September 15 2011 - 02:46 PM

I just go back and forth on the "upconverting" issue. Half the time I don't even believe there is such a thing, because I'll try a standard dvd in my dvd player, then switch it over to my Sony bluray player and can't notice any difference at all. But nothing (in 2011) beats a full 1080p television set and a stack of well-produced blurays. I think those of us who've been blu for enough time have our eyes trained in such a way that watching standard def television and dvds just no longer cuts the mustard. It's almost painful to watch in some cases. Recent standard dvds of current films look okay, but go back far enough and your eyes see nothing but the limitations and this is why there's so many "wish list' threads over in the Blu-ray forums. Every single time I pull out a standard dvd for viewing I sit there and think what it'll look like when it's eventually upgraded to blu. I'm spoiled and I'm jaded. But back to the OT: upconverting is always going to be a hit-or-miss situation. The most well-produced dvds in your collection are going to look great upconverted--the second tier dvds will not. There's only so much information the player can pull out of them in the first place, without making the movies look like cgi cartoons.
 

 


#10 of 51 Gary OS

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Posted September 16 2011 - 08:13 AM

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Ethan Riley 
 
Every single time I pull out a standard dvd for viewing I sit there and think what it'll look like when it's eventually upgraded to blu. I'm spoiled and I'm jaded.


You just perfectly summed up why I'm NOT upgrading to Blu-ray!  I've got way, way too much money and time invested in the type of content I like (mostly 30's/40's film and 50's/60's TV) on standard DVD and there's no way I'm going to risk becoming jaded or spoiled to that.  And I'm not being funny about that either.  I'm serious.  The reality is that Blu-ray is never going to offer the kind of content I'm interested in.  The studios are not going to go back and invest in creating brand new Blu-ray quality transfers of film series like Abbott & Costello, Charlie Chan, or Blondie.  And I'm not holding my breath for the 2nd tier Universal Sci-Fi films I so love (The Mole Men, Tarantula, or The Incredible Shrinking Man).  Heck, I'm not even holding my breath for a Blu-ray release of a top tier Uni Horror series like The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  And that's fine with me.  The transfers I have are all more than acceptable with my upconverting DVD player.


I believe the same is true with TV shows that are important to me.  I'm not seeing any signals that tell me an announcement for The Andy Griffith Show on Blu-ray is forthcoming soon.  Nor LITB, FKB, or most any other vintage TV show that was done in b/w.  Sure, we've seen a few of the shows with cult followings released - things the studios know have rabid fan bases like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek.  But that's the exception and not the rule when it comes to Blu-ray.  And even if the studios did begin releasing these shows, I'm not real sure the difference would be worth the money for me to upgrade.  I've seen a few examples of b/w Blu-ray and while it's very nice, I just don't think it would be enough to sway me to change over.  I believe it would take Blu-ray offering me a holy grail, one that DVD doesn't offer, for me to upgrade.  If tomorrow it was announced that the entire run of available Ozzie & Harriet episodes were coming in a massive Blu-ray set then I'd be tempted.  But we all know that's not happening, so I don't think I have anything to worry about.  Posted Image



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#11 of 51 Brian McHale

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Posted September 16 2011 - 10:18 AM

I just go back and forth on the "upconverting" issue. Half the time I don't even believe there is such a thing, because I'll try a standard dvd in my dvd player, then switch it over to my Sony bluray player and can't notice any difference at all.

That's because, with an HDTV, any source that is less than the native resolution of your display will be upconverted by the TV. So, your DVD player output is being upconverted by your TV, while your Blu-ray player is upconverting the SD content it plays. If you can't tell the difference, it's probably because both upconvert with similar quality. This is not unusual.
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#12 of 51 TravisR

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Posted September 16 2011 - 11:09 AM

While I can certainly see a difference between HD and upconverting, I have no problem viewing both Blu-ray and DVDs.

#13 of 51 Harry-N

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Posted September 16 2011 - 11:22 AM

I fought conversion to Blu-Ray for a few years.  Plain old DVDs looked just fine to me on my HDTVs, particularly the well-mastered ones.  Last Christmas I received a Sony Blu-Ray player and I've been thrilled by the results - both on regular DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.


Until the Sony Blu-Ray player, I'd not had any kind of "upconversion" other than what the TV's themselves were doing with standard DVD players.  But now that I've seen the results of the Blu-Ray player upconverting, I've given new life to my vast DVD collection and don't feel the need to rish out and buy Blu-Ray discs of everything that comes along that I already have DVDs of.


There are a few exceptions - I bought THE PRISONER on Blu since it's a huge upgrade from the old available DVDs.  I've upgraded a few really favorite movies like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and have opted for reasonably priced Blu-Rays of recent releases.


So, in answer to the OP's question, on a 32" set, an upconverting player will be fine - but as long as you're springing for a new player, go the few extra bucks and get an upconverting Blu-Ray player so you're flexible with future purchases.


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#14 of 51 Ethan Riley

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Posted September 16 2011 - 04:05 PM

     Quote:


 

You just perfectly summed up why I'm NOT upgrading to Blu-ray!  I've got way, way too much money and time invested in the type of content I like (mostly 30's/40's film and 50's/60's TV) on standard DVD and there's no way I'm going to risk becoming jaded or spoiled to that.  And I'm not being funny about that either.  I'm serious.  The reality is that Blu-ray is never going to offer the kind of content I'm interested in.  The studios are not going to go back and invest in creating brand new Blu-ray quality transfers of film series like Abbott & Costello, Charlie Chan, or Blondie.  And I'm not holding my breath for the 2nd tier Universal Sci-Fi films I so love (The Mole Men, Tarantula, or The Incredible Shrinking Man).  Heck, I'm not even holding my breath for a Blu-ray release of a top tier Uni Horror series like The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  And that's fine with me.  The transfers I have are all more than acceptable with my upconverting DVD player.

 

You're not going to be interested, then, until they suddenly unleash a slew of older movies and tv shows. And sometimes they announce an older tv show on dvd and I think, 'well what about the bluray? That particular show would look stunning on blu." And they seem to ignore the issue--costs or whatever. I have blu and I only have about 10 films that came out before the 1990s. That will change over time, but for now all my classics are stuck on dvd and don't look especially good on my current equipment. And while 2011 has seen Hollywood trickle out more and more older films on blu, a lot of them look like cheapo ports. I just got "The Witches of Eastwick" on blu and it barely looks hidef to me. I understand that doing a complete restoration for high definition is costly and may not earn its money back, but if they don't do it, I see no reason to put those films on blu in the first place. There's no point to it. And yet with some of these quickie releases, they're just not putting the work into it. I do, however, think that blu will someday be the standard. The format wars, downloading and lack of interest have set back the natural rollout of blu-ray by about five years. This particular year saw Hollywood put out some of its most popular catalog titles on blu (Star Wars and so on). There have been a peppering of older, extremely popular films such as "Citizen Kane." And so the floodgates have opened. 2012 will see a lot more catalog releases and then they'll start dipping into older tv shows. I have no doubt it will happen, and when it happens it'll be a big avalanche of product. But when they start releasing the best filmed tv series on blu, such as "I Love Lucy" then I think you're gonna be tempted, Gary! I think I'll start a thread on which older shows would #1 look great on blu-ray and #2 that people most would be willing to upgrade.
 

 


#15 of 51 LeoA

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Posted September 17 2011 - 03:36 AM

I have almost identical taste in movies and television as you do, Gary. Releases are few and far between, but there is some amazing stuff on the defunct HD-DVD format and Blu-Ray formats (Such as the HD transfer of It's a Wonderful Life that was released a year ago or so). Hasn't really spoiled my ability to enjoy DVD's since they still look nice. It's mostly transfer dependent and related to television size. On a smaller set, I won't notice many of the imperfections with a less than perfect transfer or flawed source material. But on a larger screen, I'll notice problems I wasn't noticing before. That goes for DVD's and Blu-Ray's.

I just go back and forth on the "upconverting" issue. Half the time I don't even believe there is such a thing, because I'll try a standard dvd in my dvd player, then switch it over to my Sony bluray player and can't notice any difference at all.

That's because, with an HDTV, any source that is less than the native resolution of your display will be upconverted by the TV. So, your DVD player output is being upconverted by your TV, while your Blu-ray player is upconverting the SD content it plays. If you can't tell the difference, it's probably because both upconvert with similar quality. This is not unusual.

A good upconverting DVD player (I use a Playstation 3, for instance, which was held in high regard early on as one of the best Blu-Ray players available and an excellent upscaling DVD player) will generally outperform leaving the upscaling for the HDTV to do. HDTV manufacturers focus on the native resolution of the set with just passing effort put into the scaling and deinterlacing capabilities of their sets. An upscaling DVD player, on the other hand, often has a much better scaling chip since its primary purpose is to get upscaled DVD's looking as nice as possible on a modern television. If HDTV's had decent scalers, there wouldn't be any reason to have an upscaling DVD player. But because so many HDTV's have horrible scaling chips installed, there's a large market for a device that will improve DVD picture quality on a modern television (i.e., upscaling DVD players).

#16 of 51 Jeff Willis

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Posted September 17 2011 - 03:58 AM

That's true upscaling players).  That's why I'm happy with my library of std DVD's watching with the upconvert std player.  I don't have any problems with over-amplified transfer imperfections, at least not to me or my friends that have seen the same dvd's on my TV.


Gary, I see it the same way.  I don't see the trend yet with older shows being released on BR, aside from the ones you mentioned, Star Trek, etc.  If I see that happening, I'll take another look at entering the BR scene.  For now, there's not enough available for me to make that move.  I have most of what I want on the shelf and double-dipping isn't something that I'll be doing for BR.


I have been curious about how a BR player compares when upconverting std DVD's, vs my std upconvert player.  I haven't borowed anyone's BR player yet to see how they compare.  I have seen some BR movies on a friend's BR player.  They're great but it's all about title availability for me, as an older TV series collector.



ml1fyo.jpg  "Checkmate King Two, 'Out'" "Combat! A Selmur Production"

 

TV/DVD Collector, mainly 50's thru 90's with a few 2000+ shows.
My 2 all-time favorite TV shows:
"Combat!" & "The Fugitive"
My 2 all-time best blind-buys: "The Fugitive"   "The Donna Reed Show"


#17 of 51 Gary OS

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Posted September 17 2011 - 04:31 AM

     Quote:

Originally Posted by Jeff Willis 

That's true upscaling players).  That's why I'm happy with my library of std DVD's watching with the upconvert std player.  I don't have any problems with over-amplified transfer imperfections, at least not to me or my friends that have seen the same dvd's on my TV.


Gary, I see it the same way.  I don't see the trend yet with older shows being released on BR, aside from the ones you mentioned, Star Trek, etc.  If I see that happening, I'll take another look at entering the BR scene.  For now, there's not enough available for me to make that move.  I have most of what I want on the shelf and double-dipping isn't something that I'll be doing for BR.


I have been curious about how a BR player compares when upconverting std DVD's, vs my std upconvert player.  I haven't borowed anyone's BR player yet to see how they compare.  I have seen some BR movies on a friend's BR player.  They're great but it's all about title availability for me, as an older TV series collector.



Yep, we see it the same way, Jeff.  I'm really not interested in double-dipping for quality increase.  I know b/w Blu-ray releases that have really had good money put into the restoration look nicer than a SDVD played on an upconverting player.  But I don't think the jump in quality would blow me out of the water and convince me to double-dip, spending big money just to go Blu.  The only real scenario that would tempt me to go Blu would be availability of titles I want that were never released on DVD to begin with.  As I mentioned in a previous post, if season sets of Ozzie & Harriet were suddenly offered in Blu (but not in SDVD) then I'd bite.  But if it's just a matter of getting an upgrade of I Love Lucy its not going to happen.  That series was done so well on SDVD as it was.  I guess if something like the first season of Lost in Space was offered in Blu I might think about it only because the DVD version was so poor on quality.  But it would have to be something like that, probably several releases like that, to make me upgrade and double-dip.  Otherwise I'm content with my DVD collection being played on an upconverting player.  They look fabulous on my large screen TV.



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#18 of 51 Jeff Willis

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Posted September 17 2011 - 09:08 AM

^ Me either (haven't seen the proof of a BR rise in old TV/DVD releases).  Until I see that, I'm not convinced that BR will be a true replacement in this industry for the older tv show DVD mkt.


I have seen a definite increase of older film BR releases though.  That's good to see.  I read Bill's column ("The Digital Bits" site) as well as Barrie M's periodic classic movie & TV release updates at that site as I'd guess that most here also visit that site regularly.


I'm going to borrow my nephew's BR PS3 player and will do some comparisons to my std upconvert player.  The results will be interesting to me.

If the difference is significant, that'll go a long way for me to get that BR player, although it'll have to be an all-region player, which are available, easy to locate but still a little pricey for me.  They've been coming down though in price as almost everything will in time.



ml1fyo.jpg  "Checkmate King Two, 'Out'" "Combat! A Selmur Production"

 

TV/DVD Collector, mainly 50's thru 90's with a few 2000+ shows.
My 2 all-time favorite TV shows:
"Combat!" & "The Fugitive"
My 2 all-time best blind-buys: "The Fugitive"   "The Donna Reed Show"


#19 of 51 LeoA

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Posted September 18 2011 - 04:40 AM

There's so little out there that I wouldn't worry about "double-dipping". The vast majority of our classic television and movie libraries are almost certainly never going to get a Blu-Ray release. I say enjoy what's available. There isn't a ton of it, but what little that there is often looks spectacular even if you have a DVD copy in your library. Blu-Ray players are getting pretty cheap these days, Blu-Ray releases can often be had at heavily discounted prices (Although I'd stay far, far, away from Star Trek which goes for far too much), and there isn't a ton of classic material. So the impact on the wallet isn't too bad and there's no risk falling in love and replacing your DVD library since most of it doesn't have a Blu-Ray option to purchase in the first place. Would be ashame to miss out on things like the Blu-Ray transfer of North by Northwest.

#20 of 51 Chuck B

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Posted September 27 2011 - 07:02 AM

As someone who works in the field, I can tell you that there is a huge difference between the job an up-converting DVD or Blu-ray player does, compared to a Blu-ray disc. That said, the difference can be more or less pronounced depending on the Blu-ray. I'd say there's no harm in investing in a Blu-ray player. All your old DVDs will look great and if you stumble upon a series you'd like to buy in HD, you have that option as well. If you're television is full 1080p, then 32" or not, the image will be better. The simple fact is that all 2 073 600 pixels have distinct image information assigned to them, while an unconverted signal is using an algorithm to guess what each pixel should be fed. With a 32" TV the pixels are just clustered closer together and the assumption is that you'll be sitting closer to it then say a 50" TV. As for content, you can just email or call the distributor of your favorite shows. If enough requests come in they'll certainly investigate the option.




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