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General high-def DVD questions (1 Viewer)

Dave Gorman

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My knowledge of and questions about high-def DVD will certainly display an alarming level of ignorance, so I apologize in advance! Until now, I really haven't read or researched HD DVD (high-def in general, not HD-DVD specifically) at all for a number of reasons. Now that I'm starting to look into it, the amount of information seems to be like drinking from a fire hydrant -- I really don't even know what questions to ask! So I'm starting with a couple basics and will go from there.

1) First, I have a TV that in current HT standards is somewhat archaic. I have a Toshiba 50H81, no HDMI, just component. Is HD DVD even worth my while without HDMI? I had thought that HDMI was required, but have recently been told that HD & BR will display 1080i over component. Can anyone offer confirmation or clarification as to specifically what I can expect with this TV?

2) I'm also under the impression that no upconversion can be done over component. If I were able to use HD or BR over component at 1080i, what would happen were I to play standard DVDs in an HD or BR player?

I'm sure I will have many more questions as I learn more, but I'd appreciate any input on these two questions to start with. Thanks!
 

Patrick Sun

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1. Yes, you would get HD DVD or BD video playback through the component video input of your TV at 1080i (provided that that's the output option you set it to). That's because the ICT flag isn't being set to the "on" condition on the component video output of the HD DVDs or BDs. ICT is what would have made it impossible to pass the video through the component video output if the flag was set to "on".

2. DVD playback through a HD DVD or BD player would be sent through the component video output in 480p (at best), and would not upconvert to 1080i or 720p. So you'd get the regular 480p from DVD playback (in some instances, but might get 540p, but I forget under what condition).
 

ManW_TheUncool

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1. I'm in a similar situation as you and recently went Blu w/ the PS3. I think a new 1080p TV would benefit more from HDM (ie. HD media) though I suspect it's partly due to them being optimized for 1080p and being visually worse for DVD. Still, after proper setup, you should see a good quality improvement over DVD -- I forget whether your Tosh forces upconversion to 540p anyway, but if it does, I imagine you'll see a bit more benefit than me since my Panny 53" doesn't do that for 480i/p sources.

2. No, they do not upconvert over component out. They only do it via HDMI just like typical upconverting DVD players.

_Man_
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Hmmm... Didn't know that one. Maybe he'll get 540p for his Tosh since I think it might be one of those early 1080i/540p sets.

_Man_
 

Dave Gorman

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According to UltimateAVmag.com: Toshiba 50H81 HD-Ready 16:9 rear-projection television, "A 480p input, as from a progressive-scan DVD player, is not displayed directly but is instead converted by the set's built-in scaler to 540p."

I'm not sure I understand, but it seems the difference between my present 540p to 1080i with HD or BD would be significant, wouldn't it?

If this is the case, and it would be worth my while to invest in HD or BD (in light of recent developments, I'm leaning toward BD), would there be some players that would do better over component than others? Is there anything specific to look for? Recommendations?
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Your set is probably more optimized for 1080i (and thus HDM) than mine since it upconverts SD signals to 540p. So yes, I think you should see a significant improvement provided you don't sit too far away from the TV (and watch good quality HD titles).

I suspect you'll find more variance in quality of component output (vs HDMI) between players. Don't know which players do best over component, but the PS3 does well for both BD and DVD -- and it seems to be one of the better upconverting players for DVD too when using HDMI, which you'll probably eventually want. If you go w/ the PS3, you do need to get the software updated for best results (as usual w/ these players) though, but software update is no trouble at all w/ the PS3 if you have a WiFi setup for internet access (or have convenient access via ethernet connection). If you're looking for a reasonably affordable standalone player, the Panny BD30 seems like the best alternative right now though I hear its DVD upconversion via HDMI is not as good.

_Man_
 

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