Going HD/Blu-ray, would like some advise

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by BigKid13, May 9, 2008.

  1. BigKid13

    BigKid13 Auditioning

    May 8, 2008
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    I'm new at this so please bear with me. I have had a very satifying HT for a little over two years consisting of a Panasonic PT-AE900U projector (720p capable), Denon AVR-1907 (no HDMI but DTS capable) and an LG upconvert DVD player. I want to upgrade the DVD player to HD and I have a bunch of questions that are beyond the local sales folks so I thought I'd bring them here. I was thinking about purchasing a Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player (they are super cheap, even new, on e-bay and Blockbuster.com carries the movies, and they down-convert to DTS) but was wondering:
    1. Most importantly - Will I notice the difference between an upconverted DVD (to 720p) and an HD DVD? I can't get a decent (read simple) expanation on why it would be better. It's still going to be 720p, no more lines or pixles, so why will it be better?
    2. What's the deal with this film ware thing? Do I need to do any upgrades to an HD-A2 to get it to run an HD-DVD?
    3. Am I wasting my money as sooner or later (perhaps someone out here knows when) all the HD-DVDs will be available on Blu-ray. (gotta have Serenity you know)
    4. If Blu-ray, which manufacturer would you suggest?
    5. And here's the big one money wise (and I'm afraid I already know the answer to this one) Should I keep what I have, save my money and get a 1080p projector or if I do this will I need a new receiver and wind up upgrading myself into the poor house?
    Thank you in advance for any help/insight you folks provide me with on this situation.
    Best wishes,
  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer

    Apr 24, 2006
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    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough

    When I first got into Blu-ray, I had only a 720p 52" TV. I set my player to 1080i and let the TV do the scaling. I can tell you you will see an immediate difference between sDVD and HD discs (either HD or BD). sDVDs have only so much detail possible in their encoding, so it doesn't matter if your player upscales it to 720p, the original information is not and will never be as detailed as a true high definition disc.

    I came to HD DVD very late in the game with an A2, and it has played every HD disc (and I have discs from the first launch all the way to the most recent releases) I've put in it without any firmware upgrades. (The upgrades are available on-line and are easily accomplished if you do stumble on a disc that won't play.) It also upconverts sDVDs wonderfully.

    I can't tell you what to do about upgrading your other equipment. I have gone on to a 1080p TV and a receiver with HDMI, and I am thrilled with every HD and BD I put in my players. But you will be able to tell instantly the upgrade in picture quality even with the equipment you now have (that is provided you get an HD or BD with a solid transfer. Not all of them have been stellar. Check the reviews on this site and others before you buy).
  3. Robert A

    Robert A Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 20, 2001
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    As with all consumer electronics you are probably wasting your money (since there will always be something better just on the horizon). It is a very subjective question. Sad as it makes me, HD-DVD is dead. I'm sure that they will eventually release all of the films on Blu-Ray that were previously available on HD-DVD. It's just a matter of time. But, if you gotta have Serenity HD now, there are killer deals available on HD-DVD hardware. For me, I'm enjoying my A2 and waiting until I can get a profile 2.0 blu-ray player for $199 or less to start enjoying blu-ray.
  4. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

    Apr 26, 1999
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    PS3 if now. Or wait for Sony 550/Panasonic BD50, profile 2.0 players with full audio capabilities.
  5. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer

    Jul 7, 2001
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    Real Name:
    Dave Moritz

    I currently own a Sony BDP-S300 that looks very good and sounds great as well. But will be most likely upgrading it to a Panasonic BD30K after I upgrade my receiver. It depends on your budget and if you are going to want to decode audio formats like Dolby True HD and DTS-HD MA in your player or receiver?

    Sony BDP-S300 MSRP$399 (Does not internaly decode DTS-HD MA and does only bitstreams lossy DTS and Dolby Digital as well as PCM)

    Sony BDP-S500 MSRP$599 (Decodes and bitstreams both lossy and lossless DTS and Dolby formats). This player to my knowledge is basically a repacaged Panasonic.

    Panasonic BD30 MSRP$499 (Bitstreams PCM, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD MA. But does not internally decode them.)

    Panasonic BD50 MSRP$? (Decodes and bitstreams both lossy and lossless DTS and Dolby formats).

    Or you can jump up to a Denon DVD-2500ci for $999 and it only bitstreams lossy and lossless. You have to get the 3800ci from Denon if you want both bitstream and interal decoding but that will also set you back $1999 but it does have the Realta HQV scaler. [​IMG]

    Personally I would stay away from Samsung and LG especially. I like Samsung's HDTV's but IMHO there other products are lacking. If you are not going to use the web capability then I would say a profile 1.1 player will be just fine. But if you will be interested in web features then you might want to hold off for a profile 2.0 player, depends on your goals.
  6. thrca

    thrca Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 29, 2007
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    My $.02 (the ones i didnt quote I havent any input on)
    3. Personally, Unless you are not patient enough to wait for the BD versions of these titles, I think that doing this would be an enormous waste of money. You wouldnt even get the benefit of a free $100 gift card from Best Buy. [​IMG] Of course, if you MUST have the HD titles and cannot wait, go for it, but based on #5, it sounds like you don't have a wad of cash burning its way out of your pocket. (and if you do, I will happily find some stuff you dont need to sell to you)

    4. Granted, you may be looking for a dedicated BD player so it matches the cosmetics of your system, but right now the PS3 is THE BEST value per doller for BD, and on top of that, it plays games, is BD2 upgradable, and can have Ubuntu installed so you can use it as a computer. Can't get much better than that for 400 bucks.

    5. I would save for the receiver first, then the projector. The BD content will look great on your existing setup, but will be like running a vette in 3rd gear all the time. You really wouldnt be able to take full advantage of the BD unless you upgrade the display I wouldnt think, but if you are running it through the receiver for upscaling, upgrading the display wont help until the receiver is upgraded. Overall, I would just go with the PS3, then upgrade the reciever when money permits, then the projector. Or... The PS3, then the projector+hdmi switch, receiver.

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