HD DVD players

Okay, another question related to DVDs and HDTV.

I’m looking around online and seeing high definition DVD players that will upscale a standard DVD image to 720 and/or 1080 for purportedly a far better picture. These players aren’t prohibitively espensive, starting at around $199, but I’m wondering if these claims of producing a far better picture on HDTV are fanciful.

Does anyone have any experience of playing DVDs on a high def DVD player who can tell me if the increase in picture quality on HDTV is worth it?

I’ve used and tested several, from relatively low cost V unit ($249) to a very expensive Denon 3910 ($1200).

They can work pretty well. The low cost ones do well if you keep everything in the digital domain (i.e., connect via DVI). The Denon has a great scaler and converter, and looks good over DVI or component. Remember, you’re scaling, not viewing true HD, but done well, it looks great on an HD display.

I just got in a NeoNeu (NeuNeo???) unit that claims to scale to 1080p over component. Haven’t tested that yet, but it’s $249, so worth a look.

I would be using an HDMI cable so I think the connection would be pretty good.

Are we talking an increase in quality comparable to HD broadcast, or just something a bit better than standard 480p DVD?

Case, have you played much with using PC hardware and software to do upconversion through a videocard? I think the app is FFDShow or something like that. My current projector is just 800 x 600 so I don’t have a lot of need for upscaling, but I’m looking at a 720p model as an upgrade here in the next year or so.

I have a samsung one that I paid 90 bucks for from amazon. I upgraded from a 2 year old normal progressive scan DVD player and for me it was 100% worth it for a few reasons.

First the picture quality is better yes. Its it like OMFG I CANT BELIEVE IT! better? No its not but it is a bit sharper and with my unit I can flip between all of the resolutions on the fly and I can see the difference when I go back to 480p.

Second I flashed the firmware of the unit so that I could play Divx files on it and that has also worked out great. The unit doesnt normally play the files but a Bios from another unit also works on this one so you get the best of both worlds with out having to pay an assload.

Now would I have paid 199 for this unit? Eh thats a bit harder of a call but for me spending 90 bucks was a no brainer and I have been very happy with what I have seen. The only thing I would change would be the remote. It has to be the worst friggin remote I have ever used in my life. I dont know what kind of IR transmitter they put in that thing but it sucks. I am using my universal remote now so it doesnt really matter but damn that remote sucked.

Yeah, I play around with home theater PCs quite a bit. A recent generation graphics card (eg, Geforce 6600) can do a pretty darned good job of scaling up DVD. Ultimately, though, they’re not quite as good as the best of the dedicated upscaling DVD players, but it’s hard to tell the difference at 720p. But you can do more with an HTPC than you can with a DVD player.

I’d stay away from the Toshiba scalers. Good picture, came with the HDMI cable, but good luck trying to press buttons. Both the remote and the buttons on the deck itself are terribly flakey. I have to try 5 or 6 time just to get the damn thing to eject…

I hear the Oppo scaler is pretty damn good. plays divx, xvid, WMV. Easily made region free. Upgradable firmware… $199.00

I picked up a Samsung upscaler and a high-end HDMI cable, and while the picture quality was better (smoother, less grainy) the difference appeared pretty negligible to my untrained eye, so I returned it.

Roll on Blu-Ray. Isn’t PS3 going to support next-gen DVD playback?

Roll on Blu-Ray. Isn’t PS3 going to support next-gen DVD playback?

Yeah its supposed to.

Same experience here, with what’s probably the same model. Lots of trouble initially with ejecting discs. I’d just get an empty tray about a third of the time, and have to try four or five times to get a disc out. Finally it started jamming. That turned out to be a good thing, though, since it forced me to open up the unit, whereupon I fixed the problem by slightly bending the metal frame enclosing the disc tray.

Picture quality is noticeably better than a standard DVD player (went through a half-dozen of them after buying my HDTV and hated them all for one reason or another), though, and the player was only around $140 at the start of the year, so I kept it. Part of that, though, is that I bought the thing through Amazon and didn’t want to go through the hassle of mailing it back.