Ask a Pro
Q. Can I Upscale DVDs & Play Blu-ray Discs….?
Simon Scotland lays out a plan for passing Blu-ray audio through a 6.1 A/V receiver in this setup.
December 29, 2008 by Simon Scotland

Q. My Toshiba Rear Projection HDTV displays 1080i and is HDCP compliant. Will I be able to upscale old DVDs & play Blu-ray discs if I connect a Blu-ray player with HDMI to DVI and connect the audio to my current 6.1 AVR? - Michael/Edmonton

A. Your equipment seems to tick all the right boxes to make this work. There are just a few things you might need to check before you go ahead with this.

The DVI cable you are connecting to your screen (depending on its length) may not be able to carry the 1080i resolution picture. Assuming this cable is not installed in the wall, you should be able to change this easily if it doesn’t work. I would try your existing cable first and if you don’t get a picture then upgrade the cable. If you install a new cable, invest in one which can handle 1080p resolutions should you upgrade your TV.

You didn’t mention the make and model of your AVR receiver and whether you are planning to connect the HDMI from your Blu-ray to the AVR and then to your screen. If you are -  then you need to make sure it can handle the new sound formats that are present on Blu-ray. Sound from Blu-ray can be passed to the AVR in three ways:

  • Passed over HDMI cable
  • Use AVR to decode sound
  • Use BD-player to decode sound and pass it as linear PCM

A relatively new AVR should be able to handle one of these formats. Check the manual or with your dealer to confirm this. If the AVR cannot handle audio in this way then you can still connect your Blu-ray player using a coaxial or digital optical cable to the AVR. While you won’t then enjoy the latest sound formats, you will still get Dolby Digital or DTS surround sound just like with a DVD.

HDMI is still more of an art than a science and although all equipment may seem to be compatible, there may still be some issues with HDCP. Unfortunately you won’t really know for sure until you try it. Using good quality cables should minimize the risk of any problems. If you buy your Blu-ray player from a reputable dealer they should be able to advise you on making it work properly with your other equipment.

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Simon spent eight years in the feature film production. Upon leaving the industry he formed Beyond the Invisible in London UK which specializes in high end whole house entertainment systems, home theaters and lighting control and currently has a staff on ten. He is a certified CEDIA designer and avid collector of Citroen automobiles.

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