Q. I have a great quality, 50-inch, 720p plasma TV and am looking to purchase a new DVD player. Which will deliver the best quality image to my TV: a regular DVD player that upconverts standard DVDs to 720p or a Blu-ray player, playing Blu-ray discs and down-converting to 720p? - Gordon, Swampscott, MA
A. This is an interesting question. Both pictures will be at 720p, but how they get there is what is important. With an upconverting DVD player, the video processor, depending on quality, is taking the image and recalibrating it, adding in certain pixels where necessary. The eye sees sharpness better than any other detail, so the added pixels help sharpen and define an image within the overall image.
In this scenario, you might occasionally see a “false” image on screen when two images are close in color or definition. This is where the video scaler or processor within an upconverting DVD player really comes in to play. You could have 2 “upconverting” DVD players showing on the same TV (calibrated the same) and you will see a big difference between the lower-end model and higher-end one.
Instead of addiing artificial artifacts to the image, a Blu-ray player compresses the picture to be the best possible your display will allow. In other words, it will be the best possible version of itself, but at 720p. It rescales the image from 1080 to 720 pixels across and 1920 to 1280 down, same image but a little less definition.
Blu-ray would be your best bet for picture quality, plus, if or when you decide to upgrade your display, you should already have an impressive movie collection.
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