by Paul Sanders
For average users, DVD players aren't much of a mystery. DVD players produce high-quality video, especially when compared to old VHS tapes. Additionally, you can get a whole lot more from your DVD collection if you know the details of DVD player technology and what your options are. Here are some answers to more advanced questions about DVD players to help you get the best entertainment possible.
Can DVD players produce HD video?
DVD players offer a detailed picture, but it's not HD in the sense that is used by the entertainment industry today. Typically, what is meant by "high-definition video" is 1080p resolution video quality. Most DVDs don't have this level of picture detail to offer. Up-converting DVD players can increase the picture resolution to near 1080p artificially, but the DVD players still can't quite match 1080p resolution of some HDTV broadcasts and Blu-ray discs.
How can I transfer my VHS tapes to DVDs?
DVDs have a much longer life than VHS tapes, so they're a good way to preserve home movies and irreplaceable tapes. Transferring your old tapes to DVD will require a DVD recorder connected to a VCR, or a VCR/DVD recorder combination. You can then play them on any DVD player that plays recordable discs.
Why won't my DVD player play certain discs?
DVD players have a limited number of formats they can read. If your DVD is from another country and has the wrong region code (a geographical coding to prevent piracy), or the disc is in a recordable format that your DVD player doesn't recognize, the disc may not play. You may find region-less DVD players or video players that accept multiple recording formats that will play those discs.
What do "progressive scan" and "up-conversion" mean?
Progressive scan refers to the way your TV presents video. Older video could only be displayed by TVs in lines: First, the screen would display every other line and then would fill in the rest on the next pass, refreshing many times a second. Since HDTVs came out, broadcasts and movies have switched to displaying the entire frame in one pass. This full scanning of the image is called "progressive scan." Up-conversion is the process by which advanced DVD players convert older video formats into progressive scan while enhancing the resolution of the picture.