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FAQs about Upconverting DVD Players

by Paul Sanders

Upconverting DVD player with open tray

Now that you've upgraded to an HDTV, your DVD collection, played on a regular DVD player, may not be looking quite as sharp. The lower resolution video of DVDs simply doesn't take advantage of the full resolution of a high-definition screen; but with upconverting DVD players, you can play your DVDs with higher clarity and definition on your HDTV. These answers to frequently asked questions about DVD players should give you more insight into how you can improve your entertainment experience with your existing movie library.

DVD Players and Upconversion:

  1. What is DVD upconversion?
    The term upconversion refers to the way DVD players, computers and HDTVs artificially increase standard-definition video -- like the video on DVDs -- to a higher resolution and clarity image. Upconverting DVD players attempt to increase video quality and detail through software algorithms which insert new pixels into an image, raising the original 480i/p resolution of the DVD's video closer to the 1080p resolution of your HDTV. DVD players may also change the scan type of the video from interlaced to progressive scan.

  2. Is upconverted video the same as HD video?
    No. In order to upconvert standard-definition video, DVD players must insert additional information into the image which wasn't in the original. This process isn't perfect, and DVD players can't perfectly mimic naturally encoded video data. HD video captures and records the color and detail of image in high definition to begin with, so you're seeing all of the original video data with little or no digital manipulation.

  3. Can I play Blu-ray discs on upconverting DVD players?
    No. Even the best DVD players will only play regular DVDs, as the lasers inside the players are not designed to read high-definition discs, like Blu-ray discs. Only Blu-ray players and BD-ROM drives can play Blu-ray discs.

  4. I have a Blu-ray player. Can it upconvert my DVDs, too?
    Yes. Almost all Blu-ray DVD players will play DVDs as well, and they use similar or identical upconversion software to regular DVD players. With a Blu-ray player, you can update your entertainment options without leaving your old DVDs behind.

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