In order to understand what upconverting DVD players are, we first need to understand what upconversion is.
The word upconversion refers back to the way video players unnaturally increase standard-definition (SD) video to a greater resolution and clearness. Upconverting DVD players attempt to increase video quality and detail through software calculations that raise the initial 480p resolution in SD nearer to a DVD video’s 1080p High Definition (HD) resolution.
Is an upconverted video the same as HD video?
No. To be able to upconvert an SD video, an upconverting DVD player must place more information in to the video which wasn’t within the original. This method is not perfect, and most devices can’t perfectly mimic video data. On the other hand, HD video are shot in high definition from the very start – from the shooting to the final rendition – so you are seeing all the original video data with little if any digital manipulation.
Can you play Blu-ray DVDs on an upconverting DVD player?
No. Even the most sophisticated player won’t be able to play Bluray DVDs. This is because the lasers in the player are not equipped to read high-definition DVDs, unlike Blu-ray DVD players.
If you have SD movies, you don’t need to buy a DVD player with video upconversion capabilities. If you’ve got a Blu-ray player, it will automatically adjust the resolution of your videos as it uses the same software as regular DVD players. If you don’t have a Blu-Ray player, now is a good time to buy one. With a Blu-ray player, you have better entertainment options without parting with your old DVD disks.
There are manufacturers of upconverting DVD players that claim their players can upgrade the quality of any regular video to the quality of a Bluray DVD. However, there’s a big fundamental problem with that claim. An SD video has a resolution of 640×480 pixels at most. Furthermore, old-school analog SD videos aren’t shot in pixels, which are the building blocks of digital images. Most HDTVs these days have a display resolution of 1,920×1,080 pixels.
When upconversion happens, two problems occur: One, the SD video will need to be stretched to fill the HD screen. Two, the TV will need to make new pixels for the SD video to fit the screen. The result is a video that looks softer than an HD video, and by softer, we do mean a video that’s not as rich in color as a real HD video.
Luckily for us, upconversion technology has gotten better over the years and there are signs that it’s getting better. The processors in today’s TVs have become more powerful and will do a passable job at the very least. But even if you don’t have an upcoverting TV set, it really doesn’t matter because of Blu-ray players, which do a better job at upconversion. Playing your old DVD on a Blu-ray DVD player is your best option for upgrading your video from SD to HD.