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Question about upconversion vs. HD

Old 11-14-05, 05:01 PM
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Question about upconversion vs. HD

Not sure if its been asked, but i figure this is the place to ask. With HD presumably coming next year i've been thinking about this question.

With all the DVD's i own now i'm wondering if the New HD players will be able to play my DVD's at near HD level, or if the upconverting DVD players are the best way to go?

I'm figuring that the HD players will upconvert the old dvd's but i'm not positive. If they don't would it be best to have both a HD player and an Upconverting DVD player?
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Old 11-14-05, 11:44 PM
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It's impossible to say without the new hardware actually in hand. At a guess, I would assume that backwards compatibility with existing DVD will mostly be an afterthought in the next-gen players, and that if you are concerned with getting the best quality out of your DVDs you should buy a quality dedicated DVD player.
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Old 11-15-05, 12:35 AM
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I was thinking that the way to go would be having both, as i don't see the need in double dipping on at least half the movies i own already.
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Old 11-15-05, 10:37 AM
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I gotta disagree with Josh.

Toshiba has promised backward compatibility for HD-DVD. Sony and group have hinted at it for BD. And, frankly, they'd be idiots if the new players couldn't play current discs. Fewer would buy them than have bought SACD/DVD-A players. J6P and grandma aren't going to put out for another player to get confused which disc goes in which machine. So I don't think that's an issue.

I also think that upconversion will be a standard feature on all HD models, just like progressive has been a standard feature on virtually all DVD players for a couple years now. They won't want to make customers need 2 different connections for different types of discs from the same player. (many TVs won't accept 480i signals over HDMI) If you are willing to wait, I'm sure this will be available on HD players.

And if I'm wrong, it probably would be best to have one HD player and one upconverting player, to answer your question. The upconverters are finally reaching high quality levels with the Oppo and Denons. I think they'll be at or near the magic $100 price point sometime next year, just like the Pioneer 285 is this year for progressive players.
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Old 11-15-05, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Spiky
Toshiba has promised backward compatibility for HD-DVD. Sony and group have hinted at it for BD. And, frankly, they'd be idiots if the new players couldn't play current discs. Fewer would buy them than have bought SACD/DVD-A players. J6P and grandma aren't going to put out for another player to get confused which disc goes in which machine. So I don't think that's an issue.

I also think that upconversion will be a standard feature on all HD models, just like progressive has been a standard feature on virtually all DVD players for a couple years now. They won't want to make customers need 2 different connections for different types of discs from the same player. (many TVs won't accept 480i signals over HDMI) If you are willing to wait, I'm sure this will be available on HD players.
The real question isn't whether they will play standard-def DVDs (they will), or even whether they will upconvert them (they may), but how well they will accomplish those tasks. I doubt that the next-gen players will be optimized for standard DVD playback, even if they do technically upconvert. Remember, there are plenty of crappy upconverting DVD players on the market right now. Just being able to play a DVD and upconvert it doesn't mean you do it well.

Backwards compatibility is likely to be an afterthought on these players, something thrown in so that they can mark it off as a bullet-point on the marketing materials. The players, however, will be primarily geared for their next-gen formats.

When DVD first hit the scene, Pioneer manufactured a handful of DVD/laserdisc combi players. Yes, they were backwards-compatible, and they did in fact play laserdiscs, but no they did not do it very well. They were generally mediocre-to-poor at LD playback, with dedicated LD players being much higher in quality.

Or, an example more people are likely to have direct experience with, the PS2 is technically backwards-compatible with old PS1 videogames, but how well does it play them? PS1 gameplay is usually glitchy, with poor controls response, that is if the game even loads properly at all (many don't).
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Old 11-15-05, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z

When DVD first hit the scene, Pioneer manufactured a handful of DVD/laserdisc combi players. Yes, they were backwards-compatible, and they did in fact play laserdiscs, but no they did not do it very well. They were generally mediocre-to-poor at LD playback, with dedicated LD players being much higher in quality.
Yep, I can definitely attest to that. I bought the combo Pioneer DVL-700 back in '97 and the LD playback quality and functionality was crap compared to my CLD-702 & 703 players.
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Old 11-15-05, 08:03 PM
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But Laserdisc never really took off as a format that was as much a standard as DVD is. Laserdisc didn't overcome the VHS market but DVD's did. DVD's was the next true standard after VHS... I believe that because it was such a standard and wouldn't be too hard to be backwards compatible, I think all the upcoming HD-DVD players will be backwards compatible

Last edited by mzupeman2; 11-16-05 at 04:45 AM.
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Old 11-15-05, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mzupeman2
But Laserdisc never really took off as a format that was as much a standard as DVD is. Laserdisc didn't overcome the VHS market but DVD's did. DVD's was the next true standard after DVD... I believe that because it was such a standard and wouldn't be too hard to be backwards compatible, I think all the upcoming HD-DVD players will be backwards compatible
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Old 11-16-05, 06:33 AM
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I edited my post a little. And although it was kinda wordy and confusing, you get the idea. Laserdisc was a good format but never quite ended up being a huge success, such as DVD's have been. DVD was not concerned with trying to be completely compatible with Laserdiscs because Laserdisc was not a 'earlier' format, it was a competitor. But HD-DVD is something that's jumping to try and be the next new standard, most likely will replace DVD's in the future, and will want to make sure that it plays regular DVD discs as well, I'm sure.
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Old 11-16-05, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mzupeman2
I believe that because it was such a standard and wouldn't be too hard to be backwards compatible, I think all the upcoming HD-DVD players will be backwards compatible
Of course they're all going to be backwards compatible. The question was: will they all *upconvert* to HD resoutions. (And, not asked but implied, is will they do it well.)

That's a more difficult question, and one that I think Josh pretty much hit out of the park on his first response.

Say I'm Sony. I make Blu-Ray players and Blu-Ray discs. Why would I equip my players to take your standard def DVDs and upconvert them well to HD? It's going to be a lot harder to convince you to rebuy Men in Black if your standard def DVD is looking gorgeous on your new machine.

I'm sure that there will eventually be players that have high performance in both the standard and HD realms, but I doubt that first (or even second) gen machines will do it.

But, as Josh says, all of this is speculation about something that is essentially vaporware. The companies can make all the promises they want, but it is what actually physically hits stores that matters.
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Old 11-16-05, 11:21 AM
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Well, if we are going to get detailed like that, most of these manufacturers can't make a player now that is all that great. Models like the Panny RP82, Denon 2900, Pioneer 285, Oppo have been the exception. Mostly they are junk that manage to look better than VHS just because DVD is that much better. I think it will be the same with the HD generation. Frankly, only Denon (and ridiculous high-end) has really improved with time. Panny has been a big name in video quality, but they keep jumping up and down the scale with each new generation.

That's a good point, bboisvert. And might very well be true of Sony and some others. But I'm waiting for Denon or another good equipment-only company to put out a good BD/HD-DVD/DVD-upconvert/SACD/DVD-A universal player before I do more than window shop. (and could you make a 5-6 disc changer this time???) Panny or Denon or Samsung won't have the studio side of the business to screw up their player ideas. It might be 3 years before one is available in my price range, no problem.

Last edited by Spiky; 11-16-05 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 11-16-05, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z
Backwards compatibility is likely to be an afterthought on these players, something thrown in so that they can mark it off as a bullet-point on the marketing materials. The players, however, will be primarily geared for their next-gen formats.
I've seen something similar with VCD playback on DVD players. Most DVD player can play VCDs, but very few do an excellent job. It took quite a few years before VCD playback support became commonplace... and still only a handful do it with excellence.
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