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Please advise: Is there a point in getting a Blu-ray...

by b33m3r / December 3, 2008 3:51 AM PST

Is there a point in getting a Blu-ray player for my current setup?

My TV: Samsung LN-S3251D

My Home Theater System: Samsung HT-Q80 XM Ready Five-Disc DVD Changer Home Theater System (5.1 Channel)

Blu-ray player I am looking at: Sony BDP-BX1

Please bear with me, my mind is swimming with information I've researched over the past 2 days and I need a kind soul or two to help me suss it out.

I believe my TV can only display a up to 720p (though in the specs I see: Input Video Formats - 480i , 480p , 720p , 1080i which just confuses me into thinking 1080i is possible with this TV).

Will I notice any discernible difference (even a slight improvement is worth it to me) in picture quality if I add the Sony BDP-BX1? Or will the picture be just as good as the Samsung HT-Q80 is providing.

We have a fairly large DVD collection so the upscaling factor is important (will they look better?). We also have Blockbuster Total Access and while I don't really plan on shelling out the dough to purchase the Blu-ray disks, renting them is not a problem especially if there is an improvement in the cinematic experience. Or should we save our money and put it towards expanding our DVD collection?

Thank you in advance for your time and thoughts regarding my dilemma.

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No I think you have answer the question.
by ahtoi / December 3, 2008 10:24 AM PST

"I don't really plan on shelling out the dough to purchase the Blu-ray disks", but I wouldn't collect more dvd either, unless you are getting it at a very cheap price (like 2/3 dollars). Save the money for the big 1080p TV and BD player.

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DVD's are insanely cheap right now...
by b33m3r / December 3, 2008 11:55 AM PST

Hence why our DVD collection is growing. We canceled Comcast because we figure if we have to watch all the same old crap all the time we might as well watch the same old crap that we want to watch minus the commercials.

We found a good deal on a Blu-ray player and without Comcast HiDef I don't feel we are getting the full effect from our current HiDef TV, with Blockbuster Total Access it's no problem to rent a Blu-ray disk and fill that void. Especially if it is going to provide a better picture than our current DVD player (which I suppose is my real question now).

Also, according to CNET, the difference in 1080p does not justify the price of the sets, so I'm not going to go that route. Thanks for your input.

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Is there a point in getting a Blu-ray...
by poonjw / December 3, 2008 10:58 AM PST NO.

1. Yr TV is not full not 1080p
2. Blu-ray allows full HD but input source must also be full HD...otherwise it is call upscaling.
3. For a full HD experience...need:-
Full HD TV, Blu-ray, Full HD input material.
4. HDMI cable is usually not an issue.

Hope this help.

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My research says otherwise
by b33m3r / December 3, 2008 11:44 AM PST

Thanks for your input.

According to CNET there is not a whole big difference between 1080i & 1080p (at least not enough to justify the markup).

After further research on the matter I am leaning towards the purchase of the Blu-ray player, I know I won't get 1080p but I should get more than double the resolution and after Google'ing this subject for two days now I found plenty of forums where people say I would notice a difference (albeit mostly when playing Blu-ray disks) over my current DVD player; providing that what I know about my DVD player is true.

I'm trying to figure out if my Samsung DVD player upconverts (I asked this question on the Samsung forums, hopefully a tech will reply). I am pretty sure it does not, but I am confused because the equipment itself (the TV and the player) tell me different; that is, when playing an SD DVD movie (which should be, at best, a resolution of 480) the TV tells me it is playing at 720p, which can only be possible if the DVD player is upscaling. My belief is that the TV and DVD player are just communicating to each other what their capabilities are and not what the are actually performing at the time.

I don't know, my head hurts most because these manufacturers can't KISS the subject matter. Thanks for replying.

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I don't think it upconverts...
by Pepe7 / December 4, 2008 12:31 AM PST

...based on what I saw online in the user manual. FWIW though, CNET is more often referring to the (sometimes) negligible difference between viewing 720p & 1080p sets since there aren't many current 1080i only models. It's sometimes a function of your room setup, like a friend of mine who *insisted* he could see the difference in resolution between 720p & 1080p 50" panels from 20 feet away ;).


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Ok, the thing here is about price.
by ahtoi / December 4, 2008 1:20 AM PST

If the price difference between a BD player and a dvd player with upconversion is not an issue, then I would get a BD player.

You can tell the difference of a dvd with and without upconversion.

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Decisions, decisions...
by b33m3r / December 4, 2008 3:11 AM PST

According to Crutchfield the HT-Q80 does upconvert, personally I don't think it does a very good job of it. Especially when you use the 'EZ View' feature to get rid of the black wide screen bars on most DVD's; the picture becomes very grainy in most instances, in others it produces a bar effect that runs down the picture.

While doing research I found this quote in another forum:

"You will most definitely enjoy an obvious improvement in image quality by stepping up to BD. The native resolution of SD DVD is 720 x 480 (345,600 pixels) vs. 1280 x 720 available from BD for your TV (921,600 pixels). That's an increase of 2.66 times the detail your TV has to work with."

The logic makes sense to me. Another person basically said that down converting 1080p to 720p is still boat loads better than trying to upconvert a SD DVD up to 720p. If we can still get a good price on the Blu-ray player we will probably add it to the setup. We just canceled Comcast (Pink Floyd cried about 13 channels of crap on the TV, what would they say now?), and we are not getting any HiDef content for the HiDef TV we paid for, so we feel like there is a void.

There was a major difference in the HiDef movies we rented on the OnDemand service and our DVD collection. I have a sneaking suspicion that a Blu-ray player may also upconvert our DVD collection better than the HT-Q80 does, though that may just be wishful thinking on my part.

Thanks for the advice.

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I was looking at another model
by Pepe7 / December 4, 2008 6:15 AM PST

The Samsung site had a similar model number listed which is what I was referencing. It looks like it can upconvert to 1080i, but the user manual @ crutchfield doesn't specifically mention that it can upconvert to 720p. Does this matter I wonder? You are correct that even 720p is a huge difference in quality over SD. Most HDTV buyers don't even get the full monty anyway as they are unfortunately unaware that they could have their HDTVs calibrated properly (even with a simple DVD) to increase overall PQ and get more bang for their buck.


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by b33m3r / December 4, 2008 7:01 AM PST

Reassurance is always nice. I have not gone the length to calibrate the TV though I know I should but then again I don't exactly have my speaker config laid out well either (at least not well enough for my taste, my wife couldn't care less!). I do plan to work on these things. That resolution chart you linked to helped out a bit too (as long as I read it right!) Thanks Pedro.

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by bearvp / December 4, 2008 4:36 AM PST

It looks like your Samsung HT-Q80 only has one HDMI input. Is this taken up by your Comcast HD-DVR? To really enjoy a Blu-ray player, you need to connect it to your receiver via HDMI. Also, your receiver doesn't decode TrueHD or DTS-MA sound, which are the latest and greatest kinds. You would need a BR player that can internally decode those two sound codecs and then pass them to your receiver via HDMI as Multichannel PCM. Right now, the best Blu-ray players that do that for the least amount of money are the Panasonic DMP-BD55 and the Sony PS3. And the Sony PS3 has better DVD upconversion than the Panasonic.

But if you don't care about audio quality that much, then you would still probably notice a quality gain by going with a Blu-ray player. Personally, if you want a cheap $200-$300 player, I'd go with the Panasonic DMP-BD35. It is rated as a better player than anything else in its price range.

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You bring up something else I was concerned about...
by b33m3r / December 4, 2008 7:24 AM PST
In reply to: Receiver

Yes the Q80 only has one HDMI thru but I was not planning on using that. I was going to go straight to the TV with the HDMI (it has 2 HDMI) and go into the HT-Q80 with optical from the Blu-ray. In my research I have read some iffy things regarding the thru-put of the HDMI on the Q80 plus when playing DVD's late at night if I tell the system to play sound only through the TV's speakers it is crackly, I was hoping the Blu-ray would not do this when put directly to the TV speakers and bypass this problem all together.

I am comfortable with the systems sound, God knows where I would find space to put the extra 2 speakers in a 7.1 system anyway (not to mention trying to explain the setup and why we have to rearrange the furniture to my wife would open up a major can of worms!).

What I am curious about is how will the HT-Q80 will handle the sound fed by the Blu-ray player? Will the HT-Q80 even be able to play the signal? Will it play Dolby 5.1? etc.

Thank you for the advice on the Panasonic, I will give it serious consideration.

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Not me too young
by blueyes121705 / December 5, 2008 8:57 PM PST

Personally, I have seen movies on BlueRay and I wasn't too overly impressed with the difference between DVD and BlueRay. Yes there is a difference but not a big of enough difference that I was willing to go out and buy a new player and have to deal with a limited number of costly movies. I use to think all those extras were neat that DVDs and BlueRay will include with your movie but now I am like, just show me the movie.

I love tech stuff but I have personally found over the years it is better to wait before diving into a new type of technology to see all the bugs get worked out, if it actually lasts, how adaptable it will be to other electronics, and watch the price get cut in half. You ever see the orginal CD players, those things were UGLY, costly, and didn't really work that well.

I would stick with a really good dvd player with a nice tv and audio system. Your movies will still look great, they will be cheap to buy, easy to borrow movies from a friend, you don't have to worry about rearranging your house or adapting to other electronics, and your wife won't kill you when the price drops on BlueRays in the future and you realize how much you got ripped off for.

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by b33m3r / December 6, 2008 1:16 AM PST
In reply to: Not me too young

Your funny! And I subscribe to your philosophy. I never buy the latest and greatest. In this case it is my wife driving the purchase decision, so I'm kind of safe; kind of...

We finally bought the Sony BDP-BX1 for $200. A reasonable price for us seeing as we just got rid of Comcast, so the money we are saving by not purchasing 100 plus channels of the same old crap (most of which is 'reality tv') was used for this. All this economic reasoning comes from my wife (with a wee, little nudge from myself).

The picture quality is amazing from the Blu-ray, and she seems to be pleased. And if she's happy... Thanks for your input it put a smile on my face. Cool

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dvd v blu ray
by kctobyjoe / December 7, 2008 12:14 AM PST
In reply to: Not me too young

you evidently are watching blue ray on either a GARBAGE BD player OR a garbage TV or BOTH

Watch Indiana Jones on a 1080 TV in Blu Ray
THEN tell me there is NO difference.

My SONT bravia LCD is hooked up via HDMI cables from my Toshiba HD DVD, COMCAST digital box; Pansonic BLU RAY.

You need GLASSES!!!

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Struck a Nerve
by blueyes121705 / December 7, 2008 12:55 AM PST
In reply to: dvd v blu ray

Down killer. Clearly I struck a nerve for expressing an opinion. I didn't realize posting something on this forum would result in playground bullying behavior.

Anyway... When I was watching the movies on Blue Ray it was on both a really good player and TV, as well as the cables were one of the best. It was one of my friend's setups who always has the latest and best in tech. He has the money to spend. Do movies look and sound good, sure. After watching a few movies on it we both had a discussion whether it was worth purchasing one (I was thinking about getting one), taking cost of the player and all the extras and limitations that go into it (as I have stated a few of them in my earlier post). Our opinion was that at this state of the game it really wasn't worth getting one for right now. In the future I will be in line to get one but for right now I am waiting.

Oh and yes I was wearing my glasses. Actually, I had just picked up my new glasses at the eye doctor, I can give you the prescription for them if that makes you feel better.

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HD is all relative
by Dan Filice / December 7, 2008 5:56 AM PST
In reply to: Struck a Nerve

I've always had a theory that if we had ever fully utilized 480 lines of resolution, such as broadcasting in 480p, going high-def might not have been needed. In addition, if this country EVER adopted the European 625 PAL broadcast standard (which looks stunning compared to our 525 lines of resolution), we may also not have needed to go High-Def. But, such as things are, we are now into the high-def game. I for one do see a worthwhile difference in a 1080p picture on my TV, but the quality difference is all relative. My dad is completely and totally happy with his crummy 25" RCA TV (only has a single coax input) that has a 3" speaker. I could never convince him that anything is superior to his collection of VHS tapes. It's all relative.

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by b33m3r / December 7, 2008 2:30 AM PST
In reply to: dvd v blu ray

You do realize that it is possible to add constructive criticism to a conversation without insulting people?

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That last comment was for kctobyjoe
by b33m3r / December 7, 2008 2:32 AM PST
In reply to: ...

not blueyes... just wanted to clarify that... Cool

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Yes, there are three points.
by gsmollin / December 7, 2008 2:59 PM PST

The three main points of picture quality are:
1. Contrast
2. Color
3. Resolution

The BD player affects, mainly, the latter two. Contrast is mostly a function of your entire home theater setup, from the display to the light control in your room. The contrast of a BD can be better than a DVD, but you won't see it unless you have made real investments in your display, and control stray light in your room.

The color gamut of BD exceeds that of DVD, so there should be a real improvement. Of course, your display must be able to reproduce the color gamut, and it may need to be calibrated to produce it correctly.

Resolution is the least important, and the most oversold part of BD. In any display under 50 inches, 720p is fine. I look at a 76 inch 720p, and at a 12 foot distance I can't see any pixelation. The difference between 1080i and 1080p is almost zero, and truely zero for most cinematic discs, which are recorded in 1080p, 24 frames/second anyway. If you are worried about 1080p vs 1080i, then you need a top notch 96 Hz or 120Hz display to reproduce the 24 frame/s movies correctly.

Don't forget the sound. The codecs used in BD are more advanced than those in DVD, and the lossless codecs make concert shows truely memorable. Once again, you need a very good sound system to reproduce the difference, or you may be disappointed.

BD is one link in a long chain in in your home theater. However, I do believe it is a worthwhile upgrade, even for a modest "theater in a box" system. Just don't expect it to show you more than your home theater is capable of delivering.

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