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What does upconversion mean?

by europa105 / June 25, 2007 10:39 AM PDT

Now that we have a Panasonic 50" plasma, and DirecTV HD srevice, I've been thinking about replacing our 5 year old DVD player/
What does the term "upconversion" mean? Is it worth having in a DVD player?
Thanks in advance for any help.

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Le Upconversion
by ns387241 / June 25, 2007 11:11 AM PDT

Upconversion refers to the process of taking a standard Definition signal and transforming it into a high-def one. This term is generally reserved for DVD players, however many a/v receivers and other video eqipment can do similar things. If you choose an HD-Upconvert DVD player, you will need an HDMI cable (ususally $100 for anything decent, although Analysis Plus makes the best I've seen so far for $87,( Cost-wise, HD upconvert players (for similar quality) will run about $60 more than their standard counterparts. My recommendation would be to take the extra $160 one would be spending on an upconvert player an put that towards an excellent-quality standar player (which can be found up to $500 cost-wise). HD Upconvert players involve a line of 25-30 different processors (depending on model) that do everything from line-doubling to contrast and color enhancement. These processors aren't perfect (not even the $17,000 Clase CDP-501 (, whose quality rivals the new BluRay Dis Players on the market today)and do make some mistakes, which are annoyingly noticeable. Depending on how much one would like to spend, I might recommend a $60 Sony ( DVP-NS57p,, which for the price beats out all others this side of $300, or past that point, I would recommend the Rotel RDV-1045 ( as the most accurate standard player below $500. After that, Arcam DiVA series are excellent( well as any of the Clase players (don't challenge my reference system please, I have the Clase CDT-501). Bottom Line, an HD upconver player this less than $1000 is definitely not worth it, considering inferior quality and less-than-perfect colors. over $1000, only a few are truly fantastic.

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Sorry, but for simplicity sake, I have to differ with your
by NM_Bill / June 25, 2007 1:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Le Upconversion

high standards as applied to those here rather new to HD, etc. Your standards are fine for you.

Here at this forum our recommendations for real world budgets typically favor the excellently reviewed value of the $199 model of disk player from direct to customer selling Oppo. It has Faroudja video processing - a real step from those who don't. The exotic realm starts with Burr-Brown processors & goes obfuscutory from there, along with price. The Oppo upconverts quite well. Yes, not as well as models costing several times as much, but that's practicality.

It is not easy to get early info on how good particular brands or models of TVs are at upconverting, but we know several disk players that excel, so why not just rely of those units doing your upconverting?

HDMI cables can quickly get exotic, but more than reviewing site did simple comparisons of actual usage & declared decent low price ones, from sources like - good & excellent value.

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A little shorter answer. . .
by Coryphaeus / June 25, 2007 11:41 AM PDT

Upconverting is taking the 480 lines of resolution of a DVD and "adding content" up to 1080 lines.

I have a Sony 55" SXRD TV. I purchased a Samsung upconverting DVD/VCR combo player, around a hundred bucks. I connected it to the TV via HDMI and I was impressed. Brighter picture and more definition. Regardless of the other poster's statements, it looks better. And you don't need to spend a hundred bucks on an HDMI cable. Data is data, digital is digital. Shop around for the cable. And if you buy Monster, don't come back. Wink

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by ns387241 / June 25, 2007 2:42 PM PDT

In response to that quite ignorant statement that "data is data", I've got some news:
Digital information is comprise of a set of ones, zeroes, and blanks, of which a unit can translate into a waveform (back to light waves for us humans to see) That being said, if one figure gets screwed up, your picture can be severely compriamised. This can happen with noise in the line or interference caused by some outer source. Also, digital is still pulses of electricity travelling on a metal conductor: the surface of the condutor can affect the signal as well. Impure copper will have a rough surface (have you ever felt the surface on the Statue of Liberty? very rough, very contaminated by Oxygen and very impure), thus causing deficiencies in the transmission. This may result in tiling, loss of sound, or compltee loss of picture. As for Monster, their consumer line is so-so, AR costing less and being comarable, but their pro line is a force to be reckoned with. As for practicality, decent cable to run Component Video (maybe by Analysis-Plus) will give you the picture the director intended you to see, not what Oppo, Panasonic or Toshiba intended you to see. The purity of the signal can only be kept with proper cables and a DVD player that doesn't **** with the signal. HD Upconvert player screw with the signal in more ways than just line doubling. I will leave this up to you, though. I recommend you purchase an upconvert player for around $200 (a Harman Kardon with Burr Brown Processors comes to mind - also comes with mediocre HDMI cable (DVD-38)) and see what difference it makes. Keep in mind that if you are simply using the cables out of the box from your standard player, then you will not get a quality image, which is why I also recommend a decent pair of component Cables (Monster Video 3 (pro) or Analysis-Plus Black Component Video Cables) so you may go back and forth to see the difference. The colors may be more vivid, the screen may be brighter, but look at fleshtones on the HD player as they turn to pink or orange, and look at other colors turn to the 8-pack of crayolas we had as kids, watch smooth edges on the standard player look digitized and rough on the upconvert player. A signal is not a signal is not a signal! Cables will make or brake your system! ****** cables have bandwith constraints which kill pictorial dynamic peaks in brightness, contrast and color. Also, for upconvert, let me put it this way: it is like playing the game telephone (in case you're not familiar, its a children's game where the kids are sat down in a line with the objective to pass a message along from beginning to end in an unmodified form. The problem is, is that what went in is definitely not what came out. The processors are the same way). Also, a nice quote from the Analysis-Plus website:
"Using conventional cable is like pouring fine wine through a lead pipe. What comes out is definitely not what went in"

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You HAVE to be kidding. . .
by Coryphaeus / June 26, 2007 8:42 AM PDT
In reply to: Digi

First off, I have taught electronics for over 20 years. Data transmission, both analog and digital, fiber optic transmission and fiber optic multiplexers. I know digital. There is no such thing as blanks in a digital transmission. The wave form you reference is in fact a property of high speed digital transmission and it's called the "apparent frequency", but it has NOTHING to do with the data transmission itself, and ONLY if the encoding is bi-polar. And it's not light waves when it's traveling in a conductor. Current traveling on the outside of a conductor is called the "skin effect" but is described only in high frequency AC. Again, it has nothing to do with digital transmission. Using the copper skin of the Statue of Liberty is just plain laughable.

I'm sorry, I just can't go on. Live in your own little world.

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by ns387241 / June 30, 2007 2:40 AM PDT

First of all, lets start with the fact that materials an impurities in materials make an enormous difference when talking about ANY cable. Allow myself to remind you that ANY impurities will cause deficiencies in many ways in terms of transmission of signal. If one has a large piece of dirst wedged in a fibre cable (or any cable, for that matter), the signal will be greatly affected. Secondly, there has been laboratory research conducted by a company named Analysis-Plus, Inc ( They manufacure a variety of cables ranging from analogue locking RCA to fibrer and RGB-HV. From their research, and from my own tests, I can tell you that materials used make all the difference in the world. Not to mention (in the case of digi coax and any analogue cable and HDMI) impedance in different parts of the cable will differ, as a result, (since high frequencies do have the tendancy to travel near or on the outside of the conductor) some data will arrive quicker than the rest, thus causing timing issues that cannot simply be fixed. Digital signals are still pulses of electricity travelling along a conductor (or fibre, in the case of optical), and as a result will experience timing issues. Fibre is the exception to this, however the purity and conductivity of the fibre is of great importance. Also how about the lens to which finally transmits the light pulses to point B. The level of purity, polish and resistance to blemishing is as large a factor in transmission as the fibre itself. Don't you ever ******** yourself again, materials make a large difference, and I would urge you to test out different cables to see the difference before you comment on one of my posts. See me when you're worthy of a discussion of that calibre.

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by ns387241 / June 30, 2007 2:46 AM PDT

Allow me to comment that the post you originally commented on was referrring mainly to analogue transmission, which does have the skin affect and is more suseptable to interference and the like. However, with the right cables (if you care to do the research and perhaps get a new mindset by losing those 15-year-old myths) one will find there is a mass differentiation between levels of material quality and cable construction. I would dare you to prove me wrong with some ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH. Unitl you can do that:

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Yeah, but.....
by jrobson1960 / October 1, 2009 5:39 PM PDT
In reply to: Digi

Is the difference in picture quality really that noticeable to the untrained eye??

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Wow, you're replying to an old post, but
by Dan Filice / October 2, 2009 6:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Yeah, but.....

But yes, the difference is noticable to the untrained eye. I see a post to this question back from a year or so ago, and since I posted my original feedback, I have owned an OPPO up-converting DVD player (they make VERY good players), and I now have 3 Blu-Ray DVD players. My revised feedback is this:
1) An up-converting DVD player does make a difference.
2) New HDTVs do up-converting, but they need a signal provided digitally by an HDMI cable, so when connecting a DVD player like this, you have a choice to either let your TV or DVD player do the up-conversion.
3) My Blu-Ray players do up-conversion beautifully, and best of all they play real 1080p DVDs which up-converting players can't. I highly recommend buying a Blu-Ray player so you can really enjoy true Hi-Def from DR discs, and also enjoy up-converting from the BR player. Why buy an up-converting player when it can't play a BR disc???

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Wow, you're replying to an old post.
by jrobson1960 / October 7, 2009 8:37 AM PDT

Thanks for the reply. You've talked me into buying a blu ray based on the reasons u stated.

By the way, You're messages are thorough,concise and informative. Plus u must be a good proof reader like me, because your posts have no spelling/grammatical error(s). (I'm a stickler for that stuff!)

Anyway, thanks again for the advice.


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Forget Upconversion for now
by Dan Filice / June 25, 2007 4:03 PM PDT

Until the HD DVD war is settled between HD-DVD and BluRay, utilize the good 'ol 480p signal that a good standard DVD player will generate. When the DVD battle is settled, then buy whatever high-def player meets your needs because the same player will upconvert all your old DVDs. But rest assured that even with the new high-def DVD players, there will be some that do better upconversion than others. When we all end up with a new high-def player, we won't have a choice unless some of us keep a standard DVD player around to play 480p. Personally I'm not a fan of upconverting players (even tough I own an OPPO, which for 99% of us mere mortals is fine and blew away all but one or two of the $1000+ DVD players on 480p material, according to the DVD Shootout test reports). I just don't like the idea of artifically adding something that's not there.

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My opinion
by misterguy / June 25, 2007 5:30 PM PDT

I think a good answer is: It all depends on your setup. Some people see more of an improvement than other people. Equipment is very important. Weather it is worth it or not is all personal preference. Nobody can really answer that for you. Home theater is all about spending tons more money for a small increase in picture quality. I think that is a good way to sum it up. My HD-DVD setup was not much of an improvement from my upconverting dvd player (s97), FOR SOME PEOPLE I KNOW. These people are very easy to please. I am not easy to please and can notice a hugh difference with HD-DVD. Most people can. My opinion is that if you are not ready to buy an HD or BluRay player then just buy an oppo and call it a day. That is what I would do.

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I'd wait until Christmas
by kcfvegas / June 30, 2007 3:18 AM PDT
In reply to: My opinion

I was thinking about the same thing, until I heard about how this Christmas Sony is planning on bringing out a $299.00 BluRay player that I'm sure will also up-convert DVDs. You might consider waiting a few months to see what happens. And DO NOT throw away good money on extremely expensive HDMI cables.

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