Friday, February 24, 2006

Upscaling what???

People willing to suffer my "I got a new HDTV" rant, get to the part where I'm talking about upscaling and get a puzzled look. So I will write a brief post on the concept here, so I can just tell everybody to go to my blog and look it up (Those people who look puzzled when I say blog will be the subject of anothe post.)

Let us assume you understand about HDTV requiring a digital source. Now let us assume you also know that HDTV is just one type of digital source. In order to get the best picture quality you need to have a digital input from origin of media all the way to the TV. Over the air HDTV is best as it has no compression. Sattelite TV providers are next as they have some compression, but retain a digital signal all the way to your house. Cable is the worst, it has heavy compression and it converts to an analog signal and back to digital several times before getting to you. That covers how to get your TV signal, now how about your DVD movies?

Later this year HD content will be available on disc in the form of HD-DVD and Blue Ray media. But you don't want to buy another copy of movies you already own, so whats a videophile to do? The answer is upscaling. Upscaling is marketing jargon for the act of your DVD player taking a raw image file and making educated guesses as to how it should look at higher resolution. The result is a nearly HD quality image. How do I do this you ask. Simple, you need a HDTV with an HDMI interface (that's a compined digital audio/video cable) and an upscaling DVD player. Or if your HDTV is capable of doing the upscaling (check your manual) then all you need is a DVD player with an HDMI interface.

Foot note: The better the output of your HDTV the better the result, upscaling is better at big jumps in quality than in making slight improvements. I would not bother with a 720i TV and 720p would be borderline, but 1080i or 1080p will get great results.