Sunday, December 4, 2011

What Is Upconversion Blu-Ray?

Blu-ray upconversion gives higher quality when playing DVD discs.

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Upconversion on a Blu-ray player is a process where standard-definition DVD video discs are converted to high-definition quality for playback on an HDTV. This is convenient for movie fanatics who already own movies on DVD that they don't want to purchase again on Blu-ray. However, while the quality will appear better than playing a DVD in standard-definition, it doesn't match the video quality of a Blu-ray Disc.

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DVD video discs are encoded in standard-definition at 720-by-480 resolution and the video is interlaced. This means that each frame of the video is divided into half-frames that are later assembled by a TV to create a full picture. However, Blu-ray Discs display video at up to 1,920-by-1,080 resolution and the picture quality is progressive scan, meaning that each frame of video is displayed as a full image and doesn't require a TV to assemble into a full image.


Because Blu-ray players are backward-compatible with DVD video discs, any DVD can be played in a Blu-ray player. However, to make the difference in video quality between DVD and Blu-ray video discs less noticeable, Blu-ray players will stretch the video resolution of a DVD to HD quality. Also, the interlaced frames will be converted to progressive scan through a process called interpolation, which improves the sharpness of the video. All Blu-ray players have an upconversion feature, though you may need to turn it on through the Settings or Preferences menu.


Even though upconversion on a Blu-ray player will greatly improve the quality of a DVD video disc played on an HDTV, it won't make the DVD video quality on par with that of a Blu-ray video disc. Even though most DVDs are authored from HD masters, the conversion to standard-definition makes it impossible to gain the same resolution as the native HD video from a Blu-ray. However, it will still appear higher quality than if a DVD player were playing the same video at standard-definition and with interlaced video.

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You must use an HDMI video and audio cable connection for upconversion to work on your Blu-ray player. The improved quality from using upconversion won't be viewable and Blu-ray Discs will be displayed as lower standard-definition video with any other video cable. While higher definition comes from watching video directly from a HD quality Blu-ray Disc, some lower-budget movies and TV shows were produced on standard-definition video and can't be properly mastered for Blu-ray. In this case, an upconverted DVD is a good option for HDTV viewing.

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