DVD Wars: Upconversion Players a Viable Substitute?

Among the temporary options that some HD consumers are being told about in the general media these days (at least those consumers aware of, and waiting out, the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD battles) is the possible purchase of relatively low-cost standard DVD players with built-in upconverters. The end result, while not as good as bona fide HD, reportedly does markedly enhance standard DVD video when viewed on HD monitors.

The Washington Post this week offered a favorable review of the economical upconversion DVD player from Oppo, saying its "picture quality on HDTV screens looked substantially better than any conventional DVD player we tested." Oppo's unit (model DV-970HD), according to reviewer Daniel Greenberg, upconverted both 720p and 1080i and smoothed out the "stair-step" effect along high contrast edges. The review added that, "Surprisingly, [standard] DVD movies on the Oppo looked good even when compared with the same movie recorded from [HD] satellite television"--provided that HDMI cable is used.

Beyond DVD, the Oppo player also recognizes SACD, DVD-Audio, DivX, Xvid and WMA. Other firms making DVD players that upconvert include Pioneer, Samsung and Sony.