High-end DVD up-scalers - a great alternative?

Matt Burns
M. Burns|06.21.06

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Matt Burns
June 21st, 2006
In this article: dtv, dvd, features, hd, hdtv, polls, roundup, tv, up-scaler
High-end DVD up-scalers - a great alternative? image
High-end DVD up-scalers - a great alternative? image

Does this Blu-ray/HD DVD war scare you a bit? That's cool, we still here to make sure that you get the very best picture quality on your HDTV. There are some very nice DVD up-scalers out there that have ether very good up-scaling ability or audiophile grade components. There has always been a good rule of thumb that your HDTV doesn't need the help of a DVD up-scaler if the HDTV has a good processor in it. Well we got news for you. As the price of the TVs drop, so does the quality of the processors. Some are great, some are not and the best way to figure it out is with your eyes. We have to warn you though that some of these aren't that cheap and in fact, cost more then the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player. But some people want need that high-end audio sound that the initial HD DVD and Blu-ray players are simply not going to provide. It will be awhile till you see Onkyo or Marantz get into the high-def media format for the same reason a lot of you are wait...you don't want to make the wrong choice.

Follow the link for a nice sampling of mid-range to high-end DVD up-scalers.
OPPO Digital - OPDV971H
Price - $199

How many of you would have yelled and screamed if we didn't included the standard for DVD up-scalers? This player has been around for sometime now and it is still winning awards. It is simply the best value for a DVD up-scaler. Are there better ones out there? Sure, but not for the price. This veteran uses DCDi by Faroudja to give your DVDs that extra little bit of information to make them look as good as possible. The player is showing its age now though with no HDMI but rather just a DVI port. OPPO has produced a cheaper version of the player the utilizes HDMI but this little brother does not have DCDi and therefore simply not as good.

NeoDigits X5000
Price - $599 available soon

Have you ever heard a product rep or salesman say "Forget about the picture?" They want you to take a step back and look at the total package offered. NeoDigits has created an audiophile grade high-def media center DVD player. (that's a mouth full) This player utilizes high-end grade construction with equally as impressive components. It has Burr-Brown 2 Channel low-noise Op Amp, ELNA Audio Grade Capacitor and a R-core linear power supply - doesn't mean that much too you? Go ask the guys at SonicFlare.com about the quality of these components. Plus, this player can upscale all the way up to 1080p via component and HDMI through the quality Sigma Designs EM8620L Chipset. Throw in all that built-in wireless high-def streaming stuff and you have yourself a complete package.

Onkyo DV-SP1000
Price - $1999

This is where the fun starts. Onkyo is just now getting into the DVD up-scaling market. Their first player sure is sexy and plays just about everything - except HD DVDs and Blu-ray media of course. This guy up-scales via HDMI up to 1080i and has all the audiophile stuff a guy could every need. It is of course THX certified and will pair nicely with the rest of Onkyo's higher-end product line. There are dual Toslink/Dig Coax outputs, component, HDMI, 1394 and RS-232 ports. Will this player give you a better picture then the OPPO though? We don't know, but what we can tell you is that it will certainly give you high quality audio output and require you to get a sturdier rack to hold this 26.7 lbs. monster.

Denon DVD-5910CI
Price - $3,800

We can keep going crazy here. High-end audio manufacturers are utilizing the very best in video processing to give their customers the best they can. This Denon used DVDOs 10-bit I/P converter technology along with Analog Device dual discrete 216 MHz/14-bit video DACs that blows the other players in this roundup out of the water. Once again we don't know if you would be able to tell that much of a difference in the picture quality but it should give you a lot smoother playback. Plus, throw in every type of possible output (DVI-D, HDMI, component, 5.1 audio out, S-Vid, RS-232, 1394, Toslink, Dig Coax and Denon Link) and this 42 lbs beast is an amazing creature.

The current format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray might get nasty but these players will make sure your normal DVDs look the best on your HDTV.

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