Blu-ray Players, from the entry-level models to the high-end models, all seem to have the basic functions and features. All are capable of excellent 1080p video output and are able to produce outstanding hi-def surround sounds. But there are certain factors that allow you to tell you the difference between the various Blu-ray DVD Player models. One of which is how well a player is capable of upconverting or upscaling standard-definition (640×480) images to fill the screen of your High Definition TV (1,920×1,080).
Upconverting usually gets paired with DVDs, but it also affects standard-definition content from online material you view from places like Netflix. Of course upconverting does not apply to Blu-ray disc playback, but many of us still have a large DVD collection and still want to enjoy these movies without resorting to the costly effort it would take to replace them. So how well a Blu-ray Player can upconvert these DVDsS becomes a major factor in determining what makes a good player.
Upconverting does not mean, no matter what the marketing machine tells you, your standard-definition content will look like HD. However, it does make it significantly better than plain old SD. And the better the source is, the better your upscaled image will look on your TV. One good sign to look for in a good upconverting Blu-ray player is to see if the manufacturer displays the scaler by name. For instance, companies such as Silicon Optix, Marvell and Anchor Bay are companies that have a very good reputation and specializes in scaling images. If your Blu-ray DVD Player states that they have these company’s technology in them, then it is a very safe bet you will get excellent upscaling of the standard-definition content. Blu-ray manufacturers like Oppo, Philips, Pioneer and Onkyo used these companies.
That does not mean players by Panasonic, Toshiba or Sony do not have great upconverting abilities. The fact is, almost all Blu-ray players manufactured today have good upscaling ability. It is just that some players are “really good” or “exceptional”. It can vary from one player to another, but if you are planing on converting a lot of standard-definition material, you will want to check out how good the upconverter/scaler is on your Blu-ray player. An efficient way and cheap way to test out your player, is to purchase a testing disc like the Spears and Munsil High-Definition Benchmark. It has a number of scaling tests and will make sure all your Television settings are correctly set.
As stated before, the difference between a Blu-ray Player with a good scaler and one with an exceptional scaler will not be drastic. However, the ones that can produce the best upscaled images are definitely the most desired and tend to find themselves recommend by all the Blu-ray Player experts.