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What is Video Upscaling?

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Why you need video upscaling to enjoy your DVDs on your HD or plasma television?

Submitted on 11/25/05, 11:44 AM

One of the major reasons to consider the purchase of a multimedia player is its ability to upscale a standard DVD signal to match the higher resolution capability of your plasma or LCD television set. Connecting a traditional DVD player without such upscaling options will simply leave you disappointed with the video displayed on your large screen set.


In it simplest sense, video upscaling is the process of converting one picture size to another. However, that conversion does not take place without the proper technological adjustments.

To fully grasp the concept, let's get a little technical. But let's also keep the idea relatively simple. First, a standard DVD player has a normal video output resolution of 720 by 480. These two numbers refer to the number of pixels, or colored dots, appearing on the screen.

Horizontally, 720 pixels will appear across the screen while vertically 480 pixels will appear down the screen. These two factors essentially produce an array that produces 480 horizontal lines of pixels on the television screen.

Second, that standard DVD player will come with one of two display options. One format is to display alternate lines, first displaying all of the even numbered horizontal lines, followed by a display of all the odd number lines, in an alternate fashion. A second method is to provide pixels in horizontal lines that are displayed progressively, or one line followed by another buy another in a consecutive pattern.

In either case, the pixel movement is so fast that the naked eye blends these rows into the image we digest on the screen.

Now, those 480 lines will appear very different depending on the capability of your television set, particularly if the set is a plasma or an LCD television. Viewing those 480 lines on a 19' screen will not call attention to the divisions between rows but as you move upwards to larger and larger screens, unless you have some sort of process to fill in the gaps being created, you are taking a set number of lines/pixels and attempting to use them to fill a space that is much larger. Without filling those gaps, the same picture creates an image that is of far lower quality on the large screen set.

Here's where the concept of the multimedia player comes to the forefront For example, with the new MviX MV -4000U multimedia player you have the ability to upscale the view to match the higher quality capability of a plasma or LCD set. The 4000U model has two such upscale options, a 1920 by 1080i array and a 1280 by 720p, each available to match the capability options of your large screen television.

The 1920 by 1080i delineation is just as you would expect, 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically. Therefore this device will produce more than double the number of horizontal rows produced by a standard DVD Player.

The 1280 by 720p provides only 720 horizontal lines but is still a key aspect of the upscaling concept. The small letter i in the 1920 by 1080i refers to the alternating horizontal line format while the small letter p in the 1280 by 720p refers to the progressive line display. Because the progressive display option gives a smoother picture, to the average viewer there is no discernible difference between the 720p line format and the 1080i.

Once again, in it simplest sense, video upscaling is the process of converting one picture size to another. And, without the proper technology, the image that gets created to fill a larger resolution display will produce a lower quality picture than the same picture on a smaller screen.

This video upscaling concept works best on fixed pixel displays, the basic technology in use in LCD or Plasma sets. Of course, the upgrade should match the native pixel display of your television set in order to maximize the set's capabilities.

Using such a device on the standard CRT or Projection sets may not produce the same results. In addition, if your television has a native display resolution other than 720p or 1080i, the TV's video processor will rescale the incoming signal to its own specification.

So double check that resolution. Then get a multimedia player with video -upscaling at 720p or 1080i to produce video output that more closely matches the capabilities of today's HDTVs. The upscaling process will produce greater picture consistency as well as enhanced detail, getting you as close to high definition as is electronically possible.








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