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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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So I thought I had a pretty good handle on analog and digital audio formats/transports, and then I [made the mistake and] entered the world of mid-end video, and am somewhat confused.

We recently purchased a Samsung HL-R5067W, and it’s nice, but our current DVD player(s) just aren’t cutting it — resolution, color, and contrast are pathetic. This is not surprising, as one is a PS2, and the other is a Phillips DVD Recorder, which while lovely for recording, seems to have cut a lot of corners in the transport, decoders, and user interface areas.

So, I thought to myself — it should be easy, just get some mid-range 1080i player with HDMI, and the problem is solved.

But then I became hopelessly confused; so here are my questions:

  1. Do “upconverter” players do anything worthwhile?
  2. Is “upconversion” done for digital outputs (DVI, HDMI, 1394), or just component? It seems like there are a lot of nice low-to-mid range players out there (like, say, the Denons or the Arcams) that don’t do
    upconversion, but do have HDMI and so forth, and are relatively well regarded.
  3. Best case, do I want to use component with a good video DAC, 1394, or HDMI?
  4. For that matter, given my television, and a budget of $250-1000, what’s the best bet to deliver optimal picture quality? SACD and DVD-Audio playback are a plus, as are good analog audio signals, though I’m not against external analog DACs/clocks/preprocessors provided the digital output stage is of at least mediocre quality.