A DVD Player Review?

This week at UAV, we've posted a review of Toshiba's XD-E500 upconverting DVD player. This might seem a bit odd, since we haven't reviewed a DVD player in quite a while—instead, we focus on Blu-ray these days.

We've been criticized for this policy by people who point out that Blu-ray represents a very small part of the video-disc market and that many consumers think upconverted DVD looks "good enough," claiming that the difference in picture quality between Blu-ray and DVD is much less than the difference between DVD and VHS videotape. Some go so far as to accuse UAV of being a shill for Blu-ray.

It's certainly true that Blu-ray is a small part of the video-disc market, but that part is growing fast. As for DVD looking "good enough," I disagree. Once you see the difference between the best upconverted DVD and a good Blu-ray title on a good display, I doubt you will think that DVD is "good enough" any more. While I might agree that the difference between upconverted DVD and Blu-ray is less than the difference between DVD and VHS, there's no doubt that Blu-ray is miles beyond anything DVD can do.

A shill for Blu-ray? Nothing could be farther from the truth. We promote the format because it looks and sounds so much better than DVD, with no support from or collusion with the Blu-ray Disc Association or any manufacturer. After all, the name of this website is Ultimate A/V, so we naturally concentrate on the ultimate A/V experience, which, when it comes to video discs, is Blu-ray.

Still, when Toshiba announced its super-duper upconverting DVD player rising from the ashes of HD DVD's defeat, I couldn't resist having David Vaughn take a close look. Could it really upconvert DVDs to "near-HD" picture quality? Such a claim demands investigation, which we present here.

If you have an audio/video question for me, please send it to scott.wilkinson@sourceinterlink.com.

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David Vaughn's picture

I've been accused of many things the past couple of years - a HD DVD proponent, a Blu-ray proponent, an "anti-DVD" proponent, and a Sony hater for criticizing their stated specifications on an AVR. None of which are true. As Scott so aptly stated, we try to concentrate on the Ultimate A/V experience, and Blu-ray is the best thing going right now, bar none. Toshiba's claims are overstated with its XDE DVD player, but if they happened to have hit closer to the mark, I would have been the first to say "great job" to them, because like many of us, I have a very large collection of DVDs and want them to look as best as possible. Regards, David

Dave Pace's picture

From Mr. Vaughn's XD-E500 review: "Video setup in the menu system was a snap, and for most of my testing, I utilized the 1080p/60 output. I initially chose 1080p/24, but some of the tests I run are video-based, and I saw significant stuttering with 1080p/24." This is a ridiculous statement as the main benefit of this player is native 24p output for film sources. Video sources should of course be played back at 60Hz.

David Vaughn's picture

Dave, Did you read my statement about problems with the 24p output with some discs? Star Wars was just one example, and that's a film based DVD, not video. In addition, having to go in and change the output every time there is a problematic disc is not a good implementation. If you own the player, put in Star Wars IV and tell me if the beginning of the movie is acceptable to you? If you aren't at home to go in and change the output, do you feel confident your wife or kids could do it? My family would wonder why the disc is "choppy" and just turn it off. Also, what happens if they choose a video based DVD...then there really is a problem. Finally, I would love to do a double-blind test with a 24p versus 60p output and see how many people can tell the difference. David

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tomroX1's picture

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