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.