SD/HD For A Technophobe


Standard Member
Hope my questions don't seem too simplistic, but I am totally in the dark when it comes to AV technology.
I currently have a basic sd setup consisting of Tosh RPTV, Pioneer receiver and DVD player with a Sony sd Sky box.
I was impressed with a mates hd setup of plasma tv, forgot which and a Sky hd box.
My question is, what needs to be replaced apart from my tv to get hd from a dvd source, I'm not clear what gives hd, is it the equipment or the dvd disc.
The only technobabble I retained from my mates ramblings was 1080i or
1080p or something:confused:


Active Member
I'm no expert, but I know there are two types of HD disc emerging - blu ray & HD DVD. To play either of these, you will need a new player - there are a few blu ray players and HD DVD players out there. However you're gonna have to pay around £600+ for blu ray and £350+ for HD DVD (at the moment, I think... correct me if I'm wrong).

You cannot get HD from a DVD source, as the content on DVDs does not have a HD resolution. However, some DVD players will upscale, i.e. convert the picture into a higher resolution, but of course all it's doing really is guessing what colour pixels to add, so it won't look anything like the real HD picture.

The cheapest way to get HD content is from Sky HD, which is normaly £300 for the box, but it's likely you'd be able to find a special offer if purchased with a new, HD Ready TV. Of course this also incurs a £10/month charge, on top of what you already pay for Sky.


EDIT: 1080p & 1080i are both the highest HD resolution you can get. This means the picture will have 1080 lines, and in 1080's case, each line will be 1920 pixels long. 'p' and 'i' stand for progressive & interlaced - I don't know much about this so it would be appreciated if someone could enlighten me as well!

P.S, the smaller HD resolution from this is 720p/i (1280x720 pixels).


Active Member
yeah he kinda beat me too it :cool:

true HD is obtainbable either from sky HD, Televest HD [but i think they only have one HD channel ay the moment] or a Next gen DVD source, either in the form of Blu-Ray or HD-DVD [FYI they are totally separate fromats, and non compatible, think of them as CD and DVD, i.e. you need a separate player for both!]
Which as already described are available at approximately £330 and £650 respectively.

Now you could get one of these players [or indeed sky hd], and enjoy true high definition [i.e. amazing picture and sound] but the problem is that the players are brand new technologies, and therefore are not a true representation of what the format is capable of [i.e. they are going to be full of bugs and stuff] so i would wait until the next load of players come out, because as the technology moves forward- quality will increase and price will decrease. But there is another option, if you're into games consoles- you can buy yourself a nice xbox 360- and then you can purchase a HD-DVD drive [for the measly sum of £130] add on to allow you to play HD- DVD. So if your into games you would be killing 2 birds with one stone, and although the quality would probably not match a dedicated player it would be a cheap introduction to HD-DVD and you'd get some good games too :). As for blu-ray wait for the next gen players to come out, or save your pennies for a PS3 when they come out next year, as this can play Blu-ray and interestingly is rated as a better blu-ray player than the dedicated blu-ray players:confused: but i'm sure the next batch of Blu-rays will probably better the PS3 for Blu-ray playback, and also the PS3 doesnt sport 7 channel anologue outputs [i.e. 7 analogue RCA outpute for audio], but thats a different story.

If you already have a sizeable DVD collection, with the intention of owning more [especially as they are so cheap these days] then it would be sensible to play them at their highest possible quality as i'm sure you wont be jumping on the HD band waggon for a good year at the least.
So to get this you need what is known as an upscaling player, i.e. a dvd player that upscales the picture via a HDMI/DVI cable to match 100% the resolution of your screen/projector. There is much debate as to whether upscaling offers any real benefits, upscaling has become a buz word with Av noobs :hiya: and everyone thinks "upscaling...amazing", but many people think that the older [but very expensive at the time] players offer better picture performance and certainly better sound performance for the same sort of price. But even though upscaling does kinda work it will by no means be a patch on what real HD looks like, and to get a really good upscaler- you would have to buy something like the denon 3930 [which costs £900] and even though upscalers can be found in *god forbid :rotfl: * aldi for like £30 i think i would put my money on the denon being a bit better.

To be fully equipted for HD you will first need a HD ready display set, i dont know what the current opinion is on what is the best plasma/lcd to go for- but when i was last looking around the pioneer plasmas were certainly the best. I still think plasma is better than LCD too. A HD ready tv set has to have at least 1 [preferably more] HDMI sockets with High bandwidth Digital Content Protection [HDCP], and it must have a resolution of at least 1280x720, or in larger screens 1920x1080- the very best screens offer whats known as full HD, 1920x1080 progressive scan playback [best picture qualty, mucho ££££], dont forget it must also be wife/gf friendly:thumbsup: . Then you will also need an upsclaing dvd player, i would recomend the Oppo 981 [i think?] eitherway, it's the black one at the top very good player for the money, or so i've heard.

Extra notes: there are 2, well 3 HD resolutions. 720p, 1080i and 1080p
720p is a resolution of 1280x720 and is in progressive scan, which means the picture is brought onto the screen in one vertical scan, this gives smoother motion. The next up in 1080i, 1920x1080 lines of interlaced picture- which means the image is brought onto the screen in 2 parts, e.g. if you split the screen into horizontal lines an inch long and labelled them A and B, A would appear first and then B would appear, then A would be replaced with a new picture, and then B would be replaced, see here.
1080i offers more detail due to the extra resolution but motion tends to be more jagged and less smooth. 1080p is the ultimate HD resolution and offers detail and silky smooth motion, Blu-ray and HD-DVD are encoded at this resolution.
I think new boxers are in order :rotfl:

DVD's are encoded in 576p and SD dvd players output at this, then your tv will scale the picture to fill the screen [by guessing what goes in between the gaps]. The theory behind upscaling dvd players is that they should have a better scaler in them than the one in your tv, and therefore should be more accurate at guessing what goes in between the pixels and you can then bypass the tv's scaler [you set the upscaling dvd player to output at a resolution to match the TV's resolution, but we experiment to see which option yields the best results]. But obviousely you will need a upscaling dvd player with a better upscaler than the tv...and that is why i dont like the aldi one:rotfl:
i have it in for aldi...they sold me some dodgy cheesy breadsticks the once
Also as your screen size increases the amount you have to spend on a dvd player increases, so for a 32" LCD you could get away with a cheap dvd but when you're looking at projectors and 42" plasmas the dvd source becomes quite critical. But get the oppo :)

p.s. i bet this has horribly confused things...ha, hope it hasnt
If you have any more questions we'll be glad to answer them

Cable Monkey

Well-known Member
Just to clear up a point made above, Cable at present have 1 HD channel but they also have a video on demand library with thousands of hours of HD and SD content.


Active Member
Just to clear up a point made above, Cable at present have 1 HD channel but they also have a video on demand library with thousands of hours of HD and SD content.

indeed they do, i forgot about that
but you have to pay for it or something dont you? kinda like sky box office?

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