Originally Posted by thebignewt
I realize this has probably been asked before, but even thought the Oppo upconverts the 720i STB pic to 1080p does it look any better? Because it starts how it starts, like an MP3 file at 128kbps. Upconverting that to 320kbps isn't going to sound any better. Are video compression sources any different?
It's 720p, not 720i. It's 1080i.
But your MP3 audio analogy is not quite valid for video. Yes, if the music file has already been psychoacoustically lossy-compressed from original WAV to 128kbps MP3 (a pretty poor bitrate for today), listening to it will sound relatively poor. Transcoding it now to either a higher MP3 bitrate, or FLAC or WAV, will do nothing to put back the original source "bits" which got lost in the original psychoacoustic lossy-compression from WAV to MP3. You'll just get a larger file, but no improvement in sound. In fact it might sound worse if you re-encode to a higher bitrate MP3, as this is yet a second application of psychoacoustic lossy-compression on top of the already lossy-compressed 128kbps MP3.
Incidentally, if you're really serious about MP3 format and want "best" results you should really use LAME and encode your own CD's to highest-quality VBR MP3 (variable bitrate and highest quality, up to 320kbps max, not CBR at some fixed bitrate). Personally, I'm a FLAC person, as I don't have a file size/space consideration and simply want "absolute 100% original bit-perfect sound" compressed about 50% from the original WAV along with the ability to carry metadata and album art in "tags" for display on PC or PMP.
Now with video upconversion, you're making up "approximate pixels" by interpolation in between the known source pixels in the lower resolution source. But this does "look better" if the interpolation is good, and will definitely look smoother rather than ragged/jaggie/blocky as the original lower resolution source might look on the higher-resolution screen. No, it's not true high-resolution 1080p source, but it probably looks better than pure 720p on the 1080 pixel screen.
As Bob stated, if the HDTV is a modern flat panel its native display resolution (i.e. pixel implementation and "progressive" presentation method) is 1080p. So if you feed it something other than 1080p source, it will do what's appropriate to convert that source to 1080p for display on the screen.
If the source is only 720p, it's obvious that there must be pixel interpolation in order to upconvert it to 1080p for display. As Bob mentioned, you either get that done (a) in the DVR (if you had say a new Motorola cable DVR model which could put out upconverted 1080p from 720p/1080i source channel programs), (b) in the Oppo, or (c) in the HDTV. You could even potentially get that upconvert to 1080p done in an AVR or video processor if one of those was also on the HDMI relay path from original source through all your devices and eventually to the HDTV.
The ideal arrangement is to get the 1080p upconvert done using that device which does it "best". Generally, I'd say the HDTV itself is that optimal device. But the 103 adds the QDEO processing to the 1080p upconvert, and to my eyes the results of that addition make it "the best" device to produce the 1080p your HDTV wants. So the HDTV will have nothing further to do except display the 1080p which it's being fed.