Do you have to have Blu-ray to enjoy HDTV, or is 480p/SD good enough? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm liking my new Sony EX620 lcd/led HDTV. Most of my viewing is from the local library's huge dvd collection. They have no plans to start acquiring Blu-ray for the time being. My only experience so far with HD viewing is Netflix and Amazon on demand. I don't buy movies and don't plan to. For my money, my elderly Sony ES DVD player still looks surprisingly good even compared to streaming HD. Do you have to have Blu-ray to enjoy HDTV?
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post #2 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 02:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hinduclient View Post

I'm liking my new Sony EX620 lcd/led HDTV. Most of my viewing is from the local library's huge dvd collection. They have no plans to start acquiring Blu-ray for the time being. My only experience so far with HD viewing is Netflix and Amazon on demand. I don't buy movies and don't plan to. For my money, my elderly Sony ES DVD player still looks surprisingly good even compared to streaming HD. Do you have to have Blu-ray to enjoy HDTV?

No, you don't. Some DVDs are extremely well mastered and look just about as good as a Blu-ray when using an upconverting DVD player.
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post #3 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hinduclient View Post

I'm liking my new Sony EX620 lcd/led HDTV. Most of my viewing is from the local library's huge dvd collection. They have no plans to start acquiring Blu-ray for the time being. My only experience so far with HD viewing is Netflix and Amazon on demand. I don't buy movies and don't plan to. For my money, my elderly Sony ES DVD player still looks surprisingly good even compared to streaming HD. Do you have to have Blu-ray to enjoy HDTV?

To get the best picture possible from your TV, Blu-ray Disc is the only option. To get a good picture from your TV, an up converting DVD player will be fine (but not optimal). An ordinary DVD player will not really provide a picture that looks good on a 1080p HDTV like yours.


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post #4 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mb1756 View Post

No, you don't. Some DVDs are extremely well mastered and look just about as good as a Blu-ray when using an upconverting DVD player.

Yes, some might be close but many are not and even then Blu-ray Disc always has the edge.


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post #5 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post

Yes, some might be close but many are not and even then Blu-ray Disc always has the edge.

The OP didn't ask about optimization, rather he asked if could enjoy DVD on his HDTV. IMHO, that isn't terribly hard to achieve without Blu-ray.
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post #6 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 03:30 PM
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Ok, I'll jump in here and agree with both of you. Yes, a well mastered DVD on a good upconverting DVD player will give you a better picture that can be appreciated more on his tv at 720p or 1080i. BD is the ultimate, but not the end-all for enjoying DVDs on a HDTV.
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post #7 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 04:06 PM
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His player isn't an upconverter, has no HDMI, it is, however a high end model that will max out at 480p via component. I used such a player for several years on an HD crt based rptv and it was quite watchable. In some areas of performance I wouldn't be surprised if one of these old $500 dvd players doesn't outperform a more recent upconverting player. In one room we have a 12 year old Sony DVP-S550 that boots up and loads quicker than any other player I've seen in the last 5 years and has a complete suite of picture adjustments on it's own, and has built-in DD and DTS decoders. It also will bookmark dvds, and remember the bookmarks for up to 500 different discs. Then there's the full-size headphone jack with volume control.

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post #8 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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My DVD player is a vintage 2003 Sony 999 ES. It was prior to HDMI so I run component cabling. The 999 doesn't upconvert (at least I don't think it does) - but the WIDE setting on the EX620 TV works well. I concur about well mastered DVDs. The newer the better.
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post #9 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 04:15 PM
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The next best thing to Blu-ray is 1080i OTA HDTV channels or 1080i cable channels.
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post #10 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 04:16 PM
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I have two different answers, depending on the intent of the original question:

1. If you mean, can a person enjoy HDTV without Bluray, the answer is, of course, "yes." Undoubtedly, there are many people who enjoy their HDTV's without even using the "HD."

2. However, if the question is whether or not *I* can enjoy HDTV without Bluray (or, by extension, HD content), the answer is "no." In fact, it's hard for me to enjoy watching anything that isn't (a) HD, (b) surround sound, and (c) at least 55"

blu-ray >> HD cable/satellite > on-demand HD > upscaled DVD
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post #11 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 04:31 PM
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I say NO.

When I first got my HDTV, I started watching a, yes local-library borrowed AVATAR, then of course I had to look at a BR see what the hubba-hubba is all about, so subscribed to Netflix BR service, and yes AVATAR was my first rental. After seeing the BR version, I go wow, the DVD version looked just as good to me, so I went back again to look at the DVD, back-and-forth. Verdict: BR DEFINITELY has more definition, increased texture/color realism, but if I didn't pay attention, care more about the movie's story, I'd probly, and did enjoyed the DVD version as well. Your mileage and snootyness will vary, and definitely as mentioned, how it was mastered plays a big role. Google "BR movies to showcase your HDTV."

So I say no fear, enjoy your DVD, but if a BR version comes along, ie.: made by Lucas Films (they care about the AV quality of their movies), by all means look at the BR version see what your are missing.

Note: AVATAR, during the intro scene where the transport plane is about to land, passes some huge bulldozers on the distance, in the BR version the bulldozers really pop even when they are a distance away. In the DVD version, bulldozers no big deal. The scene were Doctor Grace getting out of the chamber, asks for cigarette, the BR version shows the lab with chrome-like textures, in the DVD version, duller. This was on my 46" edge-lit 60HZ LED.

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post #12 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo King View Post

The next best thing to Blu-ray is 1080i OTA HDTV channels or 1080i cable channels.

Being as we have OTA and not cable I'd agree with you. We've had neighbors come over and watch local sports games because the over-compression on their cable was just too much.
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post #13 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 04:39 PM
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I agree with MrBobb, upconverting/upscaling DVD's can never come close to BD's.
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post #14 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 04:48 PM
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Speaking of Avatar, when I bought our BD player (Panasonic BDT-210), the free 3D movie (we don't have 3D, nor plan to upgrade but I liked the other features of the 210) was the "special edition" 2D-3D Avatar. We'd seen Avatar on our old DVD player and it looked just fine. The BD version was much better for the reasons that Mr. Bobb pointed out but the "regular" DVD version looked just fine when we first watched it. I certainly wouldn't go out and update my DVD library with BD versions just because we have a BD player. I basically bought the player for WiFi connectibilty because my tv doesn't have it and I didn't want a tv with built-in WiFi or WiFi at all.
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post #15 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 05:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post

I say NO.

When I first got my HDTV, I started watching a, yes local-library borrowed AVATAR, then of course I had to look at a BR see what the hubba-hubba is all about, so subscribed to Netflix BR service, and yes AVATAR was my first rental. After seeing the BR version, I go wow, the DVD version looked just as good to me, so I went back again to look at the DVD, back-and-forth. Verdict: BR DEFINITELY has more definition, increased texture/color realism, but if I didn't pay attention, care more about the movie's story, I'd probly, and did enjoyed the DVD version as well. Your mileage and snootyness will vary, and definitely as mentioned, how it was mastered plays a big role. Google "BR movies to showcase your HDTV."

So I say no fear, enjoy your DVD, but if a BR version comes along, ie.: made by Lucas Films (they care about the AV quality of their movies), by all means look at the BR version see what your are missing.

Note: AVATAR, during the intro scene where the transport plane is about to land, passes some huge bulldozers on the distance, in the BR version the bulldozers really pop even when they are a distance away. In the DVD version, bulldozers no big deal. The scene were Doctor Grace getting out of the chamber, asks for cigarette, the BR version shows the lab with chrome-like textures, in the DVD version, duller. This was on my 46" edge-lit 60HZ LED.

On the other hand, I have viewed Blu-ray versions of DVDs that I already own and seen little if any real improvement. Not all Blu-rays look that hot. I have more than a few that are mediocre and really weren't worth purchasing over my DVD version.
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post #16 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mb1756 View Post

On the other hand, I have viewed Blu-ray versions of DVDs that I already own and seen little if any real improvement. Not all Blu-rays look that hot. I have more than a few that are mediocre and really weren't worth purchasing over my DVD version.

Exactly.

AVATAR is an "eye candies" type of movie. If Dinner with Andre comes out on BR, I'd probly skip it.

There are really a "limited" number of BR movies that is worth going BR (30?) so after having seen those, I have, for the time being cancelled my Netflix BR subscription.

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post #17 of 64 Old 09-06-2011, 11:57 PM
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To the OP:

Of course you can "enjoy" your television with DVD.

But you'll never see what it can really do until you pop in a well-mastered blu-ray and play it on a well-calibrated display.

With the cost of Blu-Ray players down around $100, and complete backward compatibility with all DVD media, there is no reason in the world not to buy one. A $100 player, a $5 HDMI cable, and a $10 Netflix subscription will have you swimming in beautiful HD imagery. If you have anything approaching normal visual acuity, you'll never want to go back.

Also, "upconversion" is snake oil. Please do not spend money on an "upconverting" DVD player. Your TV "upconverts" (or, put more properly, scales) all images, regardless of resolution, to fit the 1920x1080 pixel display panel. The only question is whether your TV or your player has a better scaler.

While playing a DVD, there will never, ever, EVER (ever!) be more information on the screen than the 720x480 pixels present in the DVD image (345,600 if you're interested in the total). There will only ever be less, because scaling from 720x480 to 1920x1080 always results in degradation of the image, due to the lack of a common multiple. A good scaler will minimize these losses. A bad scaler will not, resulting in shimmering, alaising, and moire effects.

Correspondingly, nothing will ever look better on your display than a 1920x1080 image passed to your television with no scaling whatsoever (which I am almost certain your model will do).

IMHO, never seeing such an image is a waste of your a/v money. You may as well have stuck with a CRT tube. It's like buying a dog and never walking it, or buying a Ferrari to putter around the block. If this is your intention, donate your nice TV to someplace that will put it to its best use.

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post #18 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post

Exactly.

AVATAR is an "eye candies" type of movie. If Dinner with Andre comes out on BR, I'd probly skip it.

There are really a "limited" number of BR movies that is worth going BR (30?) so after having seen those, I have, for the time being cancelled my Netflix BR subscription.

This page begs to differ with your claim of "30 worthwhile BDs."

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1168342

I personally own a good 50 that I would say qualify as worthwhile.

A lot depends on the display, the viewing distance, and the eyesight of the person in question.

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post #19 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 12:45 AM
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I don't see the point of having an HDTV without a Blu-Ray player. No offense to anyone here, OP included, but it simply baffles me when people want to pay for large HDTVs, demand higher refresh rates and 1080p resolution and all, and then they deem Blu-Ray either "not worth it," prohibitively expensive (which is no longer the case), indiscernible from DVD discs, or a combination of reasons aforementioned. Why not feed your TV with content that was actually *made* with it in mind?

Sure, depending on the SD DVD, you can get good, sometimes even great results, viewing on an HDTV. But You can watch regular old DVDs on a Blu-Ray player; new Blu-Ray players can be had for less than $100. Even though every modern flat panel has a good enough internal scaler, depending feature set of the BD player you get, you may get better SD DVD upscaling than your TV provides or a wider array of adjustments for image quality. For instance, my Sony ES Blu-Ray player gives excellent results for sd content, and my old HD-DVD player can upconvert regular DVD to 1080p/24.

So really, you can do what you want, and watch what you want on your own TV -- but just know that you aren't getting anywhere near the image quality you paid for.

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post #20 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by fatuglyguy View Post

I don't see the point of having an HDTV without a Blu-Ray player. No offense to anyone here, OP included, but it simply baffles me when people want to pay for large HDTVs, demand higher refresh rates and 1080p resolution and all, and then they deem Blu-Ray either "not worth it," prohibitively expensive (which is no longer the case), indiscernible from DVD discs, or a combination of reasons aforementioned. Why not feed your TV with content that was actually *made* with it in mind?

Sure, depending on the SD DVD, you can get good, sometimes even great results, viewing on an HDTV. But You can watch regular old DVDs on a Blu-Ray player; new Blu-Ray players can be had for less than $100. Even though every modern flat panel has a good enough internal scaler, depending feature set of the BD player you get, you may get better SD DVD upscaling than your TV provides or a wider array of adjustments for image quality. For instance, my Sony ES Blu-Ray player gives excellent results for sd content, and my old HD-DVD player can upconvert regular DVD to 1080p/24.

So really, you can do what you want, and watch what you want on your own TV -- but just know that you aren't getting anywhere near the image quality you paid for.

As should be obvious from my previous post, I agree with everything you've said.

But I do think some people labor under the misapprehension that cable or streaming "HD" is somehow just as good as Blu-Ray. These people are, of course, wrong, given the current options available on the market for these two services. I wouldn't be surprised, were the online/cable/satellite providers to broadcast a test pattern, if the results were no greater than 540 lines of horizontal resolution.

Are they better than DVD? Maybe, probably 50% of the time (at least an anamorphic DVD will spare you the psychic pain of a mangled aspect ratio). Are they acceptable, and even enjoyable, given reduced expectations? Sure. But when compared to a good BD, they're a mushy, compressed, lossy, disgusting mess.

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post #21 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 01:02 AM
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I guess, for me, this really depends on the size of your TV. If you're viewing on something like a 40" or smaller, I could probably live with DVD. But, on my 60" LCD, there is no way I can watch DVDs, upconverted or not. They look terrible. There is simply no comparison when it comes to DVD/Blu-ray.

I hear so many people say that they think good, upconverted DVDs compare to Blu-ray transfers. I just shake my head.

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post #22 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hinduclient View Post

I'm liking my new Sony EX620 lcd/led HDTV. Most of my viewing is from the local library's huge dvd collection. They have no plans to start acquiring Blu-ray for the time being. My only experience so far with HD viewing is Netflix and Amazon on demand. I don't buy movies and don't plan to. For my money, my elderly Sony ES DVD player still looks surprisingly good even compared to streaming HD. Do you have to have Blu-ray to enjoy HDTV?

You have to have HD to enjoy HDTV, otherwise what are you spending the money on?? On a bigger screen that is softer and blurrier than a 32" SD tube TV when playing back SD?

You won't be happy playing back SD on a big-ass HDTV.

Try it and see.

As far as your question about Blu-ray: what is your opposition to diving in based on? Economics? Simplicity of setup? Something else?

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post #23 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 10:13 AM
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As far as your question about Blu-ray: what is your opposition to diving in based on? Economics? Simplicity of setup? Something else?
Didn't u read his post? He doesn't want to spend more money, and DVD from the library is FREE.

For u folks who argue, what's the point of HDTV without BR? nobody is saying he will NEVER get into BR, he has that option, so eventually he might.

Following that logic, did he waste money buying an HDTV? absolutely not. EVEN WO BR, HDTV give u the right aspect ratio of widescreen movies. Digital Broadcast alone make it worthwhile to switch. That David Letterman set really pop in 1080i doesn't it? NASCAR wow.

As it's often said, happiness is mostly mental.

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post #24 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 10:35 AM
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Good enough if your seeing and hearing impaired I guess.

Many forget that Blu-ray is far more than just PQ alone the master sound tracks and sound separation if you have a quality SS system blows anything else away. If you also have a surround system then Bluray will give you the other half of HT experience and WoW! Pop in a remastered Godfather I BD and you'll hear things throughout the movie that aren't present otherwise and never hear in a broadcast version through your TV.

BD Media can be cheap if you shop wisely and aren't in a rush to get the latest at it's release when the price often is outrageous and simply makes no sense - pricing structure on Bluray and the variances are insane though especially for some of the crap being re-released again. Patience is bitter but it's fruit is sweet! I have a pretty good library of BD media that I shop during black friday annually of Amazon specials they often have.

Good enough if you've never experienced anything but Turdvision you may not know the difference but having cross compared there is no friggin comparison - I have advanced chipset on AVR that improves SD and on some of my BD and HD DVD Player but it never will quite match the real deal and it cannot match the SS in any respect!

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post #25 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 10:46 AM
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Going back to the original question (Do you have to have Blu-ray to enjoy HDTV?), the answer is dependent on whether enjoying the TV means getting the most out of your TV or not. One can enjoy nearly anything, but that doesn't make it the best or anywhere near the best of what a 1080p HDTV has to offer. HDTVs are meant for HD (duh) and anything less (SD) is a compromise. You can get by with it, but don't delude your self into thinking the difference between 2,073,600 pixels and 345,600 pixels is small or minimal. Blu-ray is exactly 6 times the resolution of a wide-screen DVD and that will be obvious on a big-screen TV.


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post #26 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 11:05 AM
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^^^ Not to mention, it's not just about resolution, but the better encoding formats that Blu-ray offers, which makes the jump seem more extreme than 6x.

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Of course, I got it modified with the TK-427, which cheeks it up another, maybe, 3 or 4 quads per channel.
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post #27 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post
Going back to the original question (Do you have to have Blu-ray to enjoy HDTV?), the answer is dependent on whether enjoying the TV means getting the most out of your TV or not. One can enjoy nearly anything, but that doesn't make the best or anywhere near the best of what a 1080p HDTV has to offer. HDTVs are meant for HD (duh) and anything less (SD) is a compromise. You can get by with it but don't delude your self into thinking the difference between 2,073,600 pixels and 345,600 pixels is small or minimal. Blu-ray is exactly 6 times the resolution of a wide-screen DVD and that will be obvious on a big-screen TV.
If someone exclusively watched OTA HD on their 1080p set, that would be less of a waste than just watching DVD. I wouldn't begrudge anyone that sort of behavior. If you don't want to buy blu-ray, or you're not a big movie buff, then fine.

The OP mentioned that his old DVD player often looks better than streaming HD from Netflix and Amazon. Well, duh. Given that the quality of their streams vary widely, ranging from ultra-crap to kinda-not-crap, it's no wonder that a well-mastered DVD looks better.

But buying a 1080p set in order to watch 480p DVDs exclusively, especially given that he already pays for Netflix? As I said before, it's kind of like buying a Ferrari to go to the grocery store, when there's a race track next door. You can admire the beautiful machine all you like, but you're intentionally preventing it from performing its best.

At this point, given the lack of OP response, I'm kinda wondering if this was trollbait.

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post #28 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 11:18 AM
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I've watched a TON of HD content streamed from Netflix, it always looks better than any of my DVDs. No contest. While it's not always the best HD you can get. Every DVD I've ever watched just looks like utter crap on my 60".

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post #29 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mweflen View Post

At this point, given the lack of OP response, I'm kinda wondering if this was trollbait.
I was wondering that myself after I nibbled at the bait
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post #30 of 64 Old 09-07-2011, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by MrEastSide View Post
I've watched a TON of HD content streamed from Netflix, it always looks better than any of my DVDs. No contest. While it's not always the best HD you can get. Every DVD I've ever watched just looks like utter crap on my 60".
I've been watching Mad Men since it hit Netflix. And I will agree, it looks better than DVD, not as good as BD. I watch on a Sony 52EX700, btw, from about 8 feet.

But "always?" Not every show looks as good as Mad Men. Watch any of the Starz streaming offerings on Netflix, for instance. Talk about refried-pixel-dogturd. (Starz is leaving Netflix in a few months, and I say good riddance!)

I would go so far as to say the AVERAGE stream from Netflix or Amazon VOD looks a bit worse than an average DVD, because of macroblocking and compression artifacts. I'd take softness over pixellation any day.

I like what deArgila did above - ranking sources.

1. Blu-Ray
2. OTA HD
3. Cable HD
4. Streaming HD
5. Anamorphic DVD
6. Streaming non-HD (or bad HD)
7. Non-anamorphic DVD
8. OTA SD

So my argument would be that, though the best streaming HD trumps DVD, on the average, anamorphic DVD is a better source. I'm also somewhat partial to subtitles, since I often watch at night when the wife's in bed (we have much different work schedules).

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