Here's my equipment:
TV: Panasonic TH50PX60U
DVD: Sony DVP-NS71HP (Costco model)
I rented March of the Penguins, and the picture in some scenes was horrible (in other scenes it was great). Many times the solid blue skys were splotchy (macroblocking, I assume) and they were crawling around like million ants (dot crawl?).
First observation: Turn off the Panasonic's "Video Noise Reduction"! It was responsible for most of the dot crawl. (Picture -> Other adjust -> Video NR).
But it still wasn't good. The order of quality seemed to be (best to worst):
1) DVD upscaling to 720p or 1080i over HDMI
2) 480p over composite (in pause looked the best, but had slightly more dot crawl)
3) 480p over HDMI (by far the worst)
Here are some screen shots of the various modes. Unfortunately, this doesn't convey nearly as much as seeing the moving image.
1080i over HDMI:
480p over HDMI:
I can't understand two things:
a) Why would 480p over composite look better than 480p over HDMI?
b) The Panasonic has a resolution of 768, so having the DVD player do scaling to 720 or 1080 means it's being scaled twice, so I'm surprised it #1 looks best. I guess if the panasonic scalar is bad then maybe, but it is still being used to go from 1080 to 768.
I am still not happy with the image, even with 1080i. It's splotchy, and has dot crawl. What can I do? I'm told to avoid Faroudja players because the macroblocking is a real problem when paired with Panasonics.
I'm considering a Denon 2900, because I'm also looking for improved analog audio (but that's a different story). Is there any chance the Denon 2900 with compositdoutputs would make this problem go away? Or maybe I should just try out a Faroudja player.