Originally Posted by makingmusic476
Well, from what i can tell, my pc is just stretching the native 480p image of my dvds to fill the screen. They look very blurred and not very detailed at all.
That's all upscaling is: to change the resolution of a video from its original to a greater one. This is done by any number of ways, but they're all considered upscaling.
For most people, scaling with a good video card is the best way of going about it. Windows' own video renderer actually does the scaling when you change the size of a window, but the video card and drivers have an impact. Generally, VMR9 (video mixing renderer 9) is considered to have the best image quality, but for ATI cards overlay can look pretty good. You should calibrate your monitor colours after you've set things up, so black is black etc. See the stickied posts for more details.
A good route for you might be to use Theatertek. This uses the right renderer to get good scaling and eliminate tearing, and it comes with the Purevideo decoder. You get everything with a nice and tidy interface, works with remotes, does everything for you, has a great picture.
Alternatively, if you have PowerDVD 7, it is also able to access Purevideo functions on an NVidia graphics card (or ATI equivalent), and largely replicates Theatertek's functionality. Personally I don't think it looks quite as nice.
FFDshow: complicated. It doesn't work with PowerDVD, but you can use it with Media Player Classic (free), Theatertek or zoomplayer. Be prepared to learn a lot about video processing if you want to go this route. Frankly, for a 20" monitor there's not much point - its main benefit is for 100" projector setups.