Originally Posted by The_Frock
90% of what i watch is SD cable tv and shows that i download/stream off the net. I want to get the best quality SD picture out of my new plasma (but within my $900 budget), and was told that i should be looking at getting a good quality SD video processor.
Will you want to watch the material live or played back from a file?
If from a file, the Oppo 93 3D Bluray player has an inbuilt Qdeo VP that is very good, so not only do you get good SD scaling, but you can also watch DVD and 3D Bluray in very good quality for about $600. This player is relatively easy to mod for region switching capability at extra cost.
The previous model Oppo 83 Bluray player might also work, if you can find one, but it doesn't handle 3D. It does include a good VP, although different from the 93 model.
If watching live, it may be possible to stream from a suitable device to the Oppo, but probably a standalone VP might be more flexible and could be used with existing equipment for other scaling applications.
As far as standalone VP, the DVDO Edge produces quite a reasonable result, but they are a little difficult to obtain in Australia. The previous VP30+ABT102 is still very good for SD upscaling and there is a used one for sale on the Aussie DTV Forum for $500. All other VPs are above $1000. I use a DVDO Edge for SDTV but that was $800 in the day.
The MagicTV 4000 PVR has reasonable SD upscaling built-in, but it isn't quite as good as the DVDO Edge IMO, although still better than many PVR.
As others have mentioned, AVR don't necessarily implement all the features of a VP chip and when you consider a dedicated VP is upwards of $600, even a $900 AVR is not going to give you the same benefits as that VP, even if it does have the same chip included, however it may be good enough for most purposes.
Unfortunately it is going to be very difficult for you to compare options.