We mentioned it in our last column, weíd be looking at some devices that are capable of HD playback. The first device weíll look at is Samsungí HD931/HD935 which is a dvd player that is able to upscale to 720p and 1080i resolutions. Normally a dvd player sold in the US, featuring NTSC, only outputs 480 lines, either interlaced, 480i, or progressive, 480p, so the total resolution is about 853 x 480 pixels for a 16:9 dvd. In Europe, featuring PAL, a slightly higher resolution is used, 576 lines, yielding a 1024 x 576 resolution. Obviously the European standard offers better resolution provided the dvd is mastered properly at the studio.
Fig 1. A block diagram clearly showing how the Samsing dvd player upscales the signal to higher resolutions.
The Samsung dvd player scales these two formats up to a higher resolution in the digital domain, meaning that all processing is done on the digital signal. The output, which is only available through DVI, is either 720p, yielding a 1280 x 720 resolution, or 1080i, a 1920 x 1080 resolution. That these resolutions donít really boost the image quality on a normal TV set with less than a 50" diagonal is only logical. But for those that use a projector, or a wide screen TV, the added resolution might indeed provide a healthy boost in image quality.
Fig 2. The Genesis Microchip Inc.' FLI2310 Faroudja DCDi processor, which does all of the upscaling.
But wait, how can a signal thatís upscaled have a higher resolution than the source? Thatís like converting a MP3 file back to original CD quality. Obviously, even with processing in the digital domain, all that can be done is enhance the image, the source simply has not got the needed information to display an image at the true 720p or 1080i resolution. Nevertheless a lot can be done to make the image appear like itís of a higher resolution. Our task is to figure out whether thatís indeed lifelike and free of artifacts or other digital mayhem. Weíll be posting our evaluation of the Samsung HD dvd player soon, which will answer these questions and report on our findings.