5 Accessories to Get for Your HDTV


Blu-ray Player or DVD Upconverter

Blu-ray won the high-definition format war but will it win a place in your entertainment center?
Blu-ray won the high-definition format war but will it win a place in your entertainment center?
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

What about those times when there's nothing good on television and you've exhausted your DVR's library? Or you want to host a movie night at your house and really impress your guests with an amazing display of your television's capabilities? You have two options available to you: buy a Blu-ray player or a DVD player with upconversion capability.

Even after Sony's Blu-ray defeated HD-DVD in the great high-definition digital video disc format wars, consumers were slow to adopt the technology. High prices on both video players and individual Blu-ray movie titles discouraged people from purchasing a machine. Some potential customers balked at the thought of either splitting their video libraries into two formats or replacing all the normal DVDs they owned with new Blu-ray versions. Prices for Blu-ray video players have since fallen below $150 for some models, but adoption remains slow.

There's no question that Blu-ray players provide superior video content. The Blu-ray format can hold more information than a standard DVD. That means entertainment companies can fit more content and special features on Blu-ray discs than they can fit on a normal DVD. That might be enough to convince some home theater enthusiasts that the switch is worth it.

For those still reluctant to take the plunge into Blu-ray, there's another option. It's called upconversion or upscaling. A DVD with upconversion capability uses an advanced algorithm to make video from a standard DVD look more like a high-definition video. It's important to shop around for an upconverting DVD player -- some are definitely better than others. For smaller television sets you may not notice a difference between upconverted video and video from a Blu-ray player. But for larger televisions, you'll probably be able to see a difference in quality.

The biggest advantage of using an upconversion DVD player is that you won't have to replace your media library or split it between two formats. But you also won't get the best picture possible. Or if you just can't decide, don't choose at all -- buy both a Blu-ray player and an upconversion DVD player!