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Upscaling DVD to Near HD Resolution

by Eyre Austero 27. November 2009 07:17

TotalMedia Theatre 3

      A trip to your nearest appliance shop will say it all. What you'll be seeing are HDTVs on one side; HD ready camcorders on the other; and more HD compliant gadgets scattered all throughout. It can no longer be denied.  Indeed, HD nowadays is the next thing. But reality check would also show you how expensive it is, well as far as average 'Juans' like me are concerned. Even if we work on the assumption that we were lucky to have saved enough to complete the hardware requirements to enjoy Full HD (1080p), we are still faced with the problem of whether we can afford a lifestyle of shelling out at least around Php 1.3k on a regular basis just to be able to  purchase at least one BD title. Luckily however, there is a way to experience HD or near HD resolution using the cheaper DVD format. The technology is called DVD upscaling/upconverting.

     Just what is this upscaling thing all about?  Simply put, DVD upscaling is a complex process of  upconverting the standard DVD resolution of 480i/p to at least 720p or to a higher one that one's display can support (such as 1080p) . Unlike a mere resizing of image from a lower to a higher resolution, upscaling involves the creation of interpolated data so as to make the resulting image appear to have a notably higher quality.

     If you're like me who is using a PC for movie viewing, a promising solution caught my eyes after spending a bit of my time googling. I'm now going to show  my experience with the trial version of Arcsoft's TotalMedia Theatre 3 with SimHD plugin. SimHD is Arcsoft's upscaling technology that promises to bring standard definition multimedia files or DVDs to high definition ones in real time using its advanced post processing technology. Efficient balance between GPU and CPU usage is achieved through utilizing the NVIDIA CUDA and ATI Stream computing technologies " to solve complex calculations in a fraction of the time required on a CPU".

     There are two options to choose from in using SimHD in TotalMedia Theatre 3: CPU-processing or GPU-processing.  For my purposes, I used the latter option.  After all, this is what my newly purchased Radeon HD4770 is for.

SimHD Options GPU-processing SimHD Options CPU-processing

     Using the splitting video mode wherein the screen is split into two with the left side rendered with SimHD off and the right with SimHD on, the images below will speak for themselves. Clearly, the images on the right screen appear to be shaper and to have more details compared with those on the left.

TotalMedia Theatre 3 Split Mode

TotalMedia Theatre 3 Split Mode

     Although I'm not yet availing this technology for now, it's re-assuring to know that that technology is there and that it keeps on evolving for the better.  

     PS: The video  'captures' presented in this article were taken from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.      

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