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Ask the DVD Doctor!

03.04.2008

I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a column at The DVD Clinic titled “Ask the DVD Doctor”. It runs on Tuesdays and there you can submit any home theatre, DVD/Blu-ray or home entertainment questions that you may have. We get a wide variety of questions and below you’ll find a sample of some questions we’ve gotten over the past few months.

As always, send in your questions to: dvddoctor@joblo.com

If I buy a TV that can display a 1080i picture, can I watch cable TV in high definition, or do I have to pay extra to my cable company? - Adam

The simple answer is that your TV can only display the signal it receives (upconversion notwithstanding). Basically, you’re going to have to shell out a few extra bucks a month to your cable company in order to get a high definition signal. For cable companies, HD channels are treated similarly to premium channels in that you have to pay extra for them. If you’re obsessed with watching everything in HD, then you might want to look into a satellite service since they offer more HD channels than most cable companies.

Where can I get a copy of the Star Wars holiday special? I heard that George Lucas destroyed everything that had to do with it, but I know there are people out there that have it. - Ray

Ebay. Period. You would be correct in saying there are people out there that have it, but no one is selling it legally. George and his thugs peruse Ebay every now and then and threaten legal action against anyone selling the DVD, but it’s out there. I don’t know if you can get in legal trouble or not for selling a copy, so proceed at your own risk.


Yes, it’s as bad as you’ve heard and yes, that’s Bea Arthur.

However, I would like to comment that the only reason to own this is for novelty sake. It truly is horrible. A lot of people say things are horrible because they’re exaggerating, but this really is unbearable to watch. I personally couldn’t make it through the whole thing. George is right to try and erase this from the Star Wars universe because it’s embarrassing for everyone involved.

Why would one by a HD-DVD or Blu-ray disc, if the player will convert your regular DVDs to 1080i or p? I mean why pay almost 20% more for an HD-DVD or Blu-ray disc, when you can buy a regular DVD cheaper and have your player do all the work? Why even have HD and Blu ray DVDs then if the players upconvert all DVDs. This makes no sense to me. Please, please explain!!!!!! – Thanks, Josh

This question has two answers, a short and a long one. The short answer is: True HD movies are significantly better than upconverted DVD’s. The picture below is a good comparison of a progressive image and an upconverted, interlaced image.


There’s a considerable difference between an upconverted image and true HD.

The long answer would be easier to explain if I could show you on an actual TV set, but I’ll do my best. First, the benefit you would get from a Blu-ray movie really depends on what you’d be watching it on. If you have a 20’’-37’’ TV with a very basic setup, you’re probably not going to notice a difference. In fact, if your set isn’t 1080i or 1080p, you won’t notice anything. If you fall into this category, then I’d wait until you’ve upgraded your system to invest in HD.

The people that will notice the biggest difference are the people with 60+’’ 1080p TV sets, full surround sound setup or maybe even a projector and screen. Basically, the people that have invested $10k or more into their home theater. These people will think that the difference between Blu-rays and DVD’s is night and day. Their system is designed to get the most of HD.

Most people fall somewhere in the middle. If you have the capability, I highly recommend connecting an upconverting DVD player and a Blu-ray player to the same TV and putting in a copy of the same movie and switching the inputs back and forth. I guarantee you that you will notice a difference. The HD picture is smoother, clearer and sharper. The sound is more distinct, louder, and surround channels are better utilized. Upconverting is nice, but it doesn’t take the place of true HD movies.

When oh when will my beloved (and I know I'm not the only one) Airborne finally get the DVD treatment? – James

If you’re referring to the 1998 film starring Steve Guttenberg, then you might actually be the only one. But, you’d be happy because it’s currently available on DVD and you can buy it here .


It had to be the hair. Chicks dig the hair.

However, I’m betting you’re referring to the 1993 film starring Shane McDermott and featuring some wicked roller-blading action, if there is such a thing with roller blades. Anyway, this is actually available here if you can hang with the German writing all over it. Unfortunately, you have to have a region-free DVD player to be able to play it, which, by the way, I highly recommend to anyone frustrated with trying to find hard to find films in the States. Unfortunately, Warner Brothers hasn’t announced any plans to release it in the US.

Source: DVD Clinic

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