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What is Progressive Scan DVD Player?

A progressive scan DVD player must be used with High Definition television sets.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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A progressive scan DVD player requires some explanation, though it also must be said of these players that they may ultimately become obsolete. Significant competition from Blu-Ray® players is currently reducing the market for DVD players, and it may take some time before one of these technologies emerges victoriously, or the two could exist side by side for many years. While the matter is still speculative, it’s certainly worth knowing what makes a progress scan DVD player useful or special.

It’s important to state that most progressive scan DVD players do not work on regular television sets and must be used with High Definition and Digital sets. A very few may be able to convert to use with a standard TV, but it’s usually not worth it to try to find one of these. Instead, those shopping for a DVD player for an analog set should look for one without progressive scan features.

The main difference with the progressive scan DVD player is how it works in coordination with the digital TV to produce an image. The image is created progressively, line after consecutive line; whereas in analog picture production, odd then even lines create an image. Both types of pictures perform this image creation numerous times within a second. From a viewing perspective progressively produced images tends to correspond to a sharper, cleaner picture, which may be particularly observable with higher numbers of displayed pixels.

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There are a few progressive scan DVD player models that have a fairly low pixel amount and are roughly as good as standard DVD players. They differ only in the way the image is produced, and might result in a slightly better picture. These are likely to be called 720 x 480p. When pixel level goes up, to perhaps 1280 x 720p, the number of pixels that create the picture can make a demonstrable difference in image quality. It’s not really clear when the picture is so good more pixels can’t improve it, and there are spirited arguments about this topic.

One thing that should be known about the progressive scan DVD player is that it is not perfectly compatible with a digital and high def television. The TV, when tuned to digital or high def stations may get better picture quality than the DVD produces. For a short while, to address this, some people began to make high definition DVD players, but these were discontinued in the late 2000s. Instead, those who are sticklers for extraordinary viewing are turning to Blu-Ray® players, which do produce a better image that matches display capability of the high def TV.

Since the Blu-Ray® technology is still relatively recent in development, prices are a littler higher than for a progressive scan DVD player. One option, especially for people who enjoy video games, is to purchase a Sony Playstation 3® which has a Blu-Ray® player that can be used for viewing or games. This remains a good bargain while Blu-Ray® prices are still high. Blu-Ray discs are presently more expensive, and many people are happy with the quality of picture they get from a progressive scan DVD player.

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