Why dont you buy a player from your local Costco and try it out for yourself and see if you like or not. I am sure you will keep it. I have a Pioneer Elite 1080i and it looks great w/ Blue Ray movies.
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Does your TV look better on say the Discovery channel HD vd regular?
I bet it does.
Now consider that blu-ray has far less compression to the video signal (audio too but that is another issue) and you will quickly see that yes, you will see an improvement, at least on par with the example I gave you, and actually a bit better.
As for the second question, compare it yourself and see, for me it's a huge difference and worth every cent.
Thanks for the responses.
These reponses seem to agree with what I thought would be the case.
That is ,that even with a HDTV that cannot output 1080p the source material from a Blue Ray player and Blue Ray disc is superior to the standard DVD which enables an improvement.
The clerks at the Electronic Department stores kept saying there would be no improvement over standard DVD with a 720p HDTV.
I do understand that it would depend on the actual mastering of the Blue Ray disc itself.
Now, if I could only convince myself that $25+ for a Blue Ray disc is a good price....
You won't be sorry. I have an older Pioneer elite 50" plasma TV that is 1080i. I went to a lot of struggle before decicing to buy the Pioneer 05 Blu-ray. I couldn't be happier! The regular DVD look about 25% better than on a regular DVD player, and the Blu-ray DVD's are outstanding!!! I don't think you'll notice a difference in between a 1080p and a 1080i TV with Blu-ray. i know I didn't. Btw, I bought about 8 blu-ray DVD's for $20 and less from Best Buy right before the holidays.
If you troll Amazon you'll be able to get many good titles for ~$18, at least that has been my average over the last two years.
I sort of stopped buying them as Netflix rents them, so does BB but not as many are there.
SD DVD is 480i, many players will deinterlace the signal, but it's still 480i.....
Just so you know, the only HDTVs that truly display 1080i in native mode are CRT-based. All the LCD, DLP, and plasma-based HDTVs that accept 480p, 720p, and 1080i input (but NOT 1080p) have a native mode of 720p to maybe 768p. That means that when these TVs receive 1080i input, they downconvert to 720p (or in some plasma displays, 768p).
That said, Blu-ray fed to a 720p native mode display looks VERY good. I have such a beast, a 2005 55" LCD-based RP Hitachi with 720p native mode. Ever since I bought an HD DVD player in early 2007 (and now have a PS3 to play Blu-ray), it looks so much better than HDTV or std-def DVD that I *will not* buy any more std-def DVDs and I added HD DVD and Blu-ray to my Netflix profile. I don't watch a std-def DVD anymore unless 1) It's available only in that format and 2) I REALLY REALLY want to watch that movie. Otherwise, Blu-ray fed to my 720p display has spoiled me for anything less.
The interesting thing I've found is that although my TV is definitely run by a 720p-based LCD, when I set the output of the Blu-ray or HD DVD to output 1080i via HDMI, it looks just a *little* sharper than when I output in 720p, the TV's native mode. So don't be afraid to experiment a bit, but *don't* try to feed it 1080p; it may freak out your TV.
I should have said as well....I second using Netfix with Blu Ray rather than buying BD's. Unless you have a kid/kids that watch the same stuff over an over...or you like a movie that much where you need to see it multiple times. but then again just order it again through Netflix, you get the movie in a day or two...