Listen to the music. Forget the pictures.
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I've spent the entire day going through just about every dvd in my collection & here's the low down.Discs with so so authoring look really bad.Lots of noise & flat color.Cueing up a disc of Batman The Animated Series & The Animatrix showed superb color saturation BUT revealed themselves to be computer generated with heavy motion artifacts.Spinning discs of Smallville & JAG yielded a picture unlike any I've ever seen.The picture however was SO GOOD that you could see EVERY line of makeup on the actors.I swear Clark Kent looked like a drag queen.It appears that this deck is capable of such accuracy that there is no middle ground.It's either too good or not nearly good enough.Inserting the DVD1920 back into the loop brought back the balance needed to enjoy the tv.Animation had no motion artifacts & very good color saturation.Poorly mastered discs upconverted to 720P provided a good enough base signal to the tv to allow it's scaler to do a very good job of eliminating video noise,with good color saturation & detail.Clark Kent was back to his old self,not quite the color sat.of the 2930 but much better balanced & just soft enough to cover the makeup.Bottom line I think is this deck would KILL with a good projector set up or direct view tv thats sized correctly for viewing distance.HOWEVER if you've got a big screen direct view & sit close I don't think this or any 1080P upscaling player will cut it.If I didn't have such a sizeable dvd collection I'd consider an HD DVD or Blu Ray player.So the 2930 is going back to Magnolia & the 1920 will stay in the system for now.Gee I wonder how the Marantz DV7001-1080P with its Faroudja processor would perform??????
This is a common problem with very high resolution products. They reveal every defect in the source material, little of which is mastered/manufactured/shot/recorded for very high res viewing/listening. Bummer!!!! Many of us have been there. Try watching a heavily compressed analog video signal that has been converted by your local cable provider to digital on a high res display, esp. if it then upconverts/scales. Virtually unwatchable. Yet feed the same display a good quality signal in its native resolution and it can be amazing (except of course for seeing the ear hair or pock marks on your favorite aging actor!!)
Diver- Your problem has nothing to do with 1080P and 720P resolutions. The only difference is where the upscaling gets done - either in the player, or in the TV. Expecting a big difference in an upscaling DVD player means that you are assuming that the scaler in your TV is junk. It's going to be a pretty subtle difference either way, unless your TV is crap.
Your problem, is that your new player just isn't as good as your old one. There's a lot more to video than resolution alone. Maybe it's defective, maybe it's just crap. It sounds like you need to find a better player, regardless.
Why did you drive 250 miles for a mid-fi DVD player? Online ordering is a few clicks away. The Oppo is well reviewed, supposed to be a good picture, but the build quality is low.
If you can scrape up a little bit of dough, the best DVD player I've found is the Onkyo SP1000 http://www.hpdirectav.com/item.aspx?eid=1&pid=92982 , it also replaced my Jolida CD player because it just sounds better, and does SACD and DVD-A too. Transport is the best I've seen on a DVD player, and video is near flawless.
Not necessarily plugging that product, the choice is yours... but in your case, I think it's time to return the new Denon and start looking into different players.
There are several things I would check first.
1) Did you use the HDMI connection from the DVD player to your TV ?
2) On your DVD player remote, there is a setup button. Click on it and make sure the display is setup to be 4:3 or 16:9.
3) Choose best resolution..1080P or whatever...
I have the Denon 2910ci and after I did all that it looks much better on my Sharp 1080 LCD TV.