"Great 1080i HDMI performance"4.5 starson by zeroohm
Pros: 1080i HDMI, small size
Cons: Poor 480p performance
Summary: I purchased a refurbished player and so far it has functioned without any issues. And who can argue with the $39 price? Anyway, I did not know what to expect because my standard (non-progressive scan and relatively old) DVD player produces an incredible picture with the component outputs connected to my 1080p TV. I was skeptical whether or not this player would perform better as the source is still a standard DVD.
When I first connected it I was extremely disappointed. I think I saw the same thing others have complained about. At 480p the quality of the picture was significantly poorer than my other DVD player. However, after I set the video output to 1080i and made a few adjustments in the contrast, brightness and color settings, the picture quality was noticably better than my other player.
I think the sharpness of the picture is about the same as my other player (maybe slightly better) but the huge difference was the increase in contrast/brightness. I am sure that is due to the HDMI connection as I also have also connected the player using the component outputs and the picture is not nearly as vivid. Connecting this player to a high contrast display (such as DLP or some plasmas) will produce amazing results. I think to get the most out of it you will need a 1080 display.
In summary, this inexpensive DVD player produces what I think is the best image quality you can get from a standard DVD as long as you are using a 1080 display and the 1080i setting on the player. Any improvment in the picture quality by using a more expensive player is likely to be undetectable. If you want better performance than this, you should look at a HD DVD player. Of course you can't get one of those for $39.