Standard Definition playback quality


I am considering getting a WDTV live.

Before I take the jump, I’d like a little info from experienced users on the quality of playback of SD content.

I realise that this is an inexpensive unit, and I should probably “**bleep** it and see”. I’ve also searched online for an answer, but got the usual conflicting range of opinions and debates about the marketing hyperbolae of up-scaling.

The specific reason I’m hesitating, is that I recently tried an Acer Revo RL100 HTPC with xbmc installed. MKV playback of 720p material was fine, but SD quality playback was very poor quality - specifically a lack of sharp detail and posterizing / colour banding of backgrounds etc. (Tried latest drivers - fiddled with gamma - driver settings etc)

The same file played on the same TV (with the same TV settings) was way superior when played back on the PS3. Blacks were black, the sharpness and detail was fine, and the posterizing was acceptable and less obvious than via the Acer. To me, the quality of DVD rips played via the PS3 is acceptable (whether upscale is set to “standard” or “off”).

So, whilst I know HD content will be excellent, I want to ensure that old SD content that I can’t replace (like family movies) will match the clarity and sharpness of the PS3 playback. Anyone who has had a chance to compare SD material played back at 1080p on the PS3 and the WDTV Live is welcome to chip in with their thoughts.

(If there are xbmc fans reading this, I am aware there a several different up-scaling methods on xbmc, but as these are software methods, they caused the Acer to stutter on playback with them enabled…)


I don’t have a PS3 so can’t help you there but I do watch a lot of old TV shows in SD.  Right now, I’m watching old “Outer Limits” and  “Highway Patrol” shows.   I think the video quality is pretty good.   Actually, better than the TiVo they were originally recorded on.

You realize that what you are asking is very subjective and people’s opinions might differ, but in my opinion, the SD quality is good. The WD box can upconvert to 1080i or 1080p which won’t improve the original video’s resolution, but it does a fairly good job of getting rid of scan lines. Again, everyone will have a different opinion. If you make sure that you buy the WD at a store that will allow returns, you can try it for yourself and return it if you are not happy.

Thanks for the replies guys - yes, I realize that this is a subjective area, and the reason I ask is that the difference in clarity between the Acer and the PS3 was so huge (in SD).

I will buy from a store that allows returns - thanks for that - but I’d still be interested in hearing from anyone who has compared it to a PS3 before I start wiring up Ethernet.