Do Blu-Ray Players Upscale DVDs?

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Blu-ray is the modern way to watch movies physically but DVD is still tremendously popular.

In fact, there are a lot of people who own more DVDs in their physical media collection than Blu-Ray Discs.

Because of this many people naturally want to know if their DVDs will look good if played on a Blu-Ray player.

Will it be upscaled? Can it be upscaled to 1080p quality? I will answer this below.

Do Blu-Ray players upscale DVDs?

Blu-ray players upscale DVDs to 1080p (or above, 4k, 8k, etc) but the resolution and sharpness of the image is still on par with DVD’s native format, 480p.

Upscaling makes a very minimal difference in picture quality thus a Blu-Ray player being able to upscale a DVD is nothing to get too excited about.

If you Have an HD or 4k TV (hell, even 8k) then yes your Blu-ray player will upscale a DVD to a higher video format.

However, upscaling a 480p image (DVD) to 1080p or above will never look as good as something that is true 1080p, 4k, etc.

In this blog post, I will discuss in further detail if DVDs look better on a Blu-ray player as well as why you should consider ditching DVD as a format altogether.

Do DVDs Look Better on a Blu-Ray Player?

DVDs will look marginally better if played on a Blu-Ray Player but the difference is so minuscule.

It’s important to keep this in mind, upscaling won’t improve an already low-quality image, I wrote an article discussing this in regards to upscaling Netflix to 4k, you can read that if you like.

Personally, I have a 4k Blu-ray player (paid link) and 4k TV and the difference in quality from a 480p DVD (Upscaled to 1080) to 1080p Blu-Ray is jarring, the difference is night and day.

Just because you increase the pixel count doesn’t mean the resolution will improve.

There is not enough detail in the image (DVD), it does not matter if you upscale it to 1080p or 4k, it won’t look good.

I’ve watched enough DVD’s on my 4k TV (paid link) to know that DVDs are consistently soft and lack sharpness, especially in the background. 1080p Blu-Ray is substantially better.

Upscaling is marketing jargon and it is a total gimmick if you ask me.

I notice a major difference in quality between upscaled DVD content and just standard Blu-Ray.

In fact, it’s a much bigger difference than currently exists between 1080p Blu-ray and 4k.

Ditch DVD for Blu-Ray


If you don’t want to watch 480p then going the route of Blu-Ray is the best option.

DVDs are relics and if you want to watch them on a modern display then you have to accept them for what they are, low quality.

However, if you have HD DVDs, that’s a different story.

Those DVDs can play true 1080p. There are numerous benefits Blu-ray offers over DVD, these include sound and picture quality as well as more impressive cover art that comes with Steelbook.

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You also get access to more bonus features as Blu-Ray discs can store more data on them than DVDs.

I know that my Apocalypse Now 4k Steelbook (paid link) has an extensive amount of special features

You will rarely get anywhere near that much content on a DVD.

Directors and studios simply put more effort into Blu-Ray discs than DVDs.


DVDs will automatically be upscaled when played on a Blu-Ray player but you are not getting 1080p quality, you are getting 480p.

Unfortunately, DVD’s image quality cannot be enhanced, they are what they are.

I recommend moving on from DVD and buying Blu-Ray exclusively.

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