Can I record a DVD in Progressive Scan?

Question: Can I record a DVD in Progressive Scan?

Answer: DVD recorders do not actually record in progressive scan; progressive scan is a process that can be applied during the playback function if the DVD recorder has progressive scan outputs. Although some DVD recorders have component video inputs (mostly made by Philips), these inputs are not progressive scan inputs.

All DVDs are recorded in the 480i standard when using a DVD recorder.

When a DVD player or recorder plays a DVD, it is the progressive scan processors and line doublers used in the playback path that can determine how the 480i video recorded on the DVD is eventually displayed on a television or projection screen. The interlaced to progressive scan conversion can be done through either the DVD playback path or by a progressive scan television, however, it is more efficient to have the DVD recorder or player do it. In this scenario, however, both the DVD player and the television or projector needs to be compatible with progressive scan in order to display it.

The reason that DVDs are all recorded in the 480i standard is that is how the DVD can read by all DVD players (such as older non-progressive scan units) and be shown on a standard analog television. Even if you could record a DVD in 480p or higher, the DVD would not be playable on a non-progressive scan DVD player. Any upscale conversion is done on the playback side. Essentially, a DVD player (or recorder - in playback mode) equipped with progressive scan converts the 480i to 480p for display on a progressive scan capable television, if you want to do further upscaling, you can do that with a line doubler or HD upscaler that can upscale to 720p or 1080i.

To put this whole process in basic terms, the DVD you make is recorded in 480i. However, when you play your DVD back to watch on a television or computer monitor, it is how the processors in the DVD player, external line doubler, or other type of upscaling processor that determines how the image is displayed on your screen. All a DVD recorder can do is record the VHS, Laserdisc, or camcorder source as it comes in, the incoming video has to be (in the case of the U.S. for instance) a standard interlaced NTSC source. This interlaced video signal is then recorded onto the DVD. The recorded DVD can then be played on another DVD player (depending on the recording format used - such as DVD-R,etc..). If you wish to view the DVD playback in an upscaled fashion, through line doubling, you either the DVD player must be equipped with a progressive scan output or an external line doubler must be used.

In conclusion, when you see a DVD recorder advertised as a DVD Recorder with Progressive Scan, what they are referring to is that the DVD recorder has progressive scan playback output capability, not that it will record in progressive scan.