What Is HDMI Upscaling?

By Shea Laverty

Switching to HDMI cables can reduce cable clutter.
i ShinjiPhotographer/iStock/Getty Images

The High-Definition Multimedia Interface is a high-definition interface cable used with numerous electronic devices. HDMI carries both audio and video in a single cable and is generally the interface of choice for high-definition video and audio content. When connected to standard definition devices with HDMI output, it has another nifty feature; it upscales standard-definition media to a higher resolution.

Upscaling With HDMI

Many high-definition televisions feature upscaling, which takes a standard-resolution image and increases the resolution to HD levels. While HDMI is primarily featured on devices that are already high-definition capable such as gaming consoles, computers and Blu-ray players, some newer DVD players also have HDMI ports. By connecting the DVD player to your HDTV with the HDMI cable, you get the best possible upscaled picture from your old DVDs.

Downsides to Upscaling

The results of upscaling aren't picture perfect. While often a substantial upgrade over standard-definition video displays, upscaling still uses standard-definition media. As such, an upscaled DVD image will never be quite as sharp or colorful as a Blu-ray image. In addition, HDMI support for standard-resolution devices is not widespread, as standard-definition media and devices to run it are steadily being phased out in favor of high-definition content.