Speaking technically, this unit has some goodies inside, so let's start by looking at some specifications from AKAI.
Main Features and Functions
- Docks and charges iPod
- Compatible with CD/ DVD/CD-R/ CD-RW/MP3/WMA/VCD/JPEG/ DIVX/MPEG4
- AM/FM radio with digital readout
- HDMI 1080P
- Supports USB and card audio playing
- Built-in DVD player
- LCD clock display
- Composite video, S-video, Y, Cb, Cr video output
- Supports all iPods- Digital coaxial & optical audio output
- VFD Multi-function display
- Automatic age lock and screen protection function
- Remote control unit
- 2.1 + 1 track power output (double sub-woofer)
- 4" x 4 + 5" x2 bass speaker 40w + 20w*2 (RMS 10% THD
Starting with the audio aspect of the unit, we are given a selection of small 4" speakers along with two larger 5" drivers to handle the low end. Also included are two small silk covered dome tweeters.
The power rating for the smaller speakers is given at 40 watts peak and 20 watts x2 (peak) for the woofers with a hefty 10% total harmonic distortion. Unfortunately there are not any reliable RMS power figures given, so we have to work with the temperamental 'peak' offerings instead.
Now, I must make note here that this is a 2.1 setup with an extra .1 in the form of the second 5" woofer. This is not a 5.1 surround system and does not feature any surround speakers or Dolby Labs/DTS decoding support.
What is of interest here is the up-sampling of DVDs to be output in 1080p.
An up-sampling DVD player is the latest generation of devices that bridges the gap between the old generation of DVD video (low-def) and the new high-def generation of video we are getting now with Blu-ray and HDTV.
So what does it actually do? Well, put very simply it takes the digital media on the DVD disc and over-samples the data for the best possible results. Over-sampling is just like reading a paragraph in a book twice to make sure you get all the information.
Once this is done the signal is kept in its digital form and output digitally in 1080p pixels via a HDMI output connected to a 1080p HDMI TV.
The result? High Definition; at least, in a sense. I say that because DVDs were never meant to be over-sampled and output in 1080p. They are standard definition content at only 60Hz. The 'Hz' refers to screen refresh rates where higher is better (smoother video). For comparison, today's HDTVs are around 120Hz, going right up to Sony's latest 240Hz model. However, that may seem like overkill when you consider the fact that a large whack of media actually falls well below that figure natively, such as Playstation 3 games on Blu-ray which are only 60Hz.
Moreover, you can still connect a DVD player to a high definition TV with perfectly acceptable results without actually buying a bridging device like an up-sampling DVD player.
Or you could simply buy a Blu-ray player for $400 which does this anyway, thus negating the need for these up-sampling players completely in the first place.
Confusing? - Just a bit.