I'm a video producer/editor/designer, and I've had an issue since replacing my CRT 4x3 19-inch monitor with a new LG LCD 32-inch widescreen monitor, and an associate of mine suspects that the following may be what's happening:
First of all, HD imagery looks just as it should and just as I expected it would. The problem is with displaying SD footage-- and especially graphics-- in that there's always noticable jagginess and or blurryness and or just general not-so-good-looking imagery, especially compared to my CRT status monitor. For example, a still image put on my timeline can oftentimes appear aliased or even sit there flickering in some areas. I do have the monitor switched to "4x3" in the case of SD projects, by the way.
My associate friend said he wonders if the LG monitor itself is trying to up-sample SD footage to its big display and is just not doing a good job at it. He wonders if there's a way my DeckLink card could do the up-sampling instead.
Does any of this sound like something that could be going on?
I don't think the Decklinks will do up-convert. Down-convert, yes, but not Up.
Yes, your screen is 'scaling' the image to make it fit the full screen. I know on one of the screens at my office we can turn 'off' the scaler, via the display button, so it will show 'actual' size, pixel for pixel. The problem is, that makes it a fairly small postage stamp on the screen. And, to be honest, doesn't really represent what you'll see on a larger screen like you have there.
You can get an upconverter that may do better, like an UpDownCross or AJA FS1, but you're still going from SD to HD, and what you're seeing is one of the horrible side-effects of starting in a lower resolution to view on a higher resolution screen.
We've run into the exact same problem and the only real solution we've found is to have an SD monitor in the suite along with the HD monitor. We have a broadcast Sony HD monitor in our HD suite and it automatically switches if we feed it an SD source and even shows you onscreen that it's outputting a 480i image, but because that SD signal is not the native pixel resolution of the display, like yours it looks pretty bad. And this is on an expensive monitor!
The Decklink HD Extreme will do upscaling only on input, and you have to enable from the Decklink Control Panel app....and frankly, the upscaling quality is pretty bad. But as the other poster says I don't believe you can upscale on output. We've also experimented with video scalers from DVDO and Gefen...and while they do a REALLY good job of upscaling SD to HD, deinterlacing and removing the jaggies, they do a poor job with color, often "enhancing" the color to the point that you're not sure what's accurate. Some of them also mess with the gamma and black level, which can really screw you up when you're color correcting footage. Bottom line for us is to have an SD monitor in the suite for SD projects and an HD monitor for HD projects.