Which DVD player is right for me?
Ten years ago, if you’d said ‘Shall we watch a DVD?’ you’d have been declared a nutcase or technological soothsayer. Today, you can’t even buy a video player (VCR) in most electrical retailers and DVD is simply the way to watch movies at home.
As ever, the reasons are technological. DVD, whether Standard Definition or High Definition such as a Blu-Ray DVD, gives you ultra-sharp pictures, pin-clear sound and a whole cartload of extras. You can even watch it in your car. But preferably not while driving.
Your DVDs – Digital Versatile Discs – look like CDs and hold audio and video information several times as much as a CD, compressed into MPEG-2 format.
So what are you going to play them on? Buying a DVD player isn’t simply a matter of popping round to Asda and parting with £14.99. So, which DVD player or Blu-Ray Player (see some reviews here) is right for you?
DVD Player Points to Ponder
As a given, your DVD player must give you access to language options on your discs and play CDs. You’ll also want to know how easy it is to use. It should also be well made and feel solid. Check the connectors, there should be a SCART socket and composite video connector. If it comes with component video or S-video, ideal for high definition TV, so much the better.
You’ll also want optical or coaxial outputs for your audio, or perhaps both. Check your equipment to see what you need. And what about widescreen? Some are just better at widescreen than others.
Depending on how much moolah you’re prepared to spend, your DVD player might also cater for a number of DVD formats, such as DVD-RAM and DVD+R/RW. With some players, these formats are not a match made in heaven. So check your player’s format. Note also that DVDs are regional, Europe is Zone 2; USA zone 1. If you want to play DVDs from outside your region, best plump for a multi-region player.
If you want to get really fancy, you could buy a DVD jukebox – a multi-disc machine that loads up to 30 DVDs at once. Not flash enough? How about MP3 playback? Yes, some will even play your MP3 music files. Others can display your digital photos. Which is better than a poke in the eye with a frozen salmon. Although possibly not for your dinner guests.
Portable DVD Players
Possibly the greatest invention for parents since Calpol, lightweight, portable DVD players can be taken just about anywhere. Their greatest use, though, is in cars. Looped over the headrest, they’re the perfect antidote to boring long journeys and will keep children from asking ‘Are we there yet?’ for hours at a time.
Check battery life if you’re not running them from the car cigarette lighter, the usual power source. Most portable DVD players now come with an accessory bag and car mounting bag, as well as audio-visual cables and headphones. You can snap one up now for around £60.
Portable DVD not enough? Some new cars are now equipped with a DVD player built in to each headrest. If yours doesn’t, fear not. You can buy a snappily titled ‘In-car Replacement Universal Headrest Kit’ from around £250. This is the mother of all headrests. It’s a headrest with built-in DVD player that slides into the headrest mounting holes in your car. It’ll come with wireless headphones and a remote control. Altogether now, oooh!
Home Cinema is one of those buzz phrases, like Surround Sound or Dolby ProLogic, that might leave you cold if the reality wasn’t so hot. Home cinema really is like bringing the cinema home with you. Without the tall guy with the noisy sweet packet in front of you. Home Cinema is the full sound, big-screen experience in your own living room.You can add to the experience with Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Put your stetson on, or wear a bullet-proof vest, because you’ll truly feel a part of the action. Sit back, open your popcorn and prepare to flinch.
Yes, you can record your favourite films and programmes onto DVD, too. You can even listen to music on CD. Want to stick with your good old VCR for recording? Try buying one in the shops. Ho-ho. When your VCR packs up, you’ll be begging for one on eBay. Which might at least make them valuable. Hmm. Might put mine aside.
DVD recorders are the way to record programmes and films. They’re digital, so you get great sound and picture quality, with no deterioration as time goes by. You’ve no fast forward and rewind to muck about with. You get a track list of everything you’ve recorded. And you can re-record whenever you want. Good eh?
As ever, though, in the technoworld, things are a mite more complex than they first appear. You can’t just record onto any old DVD machine. Lordy, no. You’ve got three kinds of DVD recorder to choose from. Here are the main differences. Take a deep breath.
With DVD-R/RW, you can record onto rewritable discs if you want to use them again, or DVDs that you can use once. Blank discs won’t break the bank and will hold a few hours of footage. Note though that the DVD can be used only on similar, compatible players.
Similar to DVD-R/RW, these machines work with use-once and rewritable DVDs. However, DVD+R/RW recorders are more likely to be compatible with other DVD players, and they give you more features like a thumbnail picture on the on-screen menu of each recording, so you can hop from programme to programme. Some prefer DVD+R/RW as you can play back your recording immediately. With DVD-R/RW, you have to finalise the disc before it will play back. Not so good if you’re recording a series of episodes.
And now for something completely different. DVD-RAM is more akin to a computer hard drive that you can remove. A bit of a show-off, DVD-RAM lets you pause live TV and watch a different programme while recording another one. And, hey, if you’re the type who taps their feet and folds their arms while waiting for the kettle to boil, you’ll like being able to watch your programme while you’re still recording it. Want to edit? Remove various parts? It’s all at your fingertips. The trade-off is a lack of compatibility with some other types of player.
Hope we’ve helped. Now go choose a new DVD player in our review section.
Copyright Gadget Heaven™ 2008.
Latest DVD Player Reviews
have_posts()) : $recent->the_post();?>
ID, “thumbnail”, true) ): ?>