Smart DVD Player
Your current DVD player isn’t working so hot right now, or maybe you just returned to the planet and discovered your betamax didn’t work out the way you hoped it would. Either way, Sparky, you need a DVD player. You could run down to your local electronics store and pick up a new one; after all, a DVD Player is a DVD player, right? Obviously not, otherwise you’d be reading something else right now. It just so happens that there are options you might not have thought about-and we’re going to tell you about them.
If you’re buying online to save money and add to your choices, you might be asked, “NTSC or PAL?” or the two might be referred to. Without getting too technical, they are standards of picture quality and regional. NTSC is the standard used in North America and PAL is the general European standard. They are not compatible and PAL will not work on your American set, period– UNLESS you buy a non-regional (or both region) DVD player. Then it will work on your NTSC TV set (HDTV). The advantage is that you will be able to buy and watch imported movies without any problem, which is very cool if you’re into French Noir films-who isn’t?
Let’s chat about outputs. The standards now for players are the composite video cable and the s-video cable. Neither is really that much better than the other. Both are messy and if you hook up everything else to your TV using HDMI cables, your DVD player’s “extra” cables will throw everything off and drive you crazy hooking and unhooking. A viable option that a lot of people miss is to buy a DVD player with DVI outputs. DVI outputs work with HDMI cables without having to do anything special and at a cheaper cost than a one with HDMI outputs. This will keep your home media center cabling all on the same type of cable and save you around $50 or so. You are very welcome.
Interlaced and progressive DVD players are different. Without getting too technical and talking about a bunch of stuff even I don’t care about- interlaced means that every other line on your DVD disc is scanned and then the DVD player pairs them together. Progressive players scan in order from first to last, the result being a faster frame rate (pictures displayed per second). Progressive players cost a bit more, but why spend a lot of money on a nice TV if the DVD movies you are watching are not going to be of the best quality available?
Playback is something you might want to think about as well. Will you be playing MP3 files (on CD) on your new DVD player? How about DVD-R/DVD-RAM, CD-R/RW, and WMA? Check the specs on this one. Basically, you took all that time to (hopefully) buy your music and maybe a movie on the internet, you want to be able to play them back on all of your equipment, including your new DVD player. Most new DVD players should be able to playback all these formats, but don’t take this for granted.
Outputs are a concern as well. DVI or HDMI? They are both interchangeable – so really, that’s not a problem. What might be a problem is if you decide to buy bargain basement. If the outputs are not HDMI or DVI, the DVD player will still work with component video cables, but the end product will be a slightly less than desirable picture. Keep that in mind. Also you’ll have more cables to hook up than with an HDMI/DVI output.
DVD/DVR combos are out there now to consider as well, and most consumer like them. You own the DVR so no monthly payments to your programming provider, and you can archive what you want in the way of TV shows and sporting events for further use without them cluttering up you DVR hard drive. Which is always a plus. They are definitely more pricey, but unlike a straight DVR, eventually you’ll break even on what you are paying for a DVR rental.
You should be well-armed now to make a better informed decision on purchasing your new DVD player. Comparative-shop away!- Or you could just wait awhile; I read a rumor that Betamax is making a comeback soon…