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DVD Players buying guide

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DVD Players Guide - An Introduction

DVD players are hardware devices capable of reading both audio and digital video discs (DVD). DVDs store audio and video data that is commonly associated with viewing cinema or other recorded information. DVDs are similar in size to a compact disc (CD), which is strictly designed for audio and data. DVDs can hold up to six times the amount of data as the CD.

The DVD players primary function includes:

  • Reading the DVD and translating its instructions
  • Submitting instructions to a display or television for video signal playback
  • Interpreting instructions for video and sound

Many DVD players are equipped to interpret audio signals, such as Dolby Digital, for enhanced audio sound or surround sound. High definition Dolby Digital is also available to provide rich, cinema quality audio associated with high definition television.

As television technology advances to include high definition television signals, DVD players must advance to interpret those signals. High definition DVD players and Blu-ray Disc players were developed and introduced into mainstream to accommodate HDTV signals, such as 480p to 1080p. For individuals who cannot afford HD quality DVD players, an affordable line of high definition quality DVD players exists. These DVD players output a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) signal that upscales regular DVD video signals to HD quality or 1080p.

DVD player technology was first introduced in Japan. In 2002, China was the leading producer of DVD players, accounting for over 70 percent of the world’s market share. Most regular DVD players are fairly economical ranging in price from £25 to £300. Many of the systems may be accompanied by surround sound speakers or DVD and VCR combinations. Most of these units require a television or monitor to view the audio-visual presentation. Some portable DVD players are all inclusive units that include a viewing monitor and DVD player.

Most DVD players are regional. The countries of the world are divided into six regions. Manufacturers designate the region of operation on the unit and the DVD. However, consumers experience limitations with DVD players designed for a specific region, because the unit will not read DVDs from another region. However, consumers may purchase a Multi-Region DVD player that is capable of reading DVDs from all regions.

Streamline DVD players are used in space conscious environments. The interior designer may coordinate the color of the DVD player with the room. This is typical in an adolescent’s room. Common colors and themes are listed below:

Disney Theme

Tips to consider before buying DVD Players

  • Consumers, who desire HD quality visuals, should invest in a DVD player with high definition capability.
  • Read unbiased consumer reviews to select a DVD player with a long life span. Many quality products are inexpensive. However, some may have inferior lasers or readers. As a result, the devices may experience image delays, skipping, or become inoperable over time.
  • Be certain to purchase a DVD player that will read DVDs from your particular region. If the collection of DVDs originates from several regions, invest in a multi-regional DVD player.
  • Determine the primary use for the DVD player prior to purchase. DVD players are designed for home, travel, and vehicle use.
  • If you have an iPod, consider purchasing a unit with both an iPod docking station and a DVD player.

Types of DVD Players

DVD Recorders - DVD recorders are not only capable of reading a DVD, but also capable of receiving data and encoding it onto a DVD-R. DVD-R simply indicates that the DVD is capable of recording data. DVD-R records data only once and DVD-RW can record, erase, and re-record data as often as the user desires.

Portable DVD Players - Portable DVD players are all inclusive units containing both the DVD player and a monitor for viewing. Prices are typically reasonable for the device. Most individuals use portable DVDs while traveling in an aircraft or vehicle. Lithium ion batteries accompany the device to extend viewing time.

iPod DVD Players - iPod DVD Players come in both portable and stationary designs. The DVD players function as iPod docking stations. For DVD players with Dolby Digital surround, the listener will listen to audio in surround sound, as well as, view iPod videos.

Blu Ray DVD Players - Blu Ray DVD players are capable of interpreting High Definition signals. The device can also interpret intense images and motion created by video games. The device can store up to 10 times more data than a regular DVD. Blu Ray accomplishes this great feat by utilising a blue-violet laser, rather than a typical red laser. The wavelength is shorter. Therefore, the device is capable of reading compressed data accurately.

In Car DVD Players - In car DVD players are designed exclusively for entertainment while traveling in a vehicle. The device works with the vehicle’s hardware and energy requirements to provide travelers with viewing capabilities.

Multi Region DVD Players - Multi-region DVD players are compatible with DVDs from all regions of the world. DVD players are designed to operate in one of the six regions designated by DVD manufacturers. However, consumers who have a diverse collection may desire to play DVDs from multiple regions. This type of DVD player addresses this concern.

Upscaling DVD Players - Upscaling DVD Players are an affordable alternative to Blu Ray or HD DVD players. These devices work by converting or upscaling regular DVD signals to high definition quality. Signals can be converted from 480p to 1080p for a fraction of the cost.

Bluetooth DVD Players - Bluetooth DVD players employ Bluetooth technology to connect wirelessly to the monitor or television.

CD Text Compatible DVD Player - Some DVDs or CDs are encoded with song titles or movie titles. For those DVDs, a CD text compatible DVD player is necessary to recognize and display the titles.

Progressive Scan DVD Player - The progressive scan DVD player provides a clearer and more consistent image than its peer the interlaced scan. Interlace images are prone to flicker due to the fact that each line of the image alternates and is refreshed every 30th of a second. Progressive scan displays each line of the image sequentially and refreshes every 60th of a second. Progressive scan technology yields a crisp, consistent image.

DVD/Video Combination DVD Players - Combination DVD and VCR players have both devices in one unit. This device is a more streamline option for individuals who desire or need the older VCR functionality.

Brands of DVD Players


Biostek DVD players are available with the new MPEG4 technology. The device also features USB ports, supports JPEG images and allows the individual to listen to music as well. Consumers can buy the devices for cheap in the UK. Biostek DVD players are as low as £20 in online stores.

Cambridge Audio

Cambridge Audio DVD player possesses Blu Ray technology, HDMI signals, and Dolby Digital sound quality. Cambridge Audio DVD players read virtually any disc, such as DVD-R, DVD-RW, and audio.


Ferguson DVD players are available in both portable and standard format for the consumer. Most of their products feature Dolby Digital, progressive scan, and other features from around £30.


Grundig DVD players support JPEG CD, Kodak picture CDs, CD-R, and CD-RW. The device will also play MP3s and support Dolby Digital surround sound. The prices for this device begin at £30.


Panasonic offers consumers DVD/VCR combinations, TV/DVD combinations, portable DVD players, DVD recorders, mobile DVD players, and other accessories to complete a home theatre system. The average Panasonic product begins at £60. Other economical solutions are available as well.


Sony DVD players are available with a variety of features, such as upscaling, Blu Ray technology, Dolby Digital HD sound quality, and a 1 GB USB drive. The prices range from £60 to £300 in the UK.

Other models could not be described for brevity sake. Below is a list of popular brands of DVDs:


Advice for Purchasing DVD Players

The most important aspect of selecting a DVD player is determining the type of image quality is needed. Consumers who desire HD quality images are advised to purchase a DVD player that supports the signal or upscaling. Check the resolution ratings to determine the best quality. Many affordable DVD players will deliver a quality signal.

The size of the DVD player is also important. Consumers are more space conscious and would prefer their electronics be as inconspicuous as possible. Consumers should select a product that fits into the space that is allocated for such hardware.

Be certain that the product is durable and supports many DVD cycles. Do not sacrifice quality for cost. Panasonic provides quality products for cheap prices. Other products provide quality signals as well.

Jargon Explained

Dolby DigitalDolby Digital describes technology used to enhance audio signals. Dolby Digital produces a crisp, clear sound because of the six discrete sound modalities it employs.
HDMIHigh Definition Multimedia Interface transmits audio and visual digital data. HDMI connects DVD players to televisions and monitors.
JPEGJoint photographic experts group (JPEG) utilises a form of lossy compression to gather data points that give the viewer an impression of the actual image. JPEG typically yields a 10:1 image compression ratio with negligible loss of image quality. Some DVD players handle JPEG CDs.
CD-RCD-R allows the user to write to the CD once. The data cannot be erased and re-recorded once stored. DVD players that can both read and write will utilise these CDs to record data.
CD-RWCD-RW allows data to be written to the CD, erased and re-recorded as often as the user would like. DVD players that can both read and write may utilise these types of CDs for data. 

Buying Guide to DVD Players
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