DVDs remain the most popular option for home entertainment, and having a good DVD player is crucial to getting the most enjoyment out of this format. Compared to other electronics, DVD players are very reasonably priced, which has ensured their lasting popularity. After the television itself, the centerpiece of most home entertainment systems is the DVD player.
Blu-ray – For anyone determined to have the very best in quality and display clarity, high-definition Blu-ray technology is the current cutting edge for DVD players. Blu-ray offers 1080p video display, the highest resolution available. The added performance comes at a premium, as both Blu-ray DVD players and the discs are more expensive than standard, but the greater resolution is well worth the price to many consumers. Blu-ray DVD players are fully compatible with standard DVDs, so there is no need for an additional player.
Standard – Standard format DVD players remain a sizable portion of the market, and many consumers are satisfied with the display clarity of these DVD players. Some newer models, when used in concert with an HD television, provide image quality that is close to that of Blu-ray. Standard DVD players come at a sharp discount compared to Blu-ray models.
Portable – Portable DVD players let you watch movies and television programs while on the go. Perfect for kids in the car, to relieve the boredom of air travel, or for anyone on a long vacation, portable units include the DVD player and a display screen (5”-10” is the norm).
Play Options: DVD players provide you with a number of different ways to control the display, depending on the model. You can choose from several different aspect ratios, from the common 4:3 to widescreen 16:10. You can zoom in and out of the action. There are several different speed settings, allowing fast-forward and slow-motion replay. Some players are compatible with multi-angle replay, although this requires discs that have been produced with this function in mind.
Disc Capacity: Portable and entry-level units will only have room for one disc at a time, but more robust models feature a carousel that can hold several (usually three to five) DVDs. This reduces the need to change discs when selecting among programs to watch.
Format Compatibility: Most DVD players can play more than just DVDs. They may also play CDs, CD-ROMs, CD and DVD-R/RW, Windows Media Audio and JPEG files, and more. Look for a higher-end model if you are interested in flexibility and a more expansive range of format compatibility.
There are a number of names that you would expect to be listed among the outstanding manufacturers of DVD players. Panasonic, Philips, LG, and Pioneer are all very well-known and respected for producing high-quality DVD players at all different levels of price and performance. JVC and Samsung have distinguished themselves with their mid-range and high-end models, and they are well regarded by home theater connoisseurs. Sony is one of the innovators of the Blu-ray format, and supports it with several models across a number of different price ranges. Funai is known for its value-conscious pricing and solid performing models, while Coby has made a name for itself with a number of exceptional portable models.