Entry level DVD players

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Jerold Pearson, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. I'm posting this to rec.video.dvd.tech as well, so I apologize for the

    I'm a DVD newbie, and want to buy a very basic, inexpensive DVD player. I
    will use it no more than two or three times a week, to watch the occasional
    rental from the video store and the movies I transferred on another machine
    from VHS to DVD-R discs. I have no need for functions like slo-mo, frame by
    frame playback, letterbox-to-pan and scan conversion, etc etc. I will not
    be using it for video CDs, MP3s, jpegs, or any format other than DVD and
    DVD-R. In other words, I am about as light a user as can be imagined. And
    my TV is not High Definition, plasma, or anything fancy. Just a regular 3
    year old 29" Panasonic boob tube.

    All I want is a player that gives good picture quality and sound, and won't
    stop working after a few months. So I have two questions:

    1) For my minimal needs, should any no-name DVD player for $30 or $40 be
    sufficient, or are there brands I should definitely avoid? Do some have
    better, more durable, or more reliable lasers than others? I've seen brands
    like CyberHome, ESA, Memorex, and others in this price range. Again, I'm
    not a videophile and don't spend much time in front of the tube; I just
    don't want a player that is unwatchable or will die after minimal use.

    2) Are there any functionalities or features I may not be aware of that even
    someone like me might enjoy had I only known about them? If so, I'd be
    willing to consider a higher-end player.

    Many thanks.

    Jerold Pearson, Dec 4, 2004
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  2. I'm a DVD newbie, and want to buy a very basic, inexpensive DVD player. I
    Sony, JVC, or Pioneer.
    Well, those features tend to come standard on even the lowest end DVD players
    these days.
    Sony, JVC, or Pioneer.

    Construction quality, parts quality, and engineering are substandard in the
    no-name players. That's why they're so cheap to begin with.

    Sony, JVC, or Pioneer.

    Pioneer DV-270-S:

    Sony DVP-NS575:

    JVC XV-N310:

    - Reinhart
    LASERandDVDfan, Dec 4, 2004
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  3. Jerold Pearson

    Nonymous Guest

    And the name-brand players are more expensive because you're paying for the

    It's all arguable.

    I have a Sony in livingroom. It's a 2nd generation from around '98 and
    still going strong.

    In the bedroom we have a cheapo Cyberhome CH-DVD 300 in the bedroom, $25 at
    Best Buy after a $10 rebate. Surprisingly nice picture and no problems with
    it for the six months I've had it. Surprising amount of features:
    progressive scan, component output, both VCD and SVCD, JPEG, MPG, MPG.
    DVD+-RW and DVD+-R. The remote absolutely sucks on it, though. The decoder
    sometimes goes a little wonky when playing certain SVCDs or MPGs such that
    I've had to unplug it to get the thing to work again. I've had zero
    problems playing regular DVDs, though.
    Nonymous, Dec 4, 2004
  4. And the name-brand players are more expensive because you're paying for the
    Unless you've done repair work.

    Then the difference becomes black and white once you see the level of quality
    of the parts alone (which isn't so great on these cheap turkeys).
    "Lucky" is all I have to say about that.
    Using the Zoran Vaddis 6 chipset. There are better choices for progressive

    But, the bigger problems with your Cyberhome is the slightly rolled off high
    frequency response for the video, which translates into a slightly softer
    picture. Plus, white level is 5 points below acceptable IRE. This is usually
    because of a cheaply designed analogue stage for the video output. The
    analogue output stage for video handles, well, the output of video coming from
    the decoder chip when it's converted from an MPEG2 code into a high frequency
    analogue signal.

    A cheaper design tends to skimp on parts quality and engineering to keep the
    costs of manufacture down, but also compromises the overall video quality.
    Which is something that I've found in almost every DVD player sold new today.
    Which is what the players I've recommended also support.
    Also, too.
    While the remote for the players I've recommended are better.
    While such problems are not expected in the recommended players.
    Here's hoping that you don't.

    The player you have is a better choice among cheaper players, but, IMO, you're
    still better off spending a little more on something with a decent decoder, a
    decent deinterlacer, a better power supply, a better disc drive, and, above all
    (and something which is overlooked by the cheapies and the people who praise
    them), a decent analogue stage for the audio and video. I mention audio
    because what if you don't have anything that can use the coaxial or optical
    digital outputs on the player and have to rely on the stereo output for your

    A lot of cheap players have terrible analogue stages for the video and audio,
    which results in a sound with a not-so-flat frequency response and a softer
    picture than normal with all except the digital HDMI video output on only a
    handful of players.

    More info about your model:


    - Reinhart
    LASERandDVDfan, Dec 5, 2004
  5. Jerold Pearson

    Nonymous Guest

    Of course there are. You're missing the OT's point... he's looking for a no
    frills player that will see minimal use. He's not requiring videophile
    Nonymous, Dec 5, 2004
  6. Of course there are. You're missing the OT's point... he's looking for a no
    But he's also looking for a player that will last longer than the typical
    cheapie. You can't have that kind of expectation on a $30 player unless you're
    naive or have a great relationship with Lady Luck.

    The basic players from Sony, JVC, and Pioneer are also not "videophile" quality
    in that sense, but they do their best to approach that level for the
    pricepoint, and do a better job at it than the no-name turkeys.

    You get better video quality, better sound quality, and better reliability.
    The player will last longer, which means you have to repair or replace it less
    often under normal circumstances.

    This means that you save money in the long run.

    I'm certainly happy that my old DVP-S360 is still ticking as perfect as the day
    it was bought new without needing any kind of repair after close to five years
    of faithful service. I certainly got my money's worth out of it and then some.
    I've yet to see at least one cheapie ever have that kind of a track record.

    The only one that comes close would be my friend's Apex AD-500W, but only after
    I replaced his worn DVS DVD-ROM drive with a replacement LiteOn. - Reinhart
    LASERandDVDfan, Dec 7, 2004
  7. Jerold Pearson

    Video Flyer Guest

    I have got absolutely no beef with your premise - so long as it won't strain
    my budget, I go for the name brands every time. Some time ago, however, my
    budget was considerably more restrained and I ended up purchasing a $75 Apex
    (at the time, of course, $75 made it the cheapest unit going). Well, Lady
    Luck smiled on me and that unit is into its fourth year now with not one

    Again, not to dispute your argument but I'm just so freakin' thrilled at not
    having had to replace it after the first year or two that I just had to toss
    that in to answer your last statement above. I suppose you still haven't
    "seen" a cheapie with that kind of track record, though..... :p

    Video Flyer, Dec 7, 2004
  8. Again, not to dispute your argument but I'm just so freakin' thrilled at not
    There are always going to be some players from that class that will make it
    past their expected lifespans. But, generally, they are not very good when
    everything about them is considered. Reliability is but one factor.

    Even if you get something that manages to last longer than usual, that doesn't
    change the fact that the cheap players use inferior parts for things like the
    analogue stages for the video outputs. This part alone can make or break a DVD
    player's ability to render video with any kind of quality commensurate with DVD
    to a pretty big degree. Some of the cheaper DVD players do manage to use
    half-way decent chipsets, but that advantage is quelled when the chipset's
    output is crippled by a lousy analogue stage. The most common characteristic
    of a cheaply made video analogue section is high frequency roll-off, which
    results in a softer looking picture in comparison to a brand name DVD player.
    It takes a good design and good parts to make a good analogue stage for the
    video, and something that's good costs more money to make.

    And the thing about this is that even many of the lowest end name brands manage
    to have some level of decency in the design and parts quality of the analogue
    stages, compared to players from Apex which almost always manage a roll-off in
    the HF of the video, usually in several decibels! - Reinhart
    LASERandDVDfan, Dec 7, 2004
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