Avi Greengart is the Research Director for Consumer Devices at Current Analysis (Mobile Phones, Connected Devices, and Digital Home). He also regularly writes for Slashgear, sporadically blogs at Home Theater View and Tweets far too often as @greengartAvi's expertise lies in understanding consumer electronics marketing, consumer behavior, and technology adoption patterns: where new technologies meet the mass market. 



Avi Greengart is an expert on the convergence of technology and entertainment. Avi understands TV, video, audio, computing, and wireless, how all these are coming together, and which technologies are likely to survive long enough to make a difference in your life. In his weekly column, Avi answers your questions, does your product research, and provides free advice.

Column 1

DVD Player Basics


I need a DVD player. Which one should I buy?


AskAvi responds: (August, 2001)


Please Note: this column has been revisited as Column #13.


There are two basic issues to consider - what kind of TV you have, and how many discs should the player be able to hold. First, let's talk televisions:



If you have a "regular" TV, any DVD player will work. I recommend models from Panasonic - several excellent models are available for just under $200, and I have an early Panasonic player which still performs well. I also like the entry level Sony (also around $200), which comes with a nicely designed remote control. Note: You could get a progressive-scan DVD player, but you will not get any benefit from that capability until you upgrade your TV. Unless you plan to upgrade imminently, don't bother.



If you have an HDTV or "HDTV-ready" TV that can display progressive scan video, I suggest a progressive-scan DVD player. The Sony D700P DVD player ($300 everywhere) is the best for the least amount of money. Should you decide you want even better progressive-scan capabilities, the Denon 2800 has a better chipset ($600 anywhere they sell Denon). Practically speaking, what does the extra $300 get you? A slight further reduction in jagged edges in certain scenes.

If you must economize, you can save $100 or so by letting your TV convert interlaced images to progressive on its own, and using a DVD player without progressive scan capability. TVs have varying degrees of success doing this, particularly with "film-based material" ("movies"). As a really rough guideline, 2001 Pioneer Elite models, 2002 Sony models, and 2002 Toshiba models have excellent internal line doublers.

All the players listed above have a single drawer that holds a single DVD. The other question you're faced with when buying a DVD player is whether you want a single disc player, a dual disc player (Toshiba sells a few of these), a carousel player (5 - 6 discs), or a mega-changer (300-400 discs). This boils down to personal preference vs. cost. While having two discs in the player is nice for 2 disc special edition DVDs, the real reason to buy a carousel is to double as an audio CD player. If you have the money and want to store all your CDs and DVDs in the player itself, get a DVD mega-changer - but keep in mind that switching from disc to disc can be slow, and setting up the changer to list the names of the discs can take an entire weekend.


Note that the laser in DVD players is set to a different wavelength than CD players. While all DVD players can play CDs with no problem, it's possible that owning a dedicated CD player - or a DVD player that contains separate lasers for DVD and CD - may make an audible difference if everything else in your listening chain (room, speakers, amplifiers) is of sufficiently high quality. Personally, my single-laser DVD player does double duty as a CD player, and it sounds fine.



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2001, 2002 Avi Greengart