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.
DVD Players Revisited
Question: Just last night, a neighbor of mine was inspired by how low the costs were for DVD players, and he bought one on sale for just under 80 bucks. Now, obviously there are lots of things that a better DVD player can do better. But, to someone like me (who just wants to watch stuff), will they matter? Or should I buy an 80 dollar DVD Player?
AskAvi responds: (November, 2001)
My first column covered DVD player basics, but prices have fallen so quickly that itís worth revisiting. The two basic issues to consider havenít changed - what kind of TV you have, and how many discs should the player be able to hold. First, let's talk televisions:
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.
If youíre looking for a DVD changer, one stands out from the rest. Kenwood has introduced an upscale line of components, Kenwood Sovereign, and their 400 DVD changer has several innovations. Thereís a link to their Internet console (sold separately), which can be connected to the changer and can automate the disc labeling process. There are three slots dedicated to rental discs, making it easy to swap and play those discs without disturbing the rest of your collection. The player can flip a disc over internally so you can play side B of double-sided discs. And itís a progressive scan changer, with one of the best deinterlacing chips available - the Sage/Faroudja chip.
One final note: 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.
Please note: All submissions to AskAvi@Greengart.com become the property of Greengart.com, and Greengart.com retains all copyrights of both questions and answers. (Don't send us anything you intend to copyright or patent.) Not all submissions will be answered.
© 2001, 2002 Avi Greengart