Crud-tolerant DVD players?
December 22, 2004 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Crud-tolerant DVD players. My new-ish Sony commonly locks or hiccups on Netflix discs, but I've read that other people go years without problems, and googling reveals that Sony players may be particularly prone to this. What models or brands of DVD players (not PC drives) are good at handling worn/scratched/dirty discs?
posted by NortonDC to Technology (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've never had problems with my old-ish Sony. I've never played any from netflix, but I do rent from Blockbuster.
posted by SAC at 2:14 PM on December 22, 2004

You can also just try cleaning the disc: soft paper towel, dish soap, rinse. Works wonders.
posted by xmutex at 2:28 PM on December 22, 2004

Response by poster: Works wonders.

Not all the time, or I wouldn't have asked.

The number of problems I've encountered clearly exceeds what many others are seeing, so I'm hoping someone will answer the question and provide guidance on more tolerant/robust players.
posted by NortonDC at 2:34 PM on December 22, 2004

We had a Sony DVD player that had a problem called C16. If there was any blemish on the disk the thing would lock up and the lcd screen would blink C16 at me. Eventually it got to the point where it would lock up over nothing. Totally infuriating, especially because it would always happen near the end of a movie. We missed the conclusion to a lot of flicks that way.
posted by trbrts at 2:35 PM on December 22, 2004

My 5 year old Sony 525 had that problem, but I've never had any problems with my 3-month old 585, and its had a lot of rental discs in it.
posted by cillit bang at 2:48 PM on December 22, 2004

I recently bought this player, and it plays every disc i've thrown at it, including some pretty heavily scratched discs that other machines often reject. It's not the greatest machine ever - pretty noisy and I hate the remote - but for a cheap box I'm impressed with how well it works.
posted by rorycberger at 2:51 PM on December 22, 2004

I have a Zenith which does just fine with much-used & somewhat-scratched discs from the library. I had a crappy Toshiba (I think) which didn't like the slightest fleck of dust or scratch & seemed to skip or freeze if I even looked at it funny.
posted by belladonna at 2:54 PM on December 22, 2004

I have a Sony and it doesn't have this problem. It doesn't play other region discs, though, so I also have a Malata (I have a 558) and recommend it without reservation.

Also, I clean discs with Pledge and a soft rag.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 2:55 PM on December 22, 2004

I've been through three DVD-NS575P's. In my experience they usually last about a year. One of the three died after eight weeks of use, the other one lasted about a year, and the current one is on it's way out (same signs you have) after the same time period. From my experience the life of the 575 is roughly 150-200 discs. I've had both the old and new generations of 575.

If this one goes I'll probably take it apart and try to clean the laser off with some alcohol, if that's at all possible. I more or less figure this is what I get for buying a really cheap ($99 USD) DVD+/-R, etc, etc player.
posted by sled at 2:57 PM on December 22, 2004

I play my DVDs in, of all things, my XBox.

With an older model, I've had quite a few problems with scratched disks, etc., but with my newer model XBox, I haven't had any problems. I get disks from Netflix all the time, some of them pretty scratched up.

You need a separate controller to watch DVDs with an XBox, BTW, but it's not expensive. (Probably only relevant if you play video games as well, but you very well might.)
posted by spinifex23 at 3:00 PM on December 22, 2004

From my experience the life of the 575 is roughly 150-200 discs.

Wow. If that's true, it's pathetic. My Malata 558 has easily had over 1000 discs played on it in 11 months. My Sony (S550D) probably 3500 in 4.5 years. The Sony was $500 used and the Malata was about $110 new.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 4:02 PM on December 22, 2004

I've had 4 bad discs from Netflix in less than 2 months. Toshiba DVD player.
posted by rushmc at 4:39 PM on December 22, 2004

The single best brand of DVD player (actually, it's a recorder, but that doesn't really matter) for reading media is Lite-On. The following link is perhaps the most thorough test a DVD recorder has ever been put through -- it literally blew the competition away. There was no competition. I imagine the 811s (8x) is just as good. If you can find a DVD recorder/player that, under this much analysis, does better, I will eat my hat.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:45 PM on December 22, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks, but that's a PC drive. I'm looking for video components, for use with televisions.
posted by NortonDC at 5:54 PM on December 22, 2004

Response by poster: Hold on, maybe I misunderstood. Do they make video components? Googling...
posted by NortonDC at 5:56 PM on December 22, 2004

Response by poster: Yup, they do. Lite-On looks promising.
posted by NortonDC at 6:01 PM on December 22, 2004

I have a Liteon and I've had no problems with my DVDs from Netflix, even the ones I've played in the Sony dvd player my son has have been fine.
posted by kamylyon at 6:39 PM on December 22, 2004

I have too da** many of these things. Here is my unscientific but personal experience.

Sony - mid level gear - great for a year, then started refusing discs.
Marantz - expensive - finicky but has not gotten worse, employs a Philips drive.
Toshiba - I have three inexpensive Toshiba DVD players and never once has any of them ever blinked on even really bad discs.
posted by caddis at 8:04 PM on December 22, 2004

Response by poster: caddis, did the Toshibas succeed in playing the same discs that tripped up the others?
posted by NortonDC at 8:08 PM on December 22, 2004

posted by caddis at 8:33 PM on December 22, 2004

and they were about $70 each.
posted by caddis at 8:34 PM on December 22, 2004

What is that, the third mark against Sony in 2 days?
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:47 PM on December 22, 2004

Sorry, that review I posted WAS to a PC-Drive, but I'd be surprised if the manufacturing for the stand-alone units was remarkably different. My apologies for the non-relevance of the link.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:24 AM on December 23, 2004

The guy at my video store says that he gets the most complaints about DVDs freezing or not playing properly from people with Sony DVD players.
posted by Prawn at 6:31 AM on December 23, 2004

I'm not surprised at the flak coming at Sony in this thread. Several of my friends dismiss Sony as mediocre equipment, certainly not high-end. My own experience with Sony is limited, but I do have a Sony 52" projection TV that started affecting a green tint after a year. The repair man came out under warranty and spent an hour fixing it. Had the TV not been covered by warranty, the service call would have been more than $1000.

I have another Sony flat-screen tv and a Sony radio, also. No problems there, but not very exciting, either.

Apologies for the deviation. Back to your regularly scheduled thread.
posted by Jonasio at 8:48 AM on December 23, 2004

My previous unit was a Sony that was decent, but did occasionally have errors - I donated it to my Dad, and he's been happy with it.

My supercheap Daewoo has never failed. One of my friends has a cheap Apex that always works, too.
posted by sluggo at 5:11 PM on December 23, 2004

If you happen to travel to Asia any time soon (HK is a good place), check out some Chinese branded DVD players (ie Shinco). Those things are built to read the pirated DVDs you find over there, and will read through frickin' holes.

Barring that, check out this Engadget thread. The Phillips seems to be a good choice and a very good deal.
posted by swank6 at 6:03 PM on December 23, 2004

Response by poster: Hmm, I actually own one of THE Apex players, which unfortunately also exhibits A/V synch problems, which I find thoroughly distracting.

I reading those threads...
posted by NortonDC at 7:40 PM on December 23, 2004

Response by poster: Er, "I am" reading those.

Or was. Maybe the Lite-ons read everything, but their decoding is apparently crap. Toshiba looks more encouraging.
posted by NortonDC at 8:12 AM on December 25, 2004

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