Do they actually *make* Blu-ray carousels?
February 28, 2011 12:40 PM   Subscribe

My beloved CD/DVD player (a five-disc carousel model) conked out last night after eight years of faithful service. I'd like to get one with much the same functionality to replace it, but apparently things have changed drastically in the home video market since 2003. Who knew? Help me figure out what kind of machine I need to buy.

My current setup is that all audio (CD, DVD, over-the-air TV audio, Roku, and until recently an Airport Express running AirTunes) is fed into an amplifier and then to a standard set of stereo speakers. Video (DVD & Roku) are fed to the video input of a standard-def TV. The dead machine is a Toshiba SD-2815, a five-disc DVD carousel. It's my only way to play CDs, and I don't currently have the capability to send my entire library (~300-400 CDs) to my stereo via WiFi, so I'd like to still have a way to play physical discs. And since I use it for playing discs, the carousel feature, where I can load multiple discs at once, is pretty sweet.

I'm assuming that it's not worth it trying to repair this machine (though correct me if I'm wrong), so that means I need to get a replacement for this one. However, I also know that Blu-Ray is the wave of the future, and I can see myself upgrading to a HD set within the next 3-4 years (though probably not within the next 12-18 months.) In rough order of priority, then, I would like my replacement device to have:
  1. The ability to play standard DVDs.
  2. The ability to play CDs.
  3. A carousel or other disc-changing capability.
  4. The ability to play Blu-Ray discs.
I spent a little time looking at the Best Buy website last night, but they don't seem to have something that satisfies all four of these criteria (at least, not for the $200-300 I'm willing to spend.) Do I have to cross one off of this list? If so, which one should it be? If not, where should I be looking for a wider selection of devices?

Random last points:
  • I'm not yet ready (due to the amount of time & money it would require) to completely cut the cord and go to a digital media center; right now I'm just looking for a replacement for my defunct machine.
  • A lot of Blu-Ray players seem to have built-in WiFi capability these days. This isn't strictly necessary for me, as I just bought a Roku about a month ago.
  • I'd like to not have to buy two separate boxes to get the functionality I want, since the cabinet space I currently have is limited. I can make space if I need to, though.
  • I don't have cable and don't intend to get it any time soon.
So, AV mavens of MetaFilter: any thoughts?
posted by Johnny Assay to Technology (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
While you wait for DVD technology to catch up to your budget, it might not be an awful idea to go to your local thrift shop and see how much a carousel CD player is. I've always spotted at least one in the last few visits I've made to my local Goodwill (not the same one each time!), and I don't think I've ever seen one priced more than $20.

Once you've got your carousel option replaced, the Blu-Ray player solutions should be a lot more rationally priced.

(This assumes, of course, that your current space issues are less fraught than you think they are!)
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 12:47 PM on February 28, 2011

Best answer: I would cross #3 off your list, if I were you. We had a 5 disc carousel DVD player, and we upgraded to a blu-ray player that has a single disc tray, and didn't notice the difference at all. I think that after about three days you won't even miss the capability to load multiple discs - after all, you can only watch one DVD at a time, right?

Our pretty good quality Samsung Blu-Ray player was a whopping $100 on sale, so you could easily afford it on your budget - and I promise you won't miss the multiple disc option at all.
posted by pdb at 12:50 PM on February 28, 2011

Response by poster: Can most Blu-Ray players play CDs? I'll cross the carousel off my list if I need to, but I don't want to completely lose the ability to play CDs with my current setup.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:05 PM on February 28, 2011

Response by poster: (I'm also assuming that most Blu-Ray players can play standard DVDs too, because my gut feeling is that it it would be stupid if they didn't. But if this is not the case, please let me know.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:07 PM on February 28, 2011

Yep, our blu-ray plays CD's (both regular and MP3) as well as standard DVD's and blu-ray discs. You will notice a better quality picture playing a standard DVD on a blu-ray player, but with a normal-def TV, that difference won't be as great as you'll notice when you upgrade to an HDTV.

Our blu-ray also has a USB port on the front, which is handy - I dump some movies or TV shows onto a 16 gig thumb drive and plug it in, but you could also easily connect an external drive to the player once you get all your movies digitized, which would be as good as the carousel you'll be replacing.
posted by pdb at 1:11 PM on February 28, 2011

Most, if not all, BluRay players can play DVDs and CDs.

If you lived anywhere near me, I'd give you the 5 disc DVD carousel player sitting on the top shelf of my closet.
posted by BryanPayne at 1:12 PM on February 28, 2011

There are a handful of very cheap used DVD changers on Craigslist for my city. Buy one of those to tide you over, while you save your money for a Blu-Ray player and accompanying HDTV. No sense in going "blu" if you don't have HD, unless you're planning to substantially build your movie collection in the near future.

In the meantime, start ripping your CDs and DVDs. If you spend hours in front of your computer each day, it's pretty easy to keep a stack nearby, and slowly work your way through them as you do other stuff. This is an annoying, but highly worthwhile endeavor.

Whenever an AskMe says "I want to do Y, but really should do X," you should almost certainly either do X immediately, or find a way to minimally accomplish Y, while working toward X as a long-term goal.

If nothing else, buying an old CD/DVD model will also buy you a few more years for the Blu Ray equivalents to get cheaper (I think they're in the $650 range right now)
posted by schmod at 3:02 PM on February 28, 2011

Best answer: You will not be able to buy a CD changer now, and never will. Blu-Ray technology will not "catch-up". Removable media is about done. Do not buy a used CD changer to "save money". The transport mechanism on any such machine will be ready to die.

Just get yourself a $100 Blu-Ray player on sale, and start burning those discs, they all play CDs and DVDs. I'd also give you one my spare changers, but it seriously wouldn't be worth the packaging, let alone the shipping cost.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:43 PM on February 28, 2011

Response by poster: So here's what I ended up doing: I purchased an Airport Express to replace my old one (it had died about two weeks before I asked this question.) I had already digitized my entire music collection, but only rarely used AirTunes to patch it through my stereo system. I also bought an inexpensive single-disc Blu-Ray player, on the grounds that I'll almost certainly be upgrading my TV within the next 12-18 months. In the meantime, it'll play my conventional DVDs just fine.

The "best answers" that I marked are the ones that influenced me the most strongly towards this decision. Thanks to all for the input & opinions!
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:07 PM on April 3, 2011

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