I need a new DVD player.
November 15, 2007 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Is there such a thing as a future-proof DVD player? My roommate just moved out and took his DVD player with him. So I need to visit the local big box electronics store to pick up a new one. I'd like something that's built to last, can upsample standard DVDs and that can handle one or both of the new HD formats. What should I purchase?

This seems like a question that's already been asked a dozen times, but I'm not finding it on search. Still, I apologize if it's a repeat.
posted by aladfar to Technology (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
HD-DVD/Blueray players are still so expensive. Do you have a HD-TV? (If not, obviously it's not worth your money right now.)

Honestly, you should get a cheap Chinese player for. You can probalby get one for less than $50 bucks. They'll play anything and everything -- i.e. they're usually region free, will play mpegs, avi's, etc, play burnt discs, etc, etc, etc.
posted by chunking express at 10:56 AM on November 15, 2007

Any DVD player marked HD-DVD or BluRay should meet that criteria, you might want to look for one that supports DivX as well, but that's optional.

And no, there's no such thing as future-proof anything, only current examples that do most of the stuff possible today.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:58 AM on November 15, 2007

Cheapest HD-DVD is down to $200. Blu-Ray is down to $350. Do you really want to spend that much on a DVD player?
posted by smackfu at 11:13 AM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: "most of the stuff possible today"

That's what I mean, really. I'm tempted to get one of the HD players because I love the results. I watched a bit of Planet Earth via my roommates PlayStation 3 and was absolutely blown away. But I don't want to choose one format over the other, etc.

Seems like my best bet might be to go the cheap route. Still, it'd be nice to consider some (slightly) higher end options.
posted by aladfar at 11:15 AM on November 15, 2007

I'd go cheap for now, unless you have spare cash and a big TV.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:24 AM on November 15, 2007

I'd highly recommend a cheap upscaling model for today - <$100 - and then just wait for the HD format war to actually resolve before you invest in the future.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:25 AM on November 15, 2007

I think that at this point the future-proof option is a disposable $35 progressive-scan DVD player. BlueRay vs. HD-DVD has yet to shake out, and looks unlikely to in the near future. Are you planning to start building a high-definition video library? If you really must, then you're probably best taking Sony's bait and buying a PS3. At least then it'll still be good for something, should BlueRay fail to win this round of the format wars.
posted by mumkin at 11:29 AM on November 15, 2007

I agree with Tomorrowful. I'd get an inexpensive one until it's clear whether it's HD or Blue Ray that will be going the way of Betamax. Then, if you have the TV to support the winning format, you can make the investment a bit more comfortably.

I have an HD TV now, and I'm still not willing to shell out the cash for an HD DVD player. I'd have to rebuild my DVD library around that format, and I'm not so keen on doing that at this point.

This will tide you over until The Next Big Thing comes out. But then you'll have a period of waiting around to see if TNBT really is here to stay or not, so there's really no hurry.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:41 AM on November 15, 2007

I can't find the exact page, but recently I was reading a column by David Poland where he was discussing the fact that it will be cheaper in the long run to avoid buying any HD player. His suggestion was to get a High Def Tivo (or equivalent) and then record movies commercial free off of Cable or On-Demand. You can connect an external Hard Drive to a Hi-Def Tivo, so you can create unlimited storage and then you don't have to worry about which format wins the battle.

However, if you want a player that will play both formats, Gizmodo recommends this Samsung or this LG as your best options.
posted by bove at 11:48 AM on November 15, 2007

nthing others. I recently moved too and I got a brand new dvd player on craigslist for $20 (have you looked there yet?). I don't care if it's future proof and I'll toss it out when I get a better TV.
posted by special-k at 11:48 AM on November 15, 2007

Here is the column I was referring to above. I will quote a relevant section:

"There is a port on the DirecTV DVR into which you can attach a hard drive that replaces the DVR hard drive.

At the same time, the cost of memory is dropping like a stone. I bought a 750 gig external hard drive for under $200 and suddenly, I had at least 120 hours of hi-def DVR space. A few weeks later, I have 40 hi-def movies on my DVR and a slight regret that I didn’t spend a little more and get a 2 terabyte hard drive because I don’t want to dump any of the films anytime soon… and I have filled about two-thirds of the drive, leaving about 30 or 40 hours of hi-def DVR space. If I had that big a hard drive, would I really ever need more than 100 movies in my library with new product coming over the HD satellite every day? And why would I ever want the clutter of discs in my house again?

...Worse, there are barely 200 titles in either format available. So for instance, All That Jazz, is not available in hi-def except via my satellite. And now, I have it. So why do I need to buy a player and a lot of new DVDs?"
posted by bove at 11:54 AM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: Good advice - thanks! I'll just stick with a simple DVD player and will wait on the HD stuff.
posted by aladfar at 12:13 PM on November 15, 2007

Cheapest HD-DVD players are now about $80-100 if you catch a sale (especially if you get one that comes with 10 free DVDs and you're willing to eBay them). These double as good quality upscaling players for regular old DVDs. I would recommend going that way, or buying a $10 progressive output DVD player on Black Friday.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:11 PM on November 15, 2007

You can do a search here for DVD players that support particular formats or audio features that you want.

If you do some digging, you will see that there are basically three clades of DVD players currently: HD players, BR players, and players that support DIVX/H.264/MP4 (the most common Bittorrent formats). There is vanishingly small overlap between these sets of players. This will probably change in the future, but for now the only real "future-proof" DVD player is a PC-based media center with a HD/BR player and software codec upgradability.
posted by meehawl at 1:23 PM on November 15, 2007

That's what I mean, really. I'm tempted to get one of the HD players because I love the results. I watched a bit of Planet Earth via my roommates PlayStation 3 and was absolutely blown away. But I don't want to choose one format over the other, etc.

Why not get a playstation 3?
posted by kanemano at 1:56 PM on November 15, 2007

Get the Oppo dv981hd

It's hands down the best upscaling DVD player (its not cheap though ~$220). It plays divx/xvid also. (Not HD). Upscaled DVD's seriously match the quality of HD-DVD/BR. I have one on my 50" panasonic plasma.

DVD will be around a while, you might as well get something that can compete.
posted by mphuie at 4:27 PM on November 15, 2007

The Philips DVP5982 is an excellent upscaling DVD player. At $70, it does a better job with regular DVDs than either the PS3 or any of the Toshiba HD DVD players I've tried.

In my opinion, upscaled DVDs do not "seriously match the quality" of the HD formats, but they do look pretty good, and the difference between playing a 480p DVD on an HD TV and a well-upscaled DVD on an HD TV is definitely noticeable.

While many new DVD players (and all HD DVD players that I know of and the PS3, and probably the standalone BD players too) have periodic firmware updates that enable bugfixes and new functionality, there is really no such thing as "future-proof". There's "cheap and replaceable" and then there's "does what you want now".
posted by Caviar at 5:06 PM on November 15, 2007

That link should have been Philips DVP5982
posted by Caviar at 5:08 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

aladfarPoster: "I'm tempted to get one of the HD players because I love the results. I watched a bit of Planet Earth via my roommates PlayStation 3 and was absolutely blown away."

Just so you're clear, the PS3 uses Blu-Ray, not HD.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:59 PM on November 15, 2007

It's also worth noting that the Planet Earth set is available on both Blu-ray and HD DVD. Both versions use the same encoding, so there shouldn't be any noticeable difference between them.
posted by Caviar at 5:44 AM on November 20, 2007

« Older My VCR needs a digital replacement!   |   Can I run a portable windows app on a G4 Mac? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.