Most DVD players produce decent images -- that is if you don't have a large screen television (27 inches or larger). On a small screen you won't be able to see much of a difference between one DVD player's quality and the next. However, when you really want to get the best picture you can, opt for a model with progressive scan. If you own an HDTV , a DVD player with progressive scan is the best option as any HD-ready device will pick up the slightest defects in a picture's quality most often occurring from an interlaced scan.
Progressive scan and interlaced scan are terms commonly used when referring to DVD players ,camcorders ,computer monitors , and televisions . It defines the way in which the data is transmitted to the screen from the digital device. The difference between progressive and interlaced scan is that interlaced scan will produce and refresh an image at 30 lines per second, taking two passes to produce the line. However, progressive scan moves twice as fast and only requires one pass to produce the same line. What you get is a cleaner, crisper, steadier image.
Component video inputs are found on many of the newer TVs, especially LCDs ,plasmas , and anything that is HD-ready. When looking for a DVD player to step up to the plate, make sure that it has component video outputs to match. This will enhance the picture quality to its fullest. If component video outputs aren't available, the next step down are S-video outputs. While not as good at colour rendition, they will still be better than composite video outputs.
How much does it matter? It doesn't if all you have in your living room is a TV and a DVD player . However, as soon as you start to add on a home theatre system or AV receiver and speakers , you'll quickly notice the difference between a basic DVD player and one equipped for transmitting top-notch sound. Here are some features to look out for and what they can do to enhance your DVD experience.
- Dolby Digital Decoding & DTS (Digital Theatre System) Decoding
- Unnecessary if you plan to plug the DVD player directly into the TV, but a must-have if you are going to connect to your Dolby Digital receiver or digital-ready receiver or preamplifier.
- DTS is becoming quite common and it produces a warmer sound than Dolby Digital in a 5.1 format. Most if not all new DVD players come with this feature. It's a must-have if you want to be able to properly play DTS DVDs with your digital-ready or 5.1 ready receiver or home theatre system.
- Virtual Surround Sound
- Imitates surround sound from your two-speaker system by creating "phantom" speakers.
- Not necessary if you already have real surround-sound set up, but a nice feature if you don't.
- Available on many players.
- Optical (Digital) and Coaxial (Analogue) Outputs
- Digital is often the best choice as it will produce the clearest sound, however, some will argue that.
- Look for both if you want the most flexibility between digital and analogue audio controls.
Not all DVD players can play all discs and choosing between one and the other will all depend on what formats you want the machine to play. All can play commercially produced DVDs and CDs, but some models may have trouble with other formats, including homemade DVDs and CDs. If you have no intention of using anything but your basic disk formats, you can opt for a lower cost, less comprehensive machine, which will still play most CDs and DVDs. Otherwise, you might want to look into one of the more costly machines can play almost all disk formats including:
- DVD, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD-RAM
- CD, CD-R/RW, SACD, HDCD
- VCR, SVCD
- MP3, WMA, JPEG