Discuss Your Gaming Environments and AV Setups
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samsonlonghair
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Help me find the right DVD player.

by samsonlonghair Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:15 pm

I have a big DVD collection. I'm not interested in Blu-ray as I am already invested in DVD and too damn stubborn to change. For the last few years I have been watching on this beast:
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I picked this metal monster up at goodwill for five bucks. I love this DVD player because it has a nice, bright LCD display and it has all the controls on the front panel (even a jog wheel). This unit sports component video out, two composite video out, s-video out, two analog stereo outputs, and digital audio via optical or coax.
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This DVD player was great for listening to music as well. The extra audio outputs made this unit easy to connect to my stereo system. The LCD display and front buttons allowed me to control the CD player functions without turning on my TV set. The only drawback was that he didn't like CD-Rs.

Unfortunately, this monster is aging; he doesn't play like he used to. Every DVD and CD skips, and the DVD lens cleaner doesn't seem to fix the problem. I wish I could make it work again.

I have been shopping around for a new DVD player lately. I think my old DVD player has spoiled me. Every DVD player on the market looks like a cheap plastic piece of crap with no buttons on the unit itself, no LCD display, and insufficient outputs. It seems like all the reviews on DVD players focus on points that don't interest me at all, like maximum resolution.

Here are some of the points that really matter for me:
  • LCD on the front of the unit.
  • Buttons on the unit. (including up, down, left, right, play/pause, ffwrd, rewind)
  • Easily connects to my speakers through analog stereo or 5.1
  • Component video output
  • Plays CD-Rs
Here are some points that would be nice gimmicks, but not necessary:
  • Jog Wheel
  • VGA or DVI output
  • region-free
  • Netflix
  • USB
  • Upscaler
Here are some points that I don't give a damn about, but aren't necessarily deal-breakers
  • HDMI (Not one of my TVs or monitors has an HDMI port.)
  • Blu-ray playback (I don't car if it plays Blu-rays or not as long as it plays DVDs and CD-Rs.)

What do you think Racketeers? Can you find the right DVD player for me?
Last edited by samsonlonghair on Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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CRTGAMER
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Re: Help me find the right DVD player.

by CRTGAMER Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:43 pm

I love the Jog Wheel which is pretty much obsolete on current DVD players. Any unit that has a Jog Wheel very likely is an older unit that will not upscale, if that is a concern. Most that have the Jog will have 480p component though. All the buttons are gone on newer players too, what a pain!

Just keep hitting the Thrift Stores. You can test the players out in most of them, hooking it up to display TVs. This is the best inexpensive route in trying to find a Jog Wheel unit as well as verifying certain features.

ITEMS TO BRING WITH TO TEST PLAYER
1. Component and RCA Audio cables.
2. DVDR burned movie.
3. CDR with JPGs
4. DVD Movie that is widescreen 1.85:1 ANAMORPHIC

The DVDR will confirm compatibility and a good reading laser eye. Older models do not work with DVDRs. The JPG CDR will confirm the picture slide show ease of use. If a unit can read DVDRs it will fare better at reading less then pristine movie rentals.

Probably the biggest issue for me is the Anamorphic capability which sometimes is an issue on older DVD players. My older Jog Wheel Phillips will not maximize Anamorphic movies to fill the screen, however my other DVD players do. To verify, set the player to FULL or WIDESCREEN to ensure the full use of all the TV screen. A 1.85:1 Anamorphic movie should fill the entire screen without black bars, even on a 4:3 TV. A 2.39:1 Anamorphic movie will still have black bars, but less prominent with a matched Anamorphic capable player.

EDIT
There are Jog Units that even can play DVDRDLs. I picked up a beautiful Panasonic DVD-RP56 that has a ton of buttons, Jog Wheel and of course Component 480p. Unfortunately, Anamorphic DVDs do not fill the screen, you can see the black bars on top and bottom even with a 1:85:1 Anamorphic movie. Its not bad, did bring anamorphic DVDs up with thinner black bars over non anamorphic. Something to "watch" for when trying out different DVD players.

http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=47&p=630043#p630043

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Last edited by CRTGAMER on Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Luke
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Re: Help me find the right DVD player.

by Luke Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:44 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:
Here are some of the points that really matter for me:
  • LCD on the front of the unit.
  • Buttons on the unit. (including up, down, left, right, play/pause, ffwrd, rewind)
  • Easily connects to my speakers through analog stereo or 5.1
  • Component video output
  • Plays CD-Rs



Do you want these options on a new dvd player, because if so there is a good chance you'll be paying more for those options over a solid Blu-Ray player that is equipped with an internet connection.
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Re: Help me find the right DVD player.

by fastbilly1 Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:47 pm

What fits many of your criteria is a Piooneer BDP-09FD. It is an early model Bluray player that has one of the best upconverters for that time, 8 separate audio dacs (one per channel), HDMI/Component/Svideo/Composite, Front LCD, and Front buttons. Also it falls in the $200-300 range now, it was $2200 at launch.

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Re: Help me find the right DVD player.

by CRTGAMER Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:01 pm

Another feature that might be worth looking at is a USB port. Even some inexpensive new DVD players have this. This allows popping in a memory stick or USB hard drive for watching downloaded videos.
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Re: Help me find the right DVD player.

by Luke Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:08 pm

CRTGAMER wrote:Another feature that might be worth looking at is a USB port. Even some inexpensive new DVD players have this. This allows popping in a memory stick or USB hard drive for watching downloaded videos.


I think most new televisions also have at least one USB port. So convenient when sharing music with friends.

And Samson, you may want to consider looking at Blu-Ray players after all, as most "upgrade" the quality of your existing DVDs.
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samsonlonghair
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Re: Help me find the right DVD player.

by samsonlonghair Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:37 pm

Thanks for all the quick replies. I knew this forum would rise to my challenge. I am going to try to address everyone here.
CRTGAMER wrote:I love the Jog Wheel which is pretty much obsolete on current DVD players. Any unit that has a Jog Wheel very likely is an older unit that will not upscale, if that is a concern. Most that have the Jog will have 480p component though. All the buttons are gone on newer players too, what a pain!

You're speaking my language here, brother.

CRTGAMER wrote:Just keep hitting the Thrift Stores. You can test the players out in most of them, hooking it up to display TVs. This is the best inexpensive route in trying to find a Jog Wheel unit as well as verifying certain features.

ITEMS TO BRING WITH TO TEST PLAYER
1. Component and RCA Audio cables.
2. DVDR burned movie.
3. CDR with JPGs
4. DVD Movie that is widescreen 1.85:1 ANAMORPHIC

The DVDR will confirm compatibility and a good reading laser eye. Older models do not work with DVDRs. The JPG CDR will confirm the picture slide show ease of use. If a unit can read DVDRs it will fare better at reading less then pristine movie rentals.

Thanks for the tip concerning DVDRs. I don't think I own any pirated DVDs, but I'll look into it. I don't think anamorphic is a great concern to me. For instance, I've been on an Indiana Jones marathon the last four nights. The THX sound is awesome in 5.1, but the video is presented in super-widescreen with black bars at the top and bottom. I don't think the movies would look right if I stretched them to fill up the whole screen.
CRTGAMER wrote:There are Jog Units that even can play DVDRDLs. I picked up a beautiful Panasonic DVD-RP56 that has a ton of buttons, Jog Wheel and of course Component 480p. Unfortunately, Anamorphic DVDs do not fill the screen, you can see the black bars on top and bottom even with a 1:85:1 Anamorphic movie. Its not bad, did bring anamorphic DVDs up with thinner black bars over non anamorphic. Something to "watch" for when trying out different DVD players.
http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=47&p=630043#p630043
Image

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look into the RP56. I knew you would be the first to reply, CRT.
Luke wrote:Do you want these options on a new dvd player, because if so there is a good chance you'll be paying more for those options over a solid Blu-Ray player that is equipped with an internet connection.

It's always a price/product problem, isn't it? I wouldn't mind buying a used DVD player if everything works. I have a stack of five half broken DVD players, and I don't need to add any more to that pile. An internet connection would be a nice gimmick for Netflix, youtube, etcetera, but it's not a primary concern.
fastbilly1 wrote:What fits many of your criteria is a Piooneer BDP-09FD. It is an early model Bluray player that has one of the best upconverters for that time, 8 separate audio dacs (one per channel), HDMI/Component/Svideo/Composite, Front LCD, and Front buttons. Also it falls in the $200-300 range now, it was $2200 at launch.
Image

Ohhhhhh... Spiffy.
I'm afraid that two hundred dollars is more than I want to pay for a DVD player. Maybe I'll look for one of these on the second hand market. I'm going to research this unit too.
CRTGAMER wrote:Another feature that might be worth looking at is a USB port. Even some inexpensive new DVD players have this. This allows popping in a memory stick or USB hard drive for watching downloaded videos.

The USB port is a neat gimmick. I'll add that to the list at the top. I may open up a whole new can of worms this way. There are a million and one video formats: DivX, Xvid, Ogg Vorbis, MPEG4, H.264, etcetera. There's no one video player that can handle all those options.
Luke wrote:I think most new televisions also have at least one USB port. So convenient when sharing music with friends.
And Samson, you may want to consider looking at Blu-Ray players after all, as most "upgrade" the quality of your existing DVDs.

I'm not opposed to a Blu-ray player. A built-in upscaler may come in handy later, but right now it's a minor concern. I don't own a high definition TV.
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Re: Help me find the right DVD player.

by fastbilly1 Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:55 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:
fastbilly1 wrote:What fits many of your criteria is a Piooneer BDP-09FD. It is an early model Bluray player that has one of the best upconverters for that time, 8 separate audio dacs (one per channel), HDMI/Component/Svideo/Composite, Front LCD, and Front buttons. Also it falls in the $200-300 range now, it was $2200 at launch.
Image

Ohhhhhh... Spiffy.
I'm afraid that two hundred dollars is more than I want to pay for a DVD player. Maybe I'll look for one of these on the second hand market. I'm going to research this unit too.

Its $200 for a Bluray player though. Which is still high, but I know thats a beast of a machine, and I believe it is also an amp.
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Re: Help me find the right DVD player.

by CRTGAMER Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:09 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:Thanks for the tip concerning DVDRs. I don't think I own any pirated DVDs, but I'll look into it. I don't think anamorphic is a great concern to me. For instance, I've been on an Indiana Jones marathon the last four nights. The THX sound is awesome in 5.1, but the video is presented in super-widescreen with black bars at the top and bottom. I don't think the movies would look right if I stretched them to fill up the whole screen.

I'm not opposed to a Blu-ray player. A built-in upscaler may come in handy later, but right now it's a minor concern. I don't own a high definition TV.

Anamorphic movies have a higher "resolution" over non anamorphic movies. Even unstretched the image is sharper. Some of the older players do not take advantage of this resulting in huge black bars even for Anamorphic encoded DVDs. A trial and error of testing the settings on different players.

The upscaler DVD players might be a good investment in case you get a large HDTV later on. I found with a 32" HDCRT with the DVD player set at 480p is just fine. Even my upscaler model is set to 480p, my HD CRT 4:3 would revert to HD standard of widescreen black bars for anything above 480p. So in my set up any DVD 480p anamorphic capable player fits the bill.

When you get into huge screens say 50" is where the BluRay really can be an advantage with its higher resolution. I prefer to stick with DVD, so all the movies can be played in any of my rooms and as portable with the existing DVD players. Long term wise maybe BluRay might take over, more likely it would die with DVD replaced by online streaming such as NetFlix.
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Re: Help me find the right DVD player.

by isiolia Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:25 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:Thanks for the tip concerning DVDRs. I don't think I own any pirated DVDs, but I'll look into it. I don't think anamorphic is a great concern to me. For instance, I've been on an Indiana Jones marathon the last four nights. The THX sound is awesome in 5.1, but the video is presented in super-widescreen with black bars at the top and bottom. I don't think the movies would look right if I stretched them to fill up the whole screen.


You want anamorphic for widescreen movies.

The first benefit is that more of the frame data is used for the actual picture, not squandered on recording the black bars that the DVD player can just as well generate.

The second is that if, and when, you actually get a widescreen TV, the player can properly fill it with the movie with no fuss.

Besides, most newer DVD releases are anamorphic anyway, so if the player doesn't handle it right, it'll screw up a lot of movies for you. That said, I've only ever seen it be a problem with settings, not the player itself (not saying it couldn't be, just that it's likely rare).

CRTGAMER wrote:When you get into huge screens say 50" is where the BluRay really can be an advantage with its higher resolution. I prefer to stick with DVD, so all the movies can be played in any of my rooms and as portable with the existing DVD players.


50" isn't that huge for modern flat panels, relatively speaking.

That said, the other angle with Blu-ray is the audio. As I think you brought up way back with regard to Laserdiscs versus DVDs, DVD audio is often highly compressed. Not that the format doesn't support better, but more due to the desire to cram a ton of stuff onto them.

By contrast, Blu-rays tend to have a much higher standard of audio, with most newer releases including lossless tracks. Granted, it requires newer gear and HDMI to get lossless, but the point is more that there's more than just a 1080p versus 480p picture going on there.


With regard to the question in general though, personally, I'd just look at Blu-ray players. Not that a lot of them will hit all the marks, but at this stage, DVD only players are going to be bargain basement. Blu-ray players are at least going to be mid/high end gear.
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