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The widespread use of Netflix and other streaming services begs the question, why does anyone need a home DVD player? While streaming services are convenient, affordable options for enjoying movies and TV shows, there's no guarantee that your favorite content will be there forever. Most streaming services keep film and television series for a limited time.
Furthermore, you might already have a collection of videos that simply aren’t available online, or custom footage that isn’t found in stores or some production studio’s archive. There's nothing better than owning a DVD of your favorite movie, and popping it in when the mood strikes.
Here at BestReviews, we've compiled a handy guide to help you decide what kind of DVD player is right for you. Below, you'll find a list of important considerations to take into account when shopping for a DVD player. A brief overview of the pricing for DVD players is also included. And when you’re ready to buy, check out the matrix above for our top recommendations.
Whether you're an avid movie collector or simply enjoy the occasional film viewing, a DVD player is an essential addition to any home media setup. Even the most budget-conscious homeowner can find an affordable unit to satisfy his or her needs.
If you think such a device is useless in an age of streaming services, think again. Many DVD players allow users to play music, and showcase other content, such as home videos and photos from burned discs.
For frequent travelers, portable DVD players allow for viewing in any setting, without the need for a wireless connection. Just pop in a disc and go. For home theatre buffs, HDMI-compatible players can offer the ultimate viewing experience, and many players are capable of Blu-Ray playback for incredible visual definition.
If you often find yourself showing off vacation photos to friends and family, consider getting a DVD player that features a USB port, and supports photo file types.
Before settling on a particular DVD player model, consider the following to make sure your prospective device checks all the boxes for your unique needs.
Make sure that your chosen DVD player is region-compatible with the discs you own. If you particularly enjoy foreign films from China or India, ensure that those movies can be played on your selected unit. Region-free DVD players will be able to play back films from all regions of the world.
Region 1 DVD players will play discs released in in North America, Bermuda, and other U.S. territories.
Find out whether a DVD player supports applications like Hulu and Netflix. It will lessen the need for other devices, and your DVD player can act as a one-stop shop for media content.
Newer models will be able to stream content wirelessly to your television. It's convenient, and reduces the number of physical DVDs required for playback. No need to deal with a tangle of wires.
If you're a Netflix addict, consider getting a DVD player that can host streaming service apps. You will no longer be glued to your laptop.
Some DVD players allow the user to load up multiple discs. You may want this feature if you enjoy binge-watching TV series — box sets often contain multiple discs. This is also a good option if you plan to use your player for music playback.
Take a look at the include remote control to find out if it suits your needs. For those who have more complicated home theatre setups, a universal remote may be required to improve ease of use for all devices. If you are purchasing a DVD player for an elderly or vision impaired person, make sure the remote is easy to grasp, and the buttons are large enough to be visible.
Consider getting a universal remote if you have multiple devices as part of your media setup.
Don't ignore this particular consideration. Make sure the DVD player you're considering is compatible with your TV. If you plan on watching HD films, you'll want to ensure your TV supports HD playback.
Some DVD players are Blu-Ray compatible. Don't assume every player will be able to play back your Blu-Ray collection. Most Blu-Ray-only players will be able to play DVDs, just not the other way around.
Don't buy a fancy DVD player that supports HD playback if you don't have a compatible television, unless you plan to upgrade your TV later on.
A USB port will allow you to quickly download content onto a USB stick, which is less time consuming than burning a disc, and offers ultimate portability. It's easy to transfer downloaded media like movie files or photos to a USB stick, and simply plug it into a compatible DVD player.
If you plan on queuing up home videos and family photographs on your television to show your loved ones, don't forget to check whether a specific DVD player can play burned discs, and what kind of file types are supported via playback.
If you scratch a favorite DVD, don't despair. Light damage can be repaired via polishing.
There are a few different types of DVD players that will cater to a variety of different users.
Your basic DVD player, the kind most people are familiar with. These players sometimes come with extra features, but only hold a single DVD for playback.
These types of DVD players can hold many discs at once. The user can queue up their desired content, usually music, to eliminate the need for constant manual disc changes. They can also be convenient for multi-disc movie sets, or special feature content.
Be careful when handling DVDs! Less fragile than VHS tapes and CDs, DVDs can still get scratched, which may alter the quality of playback.
These are compact, usually lightweight players with small, built-in screens for convenient portable viewing of movies or other media. They are ideal for campers, or frequent travelers who want to watch — or listen — to content while they are without an internet connection.
DVD players made for cars are meant for backseat viewing, often used by parents to entertain children on long commutes or road trips. They usually attach via the car's headrests. Most have relatively large screens and are powered by a special car adapter. Many units even come bundled with two screens.
Some automobile DVD players come with multiple screens, for placement on each headrest.
Most DVD players are extremely affordable. Basic models with simple playback options are often sold for less than $40.
More expensive models generally offer options like HD compatibility, and more file types will be supported. Features like the possibility to download streaming applications and wireless capabilities will also be offered for a premium.
The most expensive players are multi-disc devices that allow the user to queue up many discs for playback.
Q. What's the advantage of Blu-Ray playback?
A. The picture and sound will be better overall, but unless you're very into image quality, you should be okay with regular DVDs. Blu-Ray discs tend to be more expensive, too.
Q. I burn a lot of family photos and videos onto discs, can I play them on all DVD players?
A. Not necessarily. Make sure to check the file types supported by the DVD players you're looking into. Not all players will be able to play burned discs, CDs, and all media types.
Q. Is setting up a DVD player challenging?
A. Unless you have a complicated home theatre system, most DVD players can be hooked up super quickly. Even the most tech-averse folks can manage to set up a DVD player. Just plug in a few wires here and there, and you're done!
Q. I watch a lot of Netflix, do I still need a DVD player?
A. Yes, of course! Not all movies are available on streaming services like Netflix. Even if you plan on watching DVDs just once in awhile, it's a useful device to own. There's nothing better than popping in a DVD of your favorite film, knowing you can watch it again and again.
Q. What kind of warranty do most DVD players come with?
A. You'll have to check with the manufacturer. Most players are quite durable and shouldn't need a replacement for years down the road, but it's always a good idea to make sure the warranty covers at least a year of use. Some retailers will offer an extended warranty, available at the time of purchase.
Q. What the heck is a region code anyway?
A. DVD regions allow media companies to control the viewing of their content, based on geography. Some DVD players can read all types of region DVDs, but many are region-locked. Make sure you purchase the correct DVDs for your particular region.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.