Wednesday, November 26, 2008

DVD Player buying tips

DVD Player Buying Tips

DVD players get their name from the type of disc they most commonly play: a digital video/versatile disc, or DVD. DVD players are very important factor if you want to build a home theatre. Because quality of DVD player i.e. ability of player to read the DVD and transfer the relative information to display screen and speaker decides the quality of your viewing and sound experience for the movies. All of us are aware that DVD player are far better than VHS tapes and VCD players in quality and it can also store much more data on it. Although it looks like a CD it holds 7 – 14 times more information than normal CD. In addition to playing DVD movies, DVD players play CDs, MP3-encoded CD-Rs and CD-RWs, video CD’s, and a few will play DVDs-Audio, MPEG format. The newest higher-end players also play Super Audio CDs, a new high quality CD format that should become widely available in the next year or so.

So how to decide on which DVD player to buy because there are so many brand and so many models are available in the market. DVD players range in price from 3500 Rupees for a basic, no-frills player from known brand to more than 60,000 for a top-of-the-line home theater-ready player. Some unknown brand DVD players available in lesser price also but they are not dependable. This vast variety does add to our confusion on buying the DVD player.

What you have to do is to compare various well known DVD player brands and check following specification in them. Then just go for most suitable to your pocket with all these specification.

The following key features of DVD will help you decide the right one for you:

Aspect Ratio: The standard ratio of television, between the width and height of an image or display screen is 4:3(1.33:1), which is not capable of showing most movies. Generally all of the movies are made for the wide screen of a theater, and are originally displayed at the wider ratios of 1.85:1 or 2:35:1. So choose a player which can do downscaling as well as up-scaling accordingly.

Anamorphic: It is a type of widescreen display format optimized for playback on a TV with 16:9 aspect ratios. A DVD played in pan-and-scan mode provides an image with full height, but shows a central "window" that is only 75% of the original widescreen width. In Letterbox mode the player using a "letterbox filter" adds horizontal black bars to the top and bottom of the picture. As a result you get a short, rectangular image.

Dolby Digital: Is a multi-channel digital audio standard offering enhanced sonic realism. A Dolby Digital soundtrack can mean anything from 1 to 5.1 channels. Dolby Digital 5.1 sound tracks will no doubt, provide the most satisfying sound quality for a home theater system. It is referred to as a 5.1-channel system because it offers five full-bandwidth channels with true stereo surrounds, and a subwoofer channel. Although there is some DVD players which can drive 5.1 channel speakers by it self without receiver. But it is suitable to go for specialized DVD Player and connect it to a receiver or processor which will not only drive the speaker output but also amplify it.

Perceptual Coding: A data compression technique used by Dolby Digital to reduce the amount of audio and video data formats. Perceptual coding omits imperceptible sound and picture data which is redundant. By throwing away a lot of unnecessary information it is possible to fit multiple versions of a movie on a single disc.

Digital Output: Almost all DVD players come with at least one digital audio output for sending the Dolby Digital bit-stream to a Dolby Digital decoder. Two most common types of digital output are Coaxial and Optical. Both require a cable to connect to the digital output of the Dolby Digital receiver or decoder but mostly they are not included in the set.

DTS: Or Digital Theater Systems is an established multi-channel audio format in movie theaters, but a relatively new concept for home theater systems. Like Dolby Digital, DTS is a 5.1-channel format. DTS' compression technique throws away less audio data than Dolby Digital, so it should sound better.

Horizontal Resolution: These are the number of vertical lines that can be identified across the width of a TV screen. Usually a bigger number of horizontal resolutions is almost always better.

MPEG: Or Moving Picture Experts Group is the digital video signal compression used for DVD. This adaptive, variable bit-rate process is able to allocate more bits for complex scenes involving a lot of motion, while minimizing the bits in static scenes. Some DVD players display an on-screen bit rate of data flow in the form of a bar graph.

Composite Video Signal: DVD player's standard RCA-type video jack provides a composite video signal or S-Video. It is a video signal in which the brightness and color portions of the signal are combined.

Component Video Signals: Is a video signal in which the brightness and color portions of the signal are processed separately. Component video signal splits the chrominance (the color information portion of a video signal which describes an image's color shade and vividness). As a result one gets improved color accuracy, remarkably clear on large screens. Component video signal is far superior than S-video.

Signal To Noise ratio: Or S/N ratio basically tells how clean video signal is. Video signal to noise (as well as audio) is measured in decibels or (db). Because of the way they process signals; digital video formats like DVD and digital satellite TV are extremely clean.

Multi Language Capability: All DVDs are designed to make it easier for movies to be distributed in multiple languages. A single DVD disc can contain soundtracks in up to 8 different languages! In addition to multilingual dialogue, a DVD also has space for subtitles in up to 32 languages. Off-course the number of soundtracks and subtitles may vary from disc to disc depending on the length of the movie and whether other special playback features are included.

Parental Lockout: A limited number of DVD movies come with variable ratings capability. According to the movie rating level you select, the player will skip over certain scenes, playing the version that you choose from those available on the disc. The parental lockout can be activated by remote control. By selecting your own personal identification number, you can prevent it from getting changed by others.

Regional Codes: All DVDs include codes which would limit playback to a specified geographical region. Since all the theater and home videos are not released at the same time, all over the world; DVD players have a built-in regional code lockout feature. As a result a DVD player will be unable to play a disc that has a different region code. It is also important to note that discs may or may not have any code, or may contain codes for more than one region- allowing to be played on any player, anywhere in the world.

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