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DVD player, what to do????

283 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Bob Pariseau
Allow me to introduce myself as I am new to the forum. I am by no means a HT or audiophile, actually I'm probably the opposite but I have turned the corner and want to create an improved viewing experience in our soon to be enhanced 10 x 11 "media" room.

Out with the 12 year old 35" Mitsubishi CRT and the S-VCR that has had a chewed up VHS video tape stuck in it for 3 years or so!

In with:

NEC 50" HD Plasma (Sweeet!!!)

Yamaha RX-V2500 receiver

Older B&W fronts and center channel speakers.

M&K base speaker

NHT iC3 rear ceiling mount speakers (new)

DirecTV HD receiver, model H10 and HD dish

I have yet to purchase a DVD player. I have been told not to spend alot of money on this as Blue Ray and actual HD DVD players are just around the corner. We are currently using a semi-portable Phillips DVD player which seems to work fine in the current environment. I can wait and it does seem kind of shortsighted to spend $500 to $1,000 on the current DVD technology and not even have a HD DVD feed into the new HD Plasma. That said, I am thinking that with the new plasma, the current DVD player will be super weak link.

We are more into movies, sports and HD programing than music. Knowing that I am willing to wait a bit, 2, 3, 5 months if necessary for new DVD technology to hit the shelves, what should I do?

Thanks for viewing my post. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

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I decided to go with a top upscaling player with excellent video and excellent audio (the Denon 3910; the Pioneer 59ai and Onkyo SP1000 are also well thought of). I figured it will still be a few years before the HD format war is over (I would not want to buy too early and choose the losing technology), the price comes down to reasonable levels, HD DVDs are widely available for rent, etc. Plus, even after going with HD technology down the road, I can keep my 3910 for audio and just get an HD video player rather than another universal. Also, I predict the 3910 will outperform the HD players for current DVDS, something to think about if you have a large DVD library and won't be upgrading your current DVDs to new HD ones for awhile. Lastly, I did not want to sacrifice with the lower end upscaling players (most have a lot of problems, although the Panasonic S97 seemd to be well liked, although no SACD). That was my thought process.
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The new player situation is a mess right now. There are two new formats about to be launched, HD-DVD and Blue Ray, and there is no guarantee that they'll both survive. Also there's no guarantee that the studios will make high-def transfers for those new formats that are truly worth the price premium both for discs and players. And although it is highly likely the new players will also play current, conventional DVDs, there is no guarantee they'll do a particularly good job at that, since, after all, their whole point is to set things up so that you will want to buy the new format discs.

For $1000 right now you can get an amazingly good player for conventional DVD discs, and the library of available titles out there is enormous.

At best, the first of the new format players (for "HD-DVD" format discs) will be on shelves for this coming Christmas. Based on the track record with hot new players of current design, it will take about 4 months for the word to get out as to what's really good and really bad about these new players. There is no reason to suppose the new players won't have AT LEAST the same percentage of bugs and goof ups as current designs, and since they are new technology, the odds are there will be some new types of screwups unique to the new formats.

Meanwhile, movies in the new format will start trickling out. There could be, oh, up to a couple hundred titles by this time next year. That's a bunch, but it's nothing close to what's available for conventional DVDs.

So my recommendation is to buy a top quality conventional player now and plan to hold onto it for 2 years. That will give time for the format war to resolve itself, and for some of the new format players to develop a track record. THEN buy a high-def player that you know you'll likely be able to live with for at least another 2 years.

If you ask this same question next November, my answer will likely be similar. Even though the hype around the new format players will be pretty intense by then, they will be unproven quantities, and the format war means that if you pick the format that ends up losing you will be screwed. However, since you would then be only about 12 months away from all this resolving itself, it would probably be wise to save money and either stick with an older player you already own or buy only a modest quality player -- expecting to replace it a year later with a new format player.

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