I'm just curious... and I hope this isn't a really stupid question, but...
Besides the obvious features like progressive scan, better onscreen menu's, etc... What makes a $400-$600 'name' model better than a $60 'no-name' model ?
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The more expensive ones usually have better overall picture quality, better construction, higher quality laser (plays back scratched dvds better), and longer life.
If you're using an average TV, you won't notice much of a difference. With my 27" TV I see no difference between an Apex, and a high line Panasonic. On my 55" Toshiba, and with my projector, there's a huge difference in picture quality. Even on some of the lower quality DVDs (Top Gun, Days of Thunder) the Panasonic has a much better picture.
With the cheaper DVD players, you can also run into overheating problems. With most of my cheap DVD players, 3 movies in a row is max, we ran a Philips and a Panasonic on Halloween night for 10-12 hours each non stop, with no problems.
My $40 Apex 1201 will play anything. If it's MPEG, it plays. Files, VCD, xSVCD, CVD, MiniDVD, whatever.
However, it has stereo and DTS out only. Since it doesn't convert AC5.1 to DTS, yep, you guessed it, it's pretty much Stereo out only. Well, downmixed 2 channel AC5.1 .
I had a Pioneer that had stereo out, 6 channel stereo out, optical and DTS. Downside is it only played commercial DVD's. Didn't like a CDR to save it's life. I got rid of it. It woulnd't play DVD -r or +R either, but the sound and picture were awesome.
Basically if your TV is 30" or smaller, you probably can't tell the difference.To Be, Or, Not To Be, That, Is The Gazorgan Plan
they are heavier...less likely to topple in case of an earthquake.
from a picture-quality point of view they may not be better. BTW progressive scan units are available for around $60.
'Cheapo' DVD players usually have lousy DAC, therefore analog audio is not as good as it could be. Digital output should be OK.
My Apex has a killer feature that I really like, It can play PAL DVDs into my NTSC TV without problems. This feature was not supported by my older Denon.
I have an old expensive PIONEER DVD player that cost me $700
I also have a cheap APEX I bought for region free PAL to NTSC playabk. This was around $100 give or take when I bought it which was about 2 years ago this christmas (maybe 3 years ago I forget).
I also have a Cyberhome DVD player that cost me about $69 which I bought last Christmas.
I also visit a friend often and we watch movies on his PANASONIC RV-31 which died and was recently replaced by the S35 model (or 35S) and that was $200 for the RV-31 and $100 for the S35/35S
Of them all the PIONEER looks best.
I'd say that both the Cyberhome and Panasonic units are second place and a tie with each other. Actually I think I like the Cyberhome a bit better. The Panasonic seems to play back some DVD discs overly bright even when it is set to the DARKER setting. Only does this with DVD-R discs it seems.
The APEX looks like total shit and I stopped using it a long time ago. It would make a GRADE-A studio made DVD look and sound like crap. The MPEG decoder in this thing was total garbage.
So in short unless you have a very large TV (like over 36") or one that shows MPEG artifacts more clearly (such as a PLAZMA screen) then I don't think it will make a BIG difference BUT I would still stick with a name brand like PANASONIC or SONY or PIONEER etc. I would stay away from the no-name low-brow brands such as APEX
However if you need region free and PAL to NTSC conversion you really cannot beat the Cyberhome CH-DVD 500 which is amazingly a great DVD player that currently goes for around $80
- John "FulciLives" Coleman
The more expensive DVD players which tend to go for $500 or more have different video and audio decoders that do a better job on the image and sound. They do things like PROGRESSIVE VIDEO better than the cheaper models. If you watch stuff on a 4:3 TV they will convert a 16x9 DVD to 4:3 with less artifacts than the cheaper DVD players. They have more refined sound etc.
But unless you have a super duper sound system and a large screen TV then I highly doubt that the difference will be noticeable."The eyes are the first thing that you have to destroy ... because they have seen too many bad things" - Lucio Fulci
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