How Do I Hook Up... my DVD player or upconverting DVD player? Newsletter Signup
January 1st, 2008 by Joe Chianese Page 1Page 2 Page 3

Choosing the Best DVD Player

Whether you're in the market for a new unit or feel like you need an upgrade, you're in luck. There's tons of great DVD players out there right now for incredible prices. Let me give you a few pointers on what to look for.

Inputs and Outputs: How to Optimally Hook up your DVD Player

When it comes to inputs, you might want to consider what the DVD player has on the front of it. Front inputs are used for connecting things like a camcorder, digital camera, game console, or other device.

You can of course hook most of these things up to the back (or front) of your TV, but sometimes your individual needs will require these front inputs. Its especially useful if you need firewire or other specialized inputs for digital cameras and other devices. Figure out just what you'll be connecting to pick out the best unit.

As for outputs, you should already know that if you're not going the route of upconversion, you'll absolutely want component video outputs.

Consider fiber optic or digital coaxial for when you're going to be connecting to a surround sound receiver that supports those connections (or to a TV for less cable clutter).

DVI and HDMI should only be considered when getting an upconverting DVD player. There can be a noticeable difference in picture quality using an upconverting unit, but this varies by not only different makes of DVD players but by the movies you play in them as well.

Truth be told, the price is low enough now that I would recommend buying an upconverting DVD player. Just make sure it has either HDMI or DVI (and so does your TV), and that your TV is high definition. If it isn't, you can't use one of these anyway (upconverters require an HD TV).


If you burn your own DVDs (or borrow them from friends who burn them for you), you're going to want to consider what formats the player supports. This also concerns DVD recorders, which are capable of recording to DVDs just like VCRs record to VHS tapes. If you plan on recording, go ahead and get a DVD recorder. They're very affordable.

But, back to formats: for home recording (or computer burning), you'll need to recognize the different possible DVD formats: DVD-R/DVD+R, DVD-RW/DVD+RW, and DVD RAM.

-R and +R represent Writeable DVDs that use either the + or - format. There's no difference to us between the plus or minus, but certain DVD players will support one, the other, or both. The same goes for DVD Re-Writeables, or + and - RW. If you think you'll be using these discs, get a DVD player that supports both + and -.

DVD RAM is a different type of rewriteable DVD that few people have ended up using. Decide for yourself if your DVD player/recorder should require this.

Last but not Least: Price

You really do get what you pay for with electronics. As such, I can't recommend spending too little on a DVD player. $20 sounds great, but the picture quality stinks, and the unit likely won't last very long. On the flip side, paying over $200 for a DVD player isn't likely to provide any difference in picture or audio quality (or life expectancy) versus a sub-$100 unit.

Instead, stick with brand name units and do some comparison shopping. You'll see the difference in price between the various manufacturers and features available. Try to find a good unit either on sale or with rebates so you get the best possible price. I paid about $80 for my upconverting Panasonic DVD player (on sale) and consider it a great unit.

Don't forget to check out reviews online before buying; you never know what dirty little secrets certain devices are hiding until someone finds out first hand.

More Home Theater How-To Articles!

- How to Hook up Surround Sound
- Hook up a Receiver
- Running Speaker Wire
- Home Theater in a Box

>>The End!

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