Films and TV shows are a huge business and a big pastime for millions of people. DVD and Blu-Ray players are some of the best ways for us to take in these products – but which ones should you invest in?
If you need a hand choosing the DVD or Blu-Ray Player you want, why not read our guide to help you out?
What Types of DVD Player Are There?
DVD players aren’t all of a singular type, in fact they come in a range of styles. To help you realise the differences, you can take a look at the different types of DVD players below.
Standard DVD Players
These are your bog standard DVD players, they can start from as cheap as five pounds and typically have no extra features. The only exception to this is HD upscaling, which is now common in most new DVD players.
HD Upscaling works by improving the visual quality when you’re watching a DVD on a HD television. This happens automatically, so doesn’t require you to do anything to get it working – equally, if you don’t have a HD TV then it won’t be applied either.
Many other devices also pack in standard DVD players as well, with PCs, laptops and even games consoles featuring the technology. This means that if you don’t have a dedicated DVD player at home, it’s likely that you will have one somewhere – possibly without you thinking about it.
DVD combis actually refer to a couple of different types of DVD player, the first being a combination of DVD player and VHS. A dying breed, VHS and DVD combis offer the ability to play DVDs and VHS tapes, their lack of popularity comes from the outdated VHS technology, which is now very rarely seen or used.
DVD/TV combis are a bit different, they are TVs which come with a DVD player built-in, meaning you won’t need a separate box to play your DVDs. They cost a little bit more than a standard HD TV, but if you regularly watch DVDs they can be well worth the money.
It’s worth noting that combis will be a bit more expensive than standard DVD players, but do have the added benefit of reducing clutter around your TV.
DVD recorders work much like VHS recorders of old, offering the chance to record TV and films direct onto a disk. This is a good option if you like to record your programmes and like the option of it being portable rather than restricted to a digital Freeview recording box.
Also, there are restrictions to DVD recording – with laws in certain countries restricting what you are and aren’t allowed to record. Typically, these laws aren’t enforced unless you start making copies and attempt to sell recorded programmes or films.
On top of this, it is legal to record TV if you only wish to watch it personally at a more convenient time. Simply put, recording TV is fine as long as you don’t begin sharing it or selling recordings yourself.
Please note: This is regarding UK law, and doesn’t cover any countries outside the UK.
What are Blu-Ray Players?
Blu-Ray players work in the same way as DVD players in a functional sense, but have the capability to play Blu-Ray disks – as their name would suggest. The main difference between Blu-Ray disks and standard DVDs is that they can hold five times the amount of data without an increase in size.
This means that Blu-Rays offer better quality than DVDs on-screen, allowing for a more vivid viewing experience as long as you have a suitable HD display to watch on. On top of this, Blu-Ray players can also play DVDs too, so you can simply upgrade that DVD player and still make use of your older disks.
What Happened to HD DVDs?
HD DVDs were launched pretty much alongside Blu-Ray disks, and offered a similar technical improvement to films and TV with their quality. Both battled it out for a number of years to be the ‘go to’ physical movie format for the ultimate viewing experience, with ups and downs for both.
However, the biggest push actually came from the gaming industry – with the PlayStation 3 supporting Blu-Ray over HD DVDs. This eventually resulted in HD DVDs getting pulled from production and Blu-Ray having an open run at the market.
Of course, Blu-Ray is still a fairly distance 2nd place in terms of physical movie mediums, with DVDs still more popular, but for those willing to spend a little more cash it’s a solid option.
Do We Still Need DVDs?
The biggest question regarding DVD and Blu-Ray players is whether they actually have a tangible future given the increasing popularity of online streaming of movies and TV. However, for now it seems that their place is secure, with the simple ability of bringing a DVD to your friend’s or family member’s house more reliable than banking on internet services.
But as services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video continue to expand their selections the need for DVDs and Blu-Ray players may continue to decrease. You should be aware of this if you do plan on investing, so that you aren’t left annoyed by the continued struggle to get DVDs before films hit online streaming services.
DVD and Blu-Ray Player FAQs
Below you can take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about DVD and Blu-Ray players, so if you have a question to ask – check here.
What’s the best type of DVD Player?
There’s no one DVD player which we’re going to pick out, but there are a few types which you can favour if you like. Standard DVD players are good value and do the job, but DVD recorders and Blu-Ray players are also incredibly good as well.
Bear in mind that if you do choose one of the latter options you might need to pay some extra cash out for them.
What’s the difference between Blu-Ray and DVD?
Whilst both disks look similar, DVDs hold much less data than Blu-Rays – meaning that they aren’t as good in terms of quality. Blu-Rays offer a more vivid viewing experience and are noticeably better when viewed side by side with a regular DVD.
What about HD DVDs?
HD DVDs are now very hard to find as they’re no longer in production. They won’t work with some DVD players and work similarly to Blu-Rays. Blu-Rays are the preferred high quality disk on the market and are still in production.
Can I record onto a DVD?
Yes, as long as you have a working DVD recorder. Remember that there are some laws regarding this which you may need to clarify. Selling recorded movies, TV shows or sports events (among other things) can get you in some serious trouble.
Do I need a DVD Player if I have Netflix?
Netflix and other online streaming services are certainly taking hold, but that’s no reason not to get a DVD player. If your internet connection drops or if you happen to want to watch a film not available online, DVD players are a great option.
How much do DVD Players cost?
This depends on the player you want, with prices for standard DVD players starting as low as £5-£10. If you opt for a Blu-Ray player it can be a bit more expensive. DVDs and Blu-Rays can cost between £1-£20 depending on age and version.