If you are in the market for a new entertainment system, you may feel pressure to purchase an HDTV and matching Blu-ray player. The clarity of high-definition technology is tempting, but where does that leave the collection of DVDs that you have amassed over the last decade? The outlook seems bleak – you can use them to re-shingle your roof, keep them as coffee coasters or sacrifice them to your dog as a lifetime-supply of Frisbees. But don't despair quite yet; a standard DVD player with upconversion can give those time-worn DVDs the little bit of spit shine they need to get them playing on a high-resolution television with near HD quality. Although a DVD player with upconversion cannot transform a DVD movie into a high-definition masterpiece, it can scale the image to the appropriate resolution for an HDTV screen without negatively altering picture quality.
To breathe new life into your DVD collection, we recommend the Toshiba SD7300, Sony DVP-SR500H and Philips DVP3560 as the best standard DVD players on the market today. Check out our learning center for additional articles about DVD players, because At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™
Standard DVD players are a mature technology and have been a part of the consumer market for quite a while. As such, they have seen countless minor improvements and updates. If you are shopping for a new DVD player, there are several factors that probably were not on your radar five years ago. Upconversion is just one example of the many new tricks you should consider. An SD card slot or USB terminal allows you to save, play and watch media from your digital collection without burning discs. Connectivity remains as essential as always, but with the addition of HDMI, you have more options available to you. And it never hurts to buy something that looks nice and sleek.
Make sure your DVD player of choice supports your favorite media. Naturally, all DVD players will play DVD discs, but for extended function (such as audio CDs, VCDs or Dual Layer DVDs) you should check the specs for compatibility. The best DVD players come with SD card readers or USB ports, but file-type support may vary; some play only JPG and MP3s, but a select few can also play DivX movies.
Check your television for connection options and select a DVD player with corresponding hookups. We recommend HDMI as the quickest and easiest connector option. If your TV doesn't have an HDMI hookup, other good options include composite video, component video (the three-in-one cables with separate channels for audio and video), and s-video.
If you own an HDTV, make sure to purchase a DVD player that can scale to the resolution of your screen. HDTVs come in three primary flavors: 720 progressive, 1080 interlaced and 1080 progressive. Some standard DVD players are more flexible than others and can alternate between these resolution options, but it is a good idea to check before you buy, lest the upscaling feature be incompatible with your HDTV.
If you're not quite ready to commit yourself to Blu-ray and start rebuilding your home video collection, an upconverting DVD player is exactly what you are looking for. And thanks to a little bit of Blu-ray competition, DVD technology is being pushed and extended more now than ever before.