what's important in buying a DVD?

I’m not a Luddite, but <gasp>, it’s almost 2003 and I’ve never had a DVD. Barely even used one at friends. So now we’re looking to get one.

Here’s all I can tell you:

  • we need multizone, since we’ll be playing DVD’s from both the US and Israel

-we don’t have surround sound or any fancy stereo system hooked up to the TV/ Video. In fact, we don’t even have any external speakers plugged in. I suppose we might at some point, but it’s not a critical issue.

  • I imagine we’d keep using our current VCR for playing tapes, but if we were to be convinced, we’d certainly consider getting a combination DVD/VCR

-the price range is a little difficult to describe, since we’d be buying it here, and the prices might be different than in your countries. But we’re looking to spend around $200.

Any ideas? Brands to try to get or stay away from? Critical features, unnecessary ones, or ones that the salesman will try to sell me on, even though every DVD player has it?

Also, how important is it that I see the machine before I buy it? Should I rely on buying it online?

Look here.

look for one that plays all the formats you want. Also I’m leary of “all region” DVD players since there have been some efforts to make it so that some DVDs wont play on those particular players. I think it’s better to look for one where you can change the region by yourself at any time. I know of 4 types of fixes, here rated from best to worst.

  1. Enter a code from your remote control which allows the region to be changed,
  2. Buy a special disc which when placed in your player changed your player to region 0 and then back to your region when placed in your player the next time.
  3. Old players had a switch inside which you could switch manually.
  4. The absolute worst are kits you buy which will then have to be saudered onto the board inside the player. Avoid.

Here’s a new one. For the Citizen JDVD3818 when you get to the “wrong region” screen simply press “title” on the remote control. How simple is that?

Hmm, Israel is PAL and the USA is NTSC. That will make things much harder. That will make it either very difficult or expensive to play Israel’s PAL DVDs on America’s NTSC TV.

Most PAL tvs and VCRs (and therefore presumably DVDs?) now can playback in NTSC though it is not reciprocal and few NTSC machines can deal with PAL.

IOW, If the machine is based in Israel it probably doesn’t matter but it is likely worth checking to make sure.