Mid Priced DVD Players

Moderately Priced DVD Players, around $200

Anything around the $200 price range gets you just out of the bottom of the line and into quality territory with many of the newest features.

The LG-Electronics LGDVB418 ups the ante on the DVD players we've seen so far with superior processing and features. Video DACs in this unit operate at 27Mhz which should provide your TV with brilliant colors. But the primary selling point of this DVD player isn't image or sound quality. The key feature of this unit is wide support for many formats.

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Besides standard DVD, this player will read DivX (versions 3, 4, 5, Xvid) and MS Mpeg4, MP3, Kodac image files, DVD-R/W, DVD R/W. DivX is another form a/v compression for DVD; it's probably of particular interest to those who back up their own DVDs or somehow have access to DVDs that use the DivX formats, especially people who create their own digital media.

This LG DVD player also introduces our summary to DVD-Audio, which is a multi-channel audio format of particular interest to audiophiles. The product's marketing summary speaks highly of a feature described as follows.

  • 5.1-channel output enables you to experience movies in invigorating surround sound

Apparently they didn't know how else to describe the analogue 5.1 outputs on the back of the DVD player, which is really a step down from the coax digital output it also has, as do most cheaper DVD Players. The 5.1 outs (a total of 6 RCA analogue connectors) should only be used if you believed the DACs in your DVD player are better than the receiver. The 5.1 outs means processing duties are performed in the DVD Player itself as opposed to being passed along to the receiver, which is usually the best option for sonic quality. The real reason the analogue 5.1 outputs exist on back of this DVD player is for its DVD-Audio support. DVD-Audio is a high-resolution audio format that sounds amazing on a good quality system. This might be a good way to introduce yourself to the DVD-Audio format if you also had specific use for DivX. Otherwise the space this player attempts to occupy is filled with better players that don't do DivX. The LG LGDVB418 tries to be a low-budget jack-of-all-trades and will invariably end up being master of none.

Introducing the Pioneer DV-578a, priced at well under $200 but due to such popular demand and competition for this player you could find it as low as $150 or less. The DV-578a is the successor to the wildly successful DV-563a that made a serious impression on the DVD hi-fi community back in 2003. The DV-563a (and now the 578a) is the first of the very low cost Universal DVD Players.

Not only does the player read DVD R/W, R/W, CD-R/W, R/W, MP3, WMA and Jpeg image files, it decodes Dolby Digital and DTS. The universal moniker means it can also play both competing high-resolution audio formats - Sony's SACD and the rest of the industry's DVD-Audio. This player is the first to do both for less than $500 and by its rave reviews it does so very well. This is an above-average progressive scan performer for Digital TV with very crisp audio processing. This is such a good quality player it has supplanted many of Pioneer's own Elite line of universal DVD Players as the low-cost hi-fi DVD Player.

Pioneer could be the first company to defeat its own higher end product line with something so inexpensive. So, if you're interested in a DVD player that pleases the ears as much as the eyes and not ready to spend over $500, look no further. You'd need to spend serious money on a DVD player to replace this one, which you might be hesitant to do at this late stage in the DVD technology's life cycle. It's possible that as early as next year we'll see HD DVD and Blu-Ray players hitting the market. If you were going to spend more than $500 on a DVD Player today, it would be advisable to wait and see what happens; quality players in this price category like the DV-578a are just the ones to tide you over.

Now let's delve into the higher end DVD Players at $500 and greater