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DVD Player & Recorder Features

Get the information you need before you make a purchase


Progressive scan or interlaced? What are DVD regions? What is the maximum recording time? Do I need signal upconversion These are all questions you should be asking when shopping for a DVD player or a DVD recorder. They are not all the same so you should make sure that you have selected the model with the features you need.


Interlaced Scan
A video scanning system in which alternating lines are transmitted, so that half a picture is displayed each time the scanning beam moves down the screen. An interlaced frame is made of two fields and is more compatible with older TVs.

Progressive Scan
A video scanning system that displays all lines of a frame in one pass. This is the option you are sure to want if you have an HDTV.

Maximum Recording Time
Recorders can vary the amount of video they can fit on a disc depending on how much the data is compressed. Picture quality drops correspondingly, however, so this specification should not be considered in and of itself. It is also important to keep in mind that recorders with built-in hard drives may specify maximum recording time to the hard disk rather than to a DVD, yielding a much larger number.

Maximum Recording Time
Recorders can vary the amount of video they can fit on a disc depending on how much the data is compressed. Picture quality drops correspondingly, however, so this specification should not be considered in and of itself. It is also important to keep in mind that recorders with built-in hard drives may specify maximum recording time to the hard disk rather than to a DVD, yielding a much larger number.

IEEE 1394 (FireWire, ILink) Input
IEEE 1394 input ensures best video and audio quality when transferring from a digital camcorder, or from a digital cable box or satellite receiver equipped with an IEEE 1394 output. Beyond these uses, the feature is not all that important otherwise.

Front-Panel A/V Inputs
Audio/video inputs on the front panel make temporary connection of devices such as camcorders much easier.

Electronic Program Guide
EPGs can make it much easier to program the device to record television programs. Guides vary in sophistication (and fee, when applicable).

Component-Video Output
Component-video output allows the highest picture quality when connected to a display with component-video inputs, especially if the recorder and display support progressive scan.

Type of Digital Audio Output
It's important to be able to make a digital audio connection to an A/V receiver or surround-sound processor if you're going to use the recorder to watch movies in a home theater system. The good news is that most receivers, processors, and DVD recorders provide for both coaxial and optical (Toslink) connections

Multi-Region DVD Players
Many DVD players only play DVDs from the region in which they are purchased and if you try to play a DVD from Europe and you live in North America and you have a single region player you will be out of luck. But if you have a multi-region DVD player you can play DVDs from whatever region the player supports. Most of you will only need to play DVDs from a single region but if you think this may be an issue this will be something to take into consideration when shopping for a DVD player.

 


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