Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Jun 12

Remembering the VCR (and 5 disc players to look forward to)

Just can't seem to let go.

On June 7, we stand back and gaze upon the impact of the VCR, in celebration of National VCR Day.

It’s also National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, but two things spring to mind about that.

  1. Really, what day isn’t National Chocolate Ice Cream Day?
  2. We’re an electronics store. I’ll handle NCIC Day on my own, later tonight.

But, back to the matter at hand.

The VCR fundamentally changed the landscape of home entertainment. It brought movies to your home, to watch un-interrupted any time you wanted to. It recorded, so you were free to be out on a Thursday during Dynasty. You could ignore the commercials. It was a revolution that sat right next to the TV. And the revolution that began with the (now) humble VCR continues to this day with Blu-ray, Tivo, and DVD, spurring on videophiles every where who are in pursuit of the perfect sound and imaging. Here’s a list to help improve your picture.

Sony DVPSR500H Single Disc 1080p up-scaling DVD player

Bridging the gap -- thanks to advanced video processing, Sony's DVP-SR500H DVD player is able to enhance the standard definition video on your DVDs to near-HD, 1080p-equivalent levels, perfect for watching on your HDTV. All you need to do is use the player's HDMI output. Further, when your not watching DVDs or listening to CDs, you can use the Photo TV HD mode to optimize JPEG photos for display on an HDTV.

The Sony DVPSR500H made the list, not only due to its up-scaling and picture quality, but also due to its price. In the clearance center, we are selling these for $42.40! That’s a Top Five value that can’t be passed up.

LG BP320 Blu-ray Player

Connect your home theater to endless entertainment possibilities with the BP320 Blu-ray disc player from LG. It comes fully loaded with LG Smart TV and built-in wifi, linking your blu-ray to limitless online content. The Blu-ray player presents in stunning 1080p to get the most out of your HDTV. Plus, 1080p upscaling means you can get the most out of your DVDs without rebuying your entire collection.

The LG BP320 Blu-ray player makes the list as a great introductory Blu-ray player, so you can upgrade sound and vision without too much wallet downgrade.

Yamaha BDA1010 Single Disc 3D Blu-ray Player

Yamaha's BDA1010 Blu-ray player doesn't just look good. Sure, you've got 1080p video performance (including upconversion), 3D-capabilities, and even streaming from sources like Netflix, Blockbuster on Demand, and YouTube that make this one versatile video source. But, you've also get full-bodied, multi-channel audio from not only Blu-ray discs, but DVD-Audio and SACD. Throw in DLNA, dual USB capabilities, and support for a wide range of file formats and you've found a player that looks good and sounds great.

Excellent D/A converters  separate the Yamaha from the competition. It’s the converters that define the picture quality, and the better the converters, the better the sound and the picture.  Which is critical for the latest 3D movies. So while you gain connectivity and a broader format reading ability, what you’re really getting is better converters for better definition.

Onkyo BDSP809 Single Disc 3D Blu-ray Player

With 3D capabilitites as well as Netflix, Film Fresh, Blockbuster, and VUDU streaming, the Onkyo single-disc blu-ray disc player plays a variety of entertainment option in top caliber 1080p resolution including noise reduction and deinterlacing. In the back of the player, you'll find twin HDMI outputs for multiple display support, component output, TOSLINK and digital coax outputs.

The Onkyo BDSP809 makes the list because it is THX certified. THX certification means it passes very specific standards for seamless playback, inter-operability  and content. This means your movies , especially in 3D, are as crisp and clean as possible. And another reason the Onkyo made the list is it’s on sale, so great play back just got a little less expensive.

Denon DBP 2012UDCI with 3D and Networking

"Universal" home entertainment reproduced with pristine clarity and fidelity . . . the DBP-2012UDCI Blu-ray Disc player from Denon. With an ethernet port and DLNA certification, you can stream movies and video from Netflix or YouTube, or access video, audio, and photos on your home network. The DBP2012UD supports Blu-ray disc, DVDs, CDs, SACDs, DVD-Audio, MP3, JPEG, AVCHD, DivX, and more.

Here’s something you don’t often think about, but as the price goes up on top-rated Blu-ray players, they get heavier. The Denon is the heaviest player on the list. Not because they have more “stuff” in them , but to make sure there’s a sturdy platform for disc rotation.  A steady base and sturdy carriage eliminates wow and flutter, which add distortion to the sound and picture. Combine solidity with optimal D/A converters, and you’ve got a picture that is noticeably better on your screen.

It seems kind of strange to be celebrating National VCR Day by talking about top-rated Blu-ray players.  A little chocolate ice cream will ease that thought away. But the Blu-ray is a direct descendant of the VCR revolution- a hi-def, non-degrading, no plastic shell and magnetic tape issue, no rewind child that provides the best sound and picture quality available in home today.  All hail the VCR and its progeny!

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