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A DVD player enhances your home viewing experience with high quality pictures and sound. A DVD recorder is ideal for recording from the TV or backing up old VHS tapes. Our guide explains the common features of DVD players and recorders.
There are two types of DVD recorder:
Some DVD players are available as DVD/VCR combos. These play VHS tapes on one side and DVDs on the other. The advantage of this is that they take up less space than two separate systems, and use one remote control.
Some DVD/VCR combos include a DVD recorder. These are useful for backing up VHS tapes onto DVD, as they can record from VHS onto DVD without needing to connect two separate units.
VHS tapes contain large amounts of plastics, so simply throwing out your old ones can be harmful to the environment. A lot of the material is able to be recycled. However, this can be an intensive process, so some recycling centres may not have the resources. Check with your local council and recycling facility before deciding what to do with your old tapes.
For recording DVDs in a DVD recorder or a DVD burner drive on a computer, you will need to purchase recordable DVDs. These recordable DVDs are available in the following formats:
There is no difference in quality between the – and + formats. However, some DVD players will only play one or the other format. A DVD player with "multi-format playback" will play both – and + format. If a DVD does not have multi-format playback it should list what format it can play.
Some DVD players are also able to play back computer files such as MP3 audio and JPEG photos. This function is useful if you wish to use your DVD player for more than viewing videos. You can use DVDs with this function to play music through a home theatre system, or display photos on your TV. DVD players will list all the file formats they are capable of playing.
Some DVD discs are encoded with a region code to prevent DVDs from one geographical region being played on DVD players from another. As a guide, the different "regions" are:
Some discs are not locked to a particular region and are marked with region 0 or region All. In Australia, most DVDs are region 4 encoded. All DVD players in Australia can play region 4 discs as well as region 0 or All discs.
Some DVD players are "multi-region" or "region-free", meaning that they are able to play DVDs encoded with any of the region codes 1 to 6, as well as region 0. These are useful if you are planning to purchase DVDs overseas, or over the Internet from international sites such as eBay or Amazon.
DVDs are SD (Standard Definition) resolution and the picture quality is not as detailed as HD (High Definition) formats such as Blu-ray. Some DVD players are equipped with an "upscaling" feature, which converts the SD signal into High Definition for a result similar to Blu ray.
Upscaling requires an HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) connection, so DVD players equipped with the upscaling function will have an HDMI output. Your TV will also need to have an HDMI input in order to upscale the image. HDMI cables are generally sold separately.
Some of the other common features include: