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DVD time!

The next home video revolution

Edwin Alexander is a big movie buff. So when his VCR died recently, he went straight to Best Buy to find a replacement. However, after a demo from the salesperson, he pledged his allegiance to a DVD player. "What really sold me was the superior picture quality. It blows VHS away," Alexander excitedly points out. "The player I got was only $200. Sure it cost a little more than a VCR, but with that picture and such awesome sound, I may never watch a movie on VHS again."

"DVD is the first real challenger to VHS," says Rachel Ulrich, manager at Media Play in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. "Our DVD [disc] sales have skyrocketed compared to videotapes, and I think they will account for more sales than VHS in three to five years" she adds. DVDs (digital versatile discs, which are also called digital video discs) were introduced in 1997. With it, films are encoded onto a disc that could easily be mistaken for a music CD. However a DVD can hold 27 times more information. The video playback from a DVD looks much sharper than that from a VHS tape because DVDs can output 500 lines of resolution compared to VHS' maximum of 240. Also, unlike tape, even after hundreds of viewings, there is no degradation of picture or sound. As an added bonus, studios often include supplemental material that enhances a viewer's understanding or appreciation of a film. These supplements can include a documentary about the making of the film, deleted scenes, commentaries, music videos, or even alternate versions of the film.

DVD movies can typically be bought for around $20 at retailers like Wal-Mart or, and major video chains like Blockbuster are carrying discs for rent. In the future all DVD players will also have the capability to play music CDs.

"Well-equipped DVD players start under $200," points out Robert Sharp, manager with in-home audio and video specialist Hi Fi House. He continues, "They might not have every feature, but they contain the basics like Dolby Digital and Digital Theater Systems output capability for great sound, and S-video for excellent picture quality."

Sharp further adds, "Higher-priced models might add a fancier remote, component video outputs, and smoother on-screen speed scanning. Those are nice-to-haves but aren't must-haves." With some models several discs can be loaded simultaneously. Players like Pioneer's DV-333 or Sony's DVP-S360 (both are new models that are replacing previously best selling units, according to electronics giant can be purchased for $300.

With over 7 million players shipped in just over three years, DVDs are poised to become the preferred method for purchasing and/or renting movies for your home theater.

Before you buy

Research your purchase.

Read up on the models you're considering. Manufacturers' Websites are excellent sources of information, and unbiased reviews can be found at and

Check your video connections.

DVD players can offer three types of video connections. From good to best they are composite, S-video, and component. Determine what kind of connections your television has so you can match the player to your television set.

Check your audio connections.

You need an amplifier or receiver that can play back digital signals from Dolby Digital and/or Digital Theater Systems. Digital connectors are either coaxial or optical. Be sure the player you purchase has the same type of connector as the audio equipment you're going to use it with.

Get a good demo.

Have the salesperson demonstrate the features you are interested in. Get comfortable with how to use them.

Check the return policy.

As with any major piece of audio or video equipment, be sure that the place of purchase will take it back if you are dissatisfied.

Sony DVP-S360

* 10-bit video DAC with 27MHz processing

* 96kHz/24-bit linear PCM decoding

* Dolby and DTS digital outputs

* Component video output

* Virtual enhanced surround modes

* Custom parental control for 50 discs

* Smooth scan and smooth slow modes

Pioneer DV-333

* 10-bit video signal DAC

* 96KHz/24-bit audio DAC

* Dolby and DTS digital outputs

* Component video output

* Personal modes (audio and video settings)

* Still play by frame or field and still step play (Forward and Reverse

* High speed loading and resume
COPYRIGHT 2000 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Warner, Andre
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2000
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