OPINION: DVD was one new technology the electronics industry got right.
The market might have comprehensively misread the market in its headlong rush into 3D television, and it may be doing it again with ultra-high-definition telly, but with DVD it had all its ducks carefully in a row.
When the format went on sale in 1999 there was hardly any local software available. Big problem. So the bulk of the involved companies got together to sponsor the DVD Forum, an online information service that spruiked the new technology, embraced and encouraged the early adopters and kept everyone who was interested abreast of developments, and especially of new titles as they were scheduled.
Much the same thing is happening with digital radio, although success is limited.
On top of that, a couple of DVD manufacturers gave away movies and vouchers for rentals with their DVD players.
All this made consumers comfortable with the technology and reassured them of its future. It fuelled demand and, as a result, demand pulled the market maybe even more than supply pushed it. It was instrumental in making DVD the fastest-growing home-entertainment technology in history up until then. DVDs may be old tech now but we still love them, and we buy far more of them than we do Blu-rays or downloads. And we're still buying plenty of DVD players, too.
Now that you can get a decent Blu-ray player for less than $100, the prices of DVD players have hit rock-bottom. We spotted three DVD players at just $44 this week, all of them wearing good brands. DVD has always been great home-entertainment technology and now it's dirt-cheap.
Even so, don't expect the world for $44. None of these players has an HDMI connection, and two of them have composite connections. Composites hark back to the days of VCRs, and it's hardly surprising that the one with the superior component connection has the best picture quality.
The shortcomings of old-tech connections become more obvious as screen sizes increase. If it's anything more than 100 centimetres, spending the extra money to get an HDMI connection is advisable. If your television is older, check it has an HDMI input first.
Even so, the Toshiba's component connection certainly doesn't do a bad job.
All these players have the relevant connection cable in the box, along with a remote and instructions, but that's it.
Otherwise, these players generally have all you need and nothing you don't.
- FFX Aus