(Pocket-lint) - We might live in the age of streaming media, but there are still countless reasons to find value in a good DVD player. Many of us have massive collections of TV and movies in the format, after all. And as with everything, not all DVD players are built the same, with quality varying significantly.
While many brands offer DVD players, some may not hold the same long-lasting quality as others. You'll be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the appearances of many DVD players, but it's the internals that creates the performance. Because there are a fair amount of quickly moving parts, there's a chance that things can get worn out and go wrong. And the better quality internals means the less chance this will happen.
Moreover, you can never be sure when a movie might disappear from a streaming service, and many more obscure titles are only available in physical form. So, while some may think that DVDs - and perhaps Blu-rays - are a relic from times past, it's important to remember that your favourite movies may not always be available, and to keep a copy of them just in case.
There's going to be a time where the extra features that you get on a DVD are going to be more sought after, just like a vinyl sound or extra songs on the B side have received cult status. So, whether you need to replace an old workhorse or you're just starting a new DVD collection, here are some of the best DVD players on the market.
Our Top Pick is the Sony BDP-S6700 Blu-ray DVD Player. Other DVD players to consider are the Panasonic DVD-S700EB-K DVD Player, Sony DVPSR210P, LG BP250 DGBRLLK Blu-Ray and DVD Disc Player, and the Panasonic DMR-EX97EB-K DVD Recorder with Freeview HD.
Our Top Pick
Sony BDP-S6700 Blu-Ray DVD Player
- Potential for 4K visuals
- Turns your TV Smart
- Pricier than many
- Noisy playback
The Sony BDP-S6700 Blu-Ray DVD Player puts forward a great case for replacing your DVD player, or just buying one in general. It's not your typical single-purpose DVD player, it's quite a bit more.
First off, it basically turns your TV into a Smart TV. Which, for some of us that don't already have that functionality, is actually pretty nifty. So, that means it connects to Wifi and allows you to browse your favourite sites and streaming services.
Some downsides are that it's a fair bit more expensive than other DVD players, and it is fairly noisy during playback, which can get distracting.
DVD players we also recommend
Here are four other DVD players you should also consider:
- Clean design
- Clear images thanks to oversampling
- Not 1080p without
The Panasonic DVD-S700EB-K DVD Player gives you smooth viewing without any trouble. Its dustproof design helps counter any sort of laziness that could cause the player to misfunction.
Thanks to some nifty tech, it offers playback up to 1080p, which is pretty much par for the course these days. It will even let you rip your favourite music onto discs, keeping a hard copy for when the internet goes down.
It won't rip DVDs, however, but there is another Panasonic on this list that will.
- Super affordable
- Up to 1080p resolution
- Doesn't play Blu-rays
- Only region 2 DVD playback
This sleek DVD player from Sony looks really nice and classy, with a glossy front and super compact design.
It'll work with both DVDs and CDs, too, so if you hook up a sound system you could have a multi-use box. Unfortunately, it won't play Blu-rays or anything but Region 2 DVDs.
There's an included remote for easy controls, and it's simple to get it controlling your TV as well, making for an impressive package.
It's a simple DVD player that'll get the job done, and for an excellent price too.
LG BP250 DGBRLLK Blu-Ray and DVD Disc Player
- Full HD upscaling
- External hard drive playback
- Supports 3D and 4K playback
- No audio jacks for surround sound systems
- Out of date remote controller
The LG BP250 DGBRLLK Blu-Ray and DVD Disc Player, covers both bases, meaning it doesn't matter if you're watching a DVD or Blu-Ray disc.
Its muted style will blend in nicely in your lounge too, only coming to life when you need it. It'll also support up to 4K resolution.
One potentially major drawback is the fact that it doesn't have the audio jacks to connect to a surround sound system. It's a fairly strange feature to miss out on, but, for the price, it's something that must have had to go.
Panasonic DMR-EX97EB-K DVD Recorder with Freeview HD
- DVD ripping
- Freeview HD allows for recording your favourite shows
- Not Blu-ray compatible
The Panasonic DMR-EX97EB-K DVD Recorder with Freeview HD goes a step further than most DVD players by integrating your normal TV watching. You can program it to record your shows with Freeview HD, making sure you won't miss anything in case you're not around to watch it.
It's an entertainment device that even includes the ability to access external drives, so you can watch things that aren't on a DVD. Better yet, you can rip DVDs and keep another copy handy to watch on other devices besides your TV.
It's also, for our money, the best-looking player in this list, which helps when it's taking up space on a shelf. Aesthetics still matter, after all.
It's not cheap, mind. But that's what you have to pay for all the choice features it has.
Other products we considered
The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don’t make our final best guides.
These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5:
How to choose a DVD player
DVD players are cheaper than ever. The tech is established and reliable. It really comes down to what you're likely to do with the DVD player besides watch DVDs on it. Do you want to access the internet, connect to an external hard drive or connect your surround sound system to it? These will all make a difference in your choice. And then there's aesthetics. While most look fairly similar, there are some that stand apart and will look better on a shelf.
So, what should you be looking out for?
Why should you buy a DVD player?
You might have an extensive collection of DVDs and boxsets that you want to watch. And this is the main reason you'd buy a DVD player. They might be a bit of old tech, but they're reliable and easy to use, so might be worth it.
What will you use the DVD player for?
With so many streaming services, it might be hard to justify a DVD player, but they are worth it when you have precious favourites in disc form that you enjoy watching from time to time. And the best thing is that it's a once-off payment and you can watch them whenever you like. Some of these DVD players offer extra features that extend the usage, but more of that below.
What should it look like?
There's not a lot that goes into the design of a DVD player. You'd be hard-pressed to find something that's more than a black rectangle. Though some designs have buttonless facades and glossy finished that look that much smarter. If you're in the market for a better design, then there are options for you. But there's also the basic design with buttons and a simple-to-use display.
Are there any other features?
As you've no doubt read, some of these DVD players have extra features other than the simple DVD playing ability. You can turn your TV into a Smart TV, rip DVDs and CDs, and even play PS3 on one of them. If these features are what you're after, then they're worth the extra money to get a device that's more than a single-purpose machine.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
In the case of DVD players, we had a good time watching all our favourite movies and box sets each night. We tested the resolution and playback capabilities and even ripped a couple of CDs and DVDs to see how good the quality came out. From these tests, we were able to decipher which are worth your time and why.
We've been testing DVD players since they became a thing, and have a great feel for what's needed and what is use the extra features hold for each device. And while they haven't changed a lot, there have been some incremental changes, like in resolution that makes quite a difference.
We aren’t interested in pointless number crunching or extraneous details - we just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it's going to be like to use. And don’t for a second think that the products aren't tested fully because the reviews are concise.
We’ve been covering tech since 2003, and, in many cases, have not only reviewed the product in question, but the previous generations, too - right back to the first model on the market. There is also plenty of models we've considered that didn't make the cut in each of our buyer's guides.
Writing by Claudio Rebuzzi. Editing by Conor Allison. Originally published on 7 May 2021.