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Should I buy a DVD player?

  • DVD vs Blu-ray players - which should I buy?
  • Why we no longer test DVD players
  • Alternatives for playing your DVD library
  • If you're still interested in buying a DVD player, things to consider before making your purchase

Which? no longer tests DVD players - we explain why, suggest alternatives for playing your DVDs and things to look for if you're still interested in buying a DVD player.

The DVD market is in terminal decline. Since the introduction of Blu-ray and the rising popularity of digital video streaming, DVD player sales have been on the decline. Few new release films or TV programmes are released on DVD.

DVD players vs Blu- ray players – which should I buy?

If you are investing in a DVD player to play films or TV programmes you plan to buy we recommend you instead invest in a Blu-ray player – these are backwards compatible and can play DVDs. Fewer and fewer shops stock DVDs and it will be difficult to find and buy the content you want.

Although the cost of Blu-ray players was prohibitive for most when they first launched, they now start at around £50. Still a little more costly than a DVD player, but it's worth paying the extra if you're a film fan. Read our reviews of the best Blu-ray players.

Why we no longer test DVD players

We no longer test DVD players at Which? because there are very few new models and there are very few people purchasing new DVD players.

We do have some DVD reviews still online although their test results are no longer updated and some will no longer be available to buy.

Based on our historic testing of DVD players we do still provide advice on reliability of available brands, a brand overview and things to look out for when purchasing a DVD player.

Best DVD player brands

Across all brands, DVD players are very reliable. Here are our figures based on brand reliability.

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DVD players Which? reliability index
LGSubscriber only contentSubscriber only content
PanasonicSubscriber only contentSubscriber only content
PhilipsSubscriber only contentSubscriber only content
SamsungSubscriber only contentSubscriber only content
SonySubscriber only contentSubscriber only content
Technika (Tesco own brand)Subscriber only contentSubscriber only content
ToshibaSubscriber only contentSubscriber only content

Top three problems:

  • Playback 11%
  • Disc drawer 4%
  • Picture problems 3%

Best Buy DVD players

Over the last three years, we’ve tested and reviewed 10 different brands, including some lesser known brands such as Technika. There has been only four Best Buys awarded; one each to Panasonic, Philips, Sony and Toshiba, with no one brand outperforming the other. With no Don’t Buys awarded in this same period, this just confirms our opinion that it is pretty hard to buy a bad DVD player – they just differ in features and price.

What to look for in a DVD player

Regional coding

DVD region coding map

DVDs released in one region won't usually play in DVD players sold in another, so you won't be able to play cheap DVDs from the US in a UK-bought DVD player.

DVDs and DVD players use a system of regional coding: Europe and Japan are region 2.

Blu-ray discs use a similar, but not identical, regional coding system to DVD. region B is Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australasia.

Upscaling conversion

If you’re looking to combine a DVD player with an HD TV, make sure your prospective DVD player can support scaling to the resolution of your screen. Most modern HD TVs support various resolution options, so this shouldn’t be an issue. Be sure to check your TV's specifications to see what resolutions are supported.

Connection options

Check the connections of your existing TV to see that it supports the connections of the DVD player. We recommend connecting a DVD player to your DVD via HDMI; you only have to connect one cable and it ferries across video and audio in the same cable.

Other connections types include composite (red, white and yellow connectors), component (red, green and blue connectors) and SCART. SCART connections are based on the analogue signal, sending audio and video between devices and are less common on modern TVs.

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