While Blu-Ray offers increased visual fidelity and streaming services are perhaps more convenient ways to watch movies and TV shows, the best DVD players still have a place in many living rooms around the world.
DVD players remain popular among those with standard definition TVs, or who simply don’t want to splash out on a Blu-Ray player, and they’re more affordable than ever.
With options for any budget, you’ll want to find one from a reputable brand, with tech giants like Sony, LG, and more offering fantastic value for money without compromising on quality. Many models go above and beyond simply playing your existing collection DVDs, too, offering built-in app functionality so that you can hop over to Netflix, Prime Video, or Disney Plus with a simple click or two. Sure, many TVs offer the same functionality, but it’s nice to have the option if you’re also keen to watch DVDs.
Then there are DVD players with USB connectivity, which let users save videos and photos to a thumb drive or portable hard drive to be able to play them back on the big screen to share with friends and family.
Some can even make your movies look better than you remember, using impressive upscaling techniques to push your old favorites closer to 1080p for Full HD. You’ll need one of the best HDMI cables (opens in new tab) to do that, though, and there’s an argument that a Blu-Ray player (opens in new tab) would be more future-proof since you’d gain access to additional media types that way.
Whether you’ve got a huge back catalog of movies (many of which never made it to Blu-Ray or can’t be found on streaming services) or just want to watch home movies saved on a portable hard drive, here are the best DVD players you can find today.
The best DVD players
The Panasonic DVD-S700 DVD player is the do-it-all best of the best unit for your cabinet. This plays DVD discs from all over the world as it's totally region-free. It'll even upscale those discs to 1080p quality for use via HDMI. Support for Dolby Digital audio as well as a USB port for video, music and image file playback are really great features.
The is also the fastest DVD player we tested. So from inserting a disc to having it loaded up ready to watch, this was the quickest. It also remembers where you've left off so allows you to continue viewing from your last position in the program. Yes, this isn't the cheapest DVD player on the list but if you want a device that does absolutely everything you could want then this is the one and it's well worth the cost.
- Read the full Panasonic DVD-S700 DVD player review (opens in new tab)
The Sony DVP-SR510H DVD player is a super easy to use device that still crams in lots of useful features. From 1080p upscaling and HDMI support to Dolby Digital audio and DVD+R playback, this does a lot. What it won't do is region free playback, which bumps it down to second on the list – that and that fact this is a bit slower to load.
One unique feature we love is the ability to play a slideshow of JPEG images with your MP3 music playing in the background too – all from a USB drive and disc. This features a display and a selection of buttons on the unit as well as a comprehensive remote control. The fact this offers Sony quality upscaling for a really great picture is also of huge appeal here.
- Read the full Sony DVP-SR510H DVD player review (opens in new tab)
The GPX DH300B DVD player is a great option for those looking to buy a unit on a budget. Despite this being a very affordable player it still loads nice and quickly, which applies to both PAL and NTSC DVD discs. That's also with the smarts to upscale the video to 1080p for output to a TV via HDMI.
While this will play nice with rewritable discs like DVD+/R/RW, it'll also play CDs – although there's no USB for file access and no Dolby support. But at this price you'd expect that. The only gripe is a short 90-day warranty and some online complaints about this going wrong after that period. But at this price perhaps it's worth the gamble.
- Read the full GPX DH300B DVD player review (opens in new tab)
If you’ve wanted to rip your favorite CDs and don’t have a computer or streaming service, then the LGDP132H is well worth a look. Replacing the older DP132, a previous feature on this list, it adds the option to plug a USB device into the front of the player, and rip your CDs straight to it.
The USB 2.0 connection isn’t the fastest, but it’s a great bonus feature on top of a very capable DVD player that can also upscale movies and TV and offers Dolby Digital audio support.
- Read the full LG DP132 DVD player review (opens in new tab)
The Impecca DVHP-9117 DVD player does a lot for the price and it does it fast. This is one of the fastest loading DVD players on our list and it plays nice with both NTSC and PAL. It'll also upscale image quality to 1080p for output via HDMI. On the front is a USB port for easy loading of files like photos, audio and video to be viewed on the connected big screen.
What's more, this is one of the cheapest on our list, although there isn't support for Dolby audio, which could be a deal-breaker for some. Everything else is brilliant for the price.
- Read the full Impecca DVHP-9117 DVD player review (opens in new tab)
The Craig CVD401A DVD player is a compact unit that's perfect for anyone looking to hide away their DVD player in a small space. Despite that small package this still packs in HDMI and will upscale those older DVDs to 1080p quality so they look good even on a large TV. This will play lots of different disc formats and also supports CDs for audio.
The short 90-day warranty combined with online complaints about issues from users makes this one to be wary of. But for the price it appears to do the job for most – even if the load times aren't the fastest out there.
- Read the full Craig CVD401A DVD player review (opens in new tab)
What to look for in a DVD player
Movies are at the core of your DVD player, but the best DVD players can do even more. Whether that’s streaming music or movies as an added bonus, or doubling as a music player using your TV speakers, there’s plenty to look out for.
While DVDs are ideal for standard definition televisions, if you have a TV with a high definition resolution of 720p and upward, you’ll want to make use of it. While the more forward-thinking option is to opt for a Blu-Ray player, those can be considerably more expensive, making a DVD player’s ability to upscale to 1080p a great middle ground.
Between USB ports, HDMI and aerial connections, and optical connections to hook into your sound system of choice, there’s a lot that can be connected to a DVD player. That means it’s worth confirming what ports are available before purchasing.
While you may not look at your DVD player often, particularly if it’s buried in a TV cabinet or shelving unit, there’s something to be said for keeping some space between it and your other tech just to keep it from getting too warm. With that in mind, more compact DVD players might be ideal for you.
Why get a DVD player over a Blu-ray player?
We can’t pretend that a Blu-ray player is anything less than a superior device compared to DVD players, with significantly better playback quality and more advanced features. And most Blu-ray players can usually play older DVD discs as well as Blu-rays. So, aside from nostalgia, what do DVD-players offer that Blu-ray players don’t?
Well, it’s worth bearing mind that Blu-ray players aren’t really built with DVDs in mind, so they won’t play your copied DVD-R discs which are writable and therefore may store precious movies, music and other files you’ve saved over the years. Blu-ray players also offer a host of features that many users might just find unnecessary and over-complicated, preferring the relative simplicity offered by DVD players.
Above all, the main advantage of DVD players is cost, with many models being significantly more affordable that the flashier Blu-rays and other media streamers and services around. No, the quality won’t be as good, but they can still provide an enjoyable viewing experience at the fraction of the price.
And lastly, having a physical media collection and the means to play them is still something that appeals to many people, and the DVD player continues to be a reliable means to watch those old movies and home videos, and listen to the music you’ve saved over the years.