DVD players are a commonplace item in homes in the digital age. Although many people watch their DVDs via their game consoles or stream videos to their laptops or smart TVs, DVD players remain a steadfast part of the home entertainment setup. When choosing this lineup, we decided to stick to standard DVD players and exclude portable models, DVD player software and game consoles. We included Blu-ray players that also play DVDs, but not those that record from your TV.
DVD players have come an awfully long way in the last decade. While some standard DVD players remain pretty basic, most now come with an array of features, including upscaling, wireless connectivity, smart technology and the capacity to play Blu-ray discs. We looked at all of these features along with the design and usability of the brands in our lineup. For portable DVD players, check out our reviews here.
Best DVD Player for Smart Homes
Samsung DVD and Blu-ray players are our first choice for smart homes. These models work well in home entertainment systems, and many have smart features, like wireless connectivity. You’ll also find some of these media players with 4K or ultra HD capabilities and 3D compatibility. Upscaling is also a common feature that lets you view low-quality DVDs in higher picture quality. You can also stream TV shows and movies from your favorite services, like Netflix or Amazon Video, with some Samsung DVD players.
Some Samsung models act as entertainment smart hubs, letting you connect to multiple devices – including cameras, computers and smartphones – wirelessly so you can see pictures, videos, audio and even data files on your television. Additionally, even if you don’t have a smart TV, some of these DVD players let you browse the web and watch YouTube videos through them. Some also have USB ports so you can view files, watch videos and listen to music that’s stored on a USB drive.
Best DVD Player for Families
Families need reliability and versatility, and based on that, we chose Philips as the best DVD player brand for families. You can choose from standard single-disc DVD players as well as those that also play Blu-ray discs and support 3D playback. To improve old or low-quality DVDs, most Philips DVD players feature upscaling to provide near-HD image quality. Wireless connectivity lets you get online and stream from services like iPlayer, YouTube and Netflix. You can also connect wirelessly to your smartphone, tablet, camera or computer to see your files on the big screen, as if you had a smart TV.
Philips Blu-ray DVD players that come with an EasyLink remote slot fit seamlessly into a home theater system and let you control the other devices, including sound bars and TVs from the single remote control. BD-Live support lets you access downloadable content, chats and other bonus features
Philips DVD players are great for families, with their wide range of features, ease of use and durability. Philips DVD players are loaded with features, offering a versatile entertainment experience. Most Philips Blu-ray and DVD players let you play discs from any region. Many models also allow you to stream movies and TV shows from services like Amazon Video and Netflix.
Best DVD Player for a Budget
The budget-conscious consumer wants good value, durability, good quality and simplicity. While Sony offers a number of high-end premium DVD and Blu-ray players, it also produces some high-quality budget models that offer a solid range of features. Many of Sony’s models are Energy Star certified, meaning that they waste less power and therefore help to keep your utility costs lower. While there are models that support Blu-ray discs and 3D playback, you can find relatively inexpensive models that only play DVDs. Many of these DVD players are compact, so they are solid choices when space is at a premium. Some support multiple DVD formats or allow CD playback.
Models that come with a Sony universal remote let you control your TV, DVD player and other home entertainment devices from one remote control unit. Sony’s budget DVD players have all the necessary functions, including fast and slow playback options, instant replay, and high-speed search.
Sony offers a large selection of DVD players, with or without Blu-ray support, for any budget. Select models that are well-suited to the budget-conscious consumer play DVDs, and some also play CDs. Midrange and high-end players support Blu-ray playback. Remember to check region compatibility, although many of Sony’s devices are region-free. You can also stream on demand via a broadband connection or stream content via Bluetooth with select Sony DVD and Blu-ray players.
One of the first things to establish is what type of disc and viewing formats a DVD player supports. All-region or region-free DVD players play any commercial DVD, whereas an R1 player only plays R1 discs, which are those from the U.S., U.S. Territories and Canada.
Those devices that play Blu-ray discs as well as DVDs may also be subject to region restraints. Models that only plat Region A/1, for example, are encoded for Blu-ray discs from North, Central and South America, along with Japan and South and North Korea. As well as playing DVDs and Blu-ray discs, some DVD players allow you to stream TV and movies from popular streaming services like Hulu, YouTube and Netflix if you establish an Internet connection.
Some DVD players offer basic connectivity in the form of SCART or HDMI cables, and those budget models that offer internet connectivity usually only offer a wired connection. Others offer wireless internet connection options and can also connect to other compatible devices such as cameras, smartphones, tablets and computers wirelessly for maximum convenience. Some also have a USB port so you can attach a USB drive to access files, movies, music and photos or connect a USB-compatible device to retrieve and view files.
The level of picture quality you want your DVD player to support depends on the picture quality of your television. There’s no point investing in a 4K ultra HD Blu-ray DVD player if you’ve got a basic low-resolution TV. However, a full HD or ultra HD television set working with a DVD player with matching resolution provides outstanding image quality that’s noticeably crisper, vibrant and more detailed.
If you’ve got a high-resolution television and a stack of older, low-resolution DVDs, you should choose a player with upscaling capabilities. These devices improve the image quality of old or low-resolution discs to give a near-HD output. If you’ve got a compatible television and you enjoy immersive movie experiences, you can choose a Blu-ray DVD player that supports 3D playback.
Many DVD players that have internet connectivity also provide a variety of apps, including streaming services and catch-up TV. Others also include social media or web browsing applications, turning your entertainment center into a smart TV. BD-Live is found on most Blu-ray DVD players, which gives you access to downloadable content, online chats and bonus material. If you want to use your DVD player as part of a home theater or home entertainment setup, consider choosing one with a universal remote that can control all your entertainment equipment.