Home Entertainment

DVD & home cinema buying guide

There are so many new products and technologies arriving on the Home entertainment market, it is easy to get confused with it all. Our team of Home Entertainment experts would be delighted to assist you in your purchase when you visit us in store. In the meantime, we have put together this guide to help you decide which product type would better suit your needs.

Buying a DVD player

Which DVD player is right for me?
The latest range of recorders features different combinations of formats and recording methods: video, DVD or straight to the memory (hard drive) of your recorder.

The convenience of having a DVD recorder with a hard drive means that you can record the things you want to keep on to discs and the things you might watch just once on the hard drive and delete them easily once you've watched it! Another great benefit of the hard drive recorder is that you can pause live TV - great if the doorbell rings or you need to nip out of the room.

You can also get VCR and DVD recorder combinations which allow you to transfer your existing VHS collection onto DVDs. We also stock recorders with video, DVD and a hard drive for the ultimate convenience.

What is Blue-Ray?
Blue-Ray is a new format that holds more data than a standard DVD, and brings superior images and sound.  Blue-ray players are to DVD players what High Definition TV is to standard TV.  Blue-ray players can still play your existing DVDs and will even improve on the quality and sharpness of the image.

What is 1080p upscaling?
Many of the latest DVD players and recorders allow you to 'upscale' the standard DVD picture signal to take advantage of the High definition (HD) capability of your LCD or Plasma TV.
In order to get a true HD/1080p signal you will need a Blu-ray player . As explained above, if you do choose to go for a Blu-ray player, it will not only play your standard DVD's but it will upscale them too.

How should I connect my player/recorder to my TV?

HDMI is the most advanced way of connecting your DVD player or recorder to your TV and most new TVs will have a HDMI connection. This works in the same way as a scart lead, sending the picture and sound from the HD source to your TV. The difference between HDMI and Scart is that HDMI is a digital connection:  you will get minimal interference and maximum quality.

Some DVDs also have the following connections:

  • USB - Allowing you to transfer digital still photos and view them on your TV screen.
  • I-Link - This lets you transfer digital camcorder recordings to DVD.
  • SD Card Slot - Allows you to view your digital photos on your TV screen or transfer recorded movies to the hard drive.

Aside from standard DVDs, what other formats can I play?
Some DVD players/recorders can playback much more than just standard DVD Discs. There are a few different formats available as well as standard DVD:

  • DIVX:  download movies in DIVX format and save them on to a DVD disc 
  • MP3: download music in MP3 format and save them on to a disc
  • JPEG: save your digital photos to disc and view them on your TV screen

Buying a home cinema

Home cinema systems typically include a DVD player/recorder, a receiver, subwoofer and mini speakers to create the surround sound effect.

HDMI - High Definition Multimedia Interface
This is the most advanced way of connecting your home cinema system to your TV. Images and sound are transmitted through a single cable in a purely digital format so you can enjoy movies with minimal interference. A lot of our systems have HDMI upscaling so your standard DVDs will appear in near high definition quality.

Optical Input
Many of our new home cinema systems now have optical input. Unlike your standard audio or scart connectors which use an analogue-only signal, the optical connection is completely digital for interference-free sound. In order to get that full 5.1 surround sound, your DVD home cinema system must have an optical input.

Wireless Rear Speakers
Some of our home cinema systems have wireless rear speakers which are perfect for compact living rooms and wooden flooring.  Set-up is quick and easy. Speaker positioning is also much more versatile so you can arrange the speakers to suit your living-room.

There are a number of DVD options currently available:

  • DVD Player: simply play your DVDs. Some players are “multi region”, meaning they can play most DVD’s manufactured for other regions (USA etc). European DVD players play Region 2 DVDs, suitable for the Western European market.
  • DVD Recorder: plays DVDs and records onto blank disks.
  • DVD Recorder/VCR combo: plays and records onto DVD or VHS. You can also transfer your old VHS tapes to DVD.
  • DVD Hard Drive Recorder: Play DVDs and record onto blank disks, or save programmes directly onto the built-in hard drive.
  • DVD Hard Drive Recorder/VCR: Play and record DVDs, VHS tapes or save programmes directly to the hard drive. Also transfer from VHS to DVD.

Bring all the excitement of the big screen to your living-room with a home cinema system. Our wide range of DVD Home Cinema Systems provides everything you need to transform your living room and create the ultimate cinematic experience at home. All of our all-in-one systems are stylish, easy to set up and provide breathtaking sound quality.