Re: I'm curious about the upcoming DVD release

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Posted by LOTM and DVD fan on October 18, 1999 at 09:59:30:

In Reply to: Re: I'm curious about the upcoming DVD release posted by Sarah M. on October 16, 1999 at 10:53:26:

: : : Hello all,
: : : I hope this isn't considered a waste of your time, but I'm wondering how many of you, if any, are considering purchasing a DVD player so you can watch the upcoming Director's Cut? I've had a player for about a year now, and it's been great. Even my wife refuses to watch a VHS tape if there is a DVD release available. Anyway, if any of you have any questions about DVD, feel free to send me an email or post here and I'll be glad to answer.

: : : Any other DVD/Home Theater enthusiasts here?

: : OK, LOTM & DVD Fan, I'll take you up on your offer ... we plan to buy one just because LOTM is coming out in that format! Now, we aren't sure if we should get one for the home, as an add-on to the computer, or both. Then there's this encoding stuff. What's THAT all about? Features to look for? Good models? ($300 or less!) ETC??? Spill the beans, thank you.

: : I'm sure there are others who have no idea about this stuff either!

: : Thanks for the offer!

: Me too Me too!

: I'm buying a DVD player just for this release!! I too would like suggestions on what to buy for both TV and PC, as Kate has got us salivating about a "kit" she heard about but she doesn't know the details. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

: Cheers,
: Sarah

I don't have a lot of experience with PC based DVD. I know there are kits that you can add on to your pc, sort of like adding an external CD-Rom drive. You can also send the video stream out to your TV, but I don't have any experience with that. A good idea is to visit Circuit City or some place like that if you want to explore this option.

I have a stand-alone DVD player, they look pretty much like a VCR in size and shape. I bought it online from a little over a year ago. It is a Toshiba 3107. The newer models are Toshiba 2109 and 3109, and are well respected. The 2109 can be had for around $250 or less at a number of places online, including earthstations, and the 3109 for about $75 more. I don't really shop for home theater stuff in the "real world", so I can't tell you what prices to expect, but you will pay a bit more of course. Other good online places to shop include and (I've bought from both of these with good success), and there are lots of others as well.

Other well respected models include the Panasonic A-120 and A-320 and Sony makes good DVD players also. One thing about DVD players is that the image and sound quality is pretty much wonderful from all of them, and many of the differences between similar models are really pretty much insignificant to the average user.

4 Reasons to get a DVD player:

1. Great picture. The picture you get from a DVD player is MUCH better than anything you have ever seen on VHS, the difference really is very noticible even to the average viewer (ie, not just to home theatre enthusiasts/nerds).

2. Great sound. However, you really need to have a 5 speaker w/subwoofer and receiver to get the full effect. Just hooking a DVD player up to a traditional TV won't give you much of a difference in sound from VHS, though there won't be the hissing sound that you can sometimes hear in quite scenes on VHS.
If you have the money to spend and are considering buying a home theater sound system, strongly consider buying a receiver that has Dolby Digital (DD) decoding (NOT Dolby Digital "ready", this would require an external digital decoder to produce Dolby Digital). I won't get into the details of DD other than to say it is truly amazing, but if you want to know more let me know. A good DD system (DD receiver and speakers) can be put together for around $1,000, though you can spend several times this much if you want. You can also just buy a Dolby Pro-Logic system with speakers for less than $500, the sound is still a huge upgrade from simply using the TV's built-in speakers.

3. Special Features - Many DVD's include Special Features such as Director's Commentary, Trailers, Deleted Scenes, etc. Obviously, we are all anxiously awaiting the deleted scenes and other features on the Director's Cut! Sometimes there are music videos and other fun stuff on the disks as well. The Godzilla DVD (a horrible movie, but great DVD in terms of sound and special features) included the music video for the song "We Can Be Heros", by the Wallflowers. The movie "The Wedding Singer" has a fun little 80's music trivia game that my wife and I stayed up late playing one night.

4. DVD Features - Ie, features of the DVD format that you might be interested in: No rewinding (obviously), quality does not degrade from frequent use like VHS tape, etc. Also, you can easily skip to your favorite scenes. Movies are typically divided into "chapters" that you can access from a menu. Just select the "chapter" (ie, scene) that you want to see and you will jump immediately to that scene. No fast forwarding/rewinding to find the exact spot.

RE the encoding question you mentioned. You are probably talking about Regional Encoding. Various parts of the Earth are assigned regional numbers. We in North America live in Region 1, so as long as you buy a Region 1 DVD player and purchase Region 1 DVD's, you won't have a problem. It's hard to NOT buy a Region 1 player or DVD if you live in the US, everything is Region 1 by default, and you'd pretty much have to make a specific request for a non-Region 1 player or disk from any of the online vendors I mentioned. If you don't live in North America, I'd suggest emailing one of the online vendors for suggestions, or purchasing your hardware at a traditional electronics vendor in your area if possible.

Okay, I guess that is long enough. :-) Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions.

One final thing: I want to put a little plug in for a great resourse if you are interested in the topic of Home Theater. It's called the Home Theater Forum (I have no financial interest here or in any of the other links I recommended, just though you might find it interesting if you are interested in the topic):

Have fun!

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