Advantages Great price, great guarantee, great range of features
Disadvantages No multiregion playback or VCD playback
|Ease of Use|
|Ease of Installation|
|Range of Features|
I got the Apex DVD player for £69 from my local ASDA about a month ago. I hadn't gone out to buy a DVD player, in fact, much the opposite. I'd just got home from holiday and was *trying* to save money. However, whilst bored in a queue for the checkout I accidentally bought one of these. It seemed one of those offers that was too good to miss! £69 for a fairly advanced player, which looked really good and came with a 3 year ASDA warranty. A month later, I'm really glad I did buy it, even though having 12p left in my bank account after the money had been taken was a little inconvenient!Anyway, as with all my other ops- I'll try and put down all my thoughts in sections, to stop me waffling!
It’s worth noting that this player is being sold with slightly different names all over the world through WALMART (so that’s probably why it’s so cheap!)LOOKS/FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The player is quite small (smaller than your average video, Sky box etc.) and silver. Unlike several of the other cheaper models available (which, in my opinion look cheap) it looks very similar to many of the more expensive players.http://www.apexdigitalinc.com//images/products/53.jpg
One thing you do immediately notice however, is the absence of a front display panel. Obviously, this has been left out to cut costs, in the same way many cheaper VCRs no longer have a front panel display. It isn't a major problem though, as all the information you need is on screen- and, of the DVD players I've used, the front panels are usually not very informative either.The player comes with a particularly good remote. It has every button on it you could possibly need- however, unlike several of the players I've seen (especially the cheap Rioc player Safeway sell), the buttons are clearly labelled and laid out to look good and be practical. Maybe the layout of a remote isn't all that important, but since it's the bit of the player I see most often, it matters to me!
The one annoyance when I got the player out of the box was that they stick a piece of card telling you all the features of the player, to the top of the unit- which leaves a glue-y mess when removed! However, a bit of any mild solvent will remove this (spray some WD40 onto a cloth- don't use too much though in case it damages the finish!).TECHNICAL SPEC (EXPLAINED AND RATED!)
+AudioPlays normal music CDs, in the same way as your normal hi-fi would. My CD player recently broke, so I simply use this, hooked up through my hi-fi speakers. The sound quality seems very good.
+Dolby Pro LogicSurround-sound capable- can't really comment though as my TV isn't!
+Dolby Digital/DTS/PCM ReadyCan be used with Dolby Digital equipment to provide digital-quality audio.
+Analog Audio OutThis is what I use to hook the player up to my stereo- simply a left and a right channel output. If you've got a half decent stereo, hooking this up to it is a must, not only for the mp3/audio CD playback, but also to get the most out of your DVDs.
+Video, S-Video Output, RCA Video Output
(All really boring and technical)
Phew, hope that makes sense to you- not sure it did to me!+Plays DVD-SVCD-CD-CD/R-CD/RW
DVD playback is superb- although I'm yet to fault DVD picture/sound quality on any player. It will also play CDRs and CDRWs so you can burn your own CDs to play on it- I've done this with most of my photos and mp3s!Notice it doesn't say VCDs! This means it won't play many of the cover discs which come with DVD magazines, or the films on VCD that many markets seem to sell (or dodgy ones do!). Not a loss for me, because I've never bought any of these, but worth remembering- if you want VCD playback, Richer Sounds sells a £70 model which will play VCDs, but hasn't got a 3 year warrantee.
ASDA have said that a free update for the players so that they can play VCDs will come soon, but I would hold your breath...+MP3
The player will play Mp3 files which are burned onto CDs, allowing about 200 tracks to be put on one disc. It allows you to go through your files on screen and organise them as well. Added to that, it plays the files really well- far better sound quality than through my PC or Yepp mp3 player.+KODAK Picture CD Compatible
This means you can burn jpeg files onto CD and view them through your TV- a brilliant excuse for getting a digital camera! It will also play the photo CDs you can get done by Boots/Kodak/Bonusprint/FotoStop etc.OTHER FEATURES
As with most DVD players, you can easily skip to different parts in the film, zoom in (up to 8x), get subtitles in foreign languages and access extras!
The player only plays UK/Europe region 2 DVDs, however, if you want to use it with other region DVDs (eg. USA- region 1), there is a free hack which is apparently easy to do (you simply burn it onto a CD and put it onto the player) available on the net.
Since I got the player, it has not had any problems- it did 'exactly what it said on the box'. The free 3 year guarantee and the local-rate helpline (operated by ASDA) are also really useful extras!FINALLY...
This player is great value for money, looks good, is easy to use and has a great selection of features. With the fact technology changes all the time, unless you’re a real DVD fanatic, I can’t see why you’d want to pay more. The 3 year guarantee is the icing on the cake! However, if you want to play VCDs or foreign DVDs (from outside Europe), it might be easier to buy the similar £70 Richer Sounds player which is currently available.29-12-02 UPDATED++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
ASDA no longer have this player, but I just noticed when looking on dabs.com that they now have the player for £61 inc VAT! This seems to make this the cheapest DVD player ever! No three year guarantee with dabs.com though.
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