Friday, September 23, 2016

CyberHome CH-DVD 500 DVD Player

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

I actually got this DVD player as a gift. My brothers and I wanted to get our parents a DVD player, so we went to Best Buy. There were expensive models and there were inexpensive ones. After some debate, we realized that our parents probably weren’t going to be in need of all sorts of bells and whistles. We eventually landed on this DVD player. It looked pretty good. It can not only play DVDs, but it can handle audio CDs and play MP3 and JPEG files burned to a CD. We figured that this would be enough. (It turns out we were right, so don’t expect some dramatic turn for the worse.)

The DVD player works well. It seems to be more tolerant of scratches on the DVD surface than my computer is. (My computer is a Dell Dimension 2400.) Fast forward and rewind work pretty well; If I recall, you can go up to 16x in fast forward. I don’t know what it is for rewind. (I usually use my computer for playing DVDs.) The remote is easy to use to navigate through the menus. Any problems are usually due to difficulties with the actual DVD.

The only problem I had was with the UHF disc. I was trying to play one of the features, but it kept freezing in the same spot. I had to turn the DVD player off in the back and turn it back on. This was much easier than having to unplug the unit. This is the only time I’ve had it happen and again, I thing the problem was with the DVD; I couldn’t get the same feature to work on my computer, either.

We’ve actually used it to play MP3 files and look at JPEG files a few times. The menu for accessing files is nothing special. You get simple text to move up and down for MP3 files; you press play to make the song play. With pictures, it was a little harder. We only had to use it once when my brother brought home some digital pictures for us to look at. The pictures were scattered throughout several directories, which made it difficult to find them. There were some directories that didn’t have any pictures and the pictures were also duplicated in several directories. So far as I know, there’s no way to simply see all of the pictures on a DVD. I found that it was much easier to view the pictures on the computer.

As for CDs, you’re going to be limited by your speakers. Depending on what kind of TV you have, you might want to consider a separate CD player. (If you already have one, don’t plan on getting rid of it.) Playing the CDs is easy; the DVD player basically works like any CD player.

The only thing I feel compelled to call a warning is about the cables. Like many other similar electronics, it has one of those cables that end in three color-coded heads on each side. (Two are for audio and one is for video.) You’re supposed to match the colors on the cable to the colors in the receivers for both the DVD player and the TV. Unfortunately, the colors don’t match up correctly, so that I ended up plugging one of the audio heads into the video plug. Whenever someone else tries to plug it in, we end up with mixed signals again and I have to correct it. (We have to unplug the DVD player so infrequently that no one seems to remember.)

This is a great DVD player for someone who’s just starting or doesn’t really want anything complicated. It’s inexpensive, so it won’t set you back too much if you decide to upgrade later. This DVD player is what allowed my parents to eventually sign up for NetFlix. It’s not great, but it pretty good. I give it four stars.

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