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I've had this DVD player about 10 years now, it has never let me down. The actual years could be either way, but I'm pretty sure it was 2001. I bought it from a friend, second hand, as he had acquired a higher spec DVD player and was no longer in need of this one, plus for me, a DVD player was an awesome prospect. Nowadays of course, DVDs have completely taken over videos, which are all but obselete. At the time, it was still a relatively new concept, and I was proud to have a DVD player where plenty of my friends did not. It's not so widely available any more, and is more of an entry level DVD player, so I couldn't comment on price, and I can't remember how much I bought it for at the time - around £50, I think, though bear in my mind this was second hand and from a friend.
The main benefit of this DVD player was the multi-regional aspect of it, meaning that you could play DVDs from other countries. A friend of mine had a plethora of region 1 DVDs, and most players wouldn't play them. This was the main reason he had bought this in the first place, and so it enabled me to borrow all of his DVDs, which I promptly did! The downside though is that it won't play any recorded DVDs, as in ones that you make yourself. At the time, this hadn't seemed important, as it pretty much meant pirate DVDs and little else, but now we have a son and I work with a lot of AV and recording equipment, you can see why you'd want to be able to show home made DVDs, and sadly this player doesn't do this.
The box itself is pretty much chunky by modern standards - none of these slimline products that you see stocking the shelves these days. What this does mean though is that it's very sturdy, and we currently have our flatscreen TV on top of it to give it a bit more height, with no worry about it being too heavy for the DVD player. The front has a few buttons, such as play, stop, plause, and forward and back buttons, as well as a power button and an eject button. These are all decent sizes, and click in and out. The benefit here is that you can still watch DVDs if you mislay the controller, which we have on a number of times. It connects to the TV via a SCART lead at the back, where the power cable also goes.
The controller shows that this DVD player at least tried to be ahead of its time. We tend to use for nothing other than basic playing, and for this it's very easy to use. The batteries slot under a slide draw at the bottom of the controller, which is thin but wide. It's not so easy to accidentally expose the batteries, but nor does it take too much effort to do it deliberately, and it has lasted the past decade without losing its light clipping mechanism, which is good.
The same buttons for general control mirror those on the actual player itself, with a couple of additions. There's an option for playing things in slow motion, forwards and backwards, and you can fast forward or back at various other speeds as well. To do this, you do have to hold the button down, and it's easy to not hold it down for long enough and skip forward a whole chapter. There also seems to be a slight delay between pressing the button and the beep on the player showing that it has been received, so this isn't perfect either.
There are various different kinds of memory and angle settings to try and jazz up what would have been a relatively new concept over a decade ago when this was first introduced. However, I find these elements rather clunky and kind of there for the sake of it in terms of practicality. I never could get to grips with exactly what the point of some of the buttons were there for, although I think it's quite common to have this with most controllers, be it DVD player, sound system, SKY or any other type of remote control.
I like the zoom function, and the controls once you're within the zoom system, being able to move around the screen and go backwards and forwards in terms of what you're watching; although again it's not really something that we find ourselves needing to use all that much. The first zoom level does allow for a crisper more focused screen, cutting off all around the edges but leaving enough room for subtitles, but I find that any further zooms reduce what you actually get to see by far too much. The subtitles function is very easy, and you can choose between a number of different languages which is very handy as long as the DVD itself is capable of doing this. There are also volume options on the DVD controller, which is nice to have, and although as with most things we tend to use the other controller for it, I have used it on occasion and it works just fine. The 'title' function is handy if you want to change any of the features such as subtitles or zoom or image quality while you're in the middle of watching something. It saves having to stop the DVD, change the settings and then find where you were again.
The machine is pretty much compatible with every screen or TV I've come across, and this is another good point. Sure, it's getting old and doesn't play recorded DVDs, but it has lasted us a long time and maintains its reliability and quality just as well as it did the first day I acquired it. For that reason, despite the fact it's old in so many ways and doesn't operate quite as fast as newer models, I'd still recommend it.