Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How DVD Players Work

        Tech | Video

DVD Player Features

Supported Formats

  • DVD movies Just about all players play DVD movies.
  • Music CDs Most players also play music CDs.
  • Video CDs Some players can handle this format, which is used mostly for music videos and some movies from foreign countries.
  • CD-Rs Some players can play content that you create on your own computer.
  • Audio DVDs A few players can handle this format for high-quality audio.

Other Features

  • Dolby Digital decoder This feature allows the DVD player to decode the Dolby Digital information from a DVD and convert it to six separate analog channels. This feature is not necessary if you have a Dolby Digital receiver, which has a digital input that carries all of the audio information.
  • DTS decoder This feature allows the DVD player to decode the DTS information from a DVD and convert it to six separate analog channels. Again, this feature is not necessary if you have a receiver with a DTS decoder.
  • DTS compatible All DVD players are DTS compatible. They pass the digital audio information on to the receiver, which then decodes it.
  • Simulated surround If you are going to hook the DVD player up to a TV or a stereo system with only two speakers, a DVD player with simulated surround processing will give you some sense of surround sound without the extra speakers.
  • Disc capacity Some DVD players can hold three, five or even several hundred discs. Since most DVD players can also play audio CDs, if you buy a player with a high disc capacity you could store your whole CD collection in the machine.
  • 96kHz/24-bit DAC This is the speed and accuracy of the digital-to-analog converter (DAC), which converts the audio information into an analog signal. Most movie soundtracks are encoded in this format, so this is really a required feature, and most DVD players will have at least a 96kHz/24-bit DAC.
  • 192kHz/24-bit DAC This is an upcoming format for audio-only DVDs that are recorded at speeds of up to 192kHz and 24-bits. Only the newest DVD audio players have the 192kHz/24-bit DAC required to play these audio discs.

Remote-control type

DVD players may come with three types of remotes:

  • A dedicated remote, which only runs the DVD player
  • A multibrand remote, which can control other components, like VCRs and TVs made by other manufacturers (Usually, they only support the more common brands.)
  • A learning remote, which can learn the signals from other remotes and assign them to a button (This feature is useful if you have uncommon brands of components to control.)

More to Explore