Throwing out the old dvd player

18 Aug 2008
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United Kingdom
So basically most of my audio visual is completely unused.

I have about 50 dvds (never used), as well as a 10 year old + DVD player (never used), a vhs player (never used), and a sky HD box which is used but only for the freeview channels as I cancelled the sky subscription some years ago as it's mostly shyte.

I want to sell these electrical items off to make way for a more streamline set-up.

Everything has moved on, dvds and even blue ray are almost obselete and when I do watch movies I stream them from a usb external hard drive or flash drive and watch them on the PC using a media player, this is good enough for me.

Sadly though I practically never watch movies through the tv due to it's lack of functionality compared to the PC, but I'd like to, so I did a bit of research and came across netflix.

I don't want to connect the tv (in another room) to the PC, so I was thinking about buying a box which connects to the tv and communicates with the hub, either wirelessly or I can hard wire it.

My question is, how will this conflict with the existing skybox which I use to watch the freeview channels, and is it worth it ?? I must have the ability to play movies from a flash or extrenal drive via whatever new box I buy, otherwise I've gained nothing from doing this other than shelf space.

I'm really out of touch with all this, and what I do know I've taken from having conversations with mates etc, so any information here is appreciated.
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I don't consider DVD and Blu-ray nearly obsolete, but you are correct in that streaming is gaining in popularity. I am a bit puzzled though how you have amassed 50 DVD discs and a player but never uses them. That seems odd to me. C'est last vie I guess.

If all you need is to stream Netflix then there's plenty of devices that will do that. If you have an Android smartphone then Google Chrome stick is a possible solution. Just plug it in to a HDMI port on the TV and Bob's your uncle. Alternative include Amazon Fire stick and Fire TV, Roku and the Android TV boxes, to name but a few.

None of the above will interference with you Sky box. They'll simply act as an alternative source.
Many thanks Lucid, I just wasn't sure exactly whether it was actually that simple or whether I'm creating conflictions. I'll have to make sure whichever box I use is compatible with the tv.

What about playing movies from a flash drive or external hard drive, would that be easy enough ?

Back to the subject of dvd/blu-ray, what need is there for the actual disc anymore? It's not the fact I don't watch the movies, it's the fact I watch them on another format.

If you look on ebay now you can pick up a dvd player for less than £10 including shipping, likewise a blu ray player can be snatched for perhaps double that if you're lucky.

Keep in mind that some of the great and timeless movies we like to watch over and over again have been re-sold over the years through various different formats, causing the consumer to purchase the same movie each time, VHS > CD > DVD > Blu ray. I just can't see the logic behind housing the physical copy anymore.

If you think it's worth me keeping the dvds and player for a reason I haven't though of though please feel free to mention it. From the perspective of these things eventually gaining value, I can't see it. Perhaps in 200 years they might be considered antiques but it'll be long after I'm dead lol. Be lucky if you got £20 for over a 100 dvds if ebay is anything to go by.
Playing movies from a USB memory stick or external hard drive is easy enough so long as (a) the player device has a USB socket, and (b) the files are in a format that the player understands. I use MakeMKV for my DVD rips. The player I use is an Android TV box. It will play most things and can access files via USB, wireless and wired networking. There's a program I run on it called Kodi. You'll also find it listed under XMBC as that was its previous name.

Whether or not there's a need for physical media depends on several factors. In my case I don't want all my bandwidth eaten by streaming and I have a very good surround system which make a fabulous job of presenting DD,DTS and the HD audio formats. We also need subtitles here for my wife; That's something that streaming often misses out. I also like the extras on discs. They give me an insight and perspective on films. However, once I have watched those extras then I'll rip a film to hard drive and archive the physical media. That way I'm staying on the right-ish side of the law in that I haven't lost my rights to watch the movie. I know plenty of my customers though who are perfectly satisfied with access to an online library such as Netflix. I might dip in when their range of UK titles equals the US catalogue.

Ebay is full of all sorts of stuff. Most of the very cheap DVD players are used product that was originally very cheap (i.e. no name/supermarket brands or bottom-end players) or refurbs or spares/repairs. The is the odd bit of very good but quite old gear such as a Denon 2800 mkII, Denon 3910, Sony DVPS7700, Pioneer DV-668, 777, Cambridge Audio, Oppo etc but these are not "£10 with carriage" machines. Similarly, budget/broken/incomplete Blu-ray players for <£20 isn't representative of the entire market. Similarly I wouldn't take the lowball pricing from Ebay as the yardstick for DVD disc pricing either. There are other places to sell that will yield a better return. There's no denying though that the new player market starting at under £50 for Blu-ray has effectively killed the DVD player market dead except for the supermarkets and Argos. Their new players are in the price range of £20~£30. The cheapest BD players are as basic as it is possible to get: Just a HDMI output, a lightweight chassis and limited features. It's hardly exciting stuff compared to products further up in the ranges.

You are right though about the re-issues for new formats. But isn't that always the way? Look at wax cylinder, 78, LP, cassette, CD and download. Some of those formats have offered greater fidelity, and it's the same with movies. For example, 90's Japanese import Laser Disc offered audio quality that it took Blu-ray a decade to match; and while VHS and LD were both composite video formats the picture quality from Laser was a definite step up. DVD moved that process forward significantly with anamorphic compression and BD was another milestone leap. So it's doing a disservice I think to just say that they're just re-releases without acknowledging the technical advancements that some of the formats brought with them.
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a sky HD box which is used but only for the freeview channels
No it isn't. I'm being pedantic here but it's used for FreesatfromSky programmes. If you want proof, try finding the programme "Dave", for example. It's listed for Freeview but you won't receive it via Freesat.

This clarification is for newcomers who might read your report and think "goody, I can receive all Freeview programmes with an old Sky Digibox". You can't. You can receive most of them but this is no consolation if you want "Dave" etc.
Did you not read any of the reviews when you bought it?
That would give you an idea of if it is any good.

If it has Kodi on it you wont need Netflix so can save yourself the cost of that.
Add an app such as Blackbox and your well away.... :)
Did you not read any of the reviews when you bought it?
That would give you an idea of if it is any good.

If it has Kodi on it you wont need Netflix so can save yourself the cost of that.
Add an app such as Blackbox and your well away.... :)

The reviews seemed good, I found it bloody difficult to understand myself though and I'm pretty good at tech. So many options and add-ons.

The flash drives work fine with music (all in wav format for the benefit of being able to play on the car headunit as well), but video is a little more tricky.

At my first attempt I tried loading a film onto the drive in ISO and tried that on the player, I got nothing but distortion.

Second attempt, converted the ISO to a .BAA file, got the same,

Third attempt, converted the ISO to a .mkv, got perfect crystal clear video but no sound.

So fourth attempt I'll try standard mp4 format or one of the others mentioned in the manual which is as follows : ''support FHDH.265, VC-1, H.264, MPEG-2, and many other formats such as MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (whoever wrote this didn't realise it's already been mentioned, the ****), MPEG-4, DIVx, Real media and so on''

So far it's been irritatingly fiddly, perhaps I need to download an add-on that will make light work of all this ???
If I was you I would stick with MKV. However, you need to rip the audio tracks that your sound system can understand. I'd recommend ripping stereo (PCM) Dolby Digital. That should cover most bases. If you don't tick the box to rip sound then there won't be any.

Next, make sure the MX box is set to the correct mode to give sound out to your TV or surround system. That might involve selecting HDMI as the sound connection.

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