Justin Bernhaut

What You Should Care About

Standard vs. high definition: With DVD players, it's not yet time to go HD. Players and discs are very expensive; the number of HD DVD titles, though growing, is still minuscule; and a battle is underway between two competing formats, Blu-ray and HD DVD. Let it play out.

HDMI connection: If you have an HDTV or plan to buy one soon, get a DVD player that has an HDMI port (make sure the TV has one, too). This lets you connect the two devices with a single thin HDMI cable, which delivers very high-quality digital audio and video.

What You Can Overlook

Progressive scanning: A complicated feature that basically results in a smoother picture with fewer digital jags. Once rare, it is now found in all but the very cheapest players.