DVD Player Spins Multiple Movies
By Jim Bray
What can you do if you covet a DVD player, but dont want to lose
the multi-disc convenience of your CD changer?
Get a DVD changer!
Ive tried two of these recently, a high end, two disc Toshiba and
the subject of this column, RCAs 5-disc RC5910P.
The $350 RCA is a far more mainstream unit than the $999 Toshiba. It
doesnt offer non-interlaced video or Super Audio CD
sound, for example, but it has just about everything else one could want
from a DVD player, including snob features like optical and
coaxial digital audio jacks and even component video terminals.
The RCA also has two sets of conventional analog audio/video outputs
and even an S-Connector, all of which makes it compatible
with just about any audio video system you might have.
The player handles Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS discs, and theres
even a Spatializer N-2-2 simulated surround mode though
its no substitute for real surround sound. The deck also has most
of the CD changer features youve come to expect, like disc skip
and disc exchange (which lets you swap the discs that arent playing
without interrupting the one that is), as well as programmed play and
a series of random options that can span either one disc or all the discs
you have loaded.
The RC5910P plays almost all of your optical discs (except for the 12
inch laserdiscs, of course), including DVD, audio CD and Video CDs
(if you can ever find one). It wont play your home made audio CDs,
however, which is a real shame. It seems to be getting harder and harder
to find any DVD player thatll handle CD-Rs, though, including
the abovementioned higher end Toshiba, so RCA is definitely not alone
in this shortcoming.
RCA does at least give you a warning in the owners manual not to
even try playing CD-Rs. It says the wavelength that the player uses
could actually erase your CD-Rs, so best to take this warning to
heart, just in case.
Hookup and setup are very easy, even if you dont consult the manual.
If you do need the manual youll find it written in plain English
with plenty of illustrations. The writers dont assume you have a
vast gadgetary knowledge and even give you helpful hints like
Dont forget to plug it in, which may seem silly
but youd be surprised how many people forget such basic steps and
then wonder why the player isnt working.
I spent most of my time with the RC5910P using the coaxial digital audio
output and the component video and, all things considered, I found it
to be a mostly pleasant unit to use and one that performed as advertised.
The mechanism was a little noisier than my reference player, but it also
isnt as high end. On the other hand, my higher end reference
player doesnt offer DTS audio, which proves that you just cant
win no matter what you do
The test unit seemed to have an occasional flutter that would result
in a complete lack of sound. It was almost as if it needed to be rebooted,
because if I opened and closed the disc tray it would work fine again.
It was weird, but it also didnt happen often enough that I could
put my finger on what, if anything, the problem was.
The RC5910P comes with one of RCAs programmable universal remote
controls, which you can use to operate a variety of VCR's, TV's, DSS,
etc. It won't control all brands, but it'll handle many of them.
The remote is, for the most part, fairly straightforward, but I preferred
the companys remotes from a few years back from the days
before systems got as complicated as they are today.
Fortunately, the RC5910Ps front panel has all the controls youre
likely to need, and theyre laid out logically.
I dont have the attention span to sit through five DVD movies in
one sitting, but the multiple disc feature comes in really handy if youre
programming an evenings worth of music.
Since its a changer, its a bit deeper than your average CD
or DVD player, but I doubt this will cause much of a problem for most
More importantly, it has what it takes to most of your discs to your
Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.
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