I've been an RCA user most of my life; primarily due to the longevity I've managed to obtain from their products. There's the ten year-old, 13" television in the bedroom that is still going. A console television purchased in 1985 which has only needed repair once
for a loose wire and still provides a watchable picture despite changes in the broadcast format. (The mono speaker, however, is near useless; but, with a 12 year-old RCA stereo receiver hooked to it - along with an RCA turntable, RCA CD player, and RCA dual audio tape deck - still provides good enough sound for the tying/reloading room. The "man cave" if you will.)
Needless to say it was with some trepidation that I realized RCA was not going to be an option when the RCA DVD player I'd had since 2000 pretty much gave up on the moderately hard life it had led. Since its replacement was going to serve in conjunction with an older-style, 13" RCA television, I couldn't see spending a small fortune on a high-end model. As such, the overriding criterion became price and the $39.88 price tag for the Sony DVP-SR200P at Wal-Mart was the deciding factor. (Current price at the local Wal-Mart has gone down to $34.58.) I didn't expect much in terms of options or durability, though I've been delightfully surprised. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves...
, abbreviated look at the specs would read thus:
US Models: 120 V AC (60 Hz) with a 10 W power consumption; 48" power cord; Be aware that, even if the player is turned off, it still draws power so long as it is plugged in; Energy Star compliant
approximately 12.5" long, 8" wide, and 1 ½" high; ‘Official' weight is listed as 2.6 lbs.
Compatible Media -
CD-R, CD-RW, SVCD, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD, CD, Video CD, DVD+R DL, DVD-R DL; plays MP3; Player cannot
play a disc in a color system other than NTSC (e.g., PAL or SECAM), one with a non-standard shape; one with paper or stickers on it
Located only on the rear of the unit, outgoing connections only; Coaxial Digital Out; RCA Video Out (yellow); RCA Audio Out, left (white), right (red); RCA Component Video Out, green (Y), blue (Pa), Red (PR)
Progressive scan; Video equalizer; JPEG photo playback; Screensaver (Note that the manual cautions: "This player is capable of holding a still video image or on-screen display image on your television screen indefinitely..." - In other words, the screensaver only works when the unit is "stopped" and not "paused.")
Manual Controls -
Located on top, front edge of unit; On/Off; Tray Open/Close; Play; Stop
No clock; LED display of "On/Off," "Load," and time counter when unit turned on
All other specs, including a manual can be found at Sony's website. In addition, a remote (see below) with batteries and one set of standard RCA jacks are provided with the unit. The Limited Warranty is 90 days from purchase on labor and one year on parts. (This is why I decided to pick it up at Wal-Mart; i.e., a location which has a fairly liberal return/exchange policy. Otherwise, you'll be half the price into shipping it to an "authorized service facility." Unfortunately, we've reached that point where built-in obsolescence means that the ‘decade(s)' of service my RCA equipment has provided is now a thing of the past and, frankly, with a "$40" price tag and the amount of play this unit has and continues to provide without a hiccup, I figure the "per video" cost thus far would even satisfy the most cost-conscious.)
The remote control for this unit is the Sony RMT-D187A and acts as the primary controller and features access point. Assuming good batteries, the infrared signal gives a nearly full 180 degree signal reception with the remote sensor located on the front panel approximately 2 ½" from the right edge and 3/8" off the ‘table top.' Speaking of batteries, the unit requires two AA's. Of course, I can't give you any idea as to the longevity or replacement time. Why? After 10 months of use, I'm still fully functional with the Sony-supplied batteries, despite moderately heavy use.
Two inches wide and six inches long, the remote has a curved bottom which fits well in the palm of the hand. The individual buttons are sufficiently sized and spaced to make operation relatively straightforward; though simultaneously hitting two or more buttons (e.g., see ‘Child Lock' below) will require two-handed operation.
I have not used the JPEG photo functions and cannot speak to them and will let you discover them should you purchase the unit.
Insofar as audio CD's, my use is pretty straightforward; put in CD, press play button, and listen to the music. You can ‘skip' to the next track by hitting "NEXT" on the remote and display the individual track countdown (descending counter) on the television by pushing the "TIME/TEXT." You can "FF/Rew" through an audio track; though I can only see a rare occasion when you'd want to do so. Obviously, "PLAY," "STOP," and "PAUSE" work.
Using the Quick Setup as I did, I only have minimal control features. For example, the numeric buttons on the remote will NOT
allow me to select an audio track when playing a CD. However, there are ‘Various Play Mode Functions' which are possible; including program play, shuffle play, repeat play, and A-B repeat play. Once again, such nuances can provide a sense of ‘discovery' for those so inclined.
When it comes to playing DVD's, you have the basic functions of Play, Stop, Pause, Advance, Replay, Prev, Next, Menu, Top Menu, Fast/Slow Play. There's a "SUBTITLE" button and a "RETURN" button; the latter functioning as a ‘Child Lock' when used in conjunction with the "ON/Standby" and "ENTER" buttons. (The "ENTER" button is located in the center of the remote, surrounded by the left/right/up/down buttons.) This ‘Child Lock' prevents the disc tray from being opened.
The provided remote can, purportedly, be used to control the television; i.e., on/off, input, channel selection, and volume control. In theory, enter the proper code and the remote will work with Sony, Hitachi, LG/Goldstar/NEC, MGA/Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, RCA, Samsung, Sharp, and Toshiba brand televisions. This is yet another function I have not utilized. First, there are variances in the effectiveness of ‘universal remotes,' even when offered by the same manufacturer. Second, given the age/style of the television it is connected to, I have my doubts and it's not that big a deal to keep the television remote handy. Finally, you'll note that VIZIO is not on the list. Therefore, were I to hook this player to the 42" VIZIO in the front room (see link below), I'd still need the remote for that
Setup on the Sony DVP-SR200P doesn't get much simpler. Remember, there are NO INPUT
connections for this unit. Thus, I use the provided RCA jacks to connect to the appropriate inputs on the back of the television. (You will note that while the player offers stereo, I have this hooked to a mono speaker television. Generally, I have no issues with the audio; but, there are times when I wish I had the stereo connection, if you get my drift.) The manual does explicitly state: "Do not connect a VCR, etc., between your TV and the player. If you pass the player signals via the VCR, you may not receive a clear image on the TV screen...
I chose Quick Setup and was done with hook-up and setup inside of 10 minutes or so; much of that having to do with the fact that I kept hitting the wrong button. I won't bore you with the details; but, as noted, you can later go back and work with various functions and features in terms of setting them individually. Hint: The manual is 38 pages long for the English portion, with a further 9 pages covering basic setup and features in Spanish.
Using the RCA jacks, I can't complain about the image quality; particularly on a 10 year-old, ‘standard' (non-LCD) television. I do get to watch widescreen movies in Letter Box; which can be quite an exercise on a 13" television when you're lying in bed with aging eyes. I suppose I could break down and buy a new television, especially since broadcast signals are formatted for a different ratio these days. Of course, I did mention that I'm still using the 1985 console television?
There is an increasing problem with the black levels; i.e., scenes in the dark are almost unviewable. If I bring the disc out front and play it on the unit connected to the 42" LCD television in the front room, I'm often amazed at the difference in terms of what you can see. While this is likely attributable, once again, to the age of the television
and has little or nothing to do with the player, I have noticed substantial differences in image quality vis a vis black levels among different monitors/televisions these days. In other words, don't automatically assume there's something ‘wrong' with the player. (I had the same problems with the RCA player before it gave up the ghost.)
On the flip side, the Sony DVP-SR200P will play ‘damaged' discs that my older RCA could no longer handle. Sony claims that has to do with their Precision Cinema Progressive technology as well as their Precision Drive 3 system. Okay. All I can say is that discs or portions thereof that I had given up hope on or felt would have to be replaced are now viewable again. For how long, I don't know. But, I'll take it for as long as I can get it.
As indicated, this player is hooked to a mono speaker television. The reason I sometimes wish I had the stereo capability is that there are times when the audio is "on the wrong side" and I have to crank the volume to hear things. (Which often means that, when I switch channels, I'm blown out of the room; wondering if I need to set up an appointment to check for hearing loss.) Then again, I have similar issues with some of the videotaped programs played from the, wait for it, the 15 year old RCA VCR via the co-ax cable. I'm also having increasing problems with the audio of broadcast television; primarily, I suspect, given that the signal is not intended
for mono speakers these days.
Alright. I admit to being an anachronism. But, I can't see spending good (not to mention comparatively "big") money on ‘new' electronics until the ‘old friends' say they've had ‘enough' and go the way of all ‘flesh.'
CD audio is excellent whether commercial or burned at home. It's been a real boon in the sense of being able, once again, to fall asleep to the sounds of Julie London, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, the Ames Brothers, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Patti Page, Lola Albright, Ella Fitzgerald, the King Sisters, the Mills Brothers, Bing Crosby, Les Brown, Pete Fountain...
Well, the list gets pretty long. The point is that the "Power Save" function works pretty much as a "Sleep" feature on most discs; i.e., let the CD or the DVD play to finish and the player automatically shuts off after approximately 15 minutes. (When the player shuts off, it leaves a bright, blue screen on the television which wakes you up just enough to hit the television remote, turn over, and go back to dreaming of ‘champagne chanteuses.') A nice little bonus associated with the "Power Save" function is that when you turn the player back on, many discs will load back up to where the movie was stopped. Not all discs have such software incorporated; but, once again, it is a feature not previously available to me.
I can't provide an exact, average use I've put this player to. Naturally, it varies depending on myriad factors. I will conservatively
guesstimate that it has a minimum
of 400-500 hours or so of run time at this point; based on approximately 10-12 hours a week times 42 weeks. Remember, that's give or take and includes both
DVD's and CD's. While I don't expect
to get a decade or more of use and I'm not completely converted vis a vis RCA products, I'd say that it's already paid for itself.
The Sony DVP-SR200P player I picked up that day has, thus far, served admirably. It's not fancy. There aren't a host of complex options. It's just one of those simple to hook-up, easy to use devices which does exactly what you get it to do; i.e., play movies and music. In an age of electronics which seem to require a lifetime of experience plus
advanced degrees in computer programming and
electrical engineering just to purchase, let alone use, that's refreshing.Other Electronics ReviewsVIZIO VO42L FHDTV10A VIZIO VR3 Remote Control