Sony's slim and silver DVD
If you own a regular 4:3 non-wide-screen TV, chances are it's not capable of accepting a progressive-scan signal. But progressive-scan is so common these days among inexpensive DVD players, such as Sony's DVP-NS575P/S, that you might as well get a prog-scan deck and use it until you do upgrade your TV set.
Even if it is Sony's entry-level progressive-scan player, the DVP-NS575P/S nonetheless offers step-up styling compared to generic DVD decks. Its slim, silver body matches the company's WEGA TVs and those from most other TV makers as well. (It's also available in black.) Measuring a mere 2.7 inches tall and 9 inches deep, it should fit comfortably atop most tube TVs. The minimal front panel offers only basic transport controls.
As for the remote, it outdoes that of most budget decks, boasting a well-thought-out button arrangement and plenty of functionality--it can also control many brands of televisions. Separate keys are provided for chapter skip, search/slow motion, and 30-second skip/frame-by-frame step. A zoom button is useful both for expanding the image and getting rid of windowboxing on wide-screen TVs.
Unlike most generic decks, the DVP-NS575P/S gives you some control over the picture. There are five different picture modes and separate black-level controls in the setup menu--one for component-video and one for standard. They should be set to Off and On, respectively. The sharpness function should also be set to Off, since it introduces edge enhancement.