Norcent DP-220 review:

Norcent DP-220

  • 1
MSRP: $99.99
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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Inexpensive; decent video quality; some DivX compatibility.

The Bad Spotty DivX playback; no DTS support.

The Bottom Line The Norcent DP-220 isn't a bad DVD player for the price, but we've seen better DivX players.

5.7 Overall

<p>Now that almost all DVD players offer progressive scan, it's tougher for budget DVD players to differentiate themselves, especially when they're priced within $10 to $20 of each other. The Norcent DP-220 attempts to distinguish itself from the rest of the budget pack by offering support for the DivX compressed video format <i>and</i> a nearly rock-bottom price tag. All in all, the DP-220--which can be had for less than $50--holds up pretty well in our tests, though the ride isn't completely smooth.<br><br> The DP-220 features a superslim design, measuring just 2 by 14.2 by 9 inches (HWD). The front panel is graced by only two small LEDs: one to indicate whether the unit's on, and one to show that it's playing. There's also a few basic transport controls on the front, as well as the power button. The included remote is small and light, but we found it easy to use.<br><br> As for connectivity, it's what you'd expect at this price: basic but adequate. On the video side, you get component, S-Video, and composite outputs. Audio jacks are limited to standard analog outputs and a digital coaxial out--no optical connection. The DP-220 is able to output Dolby Digital <a href="/4520-6463_7-5024537.html?tag=txt">surround sound</a> via the coaxial connection to similarly equipped A/V receivers, but soundtrack sticklers will bemoan the lack of DTS compatibility.<br><br> Compatible with a full range of disc types, the DP-220 had no problem playing the bulk of our test discs, including DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-R, MP3 CDs, and JPEG picture discs; only a handful of our more difficult DVD-RWs caused problems. Also, in a few rare instances, a disc caused the player to hang, which required the DP-220 to be unplugged and plugged back in again.<br><br> The DP-220 also supports DivX playback, though playback is a little spotty. While we found it capable of playing back DivX files on both CD-Rs and DVD+Rs, one file was extremely distorted to point where it was unwatchable, and another suffered from some audio dropouts. The same files and discs played smoothly on the <span data-shortcode="link" data-link-text="Yahoo YDP-530" data-asset-type="review" data-uuid="b2401291-9d89-11e2-853d-0291187978f3" data-slug="yahoo-ydp-530"></span>, so we have some reservations about the DP-220's DivX playback capabilities.<br><br> For a budget player, the DP-220 performed competently in our video tests. The 220's <a href="http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5107912-1.html?tag=txt#2:3">2:3 pull-down</a> processing was evident in the opening sequence of the <i>Star Trek: Insurrection</i> DVD, and the player performed adequately during some of the more difficult 2:3 stress tests on the Windows DVD Test Annex. In fact, the DP-220 passed most of the others tests on the Windows DVD, falling short on a few flag tests that come into play on only poorly authored DVDs. <a href="http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5107912-2.html?tag=txt#anamorphicdownconversion">Anamorphic downconversion</a> was also good, showing very little undulation and jaggies in <a href="http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5107912-1.html?tag=txt#4:3">4:3</a> mode, which is good news if you have a non-wide-screen TV.<br><br> If you're looking for a reliable DivX player and can afford to spare a few more bucks, you might want to look at such DivX-compatible players as the <span data-shortcode="link" data-link-text="Philips DVP642" data-asset-type="review" data-uuid="b23cd7b6-9d89-11e2-853d-0291187978f3" data-slug="philips-dvp642"></span> or the Yahoo YDP-530. However, if you're just looking for an inexpensive progressive-scan player, the Norcent DP-220 performs well, given its price. </p>

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