DVD retail for 200 HELP this week.

OK, I'm an experienced audio guy whose unexperienced friend wants to buy a DVD player for $200, although I could probably get him up to @300 with careful manipulation... (to go with his Sharp 5 yr old big screen - don't know what model). I'd tell him to go used, but frankly, guys, he won't do it. I heard Pioneer 525 was OK a couple of years ago, but suspect there are better these days. Thanks mucho for the help.
The Pioneer are still good. The DV343 is the basic model and can be had for between $150 and $200. The next step up have progressive scan outputs. It was model DV434, but there are some new ones. There are now mulitdisc models also. There is some very inexpensive Apex DVD players made in China that have gotten good reviews. They sell for under $100.

Or you could go for something like a Samsung DVD-M101. A model like that could be a good match for your buddy's 5 year old big screen TV. That model retails for $180.00, but you can go to "Best Buy" and get one for around $130.00 or so. I just bought one for my Dad this past weekend. That's going to be his Christmas present (he's not as seriously into audio and video like I am.... and this frankly, this DVD Player is going to be used with a mid 90's Goldstar 20-Inch stereo TV). I'm going to help him hook it up on Christmas day. Or, you can go to Best Buy and get an Eastern Pacific brand like Obriton (I think that's how you spell that brand) for around $100.00. They also got some other off-brand DVD Players in their stores right now, but I cannot remember what they are right off of the top of my head. They list around $100.00 as well. But if I were you, I would advise your buddy to look at something like a Pioneer, a Sony, or a Toshiba. Surely, they DEFINITELY have players that list for around $200.00. But if you shop around, you can definitely get those players for well below list as well.

Good Luck with your buddy.

Things to look for in a "DVD" player:

Verify that it can at least play CD-r's, CD-RW's, etc...

Has multiple audio / video outputs. This way you can connect directly to your TV and the stereo / processor at the same time and use either at any specific time. MUCH more convenient than using splitters, etc...

Does the unit have a built in processor i.e. can it be hooked up directly to a multi-channel amp and operate all of the surround functions by itself ? Is the unit DTS capable ?

Verify what type of digital outputs the unit offers. Some budget models only have an optical jack. Others have only a coaxial jack. Better models have both. Don't limit yourself now when you never know what future applications may hold. It's cheaper to buy something "decent" now than end up buying another one sometime shortly down the road.

While i'm not suggesting this brand or model, Apex just came out with a "universal player" last week. It plays DVD's, CD's, CD-R's, CD-RW's, MP3's AND also BOTH SACD and DVD-A and offers "karoake" !!!! List price is $350, which is quite reasonable. Build quality on the Apex machines that i've seen is quite questionable though, so i would do a LOT of "inspecting" before dumping money into a throw-away device. Might be quite interesting though... Sean