By August 22, 2005

Cyberhome CH-DVD300 Review

I needed a second DVD player for the bedroom TV. Not wanting to repeat the same mistake I made with my more expensive Toshiba DVD player (it doesn’t play DVD-R discs, for one), I scoured BestBuy and Circuit City for a cheap ass DVD player that still had the features I wanted.

I was looking for a unit that could:

  • Play DVD+R and DVD-R discs. This was crucial.
  • Offered progressive scan.
  • Offered component hookup.
  • Had a remote control.
  • Did I mention cheap?
  • Behold, the mighty Cyberhome CH-DVD300. Images are courtesy of bestbuy.com, which is where I bought my unit:

    It’s gone up in price since I got it (I think there was a mail in rebate or something), but even now at $42 it’s a steal. This thing is a champ.

    First off, it’s pretty small. It sits on top of the 32″ television in the bedroom. I’m not worried about the unit falling off the television and crashing to our floor, but even if it did, so what? It was cheap.

    Secondly, check out the boo-tay on this baby:

    Mmm hmm, you see right — composite, S-video, coax, and component. If you can’t find a way to hook this up to your television, it’s time to upgrade your set. Don’t feel badly, though, I had to ditch my 25″ television a few years ago when I bought my first DVD player.

    Now, the Cyberhome will gladly play DVD+R and DVD-R discs. Why is this important, you ask? Because if you want to play movie backups or movies you’ve created (such as an illegal rip of the wide screen VHS original Star Wars trilogy :cough:) then you want to keep your media playback options open. The Cyberhome will also play DVD RW discs (both +R and -R), S/VCD, CD-R/RW, and will display JPEG images in case you have a DVD or CD full of shots of you and your sugarpie on vacation. It’ll also play MP3s, although I haven’t tried this functionality on either CD or DVD media.

    The remote is … well, shitty. It’s a little bit larger than a rectangular birth control pack, and probably twice as thick. The buttons are about the size of tic-tacs, and since they’re all fucking crammed together and the remote isn’t back lit it’s a pain in the ass to use when the lights are off. No fear, I programmed my Philips cheapie universal remote to control my Cyberhome player and now everything is good.

    The Cyberhome is noisy. I can’t hear it now that we’re in our new place, but I could hear the drive whirring if I really tried back in Maryland. If you have sensitive ears like me or have the television close to your sitting area you might want to consider the loudness of this player.

    The startup time is kind of long. Not as long as my piece of shit Toshiba that cost three times as much, but it’s still not instant on. I think this has to do with the memory feature (more on that later), but I have impatiently turned the unit off by accident, thinking I didn’t turn it on in the first place. Also an annoyance, the status indicator light on the front is red when the unit is off, so no matter what you’re going to have a glowing LED light in your bedroom.

    As I said, playback is great. It doesn’t seem to pause in between some chapters like my Toshiba does. God I hate that thing. There’s a really neat feature on the Cyberhome — if you hit stop and/or turn off the player, it remembers where you were and will resume playback in the same spot. I will only save the state of the last disc played, so if you put in “Dune” after “You Got Served” it will only remember where you are on Dune.

    The on screen menu is a little difficult to navigate, but it’s functional. I don’t know if it’s my backups or the unit, but sometimes it will start with English subtitles on. It’s a small matter to turn the subtitles off via the handy birth control pill remote.

    Good Points:

    • Inexpensive. You can find better deals out there, but I don’t know if they will perform like the 300.
    • Great DVD-R and DVD+R playback performance.
    • Memory feature is nifty.
    • Gapless chapter progression during playback.
    • Good output selection, especially if you have a low-def television set.

    Well, the damn thing is less than $50 ….

    • Noisy. Sounds of lovemaking will mitigate this.
    • Slow startup time.
    • Horribly tiny ass remote fit only for the hands of the children that made it.

    So, if you can grab one, go for it. I was going to link to this item directly on bestbuy.com, but it looks like they are now selling the 300S. I don’t know if the capabilities of that unit are any different than my plain-jane 300. Give it a shot, and if you don’t like it, return it.

    Cyberhome CH-DVD300, I award thee:

    Four out of five STFU mugs!

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