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Alba DVD 103

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11 Reviews
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    11 Reviews
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      05.02.2003 06:07
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      I've had my Alba DVD-103 for about 2 and a bit years now. It came free with my dreamcast package at the time from Toys'R'Us and was replacing my super small Sharp player which had developed a fault. I didn't turn my nose up ata free DVD player, no sir-eee. But I didn't expect to be this pleased with the results. The player itself is a nice burnished silver affair and is chunkier than you'd expect from a player these days. However this player has something missing ont he cheaper players now-a-days, an LCD info panel at the front. A nice feature of this is that it has a number of brightness settings all set using the remote control. The player has the usual list of connectors around the rear :- . RGB Scart . Phono output . Coax dolby digital . SPDIF . Power cable Personally I hooked it up to my 32" Philips TV and Videologic Digi-theatre dolby digital system. The video quality is excellent and the audio, as you'd expect, is nice and rich because it's a raw stream going to my external decoder. Even when the audio is going through my TV its pretty meaty. Unlike many more expensive players the Alba has nice audio CD representation and keeps up well with some Sony and JVC players I've listened to. Sure it's not the best, but it's far from it on price. Other nice features of tis player are the multi-region supprt, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+r, DVD+RW and MP3 playback that I've found no-end of use especially since I make my own DVD movies at home. (Digital camcorder, Disneyand Paris and a DVD burner is an excellent combination I'd recommend to anyone :) ).

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        05.09.2002 00:09
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        • "vcd hack needed"

        If you are interested in the Alba DvD-103 you may find that it has been replaced by the Alba DVD 108 now in most shops. The new model suffers some of the same problems as before like no power / standby button on the remote control but the remote is now well layed out and easy to use. The machine does not say it will play any region but i have used regions 1 and 2 with no problems.But to play VCD,s / Svcds you have to press goto on the remote then button 1 and it will play them if they are upto the standard.The machine will play cdr,s and cdrw,s with no problems and i like the mp3 playback which is better than some machines with good sound and easy to use.The audio cd playback is just as good but harder to program for the tracks. The machines case is small and silver and a very small display which can be switched via remote for disk running times.But you still get onscreen displays as well which are better than some machines. I payed only £69.99 for mine at ARGOS and iam very pleased with it .I only got this one because my old machine a REC dvd player broke and i was told checkout the Alba via a newgroup message at dvd reviewer,s website. Did i mention the picture is very good no funny patterns in the reds or blocking and seems to play all my disks without problems . I have heard that there have been one or two machines returned to Argos with problems but mines fine. All i need now is another for the bedroom. R.B

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          11.05.2002 17:57
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          This may seem irrelevant to you, but last year I appeared on a quiz on Radio 2. I won a fair amount of prizes, including several DVDs. The one problem was that I didn't have a player! We passed on a few DVDs to people we knew (what did I want with the 6 Million Dollar Man and Kojak, I asked myself), but we kept the DVDs of Butch Cassidy and Sooty (not for me, but for Ellie, my now two year-old daughter). All progressed well, and this year I decided to take the plunge and buy a player. This was not going to be done the usual way, for two solid reasons: 1- We don't have a lot of spare money floating 2- I like foreign films, and I found a lot of the 'bargain basement' players do not have capability for multiple languages, which is shocking and cheapskate if you ask me. So, I put my hi-fi up for sale on Ebay, as we had another one, and I got £75 for it. I then looked on Ebay for a DVD player, and found an Alba DVD 103. I then looked at the reviews on Ciao, and placed a bid. I got the player for the grand sum of £62 plus postage! So what is it like? Well, it's a big silver box with a centrally located disc drawer. The on/off switch is only located on the machine, so if you are a true couch potato you have to get out of your seat to turn it on- poor diddums! The remote control has all the main functions, but you soon realise that when you are in a menu, the play button also works as select or enter. As soon as you know this, it's a doddle, but then I am a technologically minded genius! Sound and pictures are fine. The films I have watched are 'Blazing Saddles', 'Butch Cassidy' and 'Lord of the Rings'. The pictures are not at all grainy with a very good resolution,and the digital sound is great, even when played through my old Nicam Television- which reminds me, it doesn't come with a SCART lead, so you have to buy one separately (£3.99 at Argos as opposed to £10 a
          t Comet, ok?). Ellie loves it, she can sit and watch Sooty until the cows come home, which means that we watch it quite a bit! Overall, a good player, and of course the bit I haven't mentioned. It's also multi-region. Just put in the disc and it sorts itself out, no hacking required! Go on, if you haven't got a player, this is a good priced starter machine that doesn't act like a starter machine! I personally am looking forward to my copy of harry Potter arriving this afternoon. Happy Viewing!

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            11.04.2002 02:58
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            I was lucky enough to get this DVD player in exchange for my 'Proline 1000' player when it broke down under warranty. The main features are as follows; CD/DVD/VCD Playback Dolby/DTS compatible (no 5:1) 2 x Composite video out 1 x S-video out 1 x Scart 1 x Optical out 1 x Coaxial digital out 2 x Stereo phono out 1 x Headphone socket (Front) Functionality that i have not tested (have read about in reviews, but not on box & may be firmware dependant) Multi-Region out of the box (no hack required) CD-R / CD-RW compatible MP3 compatible The brushed silver design of the player is nothing to write home about but it has all the basic functionality plus a headphone socket with it's own volume control. This little addition is useful if you either want to watch a DVD quietly or play your music whilst everyone else watches the TV. The back of the player packs in just about every socket you will ever need, including some only found on more expensive players. For your picture out, you have a choice of two composite video outputs, an S-video and a Scart. On reading some other reviews I have found that the composite outputs are not buffered, which basically means that if you do use both, you will get degradation in picture quality. There are also two pairs of audio outputs and if required you also have both optical and digital outputs as well. As for the audio output, there is no decoder built in but it is Dolby Digital and DTS compatible. The remote control is a little cheap looking, beige plastic affair, which unfortunately lives up to it's look. The keys are very rubbery, with an uncertain travel which can lead to you having to press a key a couple of time to get the function that you want. Saying this, the transmit and reception arc to the player itself is good, mine is set up in a position of almost 90' and I have no problems using it. Functionality available is ve
            ry good and includes, forward and reverse at four speeds, random playback, program playback, slow motion at three speeds plus repeat function, multi-angle (where available), two stage zoom, subtitles and resume function. The set-up of the player is very straight forward using an on-screen menu to choose items like screen ratio, onscreen language, picture and audio outputs, plus the ability to set a parental lock. Actual playback is very good with the picture quality almost up there with players at twice the price, although I have found the sound a little lacking on some disks. I had no problem playing the Matrix, which can give some players trouble, but it did lock up briefly during the Disney film Dinosaurs. Overall I would recommend this player to anyone looking for a budget player with better functionality. When I switched to this player it was £150, but I have seen it available for around £99 recently so shop around.

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              07.01.2002 03:18
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              This Alba model is an excellent choice for a first inexpensive DVD player, I bought mine based on opinions on this website. This DVD player has all the features you would expect including: Multi-region capacity 5.1 dts surround sound Freeze frame and skip functions Remote control and screensaver Although it is not stated anywhere in the literature this is a multi region player, it does not require unlocking or tedious typing in of codes, you just put your disc in and press play. The picture and sound quality is good and although quite large it comes in an attractive silver casing. The instructions are clear and easy to understand and even easier to set up. Remove from box, plug into power, insert scart lead (NOT INCLUDED) to TV and DVD player and switch on and play, how simple? The only disadvantage I have come across is the lack of a standby button on the remote control unit, you have to lift your lazy lump out of the chair to switch the unit off. But if this is the only disadvantage you are doing well, you could do worse. It is reasonably priced under £200 I think the RRP was £179.99 when I was looking, but with some searching I managed to get my unit for £149, so shop round. In conclusion, an excellent DVD player, superb value for money and easy to operate. I hope this opinion helps you with your choice as a previous opinion on here did for me.

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                05.09.2001 01:23

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                If your looking for a budget player with The most basic of functions then I recommend this one to you. The player ----------------- The player itself is quite chunky and doesn't really look very stylish, but If you just want to watch Dvds and not impress your mates then thats okay. The player has all the features that it needs on it. Its connected up to a TV by a scart lead (needs to be purchased seperately) and the picture quality is excellent. Its clear and doesn't go far when the film has very little light in it. The sound on the player is great, it comes with a built in Dolby 5.1 decoder and even the LCd screen notifies you when your playing a disc that has that feature. The Player has all the usual features that all DVD techies love to play around with, the zoom feature, The fast forwarding feature, the frame freeze feature and the ability to change the camera angle (only on supporting DVDs) One feature that I think is great is that you are able to play Discs from all over the world on it, It doesn't come with some sort of locking system that only allows you to play region 2 coded discs. Also the player will support VCDs and Cds. The control for the player is a slight let down. There isn't really anything to it. There's quite a lot crammed onto the control but once you get used to it it's fine. One annoying let down is that It doesn't have an enter button when selection on screen options, in sted the player use the play button for this feature. My opinion -------------------- This player is great if your looking for a player thats cheap and sufficent for playing discs on. Its very reliable and probably will not break down. You will get a free three years warrenty anyway. The only problem I have found so far is that it will not play some discs made by, I think the company is called Fact buit I am not sure. This includes the patriot and Go, so if your buying discs make sure they work on the pl
                ayer first (the majority of them do so don't worry about that, if they don't (you can tell because the first menu shown is the special features menu) wait a while then press the resume button on the control and it should play).

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                09.06.2001 15:41

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                This DVD player is great for people who want to watch DVDs but dont want to splash out n a high tech system. This DVD player has everything that s needed. It has the usaal features. Play, ip pause, jump through frame by frame. This dvd player is also multi -regional. So if you want to watch dvdS from japan you will be able to do so on this palyer with out having to get it chipped. The quality of the picture is great for £150. You get the same quality as a sony dvd playerostin £250. It also has all the conectors at the back so you can link it up to an amp. to get the maxium experiance. The dvd palyer also has a dolby digital encoder in it so you can have surrond sound. he only problem with the player is the remote. On most dvd players there would be an enter or ok button on the control to use in the menu section .You have to use the pal ybotton and secondly you have to work that out, because the manual isnt that great. Once you've figered out how to use it it is a great DVD player.

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                06.06.2001 00:10

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                I think the Alba 103 is a brilliant player. You might have some problems playing some movies like Dinosaurs. The reason for this is that the actual lens is not reading a certain track on the DVD rom. This player is one of the cheapest on the market and does come as standard a Multi-region player. (WICKED :-) The actual remote control has several functions that you would see on higher priced player. These include, Zoom, Scan, Digest, chapter selection, and slow motion to name just a few. The fast forward and rewind search of a film is very smooth with a Multi-speed option allowing up to 8x the speed of the standard search facilities. You can also play standard VCD’s and audio CD’s as well, which is a great, as it becomes a standalone entertainment system. The Alba 103 does come with a choice of digital out, these are provided through two options, Coaxial and fibre optic cables. I have connected my system up to a digital amp and the sound is great, with audio playback, which matches the quality of the new 5.1 DTS surround digital sound system that has replaced Dolby surround sound. There is an option on the player which allows you to play RCE films, this stands for Region Coding Enhanced. This is the new coding protection that has been implemented on DVD movies, and it means that you will need a little hack to play it. The only bad thing about the unit is the power button. You have to get up to switch the unit off, which is a pain, as Alba have not supplied a standby facility. Overall a great player which I would recommend. There is a newer version coming out, the Alba 104, which I can't wait to see. Hopefully it will match and surpass its predecessor.

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                15.03.2001 00:51
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                If you want a simple cheap DVD player, you might consider the Alba 103. The thing that bugs me about DVD is that most DVD enthusiasts are kind of elitist. DVD is the perfect format for "home cinema", so a lot of people think that is what DVD always *must* be. I don't think this is true. I think that if/when I am living in a nice house and driving a nice car, I may want my living room to be a "home cinema". But right now I am in a tiny bedroom with a 14" TV. So there is a market for cheap DVD players, the kind of players that suit a 14" TV with a mono speaker. I don't need anything fancy, I just need a basic player that can introduce me to DVD. Then when I am older and richer, I will have a good DVD collection to use with my fantasy widescreen TV, in my fantasy living room, in my fantasy life. The Alba DVD-103 seems pretty good to me. I have heard people complain that the picture quality is "unwatchable"... I think they must have seen broken players. I see a pretty good picture quality on my tiny portable TV -- good colour, quite sharp. Some discs show pretty horrendous pixellisation, but some are flawless, so we know that the 103 is capable of a flawless picture, and it is the discs at fault when there are artifacts and pixellisation. Sound options are better than you would expect for the price, but as this non-technical review is aimed at people with a cheapy need for a cheapy player on their cheapy little TV, I don't know what else to say about the sound. On-screen menus are a bit fiddly and non-intuative, but they get the job done. It is just tedious to slowly navigate through the menus. The remote control is a nightmare. It is terribly designed. The up/down/left/right buttons are tiny and hidden away, the Play button doubles as the Enter button, the fast-forward and reverse are hidden away. It is not intuative at all, and will take a long while to get used
                to. The player itself is a big ugly thing -- a huge metallic box. The tray seems a bit plasticky, wobbly and breakable, but so far hasn't broken. There aren't many buttons on the player, so you'll have to use the remote control for nearly everything. One very helpful addition is a headphone socket on the front of the player. As I said, this review is aimed at people like me who will use this cheapy player with a cheapy TV... listening with headphones is the only way to hear stereo, because I have a mono-speaker TV. I'm very greatful for the headphones. I've heard that the 103 is multi-region, but I haven't tested it yet. There is nothing in the (badly written) manual which states its region capability, and different reviews disagree about whether it is multi-region. If you require a player that will play other regions, the 103 *may* be for you, but try to test a R1 disc on the player before you buy it. So... for those millions of us who want the benefits of DVD, but only have access to cheap little televisions rather than a full home cinema set-up, the Alba 103 is very adequate. I have found it to be a good introduction to DVD.

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                  03.03.2001 04:14
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                  I am well into technology and gadgets, but don’t have a lot of money to spend on them, so to me this product was ideal. As DVD players go the ALBA DVD-103 is certainly not the best, but it is one of the cheapest on the market at the moment. However just because it is not the best does not mean it is no good. This DVD player has the features that I need and the quality is pretty good too. The DVD player itself is a big silver box, this is lucky as we had to replace our video recently and that is also a silver box so it does not look out of place on my technology tower. The buttons are a bit on the big side and they are all square, no soft round edges here. When it is switched on there is a bright LCD display that shows the track and the timer a bit like a CD player display. This all makes the box look a bit on the cheep side. There is nothing on the box or in the manual about this player being limited to Region 2 disks, I have dome a bit of research on the Internet and a number of sites say this is a multi region DVD player that can play any region disks without alteration. The same sites have said this is the cheapest multi region DVD player available, another reason to go for this player. As with all DVD players, this machine can play DVD Video and Audio CD disks, it has the normal AV Out socket plus a SCART and an S-Video connector so you have a number of options to connect it to your television or other equipment. There are also stereo connectors on the back so you can link it up to your stereo system, this is a must not just so you can play your audio CDs, but a film sounds so much better if played through a good stereo system. There is also a headphone socket on the front so you can sit and listen without disturbing everyone else if you want. I have to admit, the remote control is a bit rubbish, it took me quite a while to figure out simple things like how to get to the menu and how to select items, bu
                  t when you get used to it things get a little easier. The only thing that bugs me is you cannot switch the player on/off from the remote control, there is no standby option, when you want to use it you have to get up, not good for the classic couch potato like me but then for this price you can’t expect everything. I have never had any problems with playing DVDs, I have watched quite a few now and the picture quality is very good, we play the sound through out stereo and sometime it is just like being at the cinema, just need to buy one of those large flat screen televisions now… (In my dreams, when I win the lottery). All in all, DVD players can cost several hundred pounds, if you can afford that much then you can get a better machine, however if you are in the market for a ‘budget’ priced multi region DVD player then in my opinion you would have to look very hard to beat this one.

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                    10.10.2000 19:03
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                    I was a little reluctant to go out and buy a DVD Player as I am waiting for when they bring out writable DVD Players so I can tape stuff off the telly. However a friend told me about this DVD player that he had heard about down at Toysrus (I know, not the usual place to find a DVD Player!), so I went down to check it out. All I can saw is that I am now a proud owner of the ALBA 103, priced only at £140. This is absolutely nothing for what it can actually do. The player itself has a slick silver finish with a stylish look to it, there isn't an abundance of buttons and dials on the front that make it look tacky, and it manages to look rugged without being as big as a cupboard. However the true beauty of this machine doesn't appear until you put in a film from any region around the World, press play, and then watch the film begin!! No need for dodgy hack codes, you don't have to solder the circuits boards together or jump on your left leg while rubbing your right hand on your head!!! Just sit back, put your extremely cheaper American or European DVD into your machine, press play and relax. The only downside to the ALBA is that it does not have a standby option, so you have to turn the power off on the machine rather than use the remote control. Some people also have problems with the remote, but anyone who has a brain will some be able to work it out and realise that the remote is fine. This DVD Player is highly rated, being voted as "Best Buy" in 'What DVD' Magazine, and its not as if these boys are being bribed by little ALBA to say that. Get yourselves out to Toysrus and grab one while you can, £140 for a multi-regional player can not be laughed at!!

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