If your looking for a cheap, budget type DVD player, or just want to get in on the DVD market, then I might have got the answer for you. The Dansai DVD player is a player that seems to have been made specifically for Tesco stores up and down the country. I had never heard of Dansai, but my mate had, which was part of the reason I chose the player. I couldn’t really justify spending over £200 on a DVD player when I didn’t have any DVD movies in my video collection, however, I wanted to get on the bandwagon and join the DVD era having watched quite a few DVD’s on other peoples players. So I went searching, hoping to spend below £130. I found the Dansai player for £99 in Tesco’s in Newton Abbot, Devon. I didn’t buy it there and then, I went looking, but couldn’t find anything to match this price. There was also a player there for £85, also made by Dansai, but it didn’t have even an LCD display and looked extremely basic, so I settled for the Dansai DVD 852. Now, I don’t intend to stick with this player, when I have a few more DVD’s in my collection, I would like to upgrade to a player by Sony or the likes, but this one will do fine for now, besides, I’d need to upgrade my TV aswell if I was going to get the best out of a Sony player. LOOKS The player looks like most other DVD players on the market at the moment. It is cased in a Silver metal, with an LCD covering about a 3rd of the player, centralised at the bottom of the DVD player. Above this is the DVD drive itself, with a drop down plastic front and a darker grey holder inside. On the right of the player is a round button, which looks like a bit of a dial, with 5 buttons residing in it, fwd, reverse, fwd a scene and reverse a scene. On the left of this are three, rectangular buttons, Play, Pause and Stop. On the right left hand side of the player are 2 headphone inputs and volume controls for both of them, very useful
if your watching the movie with someone who is hard of hearing, each viewer can watch it with their desired volume level, of course, you can’t talk to each other very well and you’d look pretty stupid cuddled up with headphones on, but hey, it’s a nice little feature all the same! The Dansai 852 looks pretty much like the DVD players available at the budget end from Matsui and Aiwa, however, it doesn’t look like a budget player, which is nice. DURABILITY I’m not going to kid you around, the unit is pretty light, the casing isn’t that great and would dent pretty easily, and the plastic bits do feel very plastic, however, this is why it has a good price tag on it, if it was made with the best materials, it would be in the £150-200 price range. I haven’t dropped it, and I’m not going to do so to tell you how it reacts, or indeed if it works after being dropped! The durability is ok, but nothing special, however, it only sits under your TV, so I don’t see any problems with it here! FEATURES There are quite a lot of useful features on the 852, however, on saying this, these are pretty standard in DVD player terms. Some of the features included are: MPEG2 coding format over 500 lines Multi angle, multi language and multi story functions Parent lock Both widescreen and normal screen viewing sizes available Can play DVD, Super VCD, VCD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW and MP3 discs (Quite a few players don’t play CD-R or CD-RW discs, so this is a nice little feature. 4x Zoom Time Search (You can search for a specific time slot on the disc) Resume Play (Memorizes the position you stopped the player and goes back to that position when you press play) On Screen Display Video Output (composite, S-Video, YpbPr) Audio Output (Analogue, coaxial) No one has probably read that, but it should be useful for someone who’s thinking o
f buying it anyway! REMOTE One of the most important pieces of any visual equipment, or indeed audio equipment is the remote. You should be able to do anything from the remote, that’s my theory anyway, why get up when you can sit and press! The remote for the 852 covers my requirements, having nearly every button you can think of available on the remote itself. One problem I did have though is using it in the dark. While the main function buttons, such as play and cursor buttons are shaped and in the middle of the control, for easy ‘touchy feely’ in the dark, the rest of the buttons, such as fast forward and reverse, volume controls, pause and stop are all at the bottom, all the same size and it can be a nightmare trying to find the right button! One other problem I have had with the remote is it’s workable area. I often find myself pressing a button twice after moving the angle of the remote for it to send a signal to the unit itself. It hasn’t got a great range, which is unfortunate, but nevertheless, it works ok! THE BACK The back of visual systems are extremely important to me. I like to be able to connect everything up, inclusing stereo systems so I can get the best sound out of my bits and pieces. The 852 lets me do everything I want, but sadly only has 1 scart socket, and that’s used to connect it up to the TV. Apart from that, it does have ports for Video out, Left and Right audio out, S-Video, Optical digital audio output, and coaxial output. These may not be enough for some, but for me, it’s fine. PLAYBACK Playback is good. I have used another budget DVD player from JMB and that one had problems with skipping parts of the disc and freezing. I have never had either of these problems with the Dansai 852. While the picture quality is good, it’s not amazing. I have noticed lines in my DVD’s and it’s not as sharp as some other sets. Also,
very dark colours such as dark green and blue don’t mix with black backgrounds all that well. Colours seem to be a problem with the Dansai actually, producing a sort of ‘hazed’ picture quality. However, this could be my TV, I’m not to sure as I haven’t tested it on any other TV. Sound quality though is excellent, especially as I have mine connected up to my stereo. Sound never skips and it always keeps up with what’s being shown on the screen. I know it might sound silly, but I have watched a DVD on a player where the sound seemed to be behind the picture on a lot of DVD’s. You’d see someone speaking, and their lips wouldn’t match the sound. How annoying is this!? Well gladly, the Dansai doesn’t seem to have this problem, and I have watched quite a few DVD’s on it. MANUAL I don’t use manuals, I hate manuals. But for those who do, the manual is good, covering every aspect of the player you could ever want. It also includes good drawings for example, the remote is drawn and every section is labelled with a description of what it’s for. Also, the manual is completely in English, which could provide a bit of a problem for people who can’t read English, but then this player was made in the UK, for Tesco’s, so it’s an English player through and through. The player isn’t multi region, but there is a code you can enter, as with a lot of players, to allow it to play discs from any region. Overall then, this is a budget player, don’t expect to much from it, because your not going to get it. If your someone who likes everything to be picture perfect (get the pun there!?) then don’t buy this player, infact, don’t buy any budget player as you will never be happy. This player doesn’t say it will do amazing things, it doesn’t say it is the greatest player out there and it doesn’t try to act like it. Y
our getting what your paying for, nothing more nothing less. My advice is to buy this player if you don’t intend to be watching too many DVD’s or you haven’t got a vast collection yet, or maybe just if you want to be ‘with it’ and with the DVD revolution. Don’t buy this player if your serious about your DVD’s and are just trying to save on the money, you will be disappointed. For me, I’m not, I’m happy with the player and plan to upgrade maybe next year when I have more DVD’s, and of course more money and DVD players have come down, until then, I’m happy with my Dansai 852 for under £100! Just remember, it is only available from Tescos, however, it doesn’t seem to be listed on the Tesco website, so it might be subject to different stores. It deserves a respectable 4 out of 5.
The Dansai 852 is a standard DVD player, it does not come with surround speakers, nor can they be plugged in as an additional extra. But when you are paying £99 for the machine what do you want. I brought mine from Tesco's and according to Tesco's it is special to them and can only be brought through them, this information I cannot vouch for. Anyway the player, it is a standard size player (WxHxD = 430x76.5x277) and comes in a silver finish, all the necessary leads are included and a moulded plug is fitted (remember if you remove a moulded plug it can often invalidate the warranty) and the now standard quick start guide along with a basic but informative instruction book. The unit is supplied with a remote control (and battery’s) and I have found all the functions I need are fitted on the remote. The unit plays all the formats I could wish for including: DVD, SDVD, VCD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW AND MP3. It is not a multi region player and is set up to play Region 2 formats. I must say that having watched my small and limited DVD collection I have found no problems with the unit and found sound and picture perfect. The unit adopts MPEG2 coding and brings the horizontal resolution over 500 lines, parent lock, standard and wide (16:9) screens, Zoom X2 or X4, Fast forward and reverse at X2 X4 X8 X16 X32. The downside is it when no disc is inserted it has a blue screen that gives a Tesco tech no if you are having problems (so everyone who reads this screen now know where you brought it from), and every time you open the CD tray it makes a horrible little dinging noise a bit like the start of a boxing match. But them two things a side this unit is an all rounder for its money and I’m really pleased. Just one last thing when I brought this item no one offered me extended warranty, in my case that was good as I don’t believe in them but if you like to have your goods covered then you may be struggling with th
is product (I honestly don’t know). If anyone would like some additional info on this product that I might have missed then please let me know and I will try to add it. UPDATE: 26.03.2002 I have been informed that there is a code to make the unit multi-region, please see comments for this opinon to get the information to make the unit multi region