Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Unmemorable Memorex: The Memorex MVD2037 Is Cheap, Not Just Inexpensive!

The Good: Plays DVDs, CDs, MP3s and Photo CDs like it is supposed to
The Bad: No memory function, Surround Sound feature, Randomness of the display
The Basics: While it functions for basic things, the Memorex MVD2037 lacks memory start discs when the unit is turned off and that annoys me.

DVD Players are pretty standard pieces of equipment these days. Let's be honest, there is not a ton one may write about a DVD player. Does it work? Does it keep working? Does it play DVDs? If the answer is "yes" to these, you've pretty much got a functional DVD Player and enough to recommend one. Honestly, you can find a DVD player these days in the $20 range and it will connect to just about anyone's equipment in a way that is both functional and satisfactory.

For the average person, a DVD player need only play the DVDs. Even for slightly more sophisticated systems, the key to getting the most out of one's viewing experience is in the television and sound system. The DVD player need only play DVDs. And by those criteria, the Memorex MVD2037 is worth recommending. It is functional, easy to set up and it has endured in my house now for almost a year.

The MVD2037 has a sleek silver case that fits the color scheme of most brands, so it goes well with my SONY television and sound system. This Memorex looks good and it plays DVDs just fine. As well, I have used it to play MP3s, CDs and picture CDs and I am pleased to say that it lives up to its promised ability to play all of those mediums and play them well. It seems to have no trouble switching between mediums; when a disc is popped in, it recognizes the format of the disc and plays it accordingly.

Beyond that, though, this DVD player is a bit of a disappointment. I love energy saving devices, but this Memorex is problematic in that it does not have any memory. So, if you pause a DVD and leave the room and the unit shuts down because it is saving electricity, one must reboot the DVD from the beginning. I find that annoying myself. I would rather have a player that when it shuts off, it remembers where the viewer is, so when it is rebooted, it starts exactly where one leaves off. Every other DVD player I have ever had (including the $30 one purchased at a big box store when the first cheap DVD players hit the market) has had a function that can be programmed so that when the player is shut off (either automatically or from the remote) it starts at the place the viewer left off. This unit does not.

I have also noticed that the remote is finicky in terms of controlling the player. Regardless of the age of the batteries, the Memorex MVD2037 has an awful time recognizing signals from the remote from anything less than a perpendicular angle. So if you are sitting askew of the DVD player and trying to control it with the remote, it's a crapshoot as to whether or not the system recognizes input from the remote. My original room design for my home theater was buggered by this problem; I wanted a wall that had the television to be otherwise clear of equipment, but the DVD player not recognizing the remote when askew forced me to mount the DVD player below the television.

Sadly, the display does not seem terrible durable or reliable either. Sometimes, when a DVD is put in, the display simply does not light up, which means I cannot tell whether or not the player is on until it either makes a noise or the television screen changes. This is just irksome in that it means a few seconds of delay that a decent display would correct. I've not had any power outages that would explain the intermittent nature of the display working or not working, so this is just baffling and annoying. This problem first became noticeable when I unplugged the player once. When the unit was plugged back in (to a surge protector), the display no longer worked. When it did work, the display was quite bright and accurately relayed the current state of the disc. It does NOT have a clock function, so when it is off, it's off completely.

Before mine died completely, I started to play with the DVD player's advanced functions a bit and in doing that, I discovered the Surround Sound feature (which the manual bafflingly instructs the user not to use if they have more than two speakers connected to the DVD player - go figure). The Surround sound feature is neat but it, too, is limited by the lack of memory the Memorex player suffers from. So, when the player turns off, if you were watching something, you need to remember to reactivate the surround sound as well. As well, when the discs are changed, one must remember to reactivate the surround sound.

Finally, when using the player to play video discs, I have noticed some delay moving between images. The controls are simple, but there is a delay in moving from image to image that does not occur when the Memorex MVD2037 is reading DVDs, CDs or MP3s. However, like with DVDs, if the unit shuts off when playing a CD or MP3 disc, it goes back to the beginning of the disc. This is irksome for longer works, like listening to audionovels on the unit.

It's just annoying.

I suppose that's honestly the last word on this player. I had it for four years before it died abruptly on me and it worked fine in that time (save the display which works whenever it feels like it, apparently) in terms of playing DVDs and other disc media. But when it came time to replace it, I looked for something with memory, in our case, a Playstation 3 (reviewed here!)

For other home electronic devices, please visit my reviews of:
Envision EN-7100si Monitor
HP ScanJet 3570C
17” Macbook Pro


For other electronic and computer products, please check out my index page with listings of all those reviews by clicking here!

© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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