Not All DVD Players Are Equal, Lesson Learned: Sony X-800 Review

A couple of months ago our DVD player went out. Thinking one DVD player is the same as the rest, we picked up what looked like an average player at our local Walmart. We were in a bit of a hurry and didn’t have time to do our usual research–something that came back to haunt us later.

At first the player worked fine. It played both blue ray and old style discs with no issues.

And then it happened.

We have nearly every Marvel DVD ever made. One by one, they stopped working. Each one would freeze just before it allowed us to get to the PLAY screen. On one of the Avengers’ DVDs, Iron Man’s face grinned at us with all the malevolence Robert Downey Jr. could muster.

The first thing I did was hit up Google to see how to fix it. Most of the “fixes” involved cleaning the disc. Our discs were immaculate. I searched for days. Nowhere could I find a solution.

Some DVDs played fine, but for some reason it refused to play any Marvel disc. I even went so far as suspecting Marvel of collusion with the Russians, infecting my discs with a no-play feature once they were watched an nth number of times.

We talked to a couple of store clerks to see if they knew how to solve the problem. No one had the answer until we met Jon at Best Buy. Jon knew exactly what had happened.

Cheaper DVD players often can’t download updates. It didn’t read our Marvel DVDs because it didn’t have the information necessary to continue playing, hence the Iron Man sneer.

Jon directed us to the Sony UBP-X800. He assured us this one would play our DVDs. To be safe, I had brought along one of our DVDs so I could test it before I bought it, but he didn’t have a player set up for demo. Again, he insisted this would work.

Being a good salesman he also advised us to switch our HDMI cables to the 4K Ultra High Def cables. He explained how these types of cables have a lower loss of data during transfer in comparison to the cheaper cables.

I was dubious, but he was absolutely right. We noticed the difference in color and clarity immediately.

A further nod to Jon is that he could’ve pointed us to any number of higher priced players, but he did the conscientious thing and explained that the others did what this Sony did, but the Sony was cheaper.

It was such a pleasure to talk to someone who really understood the technology.

The reason for this post is because I couldn’t find any information anywhere on why we couldn’t play our DVDs. Had we gone out and bought a high end DVD player to begin with it’s likely we’d never have known this could happen.

I hope if anyone ever comes across this problem and Googles it, it’ll show them this post. If your disc is clean and your player is relatively new and you still can’t play your DVDs, chances are it’s a low end machine that can’t download the latest updates.

My public service announcement to you if you are a regular DVD watcher is to buy the Sony UBP-X800 and the better quality cables, despite the higher cost. The difference is night and day.

Do you keep a DVD library, or do you prefer to stream your movies?






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  1. RE: “Do you keep a DVD library, or do you prefer to stream your movies?”

    We prefer favorite movie franchise/actor DVD’s to own simply because we never hooked up to either a streaming service or Internet on our television. There are some days miss buying PPV movies and TV Movies On Demand but when we get our DirecTV bill that nostalgia is quickly overwhelmed by relief that the bill is not any higher Maria.

    If we want to get more current movies we rent at Redbox and do not buy them.

  2. Stacy McKitrick

    DVD library for sure! I don’t trust our internet for streaming anything. Plus, I like to have them to watch anytime and not worry about “is it still available?”.

    Both of our DVD players are Sonys, as are our TVs. Never had any problems with them. Well, except for one movie that won’t play on our Blue Ray player. Maybe it just needs an update? Or maybe I just got a defective DVD.

  3. Stacy McKitrick

    Oh, I meant to ask… Does your new DVD player have a display (showing how long you’re into the movie)? I noticed new players don’t display that information anymore and I HATE it.

  4. Lately hubby has been buying more DVDs than we had bought over the previous years. I tend not to watch too many movies more than one time so would rather rent or stream at this point than accumulate more stuff, but he does enjoy watching a movie over and over again, so they do get their money’s worth. Sounds like a good sales person you had. The world needs more like him.


  5. We bought a new panasonic DVD and it’s been great after one unexpected hiccup. My daughter bought a blueray The Great Gatsby and it wouldn’t play, though it played other bluray stuff. Anyway, we had to download an update from panasonic, put it on to a memory stick and plug it into our Smart TV. I am a technophobe. It gave me a sleepless night before I tried it. To my surprise it worked fine and I couldn’t believe it.

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