Digital Noise Reduction: Early DVD players had problems with digital noise due to poorly mastered discs, but most models now on the market are third-generation players and should give little trouble. Any problem the players cannot handle without DNR is not likely to be improved with it. Still, a player with good DNR may improve video CDs. S-Video: RCA phono jacks are fine for laser-disc players. S-Video jacks have a considerable resolution and colour quality advantage over RCA jacks. And using phono jacks with a DVD player can actually introduce noise into the image. Component Video Out: A step up from S-Video, Component Video uses separate RGB plugs, much like those in high-end computer monitors. Only the most expensive television sets have them, and there seems to be some debate over whether or not they improve sound and picture quality. You can judge for yourself. All Region: A DVD machine bought in Hong Kong can play only DVDs made for Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, and will not play discs intended for the US, Europe or even the mainland! Dividing the world into six regions was to prevent pirating, parallel importing and other practices that take food from the mouths of starving Hollywood executives. There is no way around this. There is not a simple set of dip switches in most DVD players that any dealer worth his salt can flip to make the machine handle discs from all regions. If you ask the dealer, he will absolutely refuse to change these non-existent dip switches for you. If you have a DVD drive on your computer, you will discover there is no software at www2.datatestlab.com/re gionhacks to modify it to handle DVDs from all regions. Shame on you for even thinking such a thing. Surround Sound Decoding: Some DVD players offer this feature. If, and only if, you have a Dolby Surround Sound-ready amplifier, this will save you the trouble and expense of having to buy a separate decoder. DTS: Another surround-sound standard. All DTS-enabled DVD players apparently also handle Dolby Digital, so you are not giving up one sound format for the other. Some say DTS is better than Dolby, though it does require specially encoded DVDs. By buying a DTS-enabled player, you are betting that DTS-encoded discs will become more common than they are now. But if you bet correctly, chances are you will be ready for a new DVD player by the time DTS-enabled DVDs are nearly ubiquitous. So if going DTS does not cost you more money, then what the heck?