No matter how enticing the two camps make their respective teams of players, it’s still a brave gadgeteer who commits to one side in the hi-def format war.

The battle could be long, but there is an alternative – holing up in an underground bunker with an upscaling DVD player like the Arcam DV139.

DVD master

The Arcam in question packs both powerful video processing from Anchor Bay, complete with 1080p upscaling, and audiophile features such as 24-bit/192kHz Wolfson DACs. 

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It’s as impressive with DVD as almost anything we’ve seen, with simply glorious colour richness, exemplary sharpness and negligible noise and it also shakes a very lucid leg with music. 

We like a choice, and the Arcam will give you a range of HD resolutions: 720p, 1080i, 1080p and the less common 768p used on computer monitors. 

It also bears the expected HDMI output as well as component, composite, S-video and Scart outputs. 

Strong CD player

Which makes it a perfect player for your CDs, which we hear are still pretty popular despite rumours of their demise.  On its audio list of likes are SACD and DVD-Audio discs, MP3, WMA and even HDCD. 

Dolby digital and 5.1 mean it’s a home cinema enthusiast’s best buddy and the build is suitably hardy including a anti-vibration SDS (Sound Dead Steel) chassis.  We know what our solo album’s going to be called now. 

And what about that price tag? The more we used the DV139, the less the money bothered us. If you want one box to deliver better quality from CDs and DVDs, you’ll have to spend a lot more than this. 

The Arcam DV139 does what it knows excellently and is a great one-box alternative for DVDs and CDs if plunging into the hi-def format war seems too risky and scary.

Stuff says... 

Arcam DV139 review

A top-class performer for both DVDs and CDs. If you’ve only got room for one box below your telly, make it this one
£1,800