With the growth of HDTV and Blu-ray Disc players, TV-DVD combos are slowly fading from view. That said, user feedback tells us that they still fill a niche for those who value simplicity and convenience. Consumers like TV-DVD combos because they are easy to use, require only one remote and eliminate the need for separate components. Both the TV and DVD player are combined in one compact unit, which reduces cable clutter and makes set-up hassle-free. Having fewer components is especially useful in areas such as kitchens, bedrooms and dorm rooms where space is limited.
TV-DVD combos range in size from under 10 inches to 40 inches. All but the smallest are HDTVs, though many display images in the lower (but still HD) resolution of 720p. Some combos feature Blu-ray Disc players and can play back high-def Blu-ray Discs as well as standard-definition DVDs. While DVDs can look terrific, even on an HDTV, they can't quite match the image quality of most Blu-ray Discs.
If space and convenience aren't of utmost concern, most experts say that you are better off buying a separate DVD or Blu-ray Disc player and television rather than a TV-DVD player combo. Standalone disc players tend to perform somewhat better than those included in combos -- and if they break, they are more easily repaired or replaced than one that's part of a TV-DVD or TV-Blu-ray combo. Likewise, the TVs themselves often have fewer features -- though there are some notable exceptions. For more information and reviews on separate TV and DVD components, see our reports on DVD players and Blu-ray players, as well as our reports on LCD TVs and plasma TVs.
While some consumers still see a role for TV-DVD combos, professional reviewers are less interested, offering little to no coverage even of combos that include Blu-ray Disc players. As a result, the best guidance comes from user feedback such as that posted at Amazon.com, where user-written reports can be lengthy and informative. Other retailer sites, such as BHPhotoVideo.com, BestBuy.com and Target.com, have enough user ratings to be helpful.