a set-top dvd player will only play dvd, music. a computer dvd player usually has write capabilities as well as the ability to open anything on the disk that you have software for. the only downside is that you need a video codec to play dvds on your computer and set-top boxes seem to "upscale" better.
Set top DVD player:
- Dedicated to playing DVDs.
- Can playback movies burned onto DVD-R and DVD+R if burned properly. Must be in DVD video format; i.e. VOB files.
- Some can play MP3 files burned on DVDs or CDs.
- Low power consumption
Computer DVD player:
- Needs a computer so more expensive
- Consumes more power since the PC will be on.
- You can play back other types of video files burnt on the DVD like AVI and MKV.
- If you buy a DVD burner, you can write data on blank DVDs and CDs.