A little portable DVD shopping guide!


Bronze Member
Username: Audiomaster

Post Number: 11
Registered: Apr-06
On long road trips (when you are not driving, of course) or airline flights, having a portable DVD player can make the miles zoom. You can watch your favorite movie, listen to CDs, or bone up on that client presentation--all with a single device.

Best of all the technology has matured to the point where you don't need to spend a fortune for a good unit. You can find a decent model with at a 7-inch or larger display for around $200. However, the range of features on these players varies. Some are optimized for game playing, while others are for movie viewing. Browse our list of suggested features and decide which ones are most important to you before you purchase. With care, you can end up with a portable player suited for business and pleasure.

The Quest For Perfection

As with most technologies, you get what you pay for, and that concept applies to DVD players, as well. If you find a feature-laden machine at a rock-bottom price, expect that discrepancy to show up somewhere. Consider all our buying criteria (and ignore the media hype) before you make a selection. One more thing: Always evaluate the video quality of any machine before you buy it.

Battery life. This is a big issue for road warriors but one many of us take for granted. Look for at least two hours of battery life in video playback mode. Steer clear of the few portable players that do not have batteries, instead taking power from a wall outlet or car lighter.

Car kit. If you plan to use your DVD player in the car, purchase a model that includes a car adapter or offers one as an add-on. For maximum convenience look for a tablet model with a mounting system that attaches the player to the back of a vehicle's seat.

Format support. Your player will support standard DVDs running MPEG-2 files, but look for added support; MPEG-4 ASP (Advanced Simple Profile), WMV9 (Windows Media Video 9), DivX, and XviD formats are bonuses. Support for CDs and MP3s turns your video player into a jukebox. If you burn CDs or DVDs, make sure your player supports writeable (CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD-R) formats.

Output jacks. Virtually all DVD players can plug into a PC or TV for large-screen playback. However, high-quality outputs (S-Video [Super-Video] for video; Optical Out for audio), will afford better playback quality.

Screen orientation. The more screen real estate, the better. (Not all players have screens, some are designed for use with another system.) A 7-inch screen is standard with many players, but a 10-inch screen makes viewing more pleasurable. If you'll use the player in a group environment, a swivel screen will ensure that everyone gets a view.

Sound control. You won't always be using headphones, so check the sound quality of the player's built-in speakers. (Stereo is a must.) Make sure you can add external speakers, you may need a small pair for business presentations. Dolby Digital support is a given; for optimal quality, look for virtual surround sound, as well.

Weight. If you travel light, check the weight on any player you consider. Anything heavier than 5 pounds can feel like a brick after awhile. Don't be fooled by size either. Some of the smallest players have overweight batteries.
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