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A portable DVD player is a compact lightweight device with its own integral LCD (“Liquid Crystal Display”) screen which allows commercial DVD – and other similarly formatted – content to be viewed in a variety of situations away from a source of mains power. Popular applications include use while travelling on trains, aeroplanes or in motor vehicles and connection to a television or entertainment system in the home or elsewhere as a substitute for a standard full-sized DVD player. The size weight and style of a portable DVD player along with its battery life and other features have a bearing on its suitability for a particular situation. It is worth taking the time to examine some of these features in order to determine the best portable DVD player for you.
Shinco – or the Jiangsu Shinco Electronics Group to give the corporation its full name – is the largest manufacturer of portable DVD players in the world. The company has more than 60 offices and sales branches around the world and a global network of distributors and subsidiaries in more than 50 countries. Indeed Shinco plans to expand its operation in western and eastern Europe Japan and Australia. Shinco portable DVD players are internationally recognised for their innovation and build quality and have received numerous awards from some of the most prestigious consumer electronics publications on the market in recent times.
Shinco Portable DVD Players
All portable DVD players will allow you to play back commercial DVDs provided, of course, that those DVDs are from the appropriate geographic region or the player itself is “multiregional”. The Shinco SDP1735 portable DVD player, for example, provides multiregional capability straight from the box which can be useful if you wish to obtain DVD titles from the United States or Asia. In addition to shop-bought DVDs, it may also be that you wish to create your own disks in DVD+/R or DVD+/-RW recordable format or download VCD (“Video Compact Disk”) or DivX format films, trailers or music videos from the Internet. The Shinco SDP1735 model again provides support for all of these formats together with compatibility with CD-R/RW MP3 and JPEG. Some portable DVD players also feature a built-in card reader compatible with for example SD or “Secure Digital” or Memory Stick expansion cards and allow playback from these media types as well as disk-based media. The Shinco SDP6820 portable DVD player is an example of this type. Obviously the more formats that a portable DVD player supports the greater its flexibility and the fewer individual gadgets you need to carry with you.
If your intention is to use a portable DVD player exclusively as a personal device – for example on public transport or during your lunch break at work – the ability to connect it to other devices may not be of particular importance to you. You may want to consider, however, a portable DVD player – such as the Shinco SDP1735 model – which allows the connection of a games controller or your existing games console to bring an extra dimension to your mobile entertainment. Alternatively you may be interested in using a portable DVD player in your home or hotel room in which case connectivity to a television or home entertainment system may be more important. Many portable DVD players nowadays feature AV (“Audio Video”) outputs of one form or another which allow connection to external devices. Look for composite video S-video or SCART outputs for video and digital coaxial or optical outputs for audio for connection to a stereo HiFi or 5.1 channel digital surround sound system. The Shinco SDP1731 portable DVD player, for example, includes a cable for connection to a television set along with a remote control and a 12-volt DC adaptor for use in a car. It is also possible for a portable DVD player to include a DVB-T (“Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial”) television tuner so that it can function as a 3-in-1 entertainment device offering DVD playback mobile video gaming and mobile TV.
In-car use of a portable DVD player is very popular with children riding in the back seat where they can quietly – by using headphones – and unobtrusively enjoy their favourite DVD content without disturbing or distracting their parents. The use of a portable DVD player in a car may influence your choice when it comes to the basic design and style of the player. Portable DVD players are usually one of two types; so-called “clamshell” style players feature a screen and player body that fold together – much like a laptop computer – when not in use whereas “tablet” style portable DVD players are flatter with a screen and speakers on the front and a DVD to the side. Clamshell players need to be mounted in a car in an open position — which can be intrusive — so generally speaking a tablet style player may be better for in-car use. Some models actually allow the screen to be swivelled through 180 or 360 degrees and can be used in clamshell or tablet style as necessary. Headphones wired or wireless – along with twin headphone jacks if the player is to be used by two children, for example – are a necessity for in-car use. Make sure that also choose a screen of adequate size – or a twin screen model – if a portable DVD player is to be shared. The Shinco SDP1731 model, as an example, is equipped with twin headphone jacks. For uninterrupted viewing in a car or other vehicle, look for a portable DVD player with “anti shock” or “anti skip” protection. Such systems typically hold a portion of the playback in internal memory so that if the laser beam reading the DVD is knocked off track by jolting or lurching of a vehicle or rough road conditions playback continues uninterrupted.
Whichever type of portable DVD player you choose, bear in mind that its overall physical size and weight is likely to be directly proportional to the size of its screen. A larger screen may generally be preferable but if you are looking for a very small lightweight – perhaps 2lbs or so – player you may have to sacrifice screen size in order to achieve this. Look for TFT or “Thin Film Transistor” technology which allows more precise control of individual picture elements or “pixels” in the display and produces brighter sharper more colour rich pictures as a result. The Shinco SDP6820 portable DVD player, as just one example from the Shinco range, features an 8 1/2 inch TFT LCD screen with a contrast ratio of 300:1. The “resolution” of a portable DVD player screen – often quoted as the rows and columns of pixels in the display in the form “480 x 234” or similar – is an indication of the level of sharpness and clarity that you can expect in an image displayed on that screen. Generally speaking the higher the total number of pixels the better.
Do bear in mind that a larger screen is likely to be more demanding in terms of battery power. Battery life is a recurring “bugbear” in portable DVD players at their current level of technology. Unless you are intending to use a portable DVD player at home or at work where mains power is an option in the car where power can be supplied from the car battery or a suitably equipped train or aeroplane a battery life of less than 2 hours – the minimum for a Hollywood feature film nowadays – is likely to be unacceptable. Thankfully lithium ion (“Li-Ion”) and lithium polymer (“Li-Po”) rechargeable battery technologies together with advancements in portable DVD technology itself mean that battery life of 3 4 5 or more hours is a reality. If you are intending to use a portable DVD player on especially long trips a secondary replacement rechargeable battery pack may be a necessity. Remember however that these are not cheap and will add to the total weight that you need to carry around. The Shinco SDP6820 portable DVD player, for example, features a high capacity lithium ion battery with a life of roughly 3 hours on a single charge.