How to Buy Portable Multi Region DVD Players

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How to Buy Portable Multi Region DVD Players

During the 1990s there were movies like Wim Wenders' "Until the End of the World" or Kathryn Bigelow's "Strange Days" that imagined wonderful new personal media devices for the new millennium like devices that replaced the movie camera with human memory. In reality though, what there is available now with the current technology is the portable DVD player, which is ideal for watching those movies and any other movie on the go.

There are alternative personal media devices, such as a laptop, notebook and tablet computers, or e-book readers and portable games consoles, all of which are appropriate to particular uses and contexts, but the portable DVD player has earned a niche as a family entertainment hub for people to use while travelling. In-car portable DVDs are therefore a significant part of the market for this type of player, but it is not the only one. As well as the main intended use for the player, there are a number of factors that a buyer should consider before making a choice, including video and audio capabilities, battery life, durability, and connectivity.

About DVD Regions

Since DVD is an abbreviation of the Digital Versatile Disc, there are uses for the format besides the distribution of commercial audiovisual media. However, it is the marketing and distribution of this type of DVD media that the DVD region codes serve to support. The regions are a trade-off between the desire for flexible marketing options on the one hand and cultural coherence on the other. There are six designated DVD regions, but the coding system has an additional three digits.

Code

Meaning

All

All flags set, permitting the disc to be played in any region and on any player

0

Alternative to the all setting; either have no flag set or have them set for regions 1–6; another equivalent term is "Region Free"

1

Canada and the United States, plus Bermuda and U.S. overseas territories

2

Europe (apart from Russia, the Ukraine, and Belarus); Egypt and the Middle East; Japan; South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho; Greenland; French Overseas departments and territories

3

Southeast Asia, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau (but not mainland China)

4

Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, South America; New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Oceania

5

Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus; Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan; Central and South Asia, Mongolia, North Korea; Africa (excluding Egypt, South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho)

6

China

7

Reserved

8

Transnational public venues such as aircraft and cruise ships

Flags can be set selectively in pre-recorded media, for instance 2/4, but players cannot normally be set up selectively in this way. Instead, players that are designated as being multi-region are effectively blind to the region codes embedded in DVD media. Some DVD player manufacturers have long been embedding "cheat codes" in their products to enable users, primarily those outside region 1, to play media flagged for regions other than their own.

Portable DVD Player Design

For the most part, portable DVD players conform to a single design specification. They resemble a notebook computer in having a screen that folds open, and a surface that hosts the drive mechanism and its controls.

Screen

Like tablet computers, the majority of portable DVD players have either 7-- or 10-inch screen although 9- and 13-inch screens can be found, and so too can non-standard form factors that may be smaller than 7 inches. One popular exception to the computer-like format is the dual screen or twin screen. This is particularly useful for car back seats during long journeys, enabling more than one person to view the same DVD. They do not, however, permit the simultaneous playing of two separate DVDs.

Other Features

Some portable DVD models permit TV reception, and some are capable of receiving Digital Audio Broadcasting. DAB is easier to pick up with a portable aerial than digital television, so TV performance may be limited. Some models have limited game playing capabilities. Generally speaking, however, they cannot be used to play major games platform releases. When included, they are usually generic games, such as Tetris.

Choosing a Portable DVD Player

It is also important to look at some of the more detailed aspects of an individual model. In addition to topics that apply to DVD players in general, there are aspects of portable players that deserve attention.

Video

Screens need to be capable of displaying widescreen formats. Even if the item's description does not explicitly state this, it can be inferred from the resolution. The two figures, for example 800 x 480, should approximate to a 16:9 ratio. Some players are capable of playing High Definition DVDs. The more pixels there are, the higher the picture quality. For complete multi-region compatibility, the players need both NTSC and PAL capability.

Audio

There are two sides to the evaluation of a portable DVD player's audio capabilities. The first concerns the quality of sound that the device is capable of delivering, and as a corollary, what type and quantity of external connections it can support. The second concerns the audio encoding standards that it is designed to handle. Taking quality first, the sound quality provided as standard by portable DVD players is generally poor. There are compromises that go with portability, and sound quality is one of them. It is worth looking for online reviews of particular models to see how existing users rate them.

Regarding audio formats, it is not unusual to see Nicam mentioned although this is an old and near-obsolete standard. Dolby Digital is the current standard. Although it is best experienced in a full-scale home cinema set-up, a good set of headphones is a satisfactory substitute while travelling.

Battery Life

The capacity of a portable DVD player to play a full movie is one of the most critical aspects governing a choice. As well as the expected life of the batteries, there are considerations about flexibility to take into account so that batteries can easily be changed if need be. Also, rechargeability is a desirable option too. Some models are able to recharge via a car socket.

Durability

Especially where children are concerned, a robust design is an asset as the capacity to resist the shocks that can result from bumps in the road and similar events is crucial. Another aspect of durability is waterproofing. Being able to resist sticky spills may also prove to be valuable. Some portable DVD players are specifically designed with children in mind.

Connectivity

Although their primary market is related to travel, portable DVD players are also handy devices for showing digital photographs, when equipped with suitable connections. For that particular purpose, a USB port or an SD card reader is needed.

Buying a Portable Muilt-Region DVD Player on eBay

Fortunately, "portable DVD player&" is an unambiguous search term. Typing it into the search window on eBay's home page should immediately yield a broad range of purchasing options for this popular delivery format. By using filters, these results can be narrowed down by various criteria. For example, you might want to restrict your results to a specific manufacturer. Region codes can be filtered too, and this is one way of finding a multi-region player, although it might be described as "region 0". The alternative is to start from the home page with a search for "multi-region portable DVD&", but this might result in fewer hits.

Moreover, for a player specifically designed to be used in a car, try "car DVD player&". Although the initial results probably include designs that are intended to fit permanently into a car's entertainment slots so that they would not strictly speaking be portable, there should also be more flexible models, which are supplied complete with fittings that enable the screen to be mounted on the back of the front seat. These fittings can also be purchased separately. Doing a search on eBay is fast and simple.

Conclusion

The market for portable media devices is an intensely competitive arena these days. Portable DVD players are competing with a bewildering array of alternatives, from smartphones and eReaders to tablets and portable computers, not to mention personal stereo and portable gaming devices. Nevertheless, the DVD player has certain significant advantages in some circumstances, especially when young families are involved, and more especially again when they are travelling together. It allows kids and travellers to stay entertained while riding in cars or any form of transportation.

Although there are considerations to bear in mind when selecting a multi-region portable DVD player that are common to all DVD players, there are some specific topics that apply most particularly to the portable type. One is the quality and flexibility of audio playback, another is battery life, and the third main concern is robustness and durability. The more flexible the player is in terms of its inputs and outputs, the more entertaining it is, but eBay's listings feature a good spread of features and prices so that selecting the right one should be a simple task.

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