Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sony Portable DVD Player

We bought a new portable DVD player with LCD at Western Appliance -- the Sony DVP-FX720. Cols has been talking about getting a portable player for some time because it seems to be the only way to keep Ethan behaved when we're out in parties or when he's on vacation. Playing Barney or Dora on the portable DVD player can keep him entertained for hours.

The DVP-FX720 cost about P11k. We took the additional P1k+ Malayan Insurance offer for an extra 2-year coverage on parts and labor over-and-above the standard 1-year insurance. They allow payment with 12-month installment using a credit card so we went for that.

Cols was originally looking for a NextBase. But it did not support DivX. Philips sells a portable DVD player with LCD at around P7k, but no DivX also. The DivX models sells at P9k+. Our Philips CD/Radio player has been problematic so we decided to try another brand -- Sony this time. And with the DVP-FX720 supporting DivX and USB playback of mp3/jpg, it seemed to be the best choice.

I noted in an earlier blog entry that my Philips DVDR plays certain AVI files, aside from DivX. My friend Orly clarified that AVI and DivX are just "container" file formats. The actual data stored inside can use different codecs. So not all AVI's (or DivX files, for that matter) are playable by DivX players. Only those that contain data that were encoded in DivX codec can be played back correctly.

However, I would like to point out something I've noticed -- even though my Philips DVDR plays AVI files which contains DivX-encoded data, they don't seem to have the "proper" aspect ratio as my TV. I notice that there's often black letterboxes on the left and right side, and there is the annoying keystone-ish effect on the left and right edge of the screen. But none of my DivX-encoded file has this. I suspect that the DivX Encoder correctly applies the proper screen profile which fixes this problem. So there really does still seem to be a point in doing the extra step of converting AVI's to DivX even if the AVI already contains a DivX-encoded data.

Interestingly, the DVP-FX720 manual clarified that it also does not play DivX files more than 2GB or were encoded originally from a 720 HD source. That explains why I could not play the BBC Planet Earth series even on my Philips DVDR -- it has the same limitations as this Sony player. I still plan to buy a Philips DVD/DivX Ultra player with 1080p and HDMI support. I wonder if that one will play these HD files.

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