Monday, November 07, 2005

Orbit PTDVD-768S Review

I bought this portable DVD Divx and bunch of other stuff player on Ebay for my birthday. Now that I'm putting it back on ebay, why not review it so others might be more informed about its qualities.

This player has a number of intersting properties, among which, is the ability to play divx. I've tested it with v5 Divx and Xvid and it actually played most of what I threw at it. Some things were not playable, but I can't say for sure which versions those turned out to be, it just seemed be more hit than miss. Unfortunately it did have some audio sync issues, more so than you'll see playing the exact same files on your computer.

The biggest problem this device has is with the display. It has a 7" 16:9 ratio display. This would be quite nice if it could use it adaquetly. Unfortunately the display has two major problems. One, it shows everything from total black to light shadows in about two different shades of grey. That's really not cool. Sometimes you just have faces suspended in a grey blob that should be the colorful environment around them. The other problem is really just for aspect ratio purests like myself. If you can go to a bar and see a widescreen tv showing normal tv without cringing or crying, then you might not even notice, but this player likes to stretch images. By default the player shows everything in 16:9 format regardless of what it was originally made to play on. Using the remote, no button on the player, you can switch it to 4:3 which will letterbox the sides, or I guess the proper term would be to just side border them. This is fine for tv, except of course the 7" screen now becomes quite smaller. The real problem is if you watch something that is letterboxed in the 4:3 format, like a divx movie. Now if you put it to 4:3 you get black borders on all four sides, making your screen maybe 3 inches. Some more expensive players might have a letterbox mode, or zoom mode that will expand the screen to chop off the letterbox bars and thus use the widescreen, but this one does not. The only solution I found was to recompress the videos with a horizontally squished aspect ratio, from whatever it was to a 4:3 horizontal number, while leaving the vertical the same. This is just time consuming and annoying.

Additionally this player can actually read files off of a usb drive. The one one I had which worked was my little usb smart card reader, and yes you can play pictures and even videos off of it. So if the screen were only of better quality it would be a quick and portable way to preview photos and videos from your digital camera, but its not.

The last two notable features are the built in tv tuner and the game function. The tv tuner works when plugging in their rediculous tv antenna which is annoying. Also you have to program in the channels, also annoying. The game function is basically a nintendo emulator, NES. How this is legal I haven't figure out, and it probably isn't. It comes with like 300 games on a porely organized cd. It didn't seem useful to me, but the included game controller provided me with 45 seconds of entertainment.

As far as inputs and outputs, it does have quite a few, but they all go through 1/8" headphone style jacks, including the svideo cable. This makes me doubt it's really delivering s-video quality, and on my tv I couldn't tell for sure. It definately has some color glitches but I think it has more to do with the decoder in the device.

All in all I'd recommend avoiding this particular device. The only thing that makes this better than a laptop for dvd's and video is its size, and that it doesn't burn my legs. Also the battery actually sort of works.

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