Come on, be honest…if somebody had told you 10 years ago that you’d soon be able to carry around a device in your bag/briefcase capable of replaying movies with sensational cinema-style digital audio and video you would have started looking around for a straightjacket, right?
Yet here we now are in 2001 and that’s exactly what we’ve got. Micro DVD players are one of today’s hottest, most desirable consumer electronics items, none more so than the fantastic DVD-PV40 from Panasonic.
Measuring a mere 159×16.2x140mm, the classy DVD-PV40 is one of the sexiest looking transportable players on the market. Enhanced with an attractive new translucent blue/silver design the DVD-PV40 is a screenless machine designed for maximum portability.
If you need a machine that can easily be moved around between different locations, the DVD-PV40 really is an ideal candidate. It’s an ideal partner for widescreen, LCD panel displays or even for use with the popular Olympus Eye Trek personal video/multimedia goggles. And at just 258g (without battery) you’ll barely notice you’ve got it with you!
This is a truly amazing product to see and touch yet underneath that elegant exterior lurks some of the most sophisticated micro-electronics found in any consumer device.
When it comes to playing DVDs the DVD-PV40 can call on an arsenal of video technologies to help it deliver ultra-crisp pictures.
For starters there’s a 27MHz, 10-bit video D/A converter that processes the video signal at twice the rate it was recorded at, delivering up to 500 lines of resolution. Detail positively bounces out of your screen!
To make the most of the potential resolution on offer the DVD-PV40 offers a very high quality S-Video output as well as composite video, a guaranteed way of improving image quality (as long as you have an appropriately equipped TV).
When it comes to watching movies the DVD-PV40 has an extra video-related treat in store… Cinema mode. This facility optimises picture quality for films by tweaking luminance and colour levels, as well as boosting dim detail visibility. The end result is a visibly more cinematic feel to the image.
This latest model also features a newly developed, no-compromise twin laser pick-up. This uses a single objective lens but with two lasers of varying wavelengths – one is optimised for playing DVDs while other brings out the best in audio CDs.
When it comes to playing music you’re not just restricted to CDs bought from your local record store. Built-in CD-R/CD-RW compatibility means that the DVD-PV40 can also play audio discs that you’ve made on your home PC.
For really outstanding quality reproduction, however, why not sample a 96kHz/24-bit music DVD? These new format discs offer a vastly superior sound quality to traditional CD and the DVD-PV40 has a 100 per cent compatible D/A (digital to analogue) converter.
At the side of the player you’ll also find an optical output. Plug that into a Dolby Digital/DTS equipped amplifier/receiver and you’ll be able to experience all the thrills of multi-channel surround sound, just as you would with a full-size player (a dialogue enhancer adds extra centre-channel clarity at the touch of a button, too).
That’s not to say that you can’t listen to movies perfectly well via the player. While there are no built-in speakers fitted there is a very clean sounding headphone output, along with Headphone V.S.S. (Virtual Surround Sound) to create a pseudo surround sound effect.
Ease of operation is arguably even more important in an micro DVD player than a standalone one so Panasonic has come up with a new control layout for the DVD-PV40.
All the main transport controls are logically arranged around the cursor joystick at the bottom right of the player. Secondary controls plus an informative LCD display sit just above with AV outputs neatly positioned on the side.
Once you’ve hooked the DVD-PV40 up to a TV you’ll find there’s an advanced Graphical User Interface to help you navigate the many functions, all accessed using the supplied slimline infrared remote control.
If you need to fast forward or reverse to a scene the high-speed Smooth Motion Scan facility allows you to shuttle backwards and forwards at up to 100x normal speed.
If you’re a busy sort that can’t always see the whole of a film in one sitting you’ll love the Chapter Review facility. When you play the film again Chapter Review will play the first few seconds of every preceding chapter up to the point where you left off, giving you an instant refresher on where you’d got up to.
With the addition of an optional battery pack ( a multi-voltage AC adapter is supplied as standard) consumers will also discover that the DVD-PV40 can offer up to 6 hours of playback time, an excellent result by any standards.
Smart thinking we think you’ll agree but then that typifies the DVD-PV40 through and through. If you’re considering a micro DVD player you’d be crazy not to have this player on your shortlist.
Specifications: Panasonic DVD-PV40 Micro DVD Player
RRP: £349.99 Available: July 2001
27MHz/10-bit Video D/A Converter
Twin laser pickup for DVD/CD
Still Picture Display
96kHz/24-bit D/A converter
Smooth Motion Scan
Composite video/S-Video output
Digital optical audio out
Slimline remote control
Built-in recharger/Multi-voltage AC adapter
Dimensions (WxHxD): 159×16.2x140mm