New Portable Entertainment Devices are Big on Technology But Small in Size


These days television technology seems to be focusing on the extremely large with the recent introductions of Plasma TV's over one hundred inches across. With prices falling on LCD and Plasma screen technology and LCD's getting bigger, consumers seem to be driven to get the largest TV they possibly can.

Though it's not getting as much attention, there's also a trend in the other direction. Small television screens are getting smaller. Or rather bigger home entertainment center functions are being stuffed into increasingly small devices. The Video iPod is the device that probably gets the most hype and this is largely due to the fact that it's made by Apple which has also established the online store, iTunes.

Apple has closely coincided the release of a new version of the Video iPod to the announcement that iTunes will have video in the form of movies and television shows available for download for a small fee. The new iPod has truly impressive capabilities. It's now available in with a 80 gigabyte hard drive, which can store up to 20,000 songs in 128- Kbps AAC Format, up to 25,000 digital photos and a huge 100 hours of video. It can play up to twenty hours of music on a fully charged battery or six and a half hours of video. At 2.5 inches it's screen is somewhat smaller than other models.

Dish Network is also a contender in this market with their PocketDish line. The largest model, the AV700E is the one closest to being comparable to the Video iPod. It has a forty gigabyte hard drive which can store up to one hundred and sixty hours of video, twenty thousand songs, and four hundred thousand photos (probably really small or low res photos). It will play video for up to four hours on a charged battery and audio for up to twelve hours. Besides total video capacity the AV700E has the Video iPod beat in terms of display size: it's screen is a whopping seven inches across.

Toshiba also offers a portable video device called the Toshiba gigabeat S Series Portable Media Center. It has a 60 gigabyte hard drive, a 2.4 inch screen. With a fully charged battery it can play up to 2.5 hours of video which can be downloaded from a Windows Media Center PC or a TiVo Series2 digital video recorder. It's unique features include Windows Mobile software and a built in FM radio tuner.

On the really small end of the spectrum is the Meizu Mini Player. The Meizu Mini Player packs a 2.4 inch display into a case that's only 1.9 inches by 0.4 inches by 3.1 inches. It's specs do not show exactly how much content it's four gigabyte hard drive is supposed to hold, but it would be reasonable to guess that you could watch two full length feature films on it. It does handle audio, video, and photos. Two exceptional features about the Meizu Mini Player, in addition to it's small size, is the fact that it can play audio or video for up to 20 hours on a single charge and that it's compatible with Linux computers along with Windows and Mac.

For anyone who likes to carry around A LOT of media on their portable device, there's the Archos 504 which has a huge 160 gigabyte hard drive. It has a 4.3 inch screen and can play standard audio and video formats.

With these portable AV units on the market, there's a lot of competition to create the latest device to pack the biggest punch in the smallest package.


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