Portable DVD Player Buying Guide

DVDs have been a favorite among movie enthusiasts ever since their inception a few years back. And the reason for the same has been the exceptional picture and sound clarity that they offer, besides the fact that you can always forward a movie to your favorite parts. Portable DVD players, a convenient and mobile extension of the traditional DVD players, have also been in constant demand, since they offer the same unmatched sound and picture quality with the added advantage of their portability.

Why is it a great device?

Portable handheld DVD players give you the benefit of taking your favorite movies DVDs, MP3s, Photo CDs, and many DVD format disks anywhere you go. Then whether it be on a long trip where the in-flight entertainment is not suiting your taste, an outdoor camp where you want to take a bit of technological assistance to stay entertained while being in touch with nature, or for that matter anywhere on to go, you can carry this wonderful device to instantly cure boredom.

And if you think that portable DVD players are only for usage while you are not at home, think again. Many of them can be plugged into television sets equipped with home theater systems, and you won’t feel even the slightest bit of difference between a regular player and a portable one. Thus, portable DVD players are a much better investment than regular ones in many ways.

Notebooks are just not as good

Many people might be of the view that once they own a notebook computer, there is really no need for a portable DVD player as such. However, this is not the case for numerous reasons.


  • The battery life of notebooks is much lesser than that of a portable DVD player, and one would surely not want to exhaust it on watching movies while there could be so many other important (official/personal) tasks to be done.


  • Notebooks are bigger and bulkier than a portable DVD player, and are thus more difficult to handle or move around comparatively.


  • Not all notebooks can be plugged into television sets, as this provision is available only in select models, unlike portable DVD players.


  • Notebooks have a lot of other information stored on their hard drives, and one can’t trust them with children.


Further, portable DVD players are also priced very reasonably due to the tremendous competition in this industry. And with technology taking new strides every day, there are newer and more advanced models that sport features like swivel screens and wireless connectivity.


In-car entertainment

Portable handheld DVD players can also be a great source of in-car entertainment! And while many might be thinking that there are already customized DVD players available for cars (with some expensive ones providing the same as standard equipment), in case your car does not have one, and you are thinking of buying one, here’s why you should prefer a portable DVD player.

  • Portable DVD players are much cheaper than in-car entertainment systems, and can also be circulated among passengers, unlike the latter, wherein screens are fixed at one place.


  • In-car entertainment systems are only limited to the vehicle, and one can’t carry them to any other place. They are also more susceptible to thefts, unlike portable DVD players.

And in case you are interested in having a portable DVD player that can give you the same feeling of an in-car entertainment system, there are certain models available in the market that have a central unit with two separate screens with accessories to mount them at the head rests of the front seat. These dual screen or twin monitor (as some people call it)  portable dvd players are very useful when you have kids of similar age and want to view the same DVD  simultaneously.

So in-car DVD players are a great device to make your kids and grand-kids busy and entertained during a long drive or even when you are stuck in traffic and kids are getting boared.


Following is a list of all the features that you should consider before buying a portable DVD player.

Portability : Size of the player is of crucial importance in deciding how easy it would be to carry. Even small measurements of a couple of centimeters can increase the weight by a huge margin, particularly in case of bulky rechargeable batteries. An ideal size is between 7-8 inches.

Formats supported : Portable DVD players play a lot more than just DVD! There is support for recordable DVDs, VCDs and SVCDs, MP3s and photo CDs as well in many leading models. Some recent players also offer support for the latest (and more complicated) video formats like MPEG4 and DivX, with the latter being popular due to its capability of compressing files without compromising on quality.

Thus, before finalizing on a portable player, make sure it is compatible with the maximum number of formats, or at least the ones you are most likely to play.

Screen : A buyer would always want to have the slimmest and lightest DVD player but with the best screen size. As a rule of thumb, a 7-8 inch screen is good enough for a portable player, but if one looks over at the complete range, there are players starting from as small as a 4 inch screen to 12 inch screens. Take it as a confirmed norm that the price will increase as per the screen size. Going deeper into the display, a 16:9 aspect ratio is optimum, as this is a widescreen DVD and HD TV viewing format, but one should always prefer a player that has provision for a 4:3 aspect ratio as well, for non-widescreen video content.

Output : A portable DVD player must have the option of being connected to multiple external devices, since even though they do have their own screen, sometimes, bigger is better! Another excellent provision is one of connecting dual headphone jacks, so that two people can enjoy the viewing experience.

Sound : Just because your DVD player is portable does not mean that one always needs to attach headphones for the sound. There are players that offer stereo as well as virtual surround sound, as well as support for Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, which give exceptional sound in case external speakers are added. And in case your portable DVD player is to be used in a car, plugging it into the latter’s stereo system would also solve the purpose, but there needs to be provision for that as well.

Battery backup : Many portable players come with an AC as well as DC adapter to give more flexibility with respect to the sources from which it can draw power to recharge itself. Some models also have detachable battery that can be charged separately. A good quality portable DVD player must give you at least 2 hours of continuous playback without the need of a recharge (there are also players that can offer upto five hours of running time without recharge!). There are also other points to consider, like the speed of recharging, as well as using more thinner batteries than a bulky one, which also reduces the weight.

Skip protection : Regardless of the type of model of portable DVD player you purchase, it’s important that it has good skip protection (a built-in memory buffer to avoid stoppages in video and audio output, that can be caused due to movement in the DVD player).

Remote Control : This is required only when you are to plug your player into a TV and access it from across the room.

Viewing angle : The portable DVD player needs to have a wide viewable angle of around 160 degree, so as to give access to good picture quality even to those who are not sitting directly in front of the screen. The more viewing angle a player provides, the better it is for the viewer!

To sum it up, all of the above-mentioned points are the major criterion on which you should measure your prospective portable DVD player. You may give more emphasis on any select few points of the same, but in the end it is important to know what is most essential for you to get the best viewing experience.