There are many reasons to love DVD discs - their superb picture quality, their booming surround sound capabilities, and probably best of all their searchability. Just go straight to a scene you like - no fast-forwarding, no rewinding.
Portable DVD players take these versatile discs out of lounge rooms and into cars, our trains, buses, parks ... in fact, anywhere you go.
Why a portable DVD player?
Ask most people where they love using their portable DVD player and they'll say "in the car." Why? Well, for a start, in-car kiddie wars become a thing of the past - especially if you've got the twin screen player so everyone in the back seat gets a good view. The kids are happy and you can concentrate on finishing that long holiday drive and arriving with all family members intact.
But portable DVD players do more than their name would imply. In addition to DVD-ROM discs, most can also play various other DVD formats, CDs, MP3s and photo discs. And, as we'll see, some can do a lot more.
Once considered an expensive "yuppie" gadget, portable DVD players have now gained wide acceptance for their versatility.
They don't have to be used on-the-go. Plug one into a standard TV and you have on-tap entertainment in a caravan, tent, holiday unit, motel or even the home of a DVD-less friend (rare, but they still exist). In this case, size does NOT matter - many portable DVD units give you big-system picture and sound quality when plugged into a home entertainment system.
Don't like the in-flight movie? Watch your own movie in the privacy of your seat without craning your neck or be interrupted by crew announcements like dinner and the weather.
Don't want to doze? You can plug in a set of headphones and catch up with a movie in bed, without disturbing your sleeping partner.
Notebooks are no substitute
Even if you have a notebook computer with DVD player built-in, you will find a portable DVD player an attractive proposition. Why use up the notebook's precious battery life on watching movies? When you have a portable DVD player, your notebook computer doesn't have to go everywhere with you - why take it if you don't need it?
Even small notebook computers are bigger and heavier and often have a shorter battery life than a portable DVD player. Usually, they don't have a remote control and may not have the other connections necessary for plugging into a home theatre system. And with portable DVD player prices starting at just under $200 for an entry-level unit, you can have your own "personalised movies on demand service" at a fraction of the cost of even the cheapest notebook.
Besides, do you really want to put your whole notebook computer in the hands of young children on a long family holiday trip?
So, understandably, for portable DVD player vendors, business is booming. New models proliferated at the Consumer Electronics Show this year (CES 2005), and competition is keen, with some players sporting features like wireless technology and tablet-style displays with 180-degree-rotation swivel-mounted screens to make it easy to get that perfect viewing angle, regardless of how the base of the player is sitting. This is ideal for in-car viewing or on-site business presentations.