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Which portable media players should I look at?

Old 08-08-06, 01:04 AM
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Which portable media players should I look at?

My wife has a birthday coming up and I wanted to get her something nice. She's a tennis nut, loves watching it on tv and the Tivo is always filled with hours and hours and hours of it. She also travels a lot so I wanted to get her a portable media player that will play video. Something that she can whip out while waiting at an airport or while on a plane, without being too bulky. I'd like to be able to dub tennis shows from the Tivo (series 1) to the player...real time is fine since I think it'll be a pain to x-fer the Tivo video to computer digitally.

What should I look at? The iPods I've seen have really small screens, and I don't think they'd lend themselves to sports. I like the Archos AV700 and leaning toward the 100 GB model, but wanted to see if I was missing something. Any suggestions?

(Oh yeah, price is a secondary consideration. As long as it's cheaper than jewelry. )
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Old 08-08-06, 11:49 AM
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Cowon A2. Despite some issues with the player booting up after transferring files, I really like this PMP. Forum here http://iaudiophile.net/forums/index.php

With any tiny high-tech device, there are some problems, but overall I think it's a thumbs up!
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Old 08-08-06, 12:21 PM
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If you have dish network, go to www.pocketdish.com

If you don't, consider getting it just for the above. Free downloads of programming from Dish. You can transfer stuff from the dvr to it, etc. I am really thinking hard about one and I don't even have a reason for it.
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Old 08-08-06, 12:31 PM
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$399 and $60 rebate 7" screen 40 gb hd


$299 with $50 rebate 4" screen 30 gb hd


$149 with $50 rebate 2.2" screen 20 gb hd (ignore the $20 rebate thing)
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Old 08-08-06, 01:57 PM
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Got myself all excited and bought the 7" one.
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Old 08-08-06, 09:09 PM
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Thanks for the advice guys. I've had DirecTV for over a decade, including a Tivo/DirecTV unit, but I've been considering switching to Dish for a while. This may just push me over the edge. The 7" one looks nice, and I like the 5min/hour transfer speed.
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Old 08-09-06, 12:48 AM
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Mine just shipped. I'll post a review here when I get it. I just went back to Dish. Started there for 7 years, then switched out of boredom. I switched back because Dish had my locals in HD and Directv didn't. They are pretty similar with Dish getting the edge on HD programming and Directv getting the edge if you really like sports and are willing to pay for them.

I find that with the NFL network in HD on Dish, I'll have plenty, along with ESPN and the networks.
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Old 08-09-06, 08:41 AM
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DirecTV doesn't have my locals in HD either, while Dish does. That's why I've been considering switching over.

Please let me know how you like your pocketdish when you get it. I'd be interested in how intuitive the user interface is and how many hours of programing 40 GB holds, and how long the battery life is in real life situations. Hope you like it!
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Old 08-10-06, 03:34 PM
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not that i'm really pushing the cowon, but here is a comparison chart from their website. cowon a2, archos 500, creative zen vision, all 4" screens.

http://www.cowonamerica.com/products...omparison.html

and other product info
http://www.cowonamerica.com/products/cowon/a2/
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Old 08-11-06, 10:54 AM
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Thanks for that link Hobbes. I wish the Cowon had a larger screen. I'm not sure what watching a movie (or tennis match) on a 4" one would be like. I'm leaning towards a 7", though I suppose I should look at the differance first. I wish I had a Fry's nearby (they sell the Archos products) but I don't.
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Old 08-11-06, 06:27 PM
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Just got mine today. First impression is very good. I took the time to charge it, so I will load it tonight and see how long it lasts on a charge. The screen has a very nice interface that resembles windows explorer. I do worry about the screen getting scratched, as it looks like it could, but it has a nice carry case with it.

Looking at the archos that is the same machine but not from dish, it looks like dish must be doing this as a way to get/retain customers, as this seems to run $100-$200 cheaper than the regular archos one. Has games and other crap, but we'll see about those soon.
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Old 08-12-06, 01:55 AM
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Played around a bit tonight. I am very happy with the purchase, but there are a few things I don't like.
1) The internal speakers are very weak. Probably to be expected, but even at full volume, it isn't very loud. On the flip side, the audio through good headphones is excellent.
2) You can't transfer HD content over from the receiver. Again, not a big deal since the unit couldn't reproduce it, and it would eat up a lot of hard drive, but annoying.
3) the black is very typical of a relatively small lcd screen. You see blocks of slightly different blacks in pictures that have lots of black. I looked at the demo they also have, and it is the same.

However, the interface is pretty intuitive. Adding stuff from the computer or receiver is a snap. The computer recognizes it as a seperate drive and you just click and drag the video into the appropriate folder. You can even do entire folders at once. I have nothing bad to say about that part.

Music does allow you to see the next song coming, etc. Pretty good bass, and has a bass boost if you want. Actually, the audio has some really nice features. It does allow you to set bookmarks, which is very nice for audiobooks. It will also let you browse based on title, artist, etc. and show you as much information about the song as you would ever want to know, like bitrate, etc.

It comes with games (demos, actually) and they look to generally suck. No big name games, and what they have are in line with the type you get from an ipod. Actually, the games are better than that, but not something you would buy for the games. It would be neat if you could download your computer games to it. Might be a way.

There is probably a way, but it would be fantastic to be able to put dvds on this thing. You could preload it with a number of them and be good for some time.

I took a number of programs that I recorded with my Media Center PC and made them into .avi programs. An hour program runs about 350 mb with very little loss in quality. Certainly not enough loss to notice on a 7" screen. As a result, I loaded it with Season 5 of Scrubs, Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica, Season 6 of The Sopranos, and I might have used half the space available.

Anyway, it is enough to keep me excited.
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Old 08-12-06, 10:00 AM
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Thanks a lot KVR. That's exactly what I wanted to know. The 40 GB storage seems to be more than enough, and I'm not worried about the speaker quality since the wife will use headphones 90+% of the time.

If Dish is subsidizing this to get new customers it's worked. There's a slight bump in life right now (we may buy a new house within a month or so) but after that's worked out I'm switching to Dish. Thanks a lot for the input everyone.
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