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Portable DVD Player Shopping Guide

Do you travel frequently by air but are tired of the same old movie rotations? Do you require backseat entertainment for kids on road trips? Do you have a laptop but would prefer not to waste your battery on a movie? If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then a portable DVD player might be just what you need!

Small, efficient and highly affordable, portable DVD players come in many different shapes, sizes and prices. With so many options on the market today, it's a wonder you can even choose just one. If you want to get the inside scoop on all the best portable DVD players on the market, check out our detailed buyer's guide to find great deals and information about all the top of the line brands and products.

What's in a Name: Comparing Brands

Much like in the fashion world, there are particular brand names that are often viewed with a higher regard than lesser-known brands. For example, you might know the names Philips and Panasonic before Audiovox, but a name does not necessarily equate value or durability. When it comes to choosing and purchasing a portable DVD player, your final decision should not depend on a name. So then, where do you start? First and foremost, you'll want to get the dish on all the unique features that are available.

The Features Explained

(1) Screen size

LG DP781

Screen sizes range anywhere from 2.5 to 15 inches. The price of portable DVD players usually corresponds directly to the screen size. The larger the screen, the higher the price you will pay. The 7-inch screen is the most popular screen size on a portable DVD player because of its viewability, portability and price.

Generally speaking, 7-inch models range in price from $40 to $100; 8- to 10-inch models between $130 and $200; and 12-inch models and larger cost an upwards of $200.

(2) Dimensions & Weight

Zenith DVP615

With technology improving at a rapid pace, most portable DVD players these days are lightweight and compact. If you are bringing the portable DVD player on a trip, the last thing you want in another bulky item to drag along. Generally speaking, portable DVD players weigh between 1 and 6 pounds, and range in size between 4 and 12 inches in length.

The lighter they are the more expensive. Heavier options price out at $130.00.

(3) Digital Outputs & Accessories

Philips DCP951

Will you only use your portable DVD player on the road or do you also plan on plugging it into your home theater system? If you plan to use your portable DVD player at home, consider digital output options carefully.

  • S-Video: Determines video quality
  • Optical Out: Determines audio quality
  • Headphones: How many headphone jacks do you need, will people be sharing one player?
  • Head Mounts: Do you want to be able to mount the portable DVD player in a car?
  • Power Adapter: Can you charge the portable DVD player in a car?

The right accessories can make the player, so when you are shopping for portable DVD players make sure you understand what exactly you are paying for.


(4) Media Type

iLuv i1155

There are a lot of different types of media on the market today. Before you make your purchase, you need to ask yourself if you want your portable DVD player to also support CDs, MP3 music files, video CDs (home videos), CD-R, CD-RW DVD-R or picture CDs. Many portable DVD players can support most, if not all of these media types. But as always, the more features, the higher the price.

Many DVDs run as low as $35 and can cost an upwards of $250.

(5) Battery Life

Sony DVP FX820

For long trips on the road or on a plane, the longer the battery the better. If you are on a transatlantic flight, a two-hour battery won't be that helpful. Many times, people opt to buy additional batteries for their portable DVD players. Before you buy, make sure the portable DVD player you are interested in will last as long as you need it to. On average, portable DVD player batteries last up to three or four hours, and higher ends batteries can run as long as six hours.