I need a SMALL DivX player

Hi all

I need a DVD/MPEG4 player to take away with me to hotels when I am working out of town. Requirements:

  1. 10" x 10" or less
  2. Plays packed bitstream MPEG4
  3. Has a SCART output

Additional “would like” item:

  1. Firmware upgradeable by CD

Any ideas?

The only one I possibly located is the Cyberhome DVD-401 but it has mixed reviews from what I can find and I don’t know if it plays packed bitstream.

Ideally I want to play DivX freshly downloaded and burned straight onto DVD+RW without having to modify the files on the PC first. Currently I have a nice small Durabrand £20 player from Adsa which plays all manner of DVDs but no MPEG4 or DVD-ISO.



Hi Loob - I can’t offer a positive recommendation, but something else to ensure for the specifications is that the player will support Qpel (Quarter pixel) and GMC (Global motion compensation). A lot of MPEG4-variant encoders seem to be using this now, but only a few portables can play video made with these. Removal is possible, but there’s the usual extensive re-encoding drawback.

Conversely, packed bitstream can be removed really easily in a matter of minutes, without any re-encoding, by using MPEG4Modifier.

While I was googling around last night I found MPEG4Modifier. Will give that a spin. Although as my Yamada (not so small) player already plays PB files, there’s really not much point to it.

I also thought about getting a VGA > SCART converter so that I could just play the file on my laptop and output it to TV - but these seem expensive and I suppose the PQ isn’t guaranteed to be too hot.

Thanks for the feedback though.

I am hoping that sooner (preferably) or later one of the supermarket chains will latch on to the popularity of MPEG4 downloading and push the cheapie chinese manufacturers to make a small unit that includes the required functionality.

There are some good reviews and opinion about Shinco portable DVD players, although they are not cheap. The Shinco site itself is awful, but this seems a good retailer site to start from.

How important is the SCART out…? I haven’t come across anything portable with one. Some higher-end DVD portables have S-Video out, and I know that S-Video -> SCART cables are pretty widely available eg Maplin etc.

The other thing is the MPEG2 ISO playback. I couldn’t find anything which does MPEG4 (.avi contained) and also does bare MPEG2s…

Unless of course, you know different by now… ;).

Edit: Well, here you go (except it’s HDD-based, transfer via USB 2.0, composite AV-out port, batt life 2.5 hr… oh, and err… 249 smackeroos). Maybe you’ll have to wait…

Maybe this is what you want after all, albeit still pricey. Same MediaTek chip (MT1389DE) as the Yamada 6600. Note the S-Video and component out.

Brief review…and others are reporting MPEG2 ISO playback (although testing limited to -R rather than +RW).

In stock here at £223 inc + £15 del…

I want the SCART out because I want to be able to plug the unit into hotel TV sets. I don’t want a portable with a screen because the screen makes the price prohibitive and these units never have a scart. If a screen that size was ok then I’d be watching stuff on my laptop which I always have with me anyway.

I did used to just watch stuff on my laptop but the TV screen is bigger, the picture looks better, and I have remote control if using a DVD player. I guess I’m just fussy.

The only units of (possibly) acceptable size that I have come across are the Kiss players (DP-1000 et al) - about as big as an A4 sheet. However these have mixed reviews on MPEG4 playback and are considerably larger than the unit I use at present.

I guess for now, DVDSanta is still my answer. Shame that doesn’t have a batch mode though. I still haven’t found a tool that will reliably encode batches of AVIs into DVDs that I can leave going to create 3 or 4 DVDs overnight.

Thanks for the research though imkidd.

What’s the implication with “unpacking” packed bitstream DivX files? Do the files get much larger? I am wondering why the majority of DivX files are PB when a minority or standalone playback devices can cope with them.

Right - I thought the 10" in your original spec referred to screen size :eek:! I see what you’re after now.

Re packed bitstream (PBS): I’m not completely sure of the technicalities but it goes something like this - the “packing” refers to the order in which the I-, B-, and P-frames are presented in XviD files, and is not actually a further compression function. B-frames are sometimes future referenced (ie they are based on a P-frame), in which the frame of reference should be decoded first to allow the comparison to be made (eg P, then B…). Packed bitstream allows the B-frame to get decoded first and there’s alleged to be better seek times and picture stability associated with the packed format.

However, some ESS and especially MediaTek 1389 chips had problems with PBS XviDs where there was more than one B-frame, but these have now been solved by firmware updates. I think the newer firmware just tells the chip to read in blocks of frames and then re-orders them internally. IIRC you have a newer firmware on the Yamada than originally was present, and probably why you haven’t had a stuttering problem with files having the PBS structure.

For encoding, I use FairUse 2.2 which allows batching of physical DVDs and ISO images (though not DVD folders or unauthored MPEG2).

Cool. I may check out FairUse and see if it performs as well as DVDSanta. DVDSanta seems to be the only app I have tried that will encode any MPEG4 file I care to download, completely, without giving an error.

Uh oh… not sure if we’re on a mixed message route with the software.

You want to go:

  1. .avi -> DVD (I see DVDSanta also burns)…
  2. or do you mean “create .avi from DVD-Video, that will fill 3-4 DVD (data) disc’s-worth”…

FairUse goes one-way: DVD-Video -> .avi

Sorry, can’t help you on the DivX player but I’ve been looking into buying one of these. @click Not specifically this brand or model but a hard drive based MP4/3 player with LCD screen, TV out and remote control. Perfect for any situation.

Only flaw is firmware updates and compatability. I, like you have a vast collection of avi files which I’d like to play away from the PC. I already have a Philips Divx player that plays most avi files but, a lot don’t play or play strangely. QPEL and GMC definately don’t. Now, I haven’t come across a mpeg4 CD/DVD player that is able to play these newer types of file. My player is able to accept firmware updates via CD-R from a download at Philips’ website but they never bothered and the one I did getdidn’t improve the compatability much. I’ve never been sure why these players can’t be made to play whatever they want but I think there is limited space for the firmware. So maybe if a company had a hard disk, they’d be able to put in as fancy a firmware as they liked. Of course, the success of this is based on the companies’ after support for the product.

Also there are external hard drive based media centres here
which could be based on a similar principle.

All we need is a company to release a portable media player that can accept large firmware updates and the company to update it regularly and well. iRiver would I’m sure but their Mpeg4 player fell a little flat and it’s hard to find now. :sad:

Yes, the Archos HDD-based players don’t accept Qpel/GMC .avi files, which is why I didn’t recommend them.

Archos do issue firmware updates for the AV500/700 series but the company have clearly stated there are no plans to widen the MPEG4 compatibility. This is incredibly short-sighted considering their reputation for ‘advanced’ products, because they’d undoubtedly clean up on the future market where legal sharing of material from the best available encoding strategies is going to be the norm. Trouble is that Apple have demonstrated in the audio (and maybe hoping to in the video) world, that design alone can sell more units, regardless of substance, and sadly Archos seems to be adopting the same attitude. IMO that’s a mistake, but there you go.

AFAIK the Archos models are Linux-based, therefore there is the potential for third-party firmware additions, but open-source; it ain’t…

For the software I need AVI > DVD. I guess DVDSanta is it for now.

Target.com has an Initial 7" Portable DVD Player with DivX Playback. It’s one of those clam-shell portables with the lcd screen. Reading the reviews on their page one customer claims it will play “weirdly encoded files (can you say QPEL?)”. It’s only $169.00 which isn’t too bad. I don’t know much about mp4 other than I use PSP Video 9 to re-encode my big recorded mpeg2’s so I can keep them all on my hard drive at home. I do have a 750 watt power inverter in my truck and I have put my desktop computer in there with the 15" lcd monitor to play my music vids. Works great but I would also like to find a smaller alternative. Like a home dvd player with vga out, random play, and maybe even multi-disc, that I could grab and would work in my truck too. I don’t know if I could bounce around a home player in my truck without it skipping though. I wouldn’t have to wait for windows to boot-up to play my mp4’s if it will work. Let me know if anyone finds a good one.

Thanks for the info, but this is not relevant to my original post.

Shop4Tech.com Look under DivX Player/Karaoke. Just picked up an RJ-Tech 1500DVXII with Scart out that will play mpeg4 for $80. Not sure about the packed bitstreams. It won’t play avc encoded video out of the box. This one is only slightly bigger than what you’re looking for. cd firmware upgradeable I’ve read. Don’t want to void my warranty yet.

To briefly ressurect this thread…

I was just window shopping in Currys today. They had an Amstrad very small player which said “MPEG 4” on the box. I thought well that’s very small, but what’s the price. I found the price tag and it was just £19.99!

I bought one and took it home, looked through the manual over lunch and there was no mention of MPEG4 whatsoever, just MP3 and JPG playback, so I was getting worried.

However, I just tested it and it plays all the latest DivX/Xvid files I downloaded, perfectly! I tried +R/+RW/-RW disks, all play with no problems. This drive is very small indeed and is perfect for those wanting a DivX player to take on the road to use with hotel TVs etc. It has both SCART and RCA outputs.

The model number is Amstrad DX3092.

Hi loobster,

I saw that model also on a Portuguese store at 25€ (don’t really know in pounds :stuck_out_tongue: ).

My question is, why is it so cheap??
If it plays well, with good quality… hummm… strange, no?
Is it for its simplicity?

I don’t know the model, but it doesn’t have no digital output, right?
What else is missing in this model? because I’m thinking in one of these for my bedroom! … and, as you said, for traveling! :smiley:

Thanks in advance.

i saw one of these today perhaps you could advise whether it is possible to use it when on its side.



I don’t know why it is so cheap, it is definitely superb value. I guess it’s just that things are getting cheaper all the time. You are correct, no digital outputs. It’s well specified for a budget player, I guess the answer to “what’s missing” depends on what features you need on a player.


I haven’t tried. There are no feet on either side so I guess it’s not meant to be used on its side. I haven’t tried it to be honest. But there is no significant lip on the DVD tray, therefore I suspect that the disks would fall out while you are trying to retract the tray.

Hi Loobster,

I saw, on other forum (Digital Spy - where you are also) someone saying:
“Doesn’t seem to read idx+sub subtitle files (but the divxtest test CD shows every other type working. Typically, most of mine are idx/sub)”

Is this right?
If so, it could be added by firmware upgrade, don’t you think? (if we can find one…)

I’m really considering in buying one! the only thing not so good is that I cannot find the manufactor’s site! I went to Amstrad.com and they don’t have anything about this!! :confused: … do you know the manufactor? is it the Amstrad we all know from the Spectrum??
Where are we going to find firmware??

Thak you for all! :bow: