Small Screen video players - Does anybody care?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Bob McElfresh, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I'm struggling with something and thought you guys might want to offer your opinions. Here it is:



    I'm talking about "Concerts" or "Video" on your cell phone screen. While I like the iPod, the newly announced unit with video capability leaves me wondering 'why?'.

    I got my Dish statement and they are offering a new product:

    [​IMG]

    They have 3 little handheld players that plug into a DISH PVR and let you d/l shows. You then carry the unit around with you and watch/listen to things.

    But unless I still went for long drives with kids (and had one of these for each), I'm not sure I would ever use it.

    I've been a part of HTF for a few years and watched all the confusion over 'big screen', 'projectors', and 'HD video'. People always seem to want better picture quality. (There are some wire & cable companies that exist only because they fool the public into thinking their cables make all the difference for audio and video quality.)

    A business-card sized display - seems to be a big step backwards.

    Yet - more and more of these little/personal video players are coming out. The Sony PSP has a whole rack of movies you can get to play on your handheld.

    Am I just behind the times? Would I love one of these units if I got my hands on one? Has anybody here really watched a show or concert on your cell phone? What was it like?

    Tell me what you guys think.
     
  2. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I'm with you Bob. Watching highly compressed video on a display that's not much bigger than a matchbox doesn't do a thing for me. I can think of much better ways to entertain myself when traveling, like listening to music or reading a book.

    Which brings me to another issue. I'm really getting tired of all the technological cross-pollination that's going on in portable devices. MP3 players that have (poor) video capability, cell phones with lousy cameras that play MP3 audio (poorly), etc. I just wish that the companies who design and manufacture these products would spend a lot more time making their CORE functionality more solid and less time on marketing the bling. Apple has the majority of the DAP market in their pocket yet has been dogged by audio quality issues with the iPod since it's inception. Cell phones have cameras, personal organizers, and MP3 capabilities but can't get good enough reception to allow a decent, uninterrupted conversation or go more than a year without falling apart. PDAs have had such an idenity crisis over the last couple of years that the market for them has virtually collapsed.

    Hint to electronics companies - I'd rather have a cell phone that gets good reception and has decent voice quality with no bells and whistles than one that takes pictures (poorly) and plays music (poorly) by sacrificing the quality of its core functionality.
     
  3. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Personally, I don't understand them at all. On the other hand, I'm one of these throwbacks who believes that things have a place, and should stay there. My telephone, my computer, my audio and video equipment all stay at home on the shelf: I have no desire to get them shrunk down to tiny-size so I can carry them around with me! I very occasionally wish I had a CD player in my pocket, and very occasionally a telephone, but never a television.

    If I have to sit through something long and boring, and don't have anything else to do, I bring a book. No worrying about batteries going dead, and if I lose it I'm not out much money [since it's usually a used paperback].
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Ok, I'm not alone..

    But some people have to like these things? Who watches video on their iPod or cell phone?

    Entertainment weekly actually gave the video iPod a A+ saying that the audio quality was great and the only problem watching Madonna on the small screen was "arm fatigue".

    So some people think these things are cool. Please, someone who has actually used one of these things join in and tell us why. (We wont bite - I promise [​IMG] ).

    Sometimes you DO have to get your hands on some of these things before you understand how cool they are.
     
  5. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Bob, I'd put about as much stock in an Entertainment Weekly iPod review as I'd put in one of their DVD reviews. In other words - none.
     
  6. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I don't think asking for opinions on something is a sign of closed-mindedness. They don't suit my own personal psychology, but I [for one] am not condemning those who find that they do so suit them. I just find myself unable to understand what the attraction is.
     
  7. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Ditto.
     
  8. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

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    I completely agree. I was at a McCartney concert recently and throughout the entire show the people sitting in front of me kept pulling out their cell phones to take pictures, check messages and call someone "Hi! I paid $250 for these seats and instead of watching the show I thought I'd call you to see what's up." I was taking my 1 yr old in for his checkup and sitting across from me was a mother and her son. He was playing his Gameboy or whatever, and she was playing something on her cell phone. 20m I sat there and watched them not talking to each other, both immersed in their little toy. It's just wrong.

    -paul
     
  9. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    No need to get condescending Jim. We're just having a discussion here.

    And I don't know about you, but that device you chose to illustrate your point about portability would have a hard time fitting in *my* pocket. It's huge! [​IMG]
     
  10. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    If I watched television I could see where one of these devices could be handy at times to catchup on TV episodes. However, for feature length movies it doesn't work for me. I did convert one film from DVD to watch on my Dell PDA (just to see if I could do it), but I've had no interest in doing anymore. The screen is too small for me. Also, I do not want to go through the hassle of converting from one video format to another -- I did that with all my CD's to MP3 for my iPod, and really do not want to do it again.

    We do own a portable DVD player and use it whenever we travel, though. The larger 9-inch screen is big enough to enjoy some films or TV-on-DVD when we are on a plane, in the airport, or in a hotel room (big bonus if the hotel TV has A/V inputs for the DVD player). Also, with this solution, I can use our DVD's without converting them to another format.
     
  11. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Is that a Munchkin in the image? [​IMG] It looks absolutely humungous in the model's hand.
     
  12. Matt_Beals

    Matt_Beals Extra

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    i actually see this as people trying to make new technology practical instead of new technology making things practical.

    The miniturization and low power consumption will continue to get cheaper and work it's way into everything. A small LCD may not be all that great for watching movies on a phone, but integrate a camera and cell phone video confrencing becomes a big reality. Same with MP3 players. How nice would it be to have a solid state mass storage device (like a 1 TB USB key) with a LCD so you can see what is on the device? No more messing with lables or remembering, just push a button and see a file list or preview your files.


    We just have all these fun new tehcnologies and either don't know what to do with them or don't have support yet to make them truely usefull.
     

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