By Richard Menta 7/30/04
The Archos AV series invented the digital MPEG-4 video jukebox, a niche it held to itself for about 2 years. This year we have seen others jump into this segment including Creative and RCA, proving that their concept of a hard drive based video portable is taking off. A new contender is MobiNote, a Taiwanese firm that just announced the release of a handheld unit with a 7" video screen.
The MobiNote DVX-POD 7010 is a sleek unit, all screen in front and all buttons on the side. The unit is dressed in iPod white, an intentional ploy as there is no iPod video yet on the market (despite rumors we wrote about almost exactly a year ago), but one that is attractive nonetheless.
MobiNote DVX-POD 7010
It is the large screen that grabs our attention first, not the shell aethetics. The MobiNote is the first portable drive player to adopt a digital wide-screen (16:9) aspect ratio as found in HDTV sets. This allows the DVX-POD 7010 to play wide screen presentations.
Competing players like the Archos use a standard aspect ratio on their units. While the advantages to a bigger screen are obvious, there is a disadvantage. The cost, as the photo on the far right below shows, is that the unit can be quite large for the pocket, a factor to those who wish to use the DVX-POD 7010 for their morning mass transit commute. Still, the 720x480 resolution is a desirable feature for high quality viewing. Competing players only support CIF image quality (352x288) or QVGA image quality (320x240).
The MobiNote DVX-POD 7010 stores files on its 20GB hard drive and like similar units also operates as an MP3 player. Like the latter Archos units the DVX-POD 7010 can record programming directly from television or a DVD player, converting the signal into the MPEG-4 format on the fly for later viewing. The DVX-POD 7010's video playback formats are pretty comprehensive and include MPEG-4, DivX 3.11, 4 and 5, QuickTime 6 and WMV files.
The MobiNote site has yet to post the specifications of the player. Most curious to us is the weight of the unit. While the outer dimensions may be large, this doesn't mean the DVX-POD 7010 has to be heavy. Hopefully the MobiNote uses the same Toshiba drive found in the ful-sized iPod as the type of drive used seems to be the biggest factor regarding player weight.
The company has begun mass assembly of the units and it is expected to hit American stores by September. Mobinet expects the DVX-POD 7010 to ship 200,000 units by June 2005 with a cost between $599-$699 US.
The Archos AV320 digital audio/video recorder is available on Amazon
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Beastie Boys DRM Flak
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