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on April 24, 2011
When I bought this at Best Buy a couple of weeks ago, I thought I was buying the DVP-FX950, which had received pretty good reviews. I didn't realize at the time that I was actually buying the replacement for that model, the DPV-FX970, but I'm very happy that I did. There have been a couple of significant improvements to address the shortcomings of the previous model. This is the first portable DVD player I've owned, but I messed about with a few others in the store. Here are my thoughts.

I like the size and feel of DVD player itself. The swiveling hinge feels very sturdy and has a bit of a snap to it when it closes but there is no latch to keep it closed. The screen can be rotated 180 degrees and then laid flat if so desired. The case does not feel cheap to me. It has a nice texture to it which helps when it's being gripped. You will probably find, as I did, that the exterior holds fingerprints and smudge marks very well, but that's not a big problem.

Like the previous model, most of the controls go across the bottom of the screen. They are all touch controls with the sole exception being the 5-way rocker switch that you use to navigate and click on menu selections. The touch controls work very well, but they are at times a little too sensitive. When you go to rotate the screen, the natural place to grip it exactly where the Play or Option buttons are. I've inadvertently pressed them a few times. Also, the mechanical rocker switch is fairly sensitive and it can sometimes be difficult to get your thumb square in the center to select a menu option. I've found a number of times I've tried to select something but ended up clicking up or down instead. I also hit the option button occasionally when reaching for the rocker. All of these interface issues can be gotten around though, by moving a mechanical switch on the side of the player to the "Hold" position which locks out all other controls on the player. Then you can use the included IR remote to operate the player. The on-off switch is a mechanical switch on the side as well, so you're less likely to turn it on or off by accident.

The remote is a little larger than I expected for a portable unit. It's about the size you'd expect from a full size DVD player. If the remote were about half as thick and not rounded on the back it would be a little easier to manage on the go. Functionally, the remote works just fine.

DVD's snap onto the player spindle, which is a must for a portable DVD player. If the player is hanging vertically, you don't want the disc to fall out when you hit the eject button. The player motor noise was a concern with the previous model. I found that the motor can be fairly noisy when the player spins up or when you're navigating the menus, but as soon as it starts playing the movie or TV episode, the motor spins down to a lower speed and becomes MUCH quieter. While I haven't been trying, the player has not skipped on me while I was picking it up, setting it down, carrying it or turning it upside down. I have turned it sideways and watched a movie while laying on my side with no problem.

The first disc that I tried to play with this device was the "Lord of the Rings Extended Edition." I was immediately concerned that the player was unable to read the disc, because it kept spinning up and stopping and would take almost a minute for it to recognize the DVD. I eventually figured out that the disc I was using also had DVD-ROM content with a bunch of Windows exe and data files, and the player was looking at each file trying to figure out if it could play it or not. Other standard DVD's and CD's that I've put in have been recognized and play immediately. The disc player supports DVD, DVD+-R, CD, CD-R, and Video CD but not MP3 CD.

Image and audio quality are of course subjective. I'd have preferred that the video be a little sharper but it suits me fine. It automatically detects aspect ratio and displays accordingly. Audio can only be so good from a portable player, but I was pleasantly surprised. There are two stereo speakers below the row of controls below the video screen, so the speakers and screen are always pointing in the same direction. Please be aware that iPod earbuds are NOT compatible with the headphone jacks on this player. On stereo DVD's the music plays through, but the dialog is muffled almost impossible to hear. Using a different set of headphones solved the problem.

The player also does A/V in and out, but it only does composite video, not component or HDMI. I would have preferred that the player itself have RCA jacks for audio and video, but it uses a stereo mini-plug for left and right audio and a single mini-plug for composite video. Mini-plug to RCA cables are included with the device. There is a mechanical button on the side of the player lid to chose between DVD, Line-in, or USB (more on USB below).

Also included are a wall charger and a car charger. It takes about 6 hours to charge this device for about 6 hours of video playback. I haven't measured it exactly, but my impression is that I got about 6 hours on a change. The battery is not removable.

One major improvement over the previous model is that the USB port can now be used to play video instead of just photos and audio off of a USB flash drive. The following formats are supported: mp3, jpg, DCF, MPEG-4 (.mp4), and ISO 9660 Level 1. AAC (the iTunes default) is apparently NOT supported.

While I have mentioned a few things that I wish were different, none of them are deal breakers for me, and on the whole I am very happy with this player. I'm glad I bought it, and would definitely make the same decision again.
2828 comments511 of 514 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 24, 2011
NOTE: If you are only going to be play store bought DVDs then this player may not be for you and you can skip this review. The Sony DVP-FX950 is the same player without the ability to play MPEG4 files and it has no USB. The DVP-FX950 is also less expensive. If you have no desire to play video files then the Sony DVP-FX950 is for you.

The Sony DVP-FX970 is awesome at this price point. Having researched all other comparable players and personally tried out many; the Sony is better in every category except battery life in some cases (although 6 hours is still very solid). The screen picture quality is fantastic. It's not HD, but its close to the best you can get without bluray. It is the highest resolution you can get at this price. It's a clear, crisp and bright picture. The sound quality is great for a portable player. This player is as sold as any portable DVD player I have held. The Sony has a nice feel and design. The biggest reason I am writing a review is to clear up some things that were vague in other reviews but I feel are important to those who may be a little more tech savvy or even for those who may want to learn a few things.

Key points about video playback:
* Along with the .mp4 files this player WILL PLAY .avi files that have been encoded with MPEG-4 simple/advanced simple formatting. I use AVS video converter 7 and select the default "to AVI" conversion settings.
* Any .avi or .mp4 that is DivX formated will not be recognized. No DivX.
* I highly suggest the .avi container over the .mp4 because in my experience with this player the .mp4 files will not resume to where the movie last stopped if you press play. A .avi file will resume to the last point you stopped the movie.
* You DO NOT need a USB flash drive to play movie files. You can burn the video files right onto a DVD. I recommend using the program Imgburn to burn the files to DVD. It's free and it automatically burns the files in the proper directory format that the player reads to read the discs file directory.

Key points about USB:
* This player WILL recognize most USB flash drives. I have a san disc cruiser micro and it plays video great. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUY A SPECIAL SONY USB FLASH DRIVE.
* My guess is that those who are having problems with their USB flash drives don't have the right file type on the drive or they are not selecting USB via the input button on the side of the player. It is possible they have a USB flash drive that just won't work, which I believe is the exception not the rule.

If you have any questions feel free to ask. I really like this player and I am happy with my purchase.
1919 comments104 of 108 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 2, 2011
I have only had this for a few days so I cannot comment on logevity. Granted, I haven't had much time to experiment but so far I really like it. I do not think it is cheap looking or feeling, as another reviewer stated. I love the picture quality- it's very crisp and clear. The sound is everything I would expect and it's much better than an older portable DVD player I have. If I were to compare the two, there would be no fair comparison. This one is sooo much nicer! I love the 9 inch screen. The swivel may come in handy but I don't see it as a selling point for me. I have taken this unit outside to see how it plays in the sunshine which is not so good. I could watch it in a shaded area just fine but direct sunlight is too harsh. I have not tried fiddling with the controls to change the view settings though. There may be a way to do that. However, I don't see that I would need to be watching a DVD out in the sun. I don't notice much spinning noise as I have in other units. Sometimes they are so loud you have to blast the movie to hear over the spin. This one is very quiet. If I hold it on my lap I can feel the vibration of the spin though and that may bother some people. The DVD seems to be solidly in place and I defintely like that. I can move around and carry it from one place to another without the movie falling off track. The one thing I don't like is that you need the remote for some functions. The basic play, pause, volume and such are on the unit itself but if you want to make adjustments or toggle through a menu, you need the remote. Well, I think that is the case anyway. To fast forward, you need the remote. To skip by chapter, you can do it on the unit. It would be nice to have all funtions on the player itself. It's possible that I missed something in the directions about that but it's not obvious to me. All in all, I really like it and am very happy with my purchase.
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on May 14, 2011
So far the reviews are all over the place on this new portable DVD player from Sony. One reviewer states theirs broke after a year and a half but obviously it isn't this model that has only been out approx. one month. Others complain that it is cheap. Of course it feels cheap. It's plastic just like most every thing else we receive in the U.S. when it comes to electronics. There isn't much we can do about that and if some metal alloy was used the cost would be much higher so why complain about plastic? The unit works perfectly and the picture quality is quite nice for casual DVD viewing.
We place this in the back seat wedged in a crevice under the lip of our baby's car seat during our frequent 10-12 hour trips. It keeps her content during the long travel. The remote works properly and I think this is a fine unit for the price being offered. There probably is little difference between the quality of this model compared to the previous generation. People act as if they have made some terrible mistake in purchasing this model because a few reviewers have had negative things to say about this player.
Let's not over react and base our life's decisions over something fairly simple just because someone on Amazon didn't like it. It's a plastic DVD player made for DVD viewing. It's not a high tech device. It is what it is and when you read the overall reviews of most all portable DVD players the reviews always appear quite mixed. It isn't meant to provide a movie theater or home theater viewing experience. Let's just hope these units are reliable and we can get a year or two of reliable service from them.
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on May 18, 2011
Just got this DVD player from Amazon. Nice picture, great sound. This is a solid, well made, and sleek looking unit. Easy to use right out of the box. It has an easy to use function panel right under the screen. Just a light touch and you can change sound level, fast forward, etc. It also has a "sound" feature where you can change to various sound qualities such as "Dynamic sound," "Standard," "Dialog," etc. When you change sound quality, adjust the sound level and you'll be impressed. It sounds like you're in the theatre. Amazing for such a little machine. Highly recommend this.
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on July 8, 2011
We bought this unit for a 2000+ mile trip with our 4 and 6 year old daughters. They were very happy the whole trip. The unit fits between the front seats, on the arm rest, in our 2011 Chevy Equinox. I did not have to read the directions, just plugged in the DC power cord and fired it up! Picture automatically synced with the unit. Both kids had great viewing. I was very impressed with the Picture and Sound quality. The speakers work surprizingly well, although we plugged the kids into headphones pretty quickly after the trip started.

The only recomenation to Sony: Move the on/off switch to a more convenient location. We had to move the unit and search for the switch every time we were ready to use/switch off. This would not be deal breaker, but would make it pefect. This unit worked great and we expect good durability. I will update this feedback if anything negative happens.
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on June 20, 2011
Best gift in such a long time. We got this for our car, especially for our toddler to be occupied on long trips. Have had this for several months now and is nothing short of a blessing. Plug in the USB with some movies or shows, fire it up and you won't even know that you have a toddler in the car (at least in our case).

I love the picture and audio quality on this player. Amazing that it can be loud enough considering how small the speakers are. Picture is sharp and bright. Also, like the widescreen on this player - comes in very useful watching new movies like cars or kung fu panda. Not very useful when watching older box shaped sesame street episodes.

High scores for appearance - because I didn't want it to be anything fancy calling for attention to my car in a parking lot. Just plain black works for me. Almost invisible if you have a tinted rear window like mine. Also, the player has been subjected to substantial kicking and beating from a toddler so far. And have been dropped once from my hand, accidentally of course. Gets up and works just fine.

Relatively low stars for ease of use becuase everytime I turn on the unit (the ON sliding switch by the way is located on the side), the default is DVD. I play a lot of video from my USB drive. So I have to manually switch the source from DVD to USB (the switch by the way is located on the other side and is a pretty small switch for my fat finger). Once it is fired up and playing, you are all set. For my car, I needed a mounting bracket (bought separately) to attach it to the back of passenger seat. The installation was kinda tricky to figure out what works best. Again, once completed, it is rock solid.

Have used the unit connected to power and on battery. Battery life is superb and can watch multiple movies in one charge. I didn't get a chance to see how long it needs to charge back up to normal. Remote control is rather bulky compared to player size, but has a very good range. Would have preferred the remote to be a little smaller in length or a mobile phone size.

My biggest trouble was with setting up everything to be able to watch video. I had downloaded some sesame street episodes. Copying them to USB drive and plugging it didn't work for me. I had to conver it into a specific format that was readable by the player. Although I did not have to purchase additional software (there are plenty of free video converter software out there), it was fairly tricky for me to figure out that the player can only play mp4 SP (stands for simple profile). So, if you are planning to be a heavy USB user for this player, know the player before you enter the game. Now that I have nailed the compatibility issues, it is a breeze.

Overall, it meets and exceeds the requirements we had when we started looking at some in-car entertainment. Love it for the price. Like it for the convenience and usability. Recommend it for a player with USB capability and A/V quality.
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on November 25, 2011
I bought this for my 84 year old brother-in-law who is currently in rehab following some serious illness that has left him temporarily unable to walk. The hospital he is in does not have TV or telephones in the room and he was very bored. He absolutely loved the DVD and has found it easy to use and for him to handle by him self. It was well worth the price paid.
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on July 6, 2011
Bought this as a last minute prep for my 2 year old daughter's first airplane trip. Had to find something to fill the 5 hours between Chicago and San Jose. And my daughter loved it. The sound and picture quality was very good. The controls were very well positioned and the child lock feature was extremely handy. It definitely feels like a well thought out product. The two audio ports are nice to have to share the player. The screen size is decent enough to view at such proximity. The finish of the product is nice and it seems fairly durable, though I have not really tested that part. The remote is nice and works well. The included car adapter is a good accessory. Orded a case from Amazon and off I was. My daughter was happy enough during the flight that she did not bother anybody around except asking us to switch between the Dora and Diego DVDs.
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on October 11, 2011
I bought this player to replace a dvp-fx810 model that had lasted over three years, but which finally started losing battery life while I was on vacation. I loved the previous model, and had hoped for a similar quality in the new one, especially in light of the hefty $140 price tag. The first thing my husband said when I brought it home was, "Why does it feel so cheap?" He was soo right...

After only three weeks, the player sometimes would not spin to start the dvd and I would get a message of 'no disc.' Also, the battery began to die after only a couple of hours instead of the advertised 6 hours, and the lcd began to show discoloration where my son's fingers touched as he held it like a tablet in his lap.

I called Sony & was told to ship it to them (at my cost) and they would fix the 'no disc' and the battery life problems BUT they would not fix the LCD because my son had TOUCHED it. I was told that the LCD can't be touched or it will discolor & they won't cover it under warranty!!?? This dvd player is supposed to be held like a tablet, which means the screen is going to be touched. The older version had a glass window over the screen AND the battery lasted 7+ hours for over three years. I feel just sick that I wasted so much money on something that didn't even last a month. I refuse to spend more money to ship it back to Sony when they won't fix the screen. I will NEVER buy from Sony again.
44 comments81 of 97 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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