on April 29, 2011
I bought this dvd system a week before a 7 hour road trip. We had bought a minivan 2 weeks before, but had not yet had a chance to install an overhead tv/dvd system. My husband was initially against getting these, since we plan on installing the overhead tv, but I convinced him by pointing out he and our son will likly be occupying said tv playing video games while the younger girls whine in the back. He quickly agreed with me after that. LOL.
Initially I was looking for 9 inch screens. I was afraid the 7 inch would be too small. I was wrong. The 7 inch screens are more than adequete for my 3 and 6 year old.
The main deciding factors for purchasing this product over the others were the sd/usb capability and the 5 hour battery. This is the only portable system I could find with sd/usb capability. It also happened to be one of the cheapest. Yay! The difficulty in accessing the dvd player wasn't really a concern of mine, because I honestly didn't plan on using it. It's so much easier to insert the sd card preloaded with multiple movies especially in a vehicle. Personally I used 2 4gb card with 4-5 movies per card. To my utter delight, when the first movie was finished, it automatically started the next movie on the card!!! So great for long car rides.
I chose this model with the battery over the cheaper one, because I didn't like the idea that I was going to have to restart the movie every time I got gas or turned off my vehicle. The battery takes care of this and continues to play the movie while pumping, however, it only continues to play the movie on the main screen. Luckily the extra screen that turned off, was in front of my 6 year old and there were no major meltdowns or tantrums. She just leaned over and watched her sisters screen for a few minutes.
The mounting system is a basic velcro type strap mounting. Nothing fancy, but I wasn't needing or expecting it to be. It holds the tv's to the headrest. It would have been a pain to access the dvd player, had I been using the dvd player, but so would inserting a new dvd every hour and a half. Trust me, preload a sd card, I think it can read up to a 16gb, but don't quote me, with as many movies as you can, and don't even mess with the dvd player. No worries about bumps and skipping either.
The picture quality is okay. It's not the best I've ever seen, but it's not bad either. The viewing angles are also good. My son crawled back there and watched with them at one point. The sound output is great. My older daughter wore her headphones most of the time, but my younger one only lasted a few hours with them on. It's a big van though, so I could listen to the radio in the front, while they listened to their movies in the back with very little bleeding between.
All in all, I loved this product. Could it be better, sure, but then it wouldn't be $109. It is an excellent value and well worth the quiet peaceful roadtrip I had. I would definitely recommend.
on November 21, 2011
This review refers to the Sylvania SDVD9104 9-Inch Dual Screen DVD Player with USB/SD Card Reader not the 7 inch version. At the time of this review I have owned these players for a little over a month and these are my initial impressions and a few trial and error tips I figured out.
1. Cost - for the price you get 2 large screen portable players with the capability to play DVD's as well as the ability to play movies off a SD card or USB stick. (See cons for thoughts on video formats.)
2. Accessories - It comes with a remote. This is not listed on the product description (at least when I bought it) and is a big plus for me. Not many other brands offer remotes. It also includes a car and wall adapter, cable adapter for hooking in an RCA jack source, and a carry bag I didn't much care for. (it was clear)
3. Video Quality - For a portable DVD player it is pretty good. Shows do not appear grainy to my eyes and are relatively sharp with good color quality. Let's be honest, it's not a 120 Mhz LED backlit flatscreen, but if you were expecting that I would like to invite you to join us back at a place we call reality.
4. Battery - This player includes a battery in the master unit that keeps the unit playing even when the car is turned off. I'm not sure how long it lasts but for short stops it's great. Also several prior reviews state the battery does not run the slave unit. This is not true. If they are connected together the battery will power the second screen. The slave unit unfortunately does not have a battery of it's own.
4. Mounting Straps - Several reviews state you cannot open the player with the headrest straps on. This is totally false! The straps slide through pegs mounted in the case on the back and do not disrupt accessing the disc door.
1. Cord Length - The cable between the 2 units is short and if you have a three year old who likes to kick cables this could be a problem with it stretched temptingly between the seats.
2. Video formats - The unit comes with an SD slot and usb slot so you can play videos from either of these devices and skip the DVD's. This is a huge plus and one of the few players I found that have it. Unfortunately there are NO included instructions to specify the video formats supported! The following is what I have determined through multiple trial and error attempts and much frustration.
Supported container formats: AVI, MPG, DIVX, ie files ending in .AVI, .mpg, and .divx or .dvx will be recognized by the device.
Unsupported container formats (the device won't even see these files): .mp4, .m4v, .mov, .mkv, .qt, and .wmv
Using these container formats encoding with any of the following codecs works: mpeg-4 (divx/xvid compatible), mpeg-2, and the Divx codec. I am not sure if h.264 works but prior reviews have indicated not and I would be surprised if these units have the horsepower for that.
Also I have found 640x480 resolution works well for video files on this size screen. also I use a bitrate of about 1500.
3. DVD door is tight. The spring on the dvd door is rather strong and tries to push the door open against the latch. As a result it can be a pain to open especially when mounted on a headrest. The solution I found was to squeeze the door closed even more thereby releasing the tension and then the latch slides easily.
Unknowns: I have owned these units for a little over a month and they have held up well to 2 kids under six. How long they will last........I'm not sure.
on January 8, 2012
It hits all of the major bullet points that we were looking for, and I couldn't find anything else that did.
-Plays from SD Card
-Has mounting system for car
As other reviewers have mentioned, it really could use some documentation on the types of video it plays back. After a bunch of trial and error, I found the following:
-Does not playback h264.
-Recognizes .avi and .mp4.
-Will play xvid through .avi container.
-I couldn't get the .mpg extensions to work, but other folks said they could. Not sure what setting I had wrong.
-Needs to be widescreen (720x480). Other sizes refuse to play
-MPEG4 through a .mp4 container works. AAC audio works. 1200 bitrate works, but I suspect a bit higher is ok as well. I just wanted my files to be a bit smaller to fit a couple more movies on the SD card.
Not sure about the quality. They seem solid enough now, but time will tell.
The mounting system is of questionable design. The straps to hold it to the seat back go around the front of the player, and can get in the way of the door if you don't get them positioned just right. It will open, however, if the straps are in the right place. But, there's nothing really to keep them in the right place, so they can easily move to be in the way.
Viewing angles are really bad. I suppose it doesn't matter for a car since the viewer is locked into a fairly static viewing angle, and there are 2 screens one for each back seat viewer. I was a bit surprised though, since I haven't seen a screen this bad in probably 10 years or more.
Lack of playback resume is another subtle flaw. Ok for long trips, questionable for short ones unless you want to skip scene a lot.
on August 9, 2011
I bought this system for immediate heavy use. We were going on a roadtrip to Disney, then flying from Germany to the states and back, as well as a lot of driving in between. I didn't want to prematurely review this item, but I feel that the hours of use we have put it through give me a pretty good idea about its overall performance. Let's start with the drawbacks since most people look for those first when considering a new purchase.
-Mounting straps are difficult to get on. Not impossible, but not easy. Once you have untangled them and attached them to the units themselves, they are much easier to work with. The initial set-up is a bit more difficult. They do hold the units securely to the headrest, so I can't complain, but they didn't feel as sturdy as I would have liked.
-Second unit has to be plugged in to work. This fact itself isn't a problem for me. But, the way they did it is so weird. The main unit has an internal battery that will only power the main unit. Fine. But, if you want to use both, you plug a car adapter into the main unit, then connect a power cord (and A/V cable) from the main to the second. I think it's also supplying the main unit with power so that the battery isn't drained, but it was quite a hassle figuring out which unit had to go where because of the power cord. (I should note, this was only a problem because our main car adapter port was in use by the GPS, so we needed to use one in the back)
-The cable that connects the 2 units has to be inserted completely to work. Sounds like a no brainer, but the A/V cable sometimes feels like it's all the way in, but may not be. Another reviewer complained about how their second screen would only display "AV IN" and this is why. It happened to us the first time we tried to use it and it just turned out that the cable wasn't all the way in.
-When using a USB stick, the unit takes FOREVER to recognize it. This is my single biggest complaint about the unit. We have to tell it to read the DVD even though there isn't a DVD to read. Then it usually (but not always) notices the USB and lets us select that. When it doesn't, we just repeat this until it does. If you use a SD card, it recognizes those instantly, so you shouldn't have this problem. It's almost annoying enough to fork over money just to get a large SD card that can replace our USB stick. Almost.
-Has an internal battery so you don't have to be in the car to use it. And if you do stop for gas, or whatever, the main unit keeps playing! (Those who complain that it turns off and has to restart must not have charged their batteries first) This was a real lifesaver when our van broke down in the middle of nowhere in France! The internal battery does have to be charged by a standard adapter, not a car adapter, but for us that has never been a problem.
-Has 2 screens so kids sitting in different rows of the car can still watch the same movie. They aren't huge screens, but my kids have yet to complain about not being able to see and that's what matters.
-Each screen also has a little fold-out stand so it can stand up on a table if you are not in the car.
-Reads USB and SD cards. I'll be honest, I haven't even tried to put a DVD in it. I did open it to take out the cardboard shipper, but that's it. It's SO convenient to have a USB stick with several movies on it and just let it play without having to change DVDs mid-trip. I'm not normally one who likes to let the kids watch movie marathons, but on long car/plane trips, I can make an exception. The massive downfall to this is that it is VERY difficult to rip DVDs onto the computer! Before I get any comments from "copyright nazi's", I will say that I legally own a copy of every movie I ripped and it still took me an entire day to figure it out! The player reads several formats, but I went with MP4, mostly because it was the only one I could figure out. Oddly enough, I actually had to convert them from MP4 to MP4, so make sure they are NOT H.264 encrypted.
-Comes with a carrying case, earbuds (not what I would call "headphones"), all the cables you will need, and a remote control. We haven't used the earbuds or remote, but we have tested everything else. I really love that it came with a case! It's not fancy at all and doesn't have any padding, but it's the perfect size, has a handle for easy carrying, and it keeps everything together and out of sight of would-be robbers.
Is this unit perfect? No, but I don't believe there is such a thing. Every person expects something different out of a travel DVD player system. This one is a great value for the money and I believe it was worth every penny! Would I buy it again? Absolutely!! If you can live with the cons I mentioned, then you won't be disappointed!
on July 12, 2011
This great little dvd player was awesome on our recent trip from Utah to Southern California. My 11 year old step-daughter and 6 year old step-son enjoyed hours of entertainment. It withstood their abuse too. Here are the ups and downs;
good screen size for car/truck. dvd is hatch style so it can be removed power off. 5 hour lithium battery made good use of outside of car. has av out so it is possible to hook this up to a tv. I used a 32 gb sd card and 16 gb usb and loaded them full of dvd rips some mine some borrowed and all but 2 worked as is. I also used it as an mp3 player in our beach house. has speaker and headphone jacks but with the av out I was able to play it through speakers at home. Red box makes this convenient and easy to supply with new dvd's. Has both car adapter and wall adapter for power.
screen is not the most vibrant. it is a little pixelated when in menu screens but adequate watching dvd's, or ripped avi and mp4's. Dvd power supply is necessary for second screen to work. mounting system works but not elegant nor convenient for dvd changing. sound isn't loud enough so a good pair of headphones is needed when car driver wants to listen to music. 6 year old may through tantrum when 11 year old wants to watch 6 hours straight of Glee --- go figure.
I would definitely recommend these at the price I paid 110$ . The cables could be seen as a con but I found them to be ok. If you are looking for a way to use a usb or sd card to make your drive more hassle free. These are great!
on April 2, 2012
Purchased for a recent trip to FL. Worked great on the way down, kids even asked why we bothered with dvds since the SD card worked so well. Easy for them to pick and choose their content with ease. Used a little wallet to hold sd cards and they were set.
Until it failed. Only used for less than 15 hours and then the main screen failed. Not too much longer and the remote screen then became too dark to use.
Really, too bad. The card was great, price was good, and let me get rid of a bunch of space wasting (and easily damaged) dvds.
on November 26, 2011
After reading the reviews, I ordered this knowing I would have to take it out of the harness everytime I wanted to change discs, but got it anyway because of the battery power. I was very pleased when after reading the directions and putting the screen in the harness, the door still opened! I can clearly see if the harness was upside down the door would not open. So...I give this two thumbs up! It was cheap, it has battery power witch most don't, it has a remote, and everything works just as advertised.
on June 30, 2011
I did a lot of review reading before ordering a new portable dvd player for the car. I am confident I made the right purchase. This player has great options for the price. We only use them in the car for long road trips, so didn't want to spend a lot, but wanted usb ports, two screens, and battery backup. This system has it all. Plus a remote, which was not advertised. It has a great picture and is easy enough to use for my 4 year old. The only issue is the mounting straps. However I have found that I can change DVDs without taking them off the seat back.
on August 16, 2011
So, I basically narrowed down my decision to the Sylvania SDVD8732 or the Philips PD7012/37. I went with the Sylvania mostly because of the remote. No remote on the Philips, to me, outweighed any potential cons previously identified by owners of the Sylvania.
-The mounting straps held firm, even on our leather headrests
-The cord that connects both screens was long enough that I could mount one screen on the driver's headrest for my front-facing 5 year-old and the other screen on a rear-passenger headrest for my rear-facing 18 month old (although he slept more than he watched)
-The carry bag
-The battery (the main screen retained power when the car was shut-off making up for the lack of a "resume" function)
-Volume was adequate (also controlled by the remote which was a plus)
-The USB connection and SD card slot (although I did not make use of these features this time around)
-Cannot open the dvd door when strapped to the seat (at first it was a pain, but I got really good at mounting and dismounting the main screen to change discs during refueling stops, so it doesn't bother me so much anymore)
-The remote (my 5 year-old kept dropping it out of reach...)
One weird thing happened during one of our two 16-hour roadtrips: we had a ticking sound start up during the 2nd or 3rd disc we played which I thought was the disc ticking in the transport. It turned out to be what we were hearing was coming from the speakers and would go away when I "tweaked" the AV out connection (the signal cable to the 2nd screen) on the main unit. It kept coming back, but when we next stopped, I changed discs, re-connected all the cables and it never happened again, even on the return trip playing the same disc. So it was an oddity that solved itself.
And like other reviewers mentioned, when the picture would go out on the 2nd screen, the screen would be blue with AVIN displayed. This happened anytime one of the kids accidentally pulled the cable out, ever so slightly. At first glance the connection seems good, but if I pushed on the connector it would "click" back in and the picture was restored. Just check your connections if you have no picture on the 2nd screen.
Overall I am very happy with the Sylvania. I was a little nervous with the reviews posted, but the Philips had it's fair share of bad reviews too.
on September 30, 2011
This is a good portable DVD player, I bought it not cause I wanted to use DVD's in it but rather to load movies on the SD card.
The player really seems cheaply built, the tray's ejector is too strong for the clip holding it so one side sticks out a bit and sometimes it says the tray is open. (Can be an issue while driving as bumps in the road will force that warning)
No one ever listed the optimal screen resolution and video container after much trial and error I will post what I found as the best settings in my opinion.
MP3 Audio output
Screen resolution can be no higher then: (Pixels) 640 H × W 360 This give the best screen resolution.