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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and easy but still has a generation 1.0 feel to it
The PMC-120 is the player for you IF you happen to own a computer running Windows XP Media Center Edition - a recent creature that turns your computer into a kind of TiVo, recording TV programs directly onto your hard drive. I do in fact own a Dell MCE model, and have scads of TV shows I'd like to take on the road with me, as well as vacation photos (*.jpg), music,...
Published on January 10, 2005 by bensmomma

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars iRiver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center
I purchased the iRiver PMC120 on 12/12/07 and gave it to my grandson as an early Christmas gift on 12/21/07. On 12/23/07, the screen quit working and the inner screen has the appearance of being broken; however, there is no damage to the outer screen or any other part of the PMC and no reason to suspect that the PMC was abused. I have returned it to iRiver, as...
Published on January 13, 2008 by Rex Gay


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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and easy but still has a generation 1.0 feel to it, January 10, 2005
By 
This review is from: iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center (Electronics)
The PMC-120 is the player for you IF you happen to own a computer running Windows XP Media Center Edition - a recent creature that turns your computer into a kind of TiVo, recording TV programs directly onto your hard drive. I do in fact own a Dell MCE model, and have scads of TV shows I'd like to take on the road with me, as well as vacation photos (*.jpg), music, etc.

Pros: The PMC syncs neatly with Window Media Player 10 to convert my TV files (*.dvr-ms) to a format playable by the portable player. Installation and translation of files is straightforward - you just build a playlist and hit "synchronize." The portable's screen is bright and the controls are much more intuitive than I-River's other model, the PMP-120 (P not C). There is a USB port built in so, if your digicam also has a port, presumably you could send photos right to the player without going home to your computer. It's a nice way to show people your snapshots.

Cons: The PMC is so reliant on Windows Media Player that other files formats are not so easily handled (how to translate DVDs, for example, is not clear - presumably it's possible if you use third-party translation software). So if you don't have a Media Center computer you are better off with the PMP or with another brand. Translation is slow and doesn't always work: of the first three files I tried, one got corrupted in the process and two worked ok but have some minor problems in syncing the audio and video.

Finally, I-River support is more-or-less non-existent. Thus, although I'm happy to own one, if you wait for another year to buy one you'll probably get better (faster, cheaper, easier) results. Although I'm fond of mine, it's very much a first-generation contraption at this point.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good player, but...., June 30, 2006
By 
This review is from: iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center (Electronics)
When I got my hands on the PMC-120 I thought this was going to to be the best player but when I started to play with it all the glitches started to come into my way.
I agree with the other reviews that it has a first generation-device feel to it.
MUSIC:
When I tried to put music in my PMC it syncronized my mp3s with the WMP 10 with no problem (very fast). If U are looking for a grab and drop (copy/paste) your music mp3 device, this is not for you because when I did it got everything in one same folder that read "Unknown artist and album". So you have to put all your mp3s via WMP 10, wich is no problem for me because it does it very fast. The problems that I encountered is that it only has one "Portable playlist" and sometimes when Im playing an mp3 and navegating through the other albums the controls respond 1 to 2 seconds later after pushing the button.
One cool thing is that it shows the cd covers without having to put them in. This is done via the WMP10.
The sound is very good and crisp, and the equalizer setups are fair.But you defenetly cant tell the difference between the diffrent eq setups with the built in speacker wich has a very small horrible sound.

PICTURES:
This is basically a grab and drop procedure to get your pics in the device and you can arrenge them in folders or subfolders. You can not transfer directly from your camera so if you are travelling and dont have a PC to transfer your pics this little baby wont do that job for you.

VIDEO:
Ok, now this is where it starts to get frustrating for me...
I wanted a portable media device that I would only grab and drop my movies that are divx and xvid. I knew that this device only reads WMV but it "supports" DIVX, XVID, MPEG, etc. This "support" deppends on what the WMP10 can play. So this means that you sincronyze (via WMP10) your movies no matter the format and it converts them into WMP movies and at the same time it just transferes it and fits it into your PMC secreen size. I had this in mind when I bought it and was fine with me untill I tried it the first time: The WMP10 wouldnt convert my XVID movies and after a few hours of trial and error and surfing the web my problem was that I had to have the correct video codecs that are compatibles with the WMP10. So after uninstalling and installing I was good to go so I converted a 1:45hr long movie in only 25 minutes. But this short moment of joy was suddenly interrupted by the fact that the WMP10 fits the widescreen movies into the PMC and makes all the images long and thin almost unwatchable!!!! You cant change this because the WMP does this automatically. My answer was using other software and converting my widescreen movies into WMV files. The problem is that it takes almost the running time of the movies to convert...I have tried a lot of different softwares and still havent found one that does it faster as the WMP10.
In the other hand if you have a full screen video you just use the WMP10 and it does it very fast and with good quality.
You can connect your device to the tv but the resolution is very low so I think this option is useless on the PMC.

So the veredict is: The PMC-120 is a good multimedia player with minor glitches. It is a little bulky but personally I think the size is not that big. I think the good side of the size issue comes along with its big 3.6 inch screen wich is great to watch films and this for me kicks arse compared to the ipod video.
If you want to play directly your DIVX or XVID movies on your player buy another porduct like the iRiver PMP series or the Archos players wich are way, way, WAY more expensive.
So I think that for the price and for what it does the PMC-120 gets two thumbs up.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great player, prices are starting to come down, March 31, 2006
This review is from: iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center (Electronics)
I recommend this player if you're in the market for a portable media player. I've found it's durable, easy to use and definitely worth what I paid for it. It comes with a nice zippered carrying case, which does a great job of keeping the screen from getting scratched up while you're not using it. The screen is clear and bright, the controls are comfortable and easy to use and the menus are very easy to navigate.

My experiences are pretty similar to the other reviewers. I agree, if you have a Media Center PC, this thing is invaluable. However, I've found that it takes way too long (hours!) for the player to convert dvr-ms files. With some 3rd party software, I can edit out the commercials and re-encode to the size accepted by the player (320x240 wmv) in about a 1/2 hour and once done, it takes only about 30 seconds to copy over. 20 gb is more than adequate for most people, since the video files are only about 200 mb for an hour show. The operating system on the player takes up some space, so you don't get the full 20 gb. But even so, you can fit around 85 - 90 hour long videos on there at a time.

I also agree that one of the player's shortcomings is the lack of customization with music playlists. You're limited to only one, and the shuffle function isn't great. I've found that you have to toggle the shuffle option a few times to get a different mix of songs, otherwise you get them in the same order every time. But that's not a major issue for me. Another cool feature is that you can have Windows Media Player download CD information off the internet and when played, the cd cover will show up in the player. Neat!

Another small problem I've run into is that the player isn't very stable if you're using it with the AC adapter without the battery attached. There's an arm you can pull out on the back of the unit that you can use to prop the player up to view the screen. The AC plugs into the top of the player and I have to rearrange the cord a bit to keep it from tipping the player over. Again, only a minor problem, but it would've been better if the AC plug was on the side of the unit and not the top.

Overall, I really like this player. I use it every day at work, and I'm looking forward to using it on the plane this summer when I travel. I haven't found any major cons to using this product, just some minor inconveniences. I'd have to say the biggest downside is the price. I don't think it's worth the MSRP of $500 (I paid half that amount after a lot of bargain hunting on the web), but thankfully there are more players coming out on the market, some with more storage, and the prices are starting to fall.

Oh, and don't listen to the other reviewers nonsense about the battery. There is no internal battery, just an external one that fastens to the back of the player. If/when it ever does go dead, you can buy replacements. So don't let any battery issues stop you from considering this.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent iPod Contender, September 25, 2006
By 
JP "JP" (Satsuma, AL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center (Electronics)
I'd like to mention first my personal dislikes. One reviewer mentioned the user manual being thrown together. I couldn't agree more... The manual references a few features that I cannot seem to locate on the player and is also not very helpful in walking you through how to convert files to a compatible format that the player will play. New users could give the PMC a bad review due to the lack of the user friendliness manual. The USB plug cover is annoying as hell when trying to plug in the USB cable. You want to rip it off the player but then you risk getting dirt in the USB port. The power cord should have either had a 90* connector or the recepticle should have been located towards the bottom of the player. The player easily tips over because of this. Lastly, why is there no STOP button? iPods don't have this either but when I'm finished listening or watching I want to return to the main menu without what I was doing being paused in the background (you can actually see it). All of these grips are easily outweighed by the players other features though.
On to the good parts... The video quality appears really good. The hard part is finding consistant information and software that will convert your DVD videos to WMV format. Video conversion all depends on the speed of your PC. My PC took about 1 hour to convert a 30 min episode of South Park to a WMV file and a few minutes to transfer the 177mb file to the PMC.
JPEG picture quality is excellent. I resized all of my pics to the 320x240 screen size (keeping the aspect ratio). You can play any song(s) while the slideshow is playing too. The lack of slideshow control is a slight downside.
One other feature I would have expected from a slightly bulky PMC is a FM tuner. Sometimes there are live events that you'd like to listen to without having to carry another device with you.
Hopefully a future BIOS update will allow more options/flexability for the playlist, slideshow, etc...
Price, definitely worth %50+/- of the MSRP of $499.99 ($250).
I would have easily given 5 stars had the manual been a little more helpful and accurate and had the MSRP been in a more affordable/reasonable range.
Oct 6, 2006 - After playing around with the device for several hours I have found some of the features listed in the manual. This doesn't mean that the manual is correct in the way it informs you how to access these features though. You can actually override the players conversion settings and transfer other file formats to the player to see if they will play. You still must use the Media Players sync feature to get an understandable meta tag for the files, or you just get an "unknown". You must use MP10 to access the players sync options.
I'm not quite sure how the FM tuner add-on works since all ports (except USB) are output.
After spending countless hours trying to find freeware that converts DVD files to WMV I find that I already had a program that would partially do this for me. Pinnacle Studio 9 has a VOB to Mpeg converter, I then let MP10 do its job converting to a compatible format. A 23 minute video is about 120MB. Not too bad....
My best advice to anyone who has purchased or is going to purchase this item is to use the left & right arrows on the navigation button. That's where the extra features are located. I still feel that a bios update will add many more features to this device that will continue to make this a better than iPod device with the exception of not interfacing with aftermarket car stereos.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for Windows Media Center PC owners, August 30, 2005
By 
Jeff Mick (Roseville, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center (Electronics)
I've had my PMC-120 for a little over 1 month and am pretty happy with it. There are a few features Microsoft could have improved: user customizeable EQ, more than one playlist that can be created on the device, last playlist recall when returning to music (from video or TV). Overall the unit functions well and is great for taking all my media on the road with me. Once Windows Media Player is configured on my PC, all my synchronized recorded TV content is converted in the background before I wake up in the morning. Before I leave, I just plug in and sync for a minute or so and I'm good to go. The only other nit-pick I would have is that the processor or I/O performance seems to be an issue when loading the album cover for tracks. For example, if I change to the next track and increase the volume, the volume response can take 2 - 3 seconds while the album cover is loaded. This can be a little irritating sometimes when I want to skip through several tracks. In spite this, I like the unit and I'm happy to have it. Maybe MS/iRiver will provide a firmware update to address the lack of features above?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An exellent multimedia device, June 20, 2006
By 
Jake Hoover (New York, Stone Ridge USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center (Electronics)
Right when I got my pmc-120 I was really pleased with it.The screen has very good resolution and is very large.The controlls are right where you need them and are very easy to use. There is only a couple things that could be improved though. The built in speaker has no bass and it doesn't go very loud. But all you have to do is plug in the head phones and they have a very good sound quality to them. The rubber cover to the usb port is a little difficult to get out of the way to plug it in buts it's only a minor inconvience. The device could be a little thinner but I like how it fits in my hands. The pmc itself is about the size of a gameboy advance. The movie quality is exellent and it has a fast foward and rewind option, but you can't see the movie while it's fast fowarding it stops at the frame where you started to fast foward. This device blows th ipod video away. My friend has an ipod and he thought that my pmc was extremly better. The iriver pmc-120 is an exellent multimedia device and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PMC 120, May 30, 2006
This review is from: iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center (Electronics)
My computer has a the Windows Media Center Operating system, and syncing my device to my computer couldn't be easier. I had my PMC for a day, and I have about forty shows and over two hundred songs on this gadget. It barely took up 7GB of hardrive space. Unfortunately, it needs to "convert" or shrink compatiblae video files to a smaller resolution. Good part about this is that it saves more than X2 amount of space. Converting twenty shows takes about three hours. Syncing the shows takes less than five minutes

If anyone has Windows Media Player 11, don't worry. The instructions say it is only compatibale with WMP 10, but it works fine, perhaps even better, with WMP 11.

The display is great, but the sound on the speakers is pretty crummy. The Headphone Jack easily takes care of that problem. The playlist is also bad too, it is just Alphabetical. Buttons are put where you need them, very easy to navigate through the PMC. PMC have a wider, much better range of video files. The video quality and screen is so much better than any PMP or IPod. The PMC is a little bulky, but i like it because i didn't want a tiny, breakable, and loseable portable media device. It's not HUGE, but one will have a little trouble putting the PMC in their pocket, especially if one has a cellphone or wallet blocking it.

About my price, and this is why i gave all five stars. I got mine for 55% off, it cost me around 255 to buy the whole thing, shipping included. I think I got a deal because it was Memorial Day weekend. I'm sure one can get the PMC for about the same price, but it probably will be refurbished. Five hundred dollars is a bit much, if you need WMV, Divx, or other Video files then perhaps the PMC is for you. However, if you can settle for less, like only playing MPEG4 files, get an iRiver PMP, or get an Ipod movie. But their screen size and video quality is not worth the price to me. I got my PMC for about the same price as any PMP or IPod, I got a lot of bang for my buck, and I was lucky because it sold out the next day.

Chuck-Bob
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars iRiver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center, January 13, 2008
By 
Rex Gay (Newport News, VA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center (Electronics)
I purchased the iRiver PMC120 on 12/12/07 and gave it to my grandson as an early Christmas gift on 12/21/07. On 12/23/07, the screen quit working and the inner screen has the appearance of being broken; however, there is no damage to the outer screen or any other part of the PMC and no reason to suspect that the PMC was abused. I have returned it to iRiver, as instructed, and am awaiting their response. Needless to say, I am not impressed with the product at this time and have not yet formed an opinion about iRiver's service since they were closed when the situation occurred, I was only able to initiate proceedings after January 2, 2008 and the issue is currently unresolved.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty dang good, August 18, 2007
This review is from: iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center (Electronics)
I bought this product last week and found it to be simpily amazing there were only a few cons.
1. slightly bulky
2. case is ummm well i cant spell atrocious but thats close enough
But the pros greatly outnumber the cons
1. massive storage
2. large 3.5 in screen
3. durable(i mean people are saying it breaks if you drop it duh drop an ipod it wont just break it shatters)
4. great battrie life 14 audio 5 video(and if your a music junkie like me i bought a spare battrie)
5. easy to control,buttons are easy to understand
All in all a great product if you like movies and music with 20 gigs i currently have 17 movies on it with about 5 gigs left for music completly awsome although not quite small enough to fit in pocket if your a girl guys we have no problem remember bulge is good. Its not quite a five but most defiantly not a 4. So the you have it i recomend this to people who dont mind a little bulk for a little buck ha ha i made a funny.... man im wierd
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars iriver pmc 120 disapointing, December 30, 2007
This review is from: iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center (Electronics)
pmc 120 wasn't worth the $100 I spent. Music quality is fair but glitches frequently. I've been unable to make it through an entire video without the player freezing. The picture quality is low and did not meet my expectations.
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iriver PMC120 20 GB Portable Media Center
$499.99 $259.00
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