The Definitive Portable DVD Player Glossary, Every Feature Explained

Jun 9


Rose Lee

Rose Lee

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Do you sell portable DVD players online? Then you need to know the terms involved so you can convince your customers that you know your trade. Here is a guide to every portable DVD player related term.

Like all electronic products,The Definitive Portable DVD Player Glossary, Every Feature Explained Articles features for portable players are also full of jargon. As a reseller of portable DVD players it is important for you to understand these clearly for two reasons:

* Savvy consumers knows and understand electronics and are looking for an equally adept seller

* Novices need help understanding which product is right for them
Here is a list of terms which should help you go from zero knowledge to expert in no time:

** Disc Formats **
CD: Short for Compact Disc Read Only Memory (CD-ROM), is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer.

CD-R: A CD-R (recordable) allows for content to be written once and read many times. This type of disc stores all types of media files.

CD-RW: This is a rewritable medium that allows for content to be written many times and read many times. The CD-RW can also be used to store different formats of content.

VCD: Also known as Video Compact Disc is a format for storing video on CDs, and is not dissimilar to a VCR in that you cannot skip chapters or view rich data, just fast forward and rewind.

SVCD: This stands for Super Video Compact Disk. This is a successor to the VCD and was meant to challenge the DVD format. Quality and storage capacity is superior to a VCD, but lower than the DVD.

DVD: Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Discs. They look like CDs but store six times more data and can display video in chapters.

DVD RW/ DVD+RW/ DVD-RW:  These three terms essentially mean the same thing. These are rewritable DVDs. They can be rewritten close to a thousand times, making them very useful as backup media. The + and - and competing standards, though it is generally accepted that + is superior and therefore the industry standard for rewritable disks.

** Media Formats **
MPEG 1, 2, 3 & 4: These are compression standards for audio and video set by the Moving Pictures Export Group. The numerals refer to versions with MPEG 1 being the 1st and MPEG 4 being the latest. These standards apply across all transmission and distribution platforms.

MP4: This is another name of the MPEG 4-Part 14 standard created by the Moving Pictures Expert Group standards. This standard specifies compression for both video and audio. Commercially a number of manufacturers use MP4 on products that can playback both audio and video. However, this is misleading as MP4 products must be able to playback files with the extension .mp4.

WMA: Windows Media Audio is an audio data compression standard developed by Microsoft.

DiVX: This is a compression technique that converts lengthy video sequences into smaller parts without loosing too much detail. It uses the MPEG-4 compression standard.

XVID: The opposite of DiVX, is a compression technique and a direct competitor for DiVX. It also does video compression based on the MPEG-4 standard. The difference between the two is DiVX is proprietary while XVID is distributed under Gnu or is free to use.

MP3: Designed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group, this is a standard for audio files compression.

JPEG: This is a compression standard for photographs and is used by most digital cameras. Having this lets the user playback pictures from the camera on the portable DVD screen.

** External Ports **
AV In: Audio/Video input point to connect external devices like a video cam direct to the player

AV Out: Audio/Video output point for connecting DVD player to home TV, car system etc.    

VGA Out: Video Graphics Array port, first introduced in computers now popular in portable devices, used to connect to LCD displays among others.

USB: Universal Serial Bus is one of the most common interface devices on a variety of platforms from computing to audio/video. With the USB you can hook up a whole host of devices to the DVD Player including mobile phones, laptops, computers, mp3 and MP4 players etc.

SD/MMC/MS Card Reader: Secure Digital/Multimedia Card and Memory Stick are all types of flash memory used in portable electronic devices from MP3/MP4 players, digital cameras, camcorders, mobile phones etc. A card reader for these devices ensures content on them can be played on the DVD player.

HDMI: High-Definition Multimedia Interface is an audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data.

It is the digital alternative to analog standards such as:
* RF
* Coaxial cable
* Composite video
* S-Video
* Component video
* D-Terminal

HDMI connects digital audio/video sources such as set-top boxes, Blu-ray Disc players, personal computers (PCs), video game consoles (such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360), and AV receivers to compatible digital audio devices, computer monitors, and digital televisions

S-Video: Separate Video is an analog video signal that carries the video data as two separate signals, lumen (luminance) and chroma (color).

This differs from composite video which carries picture information as a single lower-quality signal, and component video which carries picture information as three separate higher-quality signals. S-Video carries standard definition video (typically at 480i or 576i resolution), but does not carry audio on the same cable.

** TV Encoders **
PAL: Phase Alternating Line is an analog color encoding system used in broadcast television is large parts of the world. DVDs with PAL encoding will only play on players that can decode this signal.

SECAM: Developed in France, it is an analog color encoding system for broadcast television. It is primarily used in France, parts of Eastern Europe some former French colonies.

NTSC: Developed in the USA, it is an analog color encoding system for broadcast television. Primarily used in the US.

DVB: Digital Video Broadcasting is (or will be) the industry standard for digital video in many countries around the world. It is used for satellite, terrestrial and digital terrestrial for portables (including mobile broadcasts).

ATSC: Advanced Television Systems Committee standard defines a digital broadcast standard for the US, Canada, Mexico and one or two other territories.

** Miscellaneous Terms **
Aspect Ratio: Aspect ratio is the fractional relation of the width of a video image compared to its height. The two most common aspect ratios in home video are 4:3 (also known as 4x3, 1.33:1, or standard) and 16:9.

Signal to Noise Ratio: Signal-to-noise ratio compares the level of a desired signal (such as music) to the level of background noise. The higher the ratio, the less obtrusive the background noise is.

Screen resolution: This refers to the number of rows and columns of pixels in the LCD display. So a screen with 800x600 resolution means it has 800 rows of pixels and 600 columns.

Bit rate: Bit rate is a measure of the rate of information content in a video stream. It is quantified using the bit per second (bit/s or bps) unit or Megabits per second (Mbit/s). A higher bit rate allows better video quality.

Modulation/Demodulation: This is a method of transferring digital data stream and converting it into an analog stream.

FFT Pattern: FFT refers to Fast Fourier Transform which is the algorithm used to unscramble the digital signals broadcast by television stations and broadcasters.

A FFT pattern is used in DVB-T transmissions and usually refers to signals being modulated for 2048, 4096, or 8192 carriers (2k, 4k, 8k mode, respectively).

FEC: Forward Error Correction is a system sending extra data with transmissions so that the television stations can quickly establish the cause of errors and fix them.

NES/SNES: Nintendo Entertainment System/Super Nintendo Entertainment System. These are gaming consoles released by Nintendo in the early 1990s. Many third-party devices come with these built-in, including portable DVD players.

ESP Protection: Electronic Skip Protection basically ensures playback of audio/video is skip free especially when mobile...say in a car.

** But why do YOU have to know all this? **
The digital consumer is aware of the interoperability between various digital formats and is generally looking for products that can double up in more than one function.

For example: a portable DVD player with a big enough screen to play back stills from a digital camera might mean the consumer will prefer to spend less on a camera with a big screen and use the portable DVD player instead for viewing pictures.

This is possible with the addition of the SD/MMC/MS card reader.

Similarly most family vacations today have a camcorder as a must have. For these consumers the ability to playback home videos on a larger screen is a must have.

A portable DVD player that accepts multiple video formats including NTSC, PAL SECAM etc. makes it more useful.

The ability to receive multiple TV input signals is essential given the changes taking place in broadcast technology. With Digital TV broadcast signals replacing analog across the world, it is essential that the portable DVD player have the required inputs to play the different TV formats.

Gaming is another "nice to have" feature on a family vacation.

The ability to either plug into existing gaming systems or in fact have a built-in gamer goes a long way in making a sale.

By knowing what the terms mean you are a long way towards knowing who to aim particular portable DVD players at and what features to play up and which points to ignore.

So get out there today, start studying up improve your listings and start selling to a wider market. Your bank balance will love you for it.