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Who Needs a Portable DVD Player?

9 Mar, 2010 By: Stephanie Prange

I think the disc — especially Blu-ray — will be around for some time, but I think one place where digital delivery has taken root is in the portable market.

Back in 2006, we prepared to take a long road trip by buying two portable DVD players. We got two so each girl could watch whatever she wanted (no fights that way). We packed 20 or so discs in a CD case and were on our way. Other than the youngest one asking for help changing the DVD selection every so often, it was a peaceful trip. We also used them on one or two plane trips.

Four years later, those two players sit gathering dust. With her new Apple iPod Touch, my 11-year-old can watch digital copies. And the younger one uses her father’s iPod to do the same on long road trips. Before leaving, they peruse the digital copies available, load them on the iPods and we’re off.

The iPods are certainly lighter and easier to store than the portable players, and the girls don’t mind only having a few movies from which to choose; they just switch iPods when they want to swap movies. We don’t have to lug around a CD case of discs. On the next trip, they dump the movies they’ve already watched and put new digital copies on the iPods.

The only downside is selection. There’s often a groan when they learn a particular digital copy isn’t Apple compatible. Compatibility doesn’t seem to be studio specific. It’s random. Some, such as Sony Picutres’ Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, work only with Sony’s PSP and a PlayStation 3.

Just when we thought the format wars were over, we find a new one in the digital realm. Some things never change.

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