Wow. What can we say... this portable DVD player rocks!
This Panasonic PalmTheater™ portable DVD player is doing to DVD what the
Sony Walkman did for audio cassettes and the Sony CD Walkman did for CDs.
It's that revolutionary! This is Panasonic's third generation portable DVD
player, and Panasonic's product line experience in the portable DVD player
market is demonstrated in this impressive product. (Panasonic's first
generation model featured a smaller 5" LCD display.) This lightweight
portable player has a handsome, silver case that opens like a laptop
computer. Open the DVD compartment by pressing on the "Push Open"
button at the left bottom corner of the base and the disc lid pops up. Press
the disc (DVD-Video, Video CD, or audio CD) into the spindle until it
engages into the hub clips, close the lid, and press the "Play"
button and the unit turns on automatically and starts playing the movie. As
soon as the image appears on the built-in 7-inch color LCD screen, you can't
help but be amazed with the detailed, sharp, bright and colorful image. It's
Video Features & Performance - How
good is the picture?
Picture Quality. Watching DVD movies on this
portable player is a visual treat. The picture quality of the
high-resolution 7-inch (diagonally measured) 16:9 aspect ratio LCD screen is
absolutely top notch. The picture is particularly detailed and sharp with anamorphic
widescreen, "enhanced for widescreen TVs", DVD titles. With
letterboxed (non-anamorphic) widescreen DVDs, you can zoom the image to fill
the LCD's 16:9 aspect screen, but you start to see pixelation effects. This
may seem like a limitation of the non-anamorphic widescreen DVD, but is probably
a shortcoming of the Panasonic's video processing for its built-in LCD
display. When video is output to a TV, there are no pixelation problems. To
accommodate DVD software coming in various aspect ratios, the player allows
you to choose various screen modes: native modes for 4:3 and 16:9, as well
as 16:9 "stretched", and 16:9 zoom.
A Note for Users: Be sure to set the "TV
aspect" (using the "Action" button on the remote control and
selecting menu item #5, "TV aspect") to "16:9" aspect
ratio to get optimal video performance from anamorphically enhanced DVDs
(i.e., those DVDs labeled as "enhanced for widescreen TVs"). If
you output the picture to a conventional 4:3 TV, be sure to set the "TV
aspect" to "4:3". Just remember to set it back to
"16:9" when you use the 7" LCD display again.
LCD Screen. The LCD screen is very bright, and
can be viewed comfortably even under the brightest sunlight conditions. The
screen brightness can be adjusted for comfortable viewing under darker
conditions. Color is saturated and also adjustable.
A feature we found particularly useful is that the
built-in LCD screen can serve as a display for an external video/audio feed.
For example, we connected our camcorder (Sony Digital8 camcorder model
DCR-TRV103) to the DVD player and watched the Digital8 videotape playback on
the 7-inch LCD screen. The image was equally astonishing as that from DVD,
since the source is digital video. Our videos looked great on the
Panasonic's widescreen LCD, since we chose to shoot our video in 16:9
anamorphic widescreen format.
Finally, as another testament of quality, we did not
notice any dead pixels on the LCD screen.
Slow Motion, Fast Scan, and Frame-by-Frame Advance. This
player features a full set of scan, search, and slow motion special effects.
It features forward and reverse fast scan search, forward and reverse slow
motion, forward and reverse frame-by-frame advance, chapter preview (plays
the first four seconds of each chapter), and pause.
Audio Features & Performance - How
good does it sound?
The audio features were also astonishing. This model
features built-in decoders for Dolby Digital and DTS,
with full 5.1-channel adjustments (e.g., speaker type, loudness, and delay
time). If you don't have a 5.1-channel surround sound system, the Advanced
Virtual Surround Sound (AVSS) feature will simulate a surround sound
environment with just two speakers. Sure, nothing really compares with a
true surround sound system, but Panasonic's virtual surround sound is about
as good as any simulated surround sound system we've heard to date.
This model comes with a pair of built-in stereo speakers,
located just below the screen and pointing towards the viewer for improved
sound propagation. For more private listening, there is a mini-headphone
jack. (Two mini-jacks would be better for sharing the DVD experience.) There
is even a Headphone Virtual Surround Sound (VSS) feature for a more
expansive simulated surround sound environment while listening with
headphones. (This feature significantly improves the ambiance of the sound
field, as we particularly like the AVSS setting on "1".)
Since this model plays audio CDs, we gave them a listen
and were very pleased with the CD playback quality. The sound is balanced
and bass extension is deep (with high quality headphones). This portable DVD
player performs double duty as a "CD Walkman", and is a welcomed
relief if you're tired of watching DVD-Videos and just want to chill with
your favorite music CDs. The owner's manual states that CD-Rs cannot be
played back in this model.
Complementing its full array of audio features is a
complete set of audio output (see the Summary of
Ease of Use - Is it easy to set-up & use
This unit comes with a credit-card style slim remote
control. Almost all features can be accessed from the remote control.
Controls related to the LCD display (e.g., aspect ratio, brightness, and
color settings) are only available on the unit. Most controls are accessible
directly from the unit either directly using the buttons, or through the
menu bar activated by the "Display" button.
A Note for Users: Cursor control is achieved on
the unit by sliding a circular disc (Panasonic calls it the "cursor
jockey") forward/aft and side-to-side. To skip forward/backward to
other chapters, there are dedicated buttons. However, to perform a forward
or reverse scan search, press and hold the dedicated forward/backward
chapter skip buttons until the desired scan speed is reached. Press
"play" to resume normal playback. To advance the video
frame-by-frame, press pause, then slide the cursor jockey side-to-side to
advance the frame forward or reverse.
To configure the DVD player, the "Action" menu
is used to configure: the desired audio track, subtitle, menu language,
parental lock, color and position of the on-screen display menu bar, TV
screen aspect, digital audio output settings (e.g., PCM down conversion,
Dolby Digital and dts bitstream vs. PCM), speaker settings for multi-channel
(speaker type, delay, and relative loudness) or 2-channel, still mode, audio
during search on/off, digital range compression, and still mode and still
picture display. Most of the "Action" menu is only accessible from
the remote control. Generally, navigation of the menu and changing settings
are simple and straightforward, thanks to the clear and user-friendly
on-screen menu icons.
This model offers program and random play modes, where you
can program the player to play specific chapters in any order or randomly.
Additionally, you can set the player to repeatedly play between any two
points you designate. Resume play is a nice feature to have, particularly
when you are frequently interrupted. Whether you power down the player or
not, playback resumes where you left off when you select "Play"
again. You can also use the marker feature to temporarily bookmark five of
your favorite scenes. Temporary because these markers are only good until
the player is turned off or if the disc lid is opened.
As a full-featured DVD player, this model easily performs
double duty as your primary DVD player in your home or home theater.
Obviously the mass appeal behind portable DVD players is
that you can take it with you anywhere. So you would naturally ask, how long does
the standard Lithium Ion battery (same battery technology as in
state-of-the-art laptop computers) lasts between charges? Certainly this
depends on how you use the unit. For example, whether you use headphones vs.
the built-in speakers, what volume it is set at, and how bright the screen is.
In one test, with headphones set to a typical listening level ("6"
on the volume dial), and brightness set to "0" (from a scale of
"-5" for dimmest to "+5" for brightest), we got an
astonishing 4 hours and 50 minutes. That's right, nearly five 5 hours of
continuous playing time!
If that's not enough, you can always purchase an optional
second battery. Just be aware that you can only charge the battery while the
unit is turned off, battery attached, and the A/C cord plugged in. There is
no separate charging cradle for a second battery. It takes about 4 hours to
completely charge a battery. So if you have a second battery, you would have
to swap the second battery (say in the middle of the night) if you wanted to
fully charge two batteries for the next day. We think nearly 5 hours of
battery life should be adequate for most users. Finally, the Lithium Ion
battery can be re-charged for about 300 cycles, according to Panasonic.
DVD On The Go
OK, so battery life is great, even with only one battery.
But you're wondering, how well does this unit take to travel? While we
did not subject our unit to any formal drop tests, from our experience with
the occasional and inadvertent bumps of daily life, this unit seems rugged
enough to handle most common and expected bumps of any portable electronics
Obviously the best part of a portable DVD player is that
you can take it virtually anywhere. And we really mean anywhere.
Where you use it is only limited to your imagination. This portable model
makes long road trips and flights much shorter and much more enjoyable. Just
think, instead of hearing the kids ask "are we there yet?" every
15 minutes, they'll ask "we're here already?" at the final
destination. Amazing technology.
Competitive Models & Value - How does this model
Panasonic offers a more affordable model DVD-LV55
with a 5-inch LCD screen for about $900 (some $400 less), and another
portable model DVD-PV55
with no built-in screen for about $600.
Because of demand and popularity of these portable DVD
players, other manufacturers have recently plunged into this hot market.
Sony, Pioneer, and Sharp offer competitive portable DVD player models with
7-inch screens. The Sony
DVP-FX1 retails for about $1,500, while the Pioneer
PDV-LC10 is about $1,300. The Sharp model DV-L70U retails for about
$1,200. We'll have to evaluate these three competitive models soon, but we
suspect that this Panasonic model has set a pretty high standard for all
portable DVD players.
We absolutely love this portable DVD player. At $1,300,
the price is a little steep for our pocket books. But for those of you who
must have it or if money is no subject, this portable DVD player will
certainly make that statement and bring a smile to your face at the same
time. As a third generation product, the DVD-LV75 is a solid performer. It
would easily serve as your primary DVD player in your home theater (that is,
when you're at home).
Availability & Price - Where
can I buy this model & for how much?
A final suggestion: save yourself a
big chunk of change (about $300 and possibly sales tax) - consider ordering
this model from one of the on-line merchants below. With the savings you'd
realize, you can jump-start your DVD movie collection.
If you buy online, please
consider supporting this site by starting here and clicking through one of our
> $1,099.99 @
Summary of Features:
portable DVD-Video player; 7-inch LCD color screen (diagonally measured),
16:9 aspect ratio screen with approx. 337,000 pixels; built-in stereo
speakers; plays DVD-Video, Video CD, audio CDs; credit card style slim
remote control; 27MHz/10-bit video D/A converter; built-in Dolby Digital and DTS
decoder; Advanced Virtual Surround Sound (AVSS) mode; headphone virtual
surround sound; Dialogue Enhancer; Digital Cinema mode (for
enhancing shadow detail); fast scan (forward and reverse); slow motion (forward and
reverse); resume play, repeat play, A-B repeat play, random play, and
program play modes; parental lock-out feature; interlaced video via S-video and composite video
outputs (compact, requires included cables); mini-optical digital audio
output (compact, requires optional cables); 5.1-channel audio output
(compact, requires included cables); stereo analog audio output (compact,
requires included cables); mini-headphone jack (1); auto power-off function.
resolution > 500 lines; video S/N 60 dB; audio S/N (CD) 115dB; dynamic
range DVD-Video 100 dB, CD 98 dB, THD (CD) 0.0025%; DC input 9V;
multi-voltage A/C adapter input 110V or 240V; Energy Star compliant;
Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery, rated for 3.0 hours; weight 3.2 pounds
with battery; dimensions 7 9/32" (W) x 1" (H, without battery) or
1 9/16" (H, with battery) x 5 1/2" (D); warrantee one year parts,
90-day labor; made in Japan.
Contact Information: Panasonic Consumer Electronics
Company, One Panasonic Way, Secaucus, NJ 07094. Call toll-free
1-800-211-PANA (7262). Panasonic DVD web site.
Associated equipment used in evaluation: Sony
KP-61V45 61" rear projection TV (4:3 screen aspect ratio), Sony KV-27V66
27" TV (4:3 screen aspect ratio), Sony STR-D1011 A/V receiver, NHT 2.1 as left/right main speakers, NHT 1.1C center channel speaker, NHT
SuperZero as surround speakers, Monster Cable M-series S-Video cable
MSV-500, and Monster Cable XP speaker
wires. Our home theater equipment was calibrated
with the Video
DVD movies and audio CDs used in testing:
Life DVD, Tarzan
DVD, Meet Joe
Black DVD, Pleasantville
DVD, Tomorrow Never
Dies DVD, and Fleetwood Mac: The
Dance DVD, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace soundtrack audio
from the Motion Picture Titanic CD, The
Best of Fourplay CD, and Celine Dion's "The Colour of My Love"
Review originally posted on July 11, 2000. Review
last updated July 27, 2001.
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