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Panasonic DVD-LV75 DVD player review

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Panasonic DVD-LV75, click to see larger image
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Model: DVD-LV75

April 2000
Warrantee: one year parts, 90-day labor
Retail/list price: $1,300 retail / $1,400 list
as low as
$949.94 online

Features: A- Video: A Audio: A Performance: A
Ease of use: A- Remote: A- Build quality: A- Value: A-

Summary: This is Panasonic's new flagship state-of-the-art portable DVD player  with a built-in 7-inch color LCD screen, built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, virtual surround sound, headphone virtual surround sound, Dialogue Enhancer,  Digital Cinema Mode, and an extra-long life Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery.  The picture quality is top notch, as are the smooth fast scan, slow motion, and frame-by-frame modes.  The DVD-LV75 portable DVD player is a solid performer, and earns our enthusiastic recommendation.


High Points:

> Bright and detailed 7-inch color LCD display

> Full featured audio capabilities with Dolby Digital and DTS decoding

> Virtual surround sound for headphones and two built-in speakers

> Pocket-sized credit-card style remote control

> Extra long battery life

> Very smooth slow motion and fast scan modes


Low Points:

> Pixelated picture when watching non-anamorphic widescreen DVDs on the built-in LCD display

> Battery cannot be charged while using the unit for DVD playback

> Warrantee for labor expires after only 90 days



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 simply stunning!

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 Features below).

Ease of Use - Is it easy to set-up & use everyday?

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.

Battery Life

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 equipment.

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 compare?

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 links below:

> $999.94 @
> $999.99 @
> $1,099.99 @

Other Information

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.

Specifications: horizontal 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 Essentials DVD.

DVD movies and audio CDs used in testing: A Bug's 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 CD, Music from the Motion Picture Titanic CD, The Best of Fourplay CD, and Celine Dion's "The Colour of My Love" CD.

Review originally posted on July 11, 2000.  Review last updated July 27, 2001.

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In This Review:


> Introduction

> Video Features & Performance

> Audio Features & Performance

> Ease of Use

> Battery Life

> DVD on the Go

> Competitive Models & Value

> Conclusion

> Availability &  Price

> Other Information


DVD & Blu-ray Release Dates


> August 2010

> September 2010

> October 2010

> November 2010

> December 2010

> January 2011

more >>   


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