NextBase SDV1102-BY is a combination of a classic portable DVD player and an analog/digital TV tuner. Compared to other portable DVD players, this device looks a lot bigger, almost as big as a (folded) notebook computer, and there are two main reasons for this. First and foremost, the display has a 10.2” diagonal, which places it among the largest in its class, and secondly, the speakers were placed left and right of the display rather than beneath it, as would be usual for these devices. The device on the whole was done in the “tablet” spirit, which means that the display was placed on the outer side of the loader lid. As far as we know, this is one of the very rare portable DVD players that have dual-system speakers with a total strength of 8 W. Sound quality is therefore immensely better than any other portable player we’ve reviewed thus far. Audio/video outputs are present as well, of course, so that you can transfer sound or image to an external device, and if you want to keep your watching session private, you’re able to simply plug in standard headphones.
The player has two TV receivers, one analogue and one digital (DVB-T), with the ability to keep both antennas active simultaneously. Both the analogue and the digital antenna are included in the bundle, and this is where another particular feature of the device becomes evident. The digital antenna is made in shape of an airplane tail and intended for putting on the car roof, fixed via magnetic force. Having in mind its size and a tenfold increase in reception range compared to standard digital antennas, you’re guaranteed good digital reception even while driving, provided that you’re located in a country that supports emission of this kind of signal. In this working mode, you even have a few games at disposal, which should keep your children occupied, and these can be controlled either via the player directly or via the supplied remote controller. The analogue antenna won’t give you this kind of versatility, however, especially not on the move, but if you connect the device to the cable TV system in your home, it’ll perform in a more than satisfactory manner. Analogue reception is a bit weaker compared to standard TV receivers, with “snow” being more prominent than usual, but still good enough for watching in the kitchen or on the terrace.
DVD mode is handled pretty well in general, but we have to stress that it may not be suited to every user’s needs. The player is locked to the European region. Playback variety is rather good and most video compression codecs are supported. Besides full support for DivX (even version 6 and newer are supported), this is one of the rare players able to smoothly reproduce even XviD QPEL-coded films. However, throw subtitles in and things get a bit more complicated. Subtitles are loaded automatically and independently of their file name, but SRT is the only supported format. The font is too condensed and stretched thin, so other than omitting support for characters outside the standard English alphabet, it’s semi-transparent as well and with no background whatsoever, which is quite a challenge to read without straining your eyes.
The device also contains a USB port, enabling playback from flash disks, as well as an SD/MMC reader, but only for cards of up to a 1 GB capacity (this limit is non-existent for flash disks). Besides video and JPEG photos, NextBase SDV1102-BY also supports MP3 files, albeit with no ID3 tag support and disk browsing during playback. The installed software filters screen content in such a way that it only displays searched content if the appropriate file type has been selected in the menu.
It may seem unusual for a portable DVD player to have no battery of its own at first. However, when you think about it, it’s not that illogical after all. Standard portable player batteries provide no more than 2.5 to 3 hours of playback. With a display as large as on this model, that time would’ve certainly dropped under 2 hours, which means that you could get a “dead” battery before the film has even ended. This is why the manufacturer opted for a complete omission of battery compartment from this model - power can be supplied either via a classic power plug or a car lighter plug. And since this is a device intended for use primarily in a car, another of its features is an excellently implemented hanging system for the front seat.
|Display||10.2 inches, 16:9, 800 x 480 pix|
|Speakers||8 W RMS (2 x 3W + 2 x 1W)|
|I/O||SD/MMC/MS/MS-Pro, USB, audio/video in/out, phone out, digital/analog antenna in|
|Functions||DVD player, analog/DVB-T TV, gaming console|
Perhaps the greatest obstacle for buying this model is its rather high price. Some may put forward the fact that you can buy a decent notebook for the same amount of money, which is definitely true. Then again, the user couldn’t watch TV on that notebook (neither analog nor digital, and especially not in the car during a journey), and all that at with an extreme user-friendliness. The supplied bundle is also sizeable, and the manufacturer itself is a reputed one, which isn’t the case as often with other portable (and regular) DVD players on the market.