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Tip of the Month for November 2005

TIP: Buying Inexpensive Portable DVD Players
Portable DVD players have become much more affordable as the technology behind them improves. Heavily discounted portable DVDs can be found on the web for as little as $200.00, and you might find some high-end players discounted up to 50 percent retailing at less than $500.00. Portable DVD players are a boon for frequent travelers who can while away time between flights or by-pass poor in-room TV reception, and a great tool to keep kids entertained on long road trips. If you are thinking about buying one, here are a few tips to guide you:
  1. The quality of the picture and sound and the screen size are the factors that affect price. You will pay more for a better machine but even the higher end players show up with good discounts at online sites like Shop around and don't neglect the big retailers like Target. They often have internet-only specials that feature deep discounts.

  2. If you are planning to carry your new portable DVD along with luggage and a carry-on bag, consider the weight of various machines. You don't want to burden yourself with something unwieldy. On the other side of the coin, you probably wouldn't be happy with a screen that measures less than 7 inches high.

  3. Even if you are planning to purchase online, make a trip to an electronics store and do a little hands-on research into the picture and sound quality of various models.

  4. Consider how important optional features are to you, and if you are willing to pay extra to have them:
    • Progressive scan technology gives you a better quality picture with less flickering. It will add to the cost but many consumers think it is worth it.
    • Most DVD players run on a battery for about 3 hours. This isn't near enough battery life for most road trips or flights. If recharging is going to be difficult, find out how much you will need to spend on additional batteries.
    • If connectivity is important to you - some models allow you to hook up to a videogame console or to a camcorder - you can expect to pay more for this feature.
    • However you plan to use it, your portable DVD player will need to be durable enough to handle the rigors of travel - whether in your luggage, or in the back seat of your car. Pick a model that appears sturdy and has no design features that might damage easily.
Finally, if you find a bargain, check the warranty. If the warranty period is for less than a year for parts, you might want to select something that offers a one-year parts warranty and a labor warranty of three months or more.

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