Portable DVD Players – Finding the Best Value for the Money

Portable DVD Players - Quality and Convenience

The Sony DVPFX810 - Quality picture and a sleek styling.
The Sony DVPFX810 - Quality picture and a sleek styling.

Is Price the Best Indicator of Quality?

When selecting a portable DVD player, is price the best indicator of quality?  At first blush we all may answer “yes” to that question.  Upon closer inspection we will find that this is not uniformly true.  It is correct to surmise that higher quality components cost more money and these costs are invariably passed on to the consumer.  The individual features included plays as much a role in the final price as does the quality of the individual components.   The following provides a few features to consider as well as a review of a representative sampling of Portable DVD Players.

Read the Reviews on DVD Players

Key Drivers of Pricing

Image quality – While DVDs certainly provide quality that is superior over video tape format, Blu-ray technology provides quality that, most would agree, is an order of magnitude above even the best quality DVD format. It should be noted, however, that Blu-ray is still a recent development in the portable market and may need some time for all the technological “kinks” to be ironed out. In addition, quality components may make a difference in the quality of the display when comparing various DVD models.

Screen size – Among DVD brands, 7 to 8 inch screens seem to be quite common. Screens larger than this may command a much higher price. Among the 7 to 8 inch products even the cheaper brands provide quality sufficient for the needs at hand. For example, if your goal is to provide a viewing platform to keep your children or grandchildren occupied, a less expensive model will suffice.

Other important considerations – Battery life is a very important factor particularly if you will be somewhere where AC power is not readily available such as on an airplane.  Larger screens may require more power, which may shorten the playing time or increase the weight of the unit or both.  Compatibility is important if you will likely be using multiple file formats. Antiskip technology is important if those who have access to the player or the media are “heavy handed”.  Finally, battery charging time is a very important consideration, particularly if you may have limited access time for AC power.

Portable DVD Reviews - A Brief Sample

Panasonic DMP-B15 Portable Blu-ray – This unit demonstrates its high quality on through a high resolution 8.9 inch screen and is designed to accept internet connections allowing you to stream video from internet providers such as Youtube.  It also has a slot for an SD Memory Card, which allows the viewing of high quality photos as well as HD videos recorded on the card.  The battery on this unit is touted to last 3 hours and the unit comes with a 12v car adapter.


The Sony DVPFX810 is a portable DVD with an 8 inch screen and a sleek body style.  The unit produces quality DVD images and provides up to a 6 hour battery life between charges.  This unit can use a remote control.  The unit comes with everything necessary to hit the gate running, which includes an DC charger, a DC adapter, and an IR remote control.

Conclusion - Finding What You Need at the Best Price

Conclusion – There are many factors that influence one’s choice of a portable DVD player.  Desired quality will likely be one of the most important factors that influences price.  Those desiring the highest quality may select larger screens or Blu-ray technology, which may the unit expensive.  For most, the application may simply require a “reasonable” degree of quality, making a lower end model with an 8” screen sufficient to the task.  Bargains can be had by the consumer that is willing to do some homework to determine the difference between what is “nice to have” and “what will do”. 

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Comments 2 comments

jaredbangerter profile image

jaredbangerter 5 years ago from New York City

I like that you emphasize the importance of knowing the battery life of the product before you buy it. I bought a portable DVD player a few years ago and it only lasted an hour!! Not even long enough to watch a full movie. What's the point of having a portable dvd player if you have to keep it plugged into an outlet the entire time. Defeats the purpose.


aikidk01 profile image

aikidk01 5 years ago Author

Jaredbangerter - You are spot on. I actually had the same experience. Got a DVD which looked good but barely lasted for one movie.

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