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Califone DVD50-PLC Portable DVD Player

By Charles G. Doe - Posted May 1, 2006
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Overall Rating:4 Stars
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:B

Company: Califone International, Inc., 1145 Arroyo Ave. #A, San Fernando, CA 91340. Phone: (800) 722-0500; Internet: The Web site includes a dealer locator feature that identifies local sellers.

Description: The Califone DVD50-PLC is a portable DVD player with a 7-inch screen, two headphones, cables that connect the unit to a television and/or sound equipment, an AC adapter, a rechargeable battery pack, and a remote control. The DVD player comes with a heavy plastic carrying case that provides plenty of foam padding.

Specifications: The DVD player is 7 inches wide, 5 inches deep, and 1 inch high; it weighs 2.4 pounds. The case is 14 x 11 x 5 inches and weighs 7 pounds with the player inside.

Audience: K-12 education and library markets, for use in centers and with carts and in other mobile settings.

Price: $375, suggested retail price.

Minimum System Requirements: The remote control uses a lithium button-type battery, which is included. The AC adapter requires a standard 100-240 volt wall outlet. The battery pack requires 3-8 hours to recharge; it can be recharged about 300 times before replacement.

Warranty: The DVD player carries a 1-year warranty with service from authorized dealers.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: The Califone DVD50-PLC player is ready to use directly from box with the AC adapter. The battery pack must be charged before use.

It would be helpful to have a one page "Getting Started" guide to help new users through small (but potentially irritating) set-up procedures such as removing the plastic battery protection shield and the clear plastic screen cover. Installation Rating: A-

Features: The Califone DVD50-PLC is, in every respect, an excellent and impressive product. It is well-made and performs well, with wonderful picture quality.

The sound comes from two small speakers located below the screen. The speaker sound quality isn't great; the sound gets much better with the headphones. The unit can be connected to Dolby or surround-sound stereo devices for greatly improved sound quality.

The onscreen DVD menus are navigated just as easily as those on larger standard DVD players; the full-functioned remote control is a nice, useful touch. The controls for the remote and DVD player are easy to learn and use; they are similar to those found on full-sized DVD players.

The case is well thought out and well made. It protects the DVD player nicely and could probably withstand a number of drops or bangs, with no damage to the DVD unit.

To use the DVD50-PLC, the lid is lifted and tilted back so that the 7-inch screen appears at a comfortable angle. The flat surface below the screen provides the controls and a button that opens the DVD compartment, making it a "top-loading" unit. After a DVD is inserted, the lid is closed manually. This unit plays all popular formats, including DVDs, CDs, and MP3s.

The DVD50-PLC has been developed especially for school use and comes with a full 1-year warranty, which is fairly unusual for this kind of device.

New technology is changing the use and potential use of DVDs in schools. More and more interactive course materials, as well as some textbook materials, are available in DVD formats. In addition, "techie" teachers are creating course materials by pulling together content from various sources, including video clips from companies such as unitedstreaming and clips edited from recorded television programs and other sources.

Sophisticated editing tools can connect these materials with recorded or written commentary, MP3 files, and other material for unique and motivating interactive course content. This new crop of curriculum materials is ideal for small groups of students using the Califone portable DVD player.

These days, schools and libraries are purchasing DVDs instead of videocassette media, which adds new locations where portable DVD players may be very useful.

Our elementary school media centers, for example, have both videotapes and DVDs for classroom use. Each elementary building in our relatively poor rural district has two or three VCRs attached to televisions.

For us, two or three Califone portable DVD players would be useful to use with the new DVDs we're purchasing. The DVD players could encourage using both forms of media by allowing teachers to unplug the VCRs and plug in the portable DVD players. Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: The Califone portable DVD player is very easy to use, particularly since its controls are similar, if not exactly the same, as full-sized DVD players. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Product support is available using a toll-free telephone number and through an e-mail link on the company's home page.

Although many users will know how to operate the unit, the user's manual is somewhat limited in information. The booklet is small (both in page and print size), the information is limited and sometimes hard to read, and some information seems a bit incomplete, necessitating small intuitive leaps to figure things out. Product Support Rating: B

Recommendation: I highly recommend this outstanding portable DVD player for use in school and library situations. It would be especially useful with small groups. Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Charles Doe, Media Specialist, Hastings Area Schools, Central Elementary School, 509 S. Broadway, Hastings, MI 49058;

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