Little Timmy's kicking the back seat, you've run out of Ritalin, and you don't want to waste any more tranquiliser darts on the urchin of your discontent. What's a parent to do? Why not strap one of these Mustek LCD screens to the back of your headrest and sedate the chimp of your loins with a DVD movie?
The quality of the picture is fairly bad compared to something like the, but for £89 it's hard to level much criticism at such an effective infant passifier. It's not like little Timmy is going to run a Dolby reference DVD on the thing and complain the colour temperatures are a few degrees off. But watching Ronin this morning demonstrated heavy pixellation -- even from a distance the screens won't impress the hardcore. It borders on the quality of video we saw in the days of the Amiga.
Input options are fairly generous: there's on-board composite video, left-right audio and S-Video connectors. We couldn't eke a very impressive picture out of any of them. The S-Video connection gives better contrast than the composite connector, but a more jagged picture. Areas of high contrast rapidly become a mess of jagged pixels -- imagine really high levels of JPEG compression and you're in the right territory. There's also something up with the 4:3/16:9 toggle switch. Our DVD played in the correct aspect ratio when we carefully set the toggle between the two options -- very odd.
Still, that low price keeps nagging in our heads. You will, of course, need a car DVD player to connect it to as well. Despite the poor picture quality, basic objects and people in a movie can be transformed into their rightful state by a powerful imagination -- and children have no shortage of that. Don't think of it as a cheap LCD; it's an imagination exerciser for your childrens' formative years. -CS