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Philips' new PET749 portable DVD player with built-in DTV ups the resolution

Early portable DTV products haven't featured high-resolution displays. While Philips' upcoming PET749 doesn't deliver HD resolution, its screen is a notch up from what you see on many of today's the generic portable DTVs.

The Philips PET749 arrives in March and will carry a list price of $179.99. Philips

LAS VEGAS--Last year we reviewed a few new portable DTV units from no-name manufacturers that did OK in our tests, but fell short in terms of battery life and resolution. That's why we're intrigued with Philips' upcoming PET749, which combines a portable DVD player and DTV in a $179.99 (list) unit with a higher resolution 800x480 display.

While that's not HDTV resolution, it is a notch up from the 480x234-pixel resolution you see on many of the generic portable DTVs cropping up on Amazon and other sites (we reviewed the Envizen Digital Duo Box Pro ED8850A). True, those units tend to be in the $100-$125 range, but we'd be willing to pay more for a sharper picture. We got an early glimpse of the PET749's screen and were fairly impressed with the picture we saw.

As for battery life, Philips says you can get up to three hours of playback from the rechargeable built-in battery. That's better than the two hours we've typically seen in these types of products, but it's still not great.

Here's a look at some of the key specs:

  • Free-to-air digital TV channel reception
  • 7-inch LCD swiveling digital display in 16:9 wide-screen format (800x480 pixels)
  • Compatible with DVD, DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW, (S)VCD, CD
  • DivX certified for standard playback of DivX videos
  • MP3-CD, CD, and CD-RW playback
  • View JPEG images from picture disc
  • Car adaptor and remote control included
  • Available in March
  • Suggested retail price: $179.99
It's worth noting that the PET749 isn't designed to receive DTV signals on the go, which means it won't work (for TV) in a moving car. If that's what you're interested in, you'll have to wait for mobile TV units, such as the $249 LG DP570MH mobile digital television with DVD playback, to hit the market later this year. But that LG model only features 480x234 resolution.