The Media Street DF-EM2 eMotion Multimedia Digital Picture Frame DVD Player is one of those hybrid products we have a hard time classifying in our database. Part digital photo display, part portable DVD player, the DF-EM2 at $299 packs a lot of functionality into a relatively compact package. To be sure, the idea of adding video playback to a photo frame makes a lot of sense. But there's just one problem: as nice a job as Media Street has done with the DF-EM2's exterior design, this is ultimately a portable DVD player dressed up to look like a digital photo frame.
Identity crisis notwithstanding, there's plenty to commend here. The DF-EM2 is relatively slim--measuring 8.6 inches long by 6.2 inches high and just over 1 inch thick, and weighing 2.1 pounds with the battery attached. The wide-screen LCD measures 7 inches diagonally. With a resolution of just 480x234, it's hardly the sharpest screen of its size we've seen, but it's decent enough, and--after a few adjustments--we were satisfied with the picture quality of the test DVDs we watched. For still photos, we felt the higher-resolution Philips Digital Photo Display 7FF1 did a better job. Yet the DF-EM2's image quality was still higher than some of the "off-brand" photo frames we've reviewed (the Westinghouse DPF-0701 and the Royal PF80, for instance) and audio played sufficiently loud from the player's small speaker.
Media Street has done a good job designing the DF-EM2 to look like a photo frame yet act like a portable DVD player. To prop up the frame, you simply attach the rechargeable battery pack to the back of the unit and--since the pack has rubber feet on both its bottom and side--you can easily shift the frame from standing horizontally to standing vertically. One questionable design decision was the placement of the power adapter inputs: Media Street opted for two inputs on alternating sides of the device, one for when it's horizontal, and one for when it's vertical. While the flexibility is nice, a single input on the back of the device would have seemed a better solution.
Compared to other portable DVD players, the DF-EM2 is fairly loaded, but there are several players in this price range that offer larger screens and similar features. We've reviewed players from Audiovox and Mustek that comes with a memory card slot, USB connectivity, and DivX playback support. The DF-EM2 also comes with a cigarette lighter adapter for charging in a vehicle; if you buy the optional eMotion carrying case kit, you can strap the unit to the back of a car headrest for backseat viewing.