It's fair to say that the market for standalone DVD players is all but completely saturated -- when you can pick such items up in supermarkets, it's probably all over in terms of innovation. Where we're seeing more inventive ideas employed in the DVD player market at the moment is in portable DVD players. Sony's MV-65ST DVD Station joins offerings from Samsung and Panasonic, amongst others, and the Japanese electronic giant's particular hook for the MV-65ST is how remarkably portable it is.
Upside: The big attraction for the MV-65ST is the inclusion of mounting straps for in-car entertainment; either hung from the back of one seat or in-between the front two seats. It'll run off any 12v (think in-car cigarette lighter) or 240v (plain old wall socket) power supply, making it a good match for most holiday travel plans. The MV-65ST is compatible with DVD, VCD, CD, CD-R/RW, MP3 and JPEG CD, and comes with a 6.5in widescreen LCD with inbuilt speakers, or, if you prefer the sounds of silence, two headphone jacks.
Downside: The MV-65ST's 6.5in screen isn't huge -- if you've got multiple backseat passengers, or a wide back seat, there could be more than a little bickering between bored passengers trying to all see at once. Unlike similar offerings from other brand-name suppliers, the MV-65ST lacks an inbuilt battery, so to make it work at all, you've got to have a power point handy or the car running. In the harsh Australian summer, we also envisage the odd warped DVD if left in the car a tad too long. The MV-65ST comes with a wireless remote -- for once, we'd say a wired one might have been a better inclusion. We're also wondering how well the straps included will work with a variety of vehicles, from the large to the small. We're also not sure how well the MV-65ST's DVD drive will handle some of Australia's bumpier roads. And naturally, we wouldn't suggest that the driver be watching a DVD while trying to drive (although we're sure somebody will )
Outlook: Sony's certainly not alone in the portable DVD space, although the inclusion of mounting straps and the relatively low price of AU$799 make the MV-65ST an appealing concept, at least in theory. Check back soon for our full review.