We know it's only February but summer will be here before you know it and your thoughts may already be turning to your holidays, but thanks to the recession there's a good chance you'll end up taking them in this country. And as any parent will tell you, long car journeys can be a nightmare with bored kids in the back, but Philips has the ideal solution to keep them entertained.
The PET712 is a portable DVD player designed for in-car use that comes with two independent screens, allowing two kids (or maybe three if they're prepared to share) to watch movies all at the same time, without squabbling over who gets to hold it. In the box is a compact, square shaped player unit, styled in a fetching white and light silver finish, which feels worryingly delicate for a portable product but Philips insists it's shock proof. On top of the player's disc flap is a panel of playback and menu control buttons, and around the sides you'll find a few connections, including two AV minijack outputs for the two screens, DC in/out and a headphones output (which has its own volume control).
The dual LCD screens are similarly styled in silver and white, and the 7in, 16:9 screen size is ideal for in-car movie viewing. Although there's no stand on either of the screens for table-top playback, the player is supplied with a car mount pouch that allows you to attach the screens to the headrests at a convenient viewing height.
Each one is equipped with composite and analogue stereo inputs, which connect to the main unit using the supplied minijack-to-phono adapter cables. You also need to hook up each screen to the DC power output on the main unit using another adapter cable, but there's no on-board rechargeable battery - during car journeys you have to use the supplied cigarette outlet adaptor.
The screen resolution is 480 x 234 pixels, which will require some significant downscaling to display DVDs, while the 250:1 contrast, 200cd/m2 brightness and anti-glare panel should be enough to ensure clear visibility in bright viewing conditions. The screens feature dedicated brightness, contrast and aspect ratio controls, activated using the panel of buttons below the screen. Each screen also sports built-in speakers which offer 250mW of power, and handily each screen features its own volume control and headphones output.