The PET940 is intended to be used with headphones but should you need them there are built-in stereo speakers that pump out 250mW of audio power, which won’t exactly give the neighbours anything to worry about. And when playing DVDs it does everything a regular DVD player can, with trickplay modes like a three-stage zoom, 32x search speed, shuffle, slow motion and A-B repeat.
After hitting the Setup button and exploring the unit’s onscreen menus, we encountered the first problem with the screen’s low resolution – the text inside the boxes isn’t very well defined and looks squashed. But otherwise the user interface is well structured, sensibly separating the options into video and audio. The unit is also quick to respond to the remote, which sports a thoughtful button arrangement and a slim, ergonomic shape – although the lack of separate search keys is annoying.
A separate Options menu provides quick access to the important settings during playback (audio tracks, subtitles, zoom and source) while the Display button lets you tweak the performance of the screen, offering brightness and contrast levels, plus cool and warm colour presets. You can also turn off the screen if you’re just listening to music and want to conserve battery power.
The PET940’s pictures are likeable, but that low-resolution screen inevitably hampers the quality. The process of stripping out picture information means that Apocalypto’s mega-detailed jungle surroundings aren’t reproduced with enough clarity and sharpness to make them really stand out – the same images look much better on LG’s 800 x 480-pixel DP391B. The lower resolution means the pixels need to be bigger, which makes their structure visible and gives the picture a gauzy chicken wire effect that our eyes can’t quite ignore, try though they might. Another downside is that diagonal lines and curves look jagged and edges are ill-defined, and because Apocalypto’s crucial subtitles are squashed up like the setup menu text, they’re not as legible as they should be.