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The popularity of portable DVD players may have been diminished by pocket-sized MPEG-4 players but that hasn't deterred the likes of Sony, Philips, Panasonic and Toshiba from launching new disc-based decks. And why not? After all most people have loads of DVDs in their collections and it would be a shame not to watch them on the move. What's more, portable players get slimmer, sexier and more talented every year, not to mention cheaper - as Toshiba's keenly-priced SD-P91S demonstrates.
We recently checked out Philips' dual-screen PET712 but the SD-P91S is a different animal altogether, using the more traditional single-screen, flip-top design. Looks-wise it follows the general trend of previous Tosh portables with its brushed black finish, which Toshiba has jazzed up with a silver trim down both sides and a silver hinge for the flip screen. Not only does it look stylish, but its build quality is also pleasingly sturdy.
The screen is a reasonable 9in (16:9 of course) with a resolution of 640 x 220 pixels, but Toshiba also offers a 7in model, the SD-P71, which you can find for around £100. The screen is set into the top section with speakers on either side, and below it is a neat row of black buttons that allows you to control disc playback and access the setup menu, next to a cute circle of menu navigation controls. But the best part is that this entire top section can be swivelled through 180 degrees in case you're viewing the screen from an awkward angle, perhaps in the back seat of the car, and it also tilts back until it lies flat.
The SD-P91S's connections are generous for a portable player. Down the right-hand side are two headphone ports for shared viewing, a 3.5mm coaxial digital output that allows you to pipe Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams or PCM to an AV receiver, an AV minijack output for watching the player's pictures on a TV, and an AV input for watching external devices on the 9in screen. Both AV sockets offer composite video and analogue stereo signals and there's a minijack adapter cable in the box (as well as a pair of headphones).
The left-hand side offers a USB port - not found on the SD-P71 or the Philips PET712 - which expands the unit's playback talents beyond DVD. You can play DivX, MP3 and JPEG files from a flash memory drive, which is far more convenient than burning them onto a CD or DVD, although the unit will also play back these files from disc.
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