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Toshiba SDP74 review



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Toshiba SDP74
  • Toshiba SDP74
  • Toshiba SDP74
  • Toshiba SDP74
  • Toshiba SDP74
  • SDP74S Portable DVD Player (6.90" Active Matrix TFT LCD - DVD-RW, CD-RW, Secure Digital SD, Secure Digital High Capacity SDHC - DVD Video, JPEG, MP3, CD-DA, WMA Playback)


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Despite the best efforts of Panasonic, the idea of portable Blu-ray players hasn’t really caught on among the industry at large – most brands are quite content to stick with DVD and keep prices at an affordable level. Toshiba is one such company and this year’s offering is the SDP74 - the successor to last year's impressive SDP73.

What we have here is a highly stylish and very compact portable DVD player that’ll be perfect for keeping the kids quiet at the airport while you wait for the volcanic ash to clear. The built-in screen measures 7in and has a resolution of 480 x 234 pixels, which might not sound like much but from experience a low res screen isn’t necessarily a barrier to enjoyable DVD pictures – particularly among the causal, undiscerning audience at which the SDP74 is aimed.

Toshiba takes a conventional approach with the SDP74's design, using a flip-up lid as opposed to the photo frame style employed by some rivals. This makes it more practical for lap-top viewing and keeps the TFT screen protected when it's in your bag.

On the outside, the unit sports an instantly eye-catching white gloss finish, contrasted nicely by the black finish on the lower section. Once opened up, we were pleased to find that this white finish also adorns the top of the base section, embedded into which is a round disc tray flap and loads of round, clicky buttons that control menus and disc playback. A more comprehensive array of controls is provided on the supplied remote.

Along the right side of the base is a basic array of sockets. The standout is of course the SD card slot, which can be used to play MP3 and JPEG files from SD or SDHC cards. The lack of DivX support from SD cards is annoying, but its ability to play them from recordable DVDs and CDs is some consolation.

If you want to watch pictures from this unit on your TV then the AV minijack output allows you to do so – albeit in poor, composite quality. You get a minijack to composite/stereo audio cable in the box for this purpose. Despite its ability to decode Dolby Digital, there’s no digital audio output for feeding the bit-stream to an amp, but that’s hardly an essential (or even particularly useful) feature. Last but not least is a pair of headphone sockets, so two sprogs can listen at the same time.

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May 14, 2010, 5:12 pm

I looked at pleanty of these sorts of thing buit ended up going to Chinavaision (I'm in no way affiliated) and risking £60 on a device that would play SD/USB containing DIVX and MPEG4. Seems just as good/bad as all the rest I saw (perhaps a little lower end) but for the daughter requirement it seemed the only sensible choice.


May 14, 2010, 6:34 pm

I know I got slammed when I said this last time a portable-DVD player was reviewed, but I still don't get why there's a sufficient market for these to justify developing/manufacturing them?

Surely, a hand-me-down iPhone/iPod/Creative/Andriod is as cost effective and far more flexible approach for keeping the little ones occupied with their favourite movies on journeys?

I keep a rubber case on my iPhone just so it's drop proof when my 2 year old twins are watching Pepper Pig and Timmy Time. And its so versatile - we use it in the car, at the doctors, at the opticians as its easy to pack.


May 14, 2010, 11:54 pm

7 inch screen people - don't forget that. That's 4 times bigger than the i-phone screen.

Way more formats supported.

Best of all - take a DVD out of the case and pop it in to play - try that with an i-phone!!

I love these - particularly the Tosh ones. They are sublime when travelling - waiting at airports, etc. Also, when on holiday, you can connect these to the TV and watch DVDs on a larger screen.

Not saying that these will suit everyone's lifestyle / requirement, but there is surely a demand for these.


May 16, 2010, 12:50 pm

@Dan - You'd be surprised how much the older generation likes technology that does one thing and does it well and without other distractions. Sometimes the more features hardware has, the harder it is to learn if you are not accustomed to technology. This is simply enough. Put your disc in and play.


May 17, 2010, 1:31 pm

@Prem / darkspark - good points, well made.

(ps. and I'm secretly flattered you have me down as the younger generation..!)

I definitely buy into the need for dedicated simple use particularly for the family. I guess it depends on what level of cost/value is deemed acceptable for general/kids use. eg Over the weekend, my MacBook got quite a lot of use as a DVD player with a remote to placate our over exited littlens and it worked a treat. Now, I admit this worked because the expensive piece of kit was just out reach from reaching hands, but then again I probably wouldn't let them run around with a Toshiba DVD player.

I guess I hadn't factored in the connecting it up to TV's while on holiday, as I'm currently looking at Displayport>>HDMI cables so I can do this and the cost of the cable is only slightly less than the Toshiba unit in this review..!

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