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Mini-DVD Gains Manufacturer Support From Samsung, CyberHome

While other companies were showing tiny personal recorders that play music, photos and movies on the go, Samsung and CyberHome showed new “Mini-DVD” players that make viewing DVD videos on the go more practical.

The format, which was launched by Warner Home Video (WHV) last November as an alternative for tiny toy players that play back lesser quality black-and-white cartoons from tiny discs, offers a tiny DVD-quality player designed for handheld playback. The players feature 2.5-inch 4:3 active matrix color screens and up to three hours of playback from a single battery charge.

The discs measure 3 inches in diameter, instead of the typical 5 inches, but WHV said the picture and sound quality is equal to that of standard-sized media. In addition, the tiny 3-inch movie titles will play back in standard DVD players. The units will play back special prerecorded Mini-DVD movies, some formats of 3-inch camcorder discs and 3-inch recordable DVD discs containing content recorded on PC drives.

Thus far the format, which is being supported with prerecorded Mini-DVD movie discs from WHV, has been positioned as a medium for kids under 15 years old.

Movie titles from WHV include: “Scooby Doo 2,” “Kangaroo Jack,” “New York Minute,” “A Cinderella Story,” “Dennis the Menace” and “Justice League.” Upcoming titles will include “Harry Potter” and “Miss Congeniality.”

Mini-DVD Discs from WHV range from a $9.98 to $24.98 suggested retail price.

CyberHome introduced the first player to reach market. Model CH-MDP-2500 ($120 suggested retail) features a 2.5-inch 4:3 active-matrix LCD screen, built-in stereo speakers and a headphone jack. Player size is said to be small enough to fit in a pocket.

Playback features include play/pause, 2x-32x forward and reverse scan, elapsed time display, disc memory play, multi-angle, closed captions and parental control.

Frequency response for DVD linear audio is listed as 4Hz-22kHz (48kHz sampling), 4Hz–44kHz (96kHz sampling). Dynamic range (DVD linear audio) is listed as 98dB.

The CyberHome player measures 4.01 inches wide by 4.4 inches in diameter by 1.2 inches high, and weighs 9.64 ounces.

The CyberHome unit ships with a copy of the “Scooby Doo Original Mysteries” mini-DVD, with the offer of two free additional Mini-DVDs. Also included are stereo in-ear headphones, 3-hour lithium-polymer battery, charging cradle and AC adapter.

At CES, Samsung showed its “DVD Jr.” Mini-DVD player. The unit features a 2.5-inch TFT LCD screen. The unit also supports playback of MP3 music files, and JPEG images for digital photo viewing.

Samsung plans to support the introduction of the DVD Jr. with an aggressive merchandising campaign, including kiosks and counter displays that let consumers test out the device. The player will come with one free disc, and a two-disc mail-in offer, the company said.

The DVD Jr. offers 2.5 hours of playback time from included NiMH batteries. An adapter is provided, along with a DC power jack and a built-in headphone jack, so kids can watch their movies undisturbed by parental noise.

Samsung’s DVD Jr. Mini-DVD Player will be available in the first quarter of 2005 at a $149.99 suggested retail price.

Meanwhile, Verbatim announced at International CES that it will market Mini-DVD DigitalMovie Discs offering a classic movie reel look. The new 1-4X Mini-DVD-R and 1-2X Mini-DVD-RW discs offer a capacity of up to 1.4GB and comply with the DVD Forum specifications.

The discs are designed to support camcorders from Hitachi, Panasonic, Sony and others that use disc-based Mini-DVD media.

In addition to supporting the 1x real time recording requirements of camcorders, Verbatim Mini-DVD write-once and Rewritable DigitalMovie media can be recorded in DVD burners supporting DVD-Rs up to 4x speed and DVD-RWs at 2x speed.

The Verbatim Mini-DVD discs have the capacity to record 30 minutes of high-quality video (depending on the recording mode) or up to 1.4GB of data, including digital photos, MP3 files and business presentations, to a single disc.

The DVD-R and DVD-RW mini-DVDs will be available in January at expected street prices of $12.99 for a five-pack of DVD-R discs and $12.99 for a three-pack of DVD-RW discs.