Sony's 1979 Walkman for audiocassettes blazed the trail for media portability, and the advent of the audio CD in 1984 immediately led to the introduction of the Discman. (Sony still manufactures cassette-, CD- and DVD-based portable players, all of which now use the Walkman name.) The descendants of these hardy pioneers remain among the most popular portable media players (PMPs) in the world today.

Three kinds of products dominate the PMP "mobile movie market" today: those with internal hard discs, ones that use permanent and/or removable flash memory, and the Walkman-descended portable DVD players. The latter were, of course, out the door first, since the challenge was ergonomic (packaging and size) rather than technological (data conversion and storage), and portable DVD players continue to sell well.

The iPod debuted in 2001, and scores of hard-disc PMPs are now available. Flash memory units are the most recent development in mobile movie-watching, and the best positioned (at least for now) to survive the relentless progress that drives the high-tech gadget market. But DVD players remain the easiest to use, and will not go out of style (or demand) any time soon.

Continuing advances in display screens and battery technology made portable DVD players an affordable "luxury gadget" by the end of the 1990s and a commodity item and impulse buy soon thereafter; $49 will get you a good unit with a 5-to-7-inch screen. Since there is no need to convert the DVD to another format, or take any special preparatory steps at all, the portable DVD player is the perfect pick for people without computers, or who feel technologically challenged.

Just open the box from Toshiba, GoVideo, Initial, Panasonic, Audiovox or myriad other vendors, plug it in to (re)charge the LiIon (lithium-ion) batteries, pop in a DVD and, as they say, "just push play." Most new DVD-PMPs will also play VCDs (video-CDs), mp3 music discs, Kodak picture discs, and homemade CD-Rs and CD-RWs; some even play DVDs and VCDs with compressed digital video in MPEG formats type 1 and 4, cousins of the MPEG-2 with which DVDs are encoded.

Connect the component cable to the home stereo system when you're not traveling, and you have a perfectly capable hub for your digital movies and music. Even Pep Boys and drugstore chains are selling 7- and 10-inch DVD players for as low as $60-70, and they're getting cheaper all the time.


This article provided by Scott McQuarrie representing EZWatch Pro Video Surveillance. A leading provider of security cameras and video security systems for any security or surveillance application.

The EZWatch Pro brand has come to stand for world-class expertise in electronic security, video surveillance and the myriad technologies involved in both fields. From small business to gigantic international airports, there is an EZWatch Pro solution to meet any and every business, school and government security challenge.