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Review: Philips DVP 642K Divx certified DVD Player
By
Vipul Shah

Till now if you wanted to see movie on your living room TV, you had to use only DVD or VCD if you could stand lower quality of picture and didn’t mind dealing with multiple CDs for every movie. But that is about to change. Divx/XViD a format based on MPEG4 and wildly popular among internet downloading techies and wildly hated by Hollywood studios is gaining support from DVD player manufacturers. Almost 99% of full length movie available on P2P networks like Kazaa are 700mb .avi files encoded in Divx/XViD format and subtitles are in .srt, .smi or .sub format. This week we will have a look at Philips DVP-642K/69.

Philips DVP 642KS

Q: Why is this player so expensive when Philips sells their own other DVD player’s for fraction of this price?

A: This player is priced at approximately US$77 (more in countries with high custom duties), This player is positioned at top end of entertainment hierarchy of Philips. It supports Progressive scan (NTSC and PAL) for better quality, it plays Audio CD, Video CD, SVCD, DVD, Karaoke, DVD+R, DVD+RW, MP3, JPEG, Divx 3.x/4.x/5.x, XViD, DVD-RW abd DVD-R media/formats. No other player available officially as of today in this country offers so exhaustive list of format and media playbacks. On back of player you will find all possible connections for connection to any audio or video systems you may own. It can plug to TV using Component Video (with 3 RCA cables), or S-Video or Composite Video. It has built in Dolby Digital and DTS decoder. Best part is, this player is more of computer and can be regularly upgraded with firmware updates available from www.philips.com

Q: Will spending extra on DVD player which supports Divx/XViD movie format will I save any money in future?

A: Yes, Divx movies can fit in single CD-R (costing 20 cents), quality is close to DVD, supports subtitle. If you were to make copy of DVD today, it will cost you US$1.5 or more, VCD will cost you 40 to 60 cents per movie depending on length of movie. Divx/XViD movies usually fit in one CD and will cost you price of single CD-R. Apart from money, you will need much less storage space for your collection of CDs.

Q: Will Hollywood studios release movies in Divx format?

A: Unlikely. Hollywood doesn’t like piracy and Divx/XViD is very user friendly and very easy to copy. There is VOD (Video On Demand) format in Divx where by you can download movie with credit card and buy license for watching it for week or month on your Divx certified DVD player. But very few movies are available as of now in this format. http://www.divx.com/vod If Hollywood did embrace this format, you can expect huge change in way we rent movies. Just imagine Netflix sending you custom made VOD Divx movies to you which will play for week or month only on your player and you don’t have to return it back. It will change economics of movie rental business. Right now there is huge cost involved in returning DVDs which we rent and also queue for popular movie titles where by you don’t get DVD till others before you in queue has seen movie and returned it. With Divx VOD every customer can be provided with custom made VOD CD without any queue.

Q: Which other brands like Sony, Samsung, LG are selling Divx capable DVD Players?

A: Philips has launched this player and its variants all over world and is first major brand to do so. Why does Philips put its worldwide muscle behind Divx format? Why didn’t consumer electronics giant Sony do it? One reason I can think of is that Philips doesn’t own any Hollywood studio’s and hence doesn’t have any conflict of interests and can just offer consumer latest and best available technology without worrying about feelings of Hollywood studios. Other brands like Kiss Technology, Avayon, RJTECH has also launched Divx capable DVD players and in this column it will be reviewed in near future.

Q: Where can I get Divx/XViD encoded movies?

A: If you already have DVD or access to DVD of any movie, you can use Gordian Knot available at www.doom9.org or and convert your movie to Divx format. You can also download movies encoded by others in Divx from P2P networks like Kazaa. But when you do this, you may be breaking copyright laws if you are downloading or copying movies.

Q: Anything else we need to know before buying Philips DVP 642K?

A: Subtitles for Divx movies are in format .srt, .sub and .smi. I was not able to make it work. So it will be good idea if you buy player at showroom and ask sales people to show you subtitles on divx movies working. If you can, carry one Divx or XViD movie with subtitle file to test this. Also you will need to download firmware and upgrade your player to make best use of it as latest firmware is available for this player on www.philips.com , if you are not confident of doing it yourself, have showroom from where you buy this player do it for you or have Philips service centre do it. Every few month you will need to update the player this way to keep up with latest features and updates of formats supports.

This player lacks good DISPLAY function and you can’t find length of movie or remaining movie’s duration on screen, only duration of movie already seen is displayed. This is major drawback and Philips should be able to rectify it in next firmware update. Their remote though small and cute uses lot of keys for dual functions. There is no Open/Close button but STOP button pressed for 2 second will do that job. There is no Rewind or Forward button but direction keys for menu system would do that.

Q: Is this player region free? Will it play all DVDs?

A: No, out of box it is locked to region 3, but in 2 seconds by pressing few codes on remote control, you can make this player region free.

Q: Is Philips DVP 642 and DVP 642K same player?

A: No, they are different models. You will find only one of this two in any country. In USA it is DVP 642, in some Asian countries including India it is DVP 642K. Both the players are physically different. You can see picture of DVP 642 by here. DVP 642 doesn’t have Karaoke function; DVP 642K has Karaoke function. DVP 642 when I tried with firmware update, it played subtitles, DVP 642K doesn’t play subtitles. Both players are 110-220V compatible and will work anywhere in world.

Q: Did Philips did a good job with DVP 642K and DVP 642?

A: Philips gets 10 out of 10 points for making effort to include Divx format in their players and 8 out of 10 points for implementation.

Vipul Shah
guide@vipulshah.com


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