Watching DVDs on Airplanes


So, we are off to Hawaii pretty soon and Connie asked me, how do we get a movie for the squirmy kids. Here are the options:
* “Inflight Movies”: This is one of those .com businesses like Netflix that don’t seem to make sense, but we’ve actually used quite a bit. You rent a DVD player at the airport, use it and then return it at a kiosk. Makes sense when the price of portable DVDs was high. Cost is $12/day and they now deliver to you.
* “Digiplayer”: This is a dedicated device that uses DivX format internally, so movies are preloaded on a hard drive. You can get on Alaska Airlines now only, so that is not a total solution. These are now free if you fly first class on Alaska!
What if you use your own hardware, well you have two choices:
* Your laptop. So, you ask, why doesn’t Rich just use his existing notebook computer. Well, main reason is that I have a 3 year old one and the battery has given up the ghost. Main issue with laptops, is that they have very short battery life while spinning a DVD. The Toshiba Porteges that we use at Ignition for instance won’t last a whole movie on a charge. If you go to a hard disk version of a movie using DiVX or the OGM file format it works much better, but it is a pain to convert.
* Samsung DVD-L100 Portable DVD Player Review – This is the high end of a whole class of players. Got good reviews. A 10 inch screen and incredibly long battery life with a huge 4400 mAh Lithium battery is supposed to be multiple hours. BTW, for the geeks, this thing is actually an embedded Sparc processor running VxWorks. It draws just 16W, so that is why the battery lasts so long. Main issue is that it has a street price of $900, so is as much as a low-end notebook.
* “Panasonic DVD-LV70”: This is a retailer and they tested a 7 inch screen model

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