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Review: Avayon DXP-1000 Divx certified DVD player.
By
Vipul Shah

Last week’s discussion of Philips DVP 642K generated very positive response and also queries about other brands offering same Divx capability. In this column we will discuss Avayon DXP-1000 Divx Capable DVD Player. This author tested this player and Philips DVP 642K simultaneously for two weeks and saw every movie CD on both players (believe me, watching movie is hard work ;-)

Avayon Technologies, Inc. is very new entrant in entertainment device world. This Nashua, New Hampshire, USA based company is recently formed by ex-executives of Computer companies who realized that future is not in PC boxes but in entertainment boxes of living room. Right now DXP-1000 competes in North American market directly with Philips DVP 642 in USA market. Both product sells at same price US$77 and have similar offerings at first glance, but as you use the product, differences emerge. Unlike Philips DVP 642K this product is yet to become available in rest of world as company is still working on having distribution tie ups with importers around world. In Canada DXP-1000 is available for CAD$129.99 which is approx US$108.00.

Q: What formats/media plays on Avayon DXP–1000?

A: Almost any CD you throw at DXP-1000, it plays. CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, MP3, WMA 7/8/9, MPEG4, XViD, Divx 3.0/4.0/5.0, JPEG and VCD formats and media are supported.

It supports subtitles in .srt, .sub and .smi format. In Audio connections, it supports all possibilities like output channels 2.0/5.1, DTS, Dolby Digital. It supports Karaoke with 2 mic sockets.

Video connections are S-Video, Composite Video and Component Video.

It supports progressive scan on NTSC and PAL to take advantage of expensive plasma TV’s you may have or may buy in future.

Q: Philips is very famous brand with wide sales and support network, how does Avayon DXP-1000 compares to Philips player?

A: Philips DVP 642K we tested couldn’t play subtitles on Divx/XViD movies. Avayon DXP-1000 plays subtitles from all CDs in all three subtitle file formats.

Remote of Philips is small but uses many key for dual functions making it confusing and not good for quick action. Avayon has long ugly stick like remote but once you are past its looks, it has very good functionality. It has separate key for every function and you can do anything just with single click.

Philips player doesn’t support WMA format and will play only MP3 music files. Avayon supports WMA format.

Display function of Philips player is in very bad shape. It won’t show you length of movie or duration of movie left to be seen etc. Avayon has done better job with its display function, it shows all durations one needs to know. Avayon player though has problem with display function while playback of VCDs, once you use on screen display function even if you switch it off display doesn’t go off and till you finish watching that VCD frozen duration display will be on.

Both players support NTSC and PAL thru menu selections.

Both players also support 110-240V to make it work anywhere in world.

Power cord of both player go straight inside players and that makes it not user replaceable since it doesn’t use socket behind DVD Player system.

Test unit we got of Avayon DXP-1000 had power cord length of only 5 feet which is short for most part of world where height of power outlet is 5 feet on wall and DVD player usually sits near ground below TV. But current batch of DXP-1000 comes with longer cord. If you are in USA you may not notice this since power outlets are very close to floor.

Q: Is Avayon DXP-1000 region free? Will it play all DVDs?

A: No, but it wont take more then 10 second to make it region free like any other DVD player available today. You just need to google for its codes to be applied on remote control. No DVD player manufacturer can sell DVD players region free out of the box as they are prohibited from doing so to avoid DVDs of one region from playing in another region. Same applies to DVD playback software or DVD ROM Drives, but this strategy has failed as once you buy any of this product, it can be made region free and any DVD you buy anywhere in world, you can play it.

Q: What about firmware update?

A: Yes, like any other Divx capable player this player is also acting like computer and needs to be updated with improved firmware every few months. But currently available DXP-1000 players are up to date with latest firmware and one doesn’t need to update if before starting to use it. But after few months you should check www.avayon.com and download latest firmware and update the player with it.

Q: Avayon is new and small company compared to Philips, should one still go for this player?

A: Advantage with Avayon and other such new/smaller startups is that their response and service is very quick as they lack huge corporate hierarchy to slow down customer support or product development. Also company is very receptive to product feedback and open to making changes. After our initial feedback about shorter power cord, company immediately changed length of power cord. And don’t be surprised when you email or call company if President of company himself responds to your problems.

Q: Will Hollywood release movies in Divx format?

A: Its time for me to eat my words. In my last weeks review of Philips DVP 642K I said it is unlikely. But then came a news article in NEWS.COM which refers to likelihood of two studio’s giving their blessing to this format. If that happens you may see very soon movies available officially in this format. Till then you will have to rely on independent movies offered on net for few dollars, or convert them from DVDs using software like Gordian Knot or download them using P2P networks like Kazaa. You need to be careful with this as you may be breaking the law by converting copyrighted DVD into divx or downloading them off Kazaa. If Hollywood blesses Divx format then you can imagine iTune like service offering downloads of any movies for few dollars and you can then burn it on CD and play it

We will be reviewing other Divx certified devices in this column in future so keep checking.

Vipul Shah
guide@vipulshah.com


Copyright 1997-2004 Dr. Raj Mehta. All rights reserved.