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Philips PET-1030

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Since nobody has reviewed the Philips PET-1030, I offer this brief hands-on report. I bought one at a CCity for $249 less than a week ago. It plays every divx 6,5,4,3 file I've thrown at it without so much as a hiccup. More significantly, it plays from an external 2.5" usb hard drive -- with no external power supply boost required. The power suppy of the PET-1030 is sufficient to power the external hdd with no problems whatsoever. I bought a Maxtor 250gb 2.5" (notebook size) usb external hard drive the same day at BuhBye for $99 and transferred all my kids' movies and tv shows to it. Most files were backups I made of my kids' dvd library, but some were downloaded tv shows. While I use the same codec and settings everytime I make a backup, my experience is that the only consistency of downloaded material is that it's all wildly inconsistent. Neverthelss, all of my downloaded material plays 100% on the PET-1030.

Using the headrest mount (which I didn't know was included when I purchased it, but am happy to have), I installed it in my Odyssey where my 3.5 year old could watch it on earbuds, while the 6 and 8 year olds could watch something else on the van's built-in dvd player while I drove cross-country. Even cooler, the AV output of the PET-1030 will plug right into the auxiliary AV input of the van, which puts any video (including video from the usb external harddrive) on the van's display system -- and the results are great.

My only complaint so far is the placement of the power switch. To press the power switch, you must open (hinge) the unit, whether it is closed in it's traditional way or whether you've opened it fully then twisted the screen and re-closed it (in the manner of a "tablet notebook pc.") The various power, usb and a/v jacks are all on the edge where they're exposed no matter what position the unit is in, but the power supply button is in a really lousy position. It should have been put on the edge like the jacks. In order to put the PET-1030 on its headrest mount, you open the screen 90 degrees, then twist the screen, then fold it back against the base (in the style of a tablet notebook pc.) Doing so hides the power button. If you have it powered by means of an always-on cigarette lighter, you have to pull the screen down to expose the screen to power it off. This may seem trivial, but it's a lousy design flaw -- particularly when it's in the 3rd row and you have to climb back there just to turn it off or on.
post #2 of 10
i have been searching for a dvd player that can play divx files from my 320GB portable notebook hard drive. Are you sure it playes them without any hitch?? if that is the case then many thanks to you.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Be sure to format your drive with SwissKnife (http://www.compuapps.com/download/Sw...swissknife.htm) and it will work just fine.
post #4 of 10
Is there a trick to using swissknife that I am missing?
I'm trying to format a 500GB WD passport drive to use with my Philips PET 1030.
Nothing seems to work. I've tried all three file system types (FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS). I've tried different partition sizes with FAT32 (32GB, 100GB, 500GB).
My Philips keeps reporting "No USB".

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckrudolph View Post

Is there a trick to using swissknife that I am missing?
I'm trying to format a 500GB WD passport drive to use with my Philips PET 1030.
Nothing seems to work. I've tried all three file system types (FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS). I've tried different partition sizes with FAT32 (32GB, 100GB, 500GB).
My Philips keeps reporting "No USB".

I don't recall anything special. I just used SwissKnife to format to FAT32 and let it go at that.

Tell me about the cable you are using? I can only make mine work using a 12" cable with braided metal shielding (like this one, but shorter). If I use a longer cable or one without braided shielding, my PET1030 also says "no usb."

FWIW, my PET1030 will play off of my Maxtor 2.5" 250gb drive whether the PET1030 is being powered by the AC-DC transformer/power supply ("wall wart") or by the DC-DC car cigarette lighter power supply or is merely running on the internal battery.

On the other hand, my Philips 5982 home dvd player (runs on AC only; not portable) does not provide enough current to the usb port to read from the exact same drive using the same cable.

All usb host devices are supposed to provide 5vdc @ 0.5amps. All usb devices are supposed to draw no more than 5vdc @ 0.5amps. In a perfect world, my Philips 5982 would read from the same Maxtor drive that the PET1030 reads from, but such is not the case. Maybe the 5982 is weak. Maybe your WD Passport is drawing too much current.


AS AN EXPERIMENT maybe you could get your hands on a USB "Y Cable" (like this one). The cable will have one usb-MINI connector at one end, and the other splits to two usb-A connectors. Connect the single end to your WD Passport, one of the others to your PET1030 and the other to:

(1) a pc,
(2) a cig-lighter to usb power supply like this one).
(3) a "wall wart" AC-DC power supply like this one,

This is not a permanent solution. It's merely a test. This will provide more current to the drive than you are now. If it works, then your problem is not the formatting of the drive. Rather, it would mean that the power supply of your PET1030 is weaker than mine (doubtful) or your WD Passport is trying to draw more current than the spec allows, but isn't getting enough to spin up and run, so it reports "no usb."

If you're not bored to sleep yet... the usb spec (up to usb 2, anyway) is for four connectors. One pair is for data and one pair is for power. When you buy a "usb charger" for your iPod, etc., it only has two conductors (for the power pair). It seems obvious to me that a better "Y Cable" would be one that has a single usb-A connector at one end, which splits with the data pair only going to another usb-A connector and the power pair only going to either an AC-DC (110 volt AC to 5 volt DC) transformer ("wall wart") or a DC-DC (12 volt DC to 5 volt DC) cigarette lighter transformer. I've looked for such a thing, but never found one. It wouldn't be too hard to build one, but not having a pressing need, I've never tried.

My gut feeling is: format with Swissknife to FAT 32 and use a really short, very well shielded cable and you'll be fine.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Oh... and one more thought...

The PET1030 also reads from SD cards. You can buy a 32gb now for under $30 if you google hard enough. Granted you've already bought your WD Passport and 500gb of 32gb cards would be crazily more expenses (and less efficient), but you can get a LOT of divx movies in 32gb of space. Unless you're going to drive from Minneapolis to Moscow or Tulsa to Tokyo, surely a couple of SD cards will satisfy your needs. I've never tried this, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
post #7 of 10
I looks good if you need a DVD player, but if you can live without the DVD part, a netbook may be better buy. You can get an eee pc for $270 that will also play any format of movie you can think of, and accepts USB or SD cards. Its about the same size, but with the eee pc you get a device you play games on, web surf, answer e-mail etc.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by malaugh View Post

I looks good if you need a DVD player, but if you can live without the DVD part, a netbook may be better buy. You can get an eee pc for $270 that will also play any format of movie you can think of, and accepts USB or SD cards. Its about the same size, but with the eee pc you get a device you play games on, web surf, answer e-mail etc.

That's a very clever suggestion... which will certainly become a more clever and a better option as time passes. The lcd dvd players aren't going to get much cheaper and the manufacturers are unlikely to make the cpus in them (the lcd dvd players) more powerful or capably of playing (decoding) more advanced files like mkv, mp4, etc., whereas the netbooks are only going to get better and cheaper.

I recently bought a Sony Vaio netbook for about a grand. After playing with it for about a week, I'd rather have my money back. On one hand, it's the most powerful netbook around, has a 60gb solid state hdd, 2gb ram, sd and memory-stick reader, camera, wifi, 3g Cellular WAN, GPS and more. But the screen is just not big enough to do much more than very light surfing and emailing (at least to my old eyes). I'd rather watch a movie on the PET1030, frankly. Given the cost of my Sony netbook, I'd never let one of my kids use it for a movie player and the battery life is pretty pitiful (advertised to be "4 hours, standard" but in reality only about 2 hours even on the most conservative power setting; 4 hrs requires an expensive and larger battery ). However, I could definitely see buying an Asus eeePC for exactly this purpose.

Clever indeed.
post #9 of 10
The cable I'm using is the one that came with the Passport. It's about 18 inches long. Not sure how well it is shielded. The Passport does have a set of lights that indicate how full it is. They seem to work when it is plugged into the Philips.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckrudolph View Post

The cable I'm using is the one that came with the Passport. It's about 18 inches long. Not sure how well it is shielded. The Passport does have a set of lights that indicate how full it is. They seem to work when it is plugged into the Philips.

The kind of cable I'm using has a metal basket-weave braided shield which inside a clear plastic casing. At flrst glance it looks silver and sort of glittery. Look closer and you'll see the strands of wire woven together. Get one of those, as short as you can find, and try it. If it works, you're golden.

If this still doesn't work, try a Y-cable with a booster power supply. If this works, but the braided cable did not, then your WD drive draws more current than your PET1030 supplies. You'll either have to live with a Y-cable forever, change drives or use a USB flash drive.

BTW... I tried playing a divx file off of an SD card, but the PET1030 only saw the jpgs, not the avis on the card. Then I put the card in a usb sd card reader and the PET played the files just fine.
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