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SONY DVP-F11

 

Contact Sony (0990) 111999

 

One glance at the diminutive and discretely styled box tells you what this one is all about! The DVP-F11 is a mobile DVD player; that’s mobile, not portable because it doesn’t have its own internal battery power supply or indeed a viewing screen. It is designed to be used in cars, caravans, boats or anything else that moves for that matter, not that it can’t be used in the home because it comes with an external mains adaptor (a car adaptor lead is an optional extra). Two other features single it out for a life on the road, it is supplied with a quick-fit mounting bracket, and it can be used horizontally or vertically. The deck mechanism is also very stable and despite out best attempts to unsettle it, it didn’t miss a beat when subjected to quite violent knocks and bumps.

 

The loading mechanism is similar to in-car CD players; discs are posted in through a thin slot above the display. There’s a bare minimum of controls on the front panel, and not much to see on the back panel either, just two sets of AV outputs (composite video and mixed stereo), two S-Video sockets, optical and digital bitstream outputs and a separate sub-woofer output. It runs off a 10.5-volt DC supply and there’s a headphone socket and level control on the front. Everything is controlled from the rather busy-looking remote control handset, but around a third of the buttons are for Sony TVs and other AV devices. The graphical on-screen displays for setup and disc replay are similar to the ones used on Sony’s home deck DVDs. The audio spec is fairly routine, there are no on-board 5.1 surround decoders but it has both optical and coaxial bitstream outputs, and it is dts compliant.

 

Not surprisingly the feature list is quite sparse, there’s a 2-stage 3D sound option, all of the usual sound and language options and a bit rate/layer change display. It can play code-free NTSC discs but regional coding appears to be pretty solid and we have no details of any hacks or mods, which seems like an oversight considering this player is going to be bought by people who by definition move around a lot, possibly transporting the player between DVD regions.  

 

In addition to our rather drastic physical shock test we also tried the player in a variety of configurations and it does indeed work in any position or angle, including standing on its end, and pointing downwards. On screen performance is comparable with Sony’s home decks, the picture is very clean, colours are bright and natural looking and it manages to pick out lots of detail in dark scenes and shadows. We didn’t see any processing artefacts, even on our wonky test recordings and layer change occurs in less than half a second, with minimal on-screen disturbance. The trick play options are limited to two-speed picture search and slomo but they’re all very steady. The mixed stereo output has a flat response with negligible background hiss, Dolby Surround soundtracks are very lively and effects channels are well separated; bass effects can be quite dramatic and deserve to be heard through an active sub.

 

Whilst there’s nothing to stop you using the DVP-F11 as a home player its singular talents would be sorely wasted. This is the player to have if you’ve got a caravan or boat, or even a flash car with a screen in the back. We can also see a healthy demand from coach operators and if any Lear jet owners would like to get in touch, we’ll happily let them test our sample en-route to some exotic location…

 

BOX COPY 1 – REMOTE VIEWING

It looks a lot worse than it is; around a third of the buttons are for controlling Sony TVs and other AV components. The layout is okay and the important buttons are easy to identify. The on-screen displays are up to Sony’s usual high standard, menus and the initial set up are easy to navigate using the four way cursor control.

 

THE HARD FACTS

SONY DVP-F11

           

OUTPUTS

SCART             none

S-Video             2

RGB out                        no

Optical digital            yes

Coaxial digital            yes

5.1 decoder                   no

 

EXTRA FEATURES 20/30

Region 2, PAL/NTSC replay, dts bitstream out, multi-speed replay, 3D sound, headphone socket, mounting bracket supplied, TV remote

 

GOOD POINTS

Small size, potential for mobile/in-car use, great picture and sound

 

BAD POINTS

 

 

Ease of use            4

Picture  5

Sound               4

Features            4

Overall  4

 

 

BUYERS GUIDE EXTRA INFO

Price                 £

SCART none

S-Video 2

Digital out            coaxial, optical

Decoder            none

 

Good Points

Small size, potential for mobile/in-car use, great picture and sound

 

 

Bad points

 

Rating 4

 

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Ó R. Maybury 2000, 2303

 

 


 

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