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Site News - Warner & CyberHome Team for Mini-DVD Player Launch: TV-on-Mini-DVD a Big Part of the Plan!

Posted by David Lambert
From the dawn of the DVD age, and from the earliest days of CDs as well, most every tray- or spindle-based player has had the ability to take not only "5 inch" (actually 4.7 inch, or 12 cm) discs, but also "3 inch" (actually 3.1 inch, or 8 cm) "mini discs." The 3" mini disc DVDs don't hold as much data as their bigger brethren, but they get the job done, and are more easily transportable.

So far there have been a number of companies that have released Mini-DVD titles, but mostly from the world of Anime publishers. These include Funimation (including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), ADV Films (with their "AniMini" lineup), and soon Media Blasters (we'll have more info on the Invader Zim Mini-DVD titles in the next few days, so stay tuned). So far these have been mostly single-episode cartoon fun that's aimed at being inexpensive (usually around $4-$7) introductions to the higher-priced, more-fully-featured versions that are available on the market. There has never been a DVD Player dedicated to JUST the 3" Mini-DVD format.

Until now, that is. CyberHome Entertainment, an electronics manufacturer that is based in California, has created the CH-MDP2500 Portable Mini-DVD Player. Sized 4" x 4.5" x 1," this is a bit smaller in length than a standard 4x6 photo print, and not much bigger than a Gameboy Advance SP videogame unit. The LCD screen on the CyberHome CH-MDP2500 is also similar to that of a Gameboy, clocking in at 2.5" in 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and of course in full color on an active-matrix (that's the good kind) LCD panel. The rechargable battery it comes with lasts about 3 hours, or you can use the included AC Adapter instead. This is coded for Region 1 releases. List price is $119.99, but is already taking orders for this item - available in blue or red outer casings - for a bit less at $113.99. Soon after its launch on December 3rd, it is supposed to be available in stores that already sell CyberHome DVD players, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Radio Shack. Here's what the CH-MDP2500 looks like:

News Graphic

And the Mini-DVD you get with the system will be a TV-Mini-DVD! Yes, it's everyone's favorite Great Dane, but smaller: Scooby-Doo's Original Mysteries, which was released on standard DVD back in 2000, is free with the unit. And its the first of many Warner titles in this format. But watching Mini-DVDs is not all you can do with the CH-MDP2500. Besides standard Video DVDs, the unit will also take discs that are 3" size but in formats for CD, MP3 CD, JPEG image CD, VCD, SVCD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-R, and DVD-RW. And the sound output via built-in speakers or included headphones is reportedly in either 5.1 Dolby or in 2.0 stereo. So this also makes an excellent way to listen to mini-sized music CDs (and there are plenty of 3" mini CDs on the market from over the years) if you run out of mini-DVDs to watch.

But you won't run out too quickly, because CyberHome is joining forces with Warner Brothers for a December 3rd launch of approximately 30 titles to go along with this unit. There are many film titles on the list, mostly aimed at kids, including Free Willy, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, A Cinderella Story (Hilary Duff), New York Minute, Black Beauty, Dennis The Menace (with Walter Matthau), and others. Plus direct-to-video kidvid and any-age sports titles like Tom & Jerry: The Magic Ring, Scooby-Doo and the Cyber-Chase, NBA Street Series: Dunks!, NBA Street Series: Ankle-Breakers, Billabong Odyssey (surfing-related), and many more. But the coolest thing to us here at TVShowsOnDVD is, of course, all the TV Shows On Mini-DVD that are included:

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This is mainly kid stuff for now, as you can see, but then again we suspect that the player is primarily meant to compete with Hasbro's "VideoNow" player and its line of Paramount/ Nickelodeon-based programming on PVDs ("Personal Video Discs," a VideoNow- proprietary format on 4.25" discs that do NOT work on DVD players). If you compare the two systems, you'll see that the Mini-DVD player is the much better choice: it is a smaller unit with a bigger screen than the VideoNow has, that uses smaller discs which can be played on standard DVD players as well as the Mini-DVD unit, the discs can hold more programming, and is going to end up being much more mainstream in the end. All for just around $30-$40 more street price on the hardware, and with a wider variety of price points and choices on the software: anywhere for $4-$7 on low-end cartoon episodes, up to the $20-$25 range for recent theatrical films brought to DVD...or, in this case, Mini-DVD, just without the normal DVD extras (to save room) but still at DVD-level picture and sound quality!

What kid-on-the-go wouldn't want one of these for the holidays? What parent wouldn't want to use this to keep their kids occupied on long car trips? What businessperson couldn't use this on a trip themselves? Especially if they have a yearning for nostalgia in the form of some classic Scooby-Doo or Gilligan's Island episodes, or just want to use it as a personal stereo with some 3" CDs. This is another example of smart thinking and leadership in the home video industry out of Warner Brothers, and it's non-proprietary so any studio or DVD maker can get in on the act!

In March, 2005, the distribution of the player and the Mini-DVD titles go even wider and into more stores, and Warner will have 50 more titles to release on the 3" disc format at that time. It's very exciting to see our favorite video media get even more portable than ever, and with the push of Warner Home Video behind it we can't see it failing. If you get in on the ground floor and purchase it during the December launch, not only will you get Scooby-Doo's Original Mysteries free with the CH-MDP2500 player, but there will be a mail-in coupon you can use to receive 2 additional free Mini-DVDs from a list of 5 of Warner's titles. It's all very cool, and since it's DVD and there are TV episodes involved, you can expect more coverage of this from us here at TVShowsOnDVD. Stay tuned!

Note: information in the above story which was not sourced from CyberHome, Warner Home Video, or was sourced from articles published in trade magazines Video Business (registration required) or Video Store Magazine.

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