Saturday, July 02, 2005

Kawasaki Mobile DVD PVS1965: in the new world, electronics gear is mostly disposable

I bought a Kawasaki Mobile DVD System with Dual 6.5" LCD Monitors - PVS1965 from Target. It's a portable DVD player to sedate the children for a long drive to the grandparents. It has a central player and two 7" displays with speakers and headphone jacks. It's quite a marvel of technology, but it's not the technology that I find fascinating. It's the packaging, product placement, and marketing. This is the quintessential 21st century product.

Why is it a quintessential 21st century consumer product? Let me name the ways.
  1. It's sold using the name of Kawasaki, who once sold motor bikes. I don't know what they do now, but they actually have nothing to do with this product. Alco Electronics (Ontario, Canada -- but really Hong Kong) is the designer, manufacturer and distributor, they used Kasawaki's name. If you haven't noticed, most brand names mean nothing in the 21st century. (Apple is the obvious exception, I do think Brands will make a comeback in a few years.)
  2. It's made in China, but I think it's designed there too.
  3. It's not marketed at all. You won't find any reviews very easily -- if at all. It seems to be sold only through Target with this particular name.
  4. It's quite sophisticated. (See review)
  5. It's disposable (feels feeble.)
And now, a quick review.
  • It worked for our two week trip. Image quality is poor, but our kids didn't care.
  • The kids used headphones to listen.
  • It allows an audio or video input. I piped my iPod into it using a mini-jack to mini-jack cable. Worked great. The kids listened to music in between exercise outings, bathroom visits, movies, etc. I think I could pipe my iBook A/V output through there and show slideshows of the kids pictures, but I didn't try this (6/15/08: years later, I figure this out.) We monitored movies by using our cassette adapter to pipe audio through the car speakers.
  • Volume controls and jack on each display
  • Compact very generic switchable power supply
  • jpeg, mp3, dvd, cd display or playing
  • cheap but very convenient case
  • Lots of connectors: A/V I/O, Digital out
A few caveats:
  • It doesn't remember where a movie was interrupted. If you power off most DVDs, they "remember" where you left off. Not so this device. Turn off the car and you lose your spot in a movie. This was quite annoying.
  • There's something odd about the way they handle different display formats, but we left everything at letterbox and it seemed to work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey! Thanks alot for the review. You're right - there's not much out there in the way of reviews. There is a long listing of posted comments about this model and another Kawasaki (I think it's this one) at ecoustics .com, but I haven't read through them all yet. Anyhow, I think we'll buy it (for a vacation trip) and hopefully it holds up!