DIK DVD 339
With DivX Playback
1 reviews from the community
Review of "DIK DVD 339"
A short note before I start this op, I may get a bit technical during this op, unfortunately its unavoidable with a unit like this , I will do my best to explain everything in detail and provide a review that will have something for the layman and the geek .DK DivX DVD-339 is one of a new generation of standalone DVD players, it will do everything you expect from a DVD player and if you already have a standalone DVD player and you only intend to play shop bought DVD’s on it then this unit is not for you. The beauty and main selling point of this unit is its ability to be able to play DivX, Xvid and Mpeg4 files from any CDr and DVDr (They do not guarantee support for DVDr because there are so many different types of branded media and burning options, more on that later in op).
‘DK Digital’ makers of this unit are a German company so this unit isn’t widely available and I doubt you’ll be seeing it in high street shops for a long time, but there are several UK based online retailers that are offering this unit for around £80 with VAT (www.svp.co.uk was the one I used to purchase, and I was very happy with their service).Specifications
Media supported: DVD/ VCD/ CD/ CD-R/CD-RW/ MP3/ SVCD/ HDCD/ WMA/ DiVX/ Xvid/ Photo CD/ DVDR+/-
Compatible DiVX-Versions 3.X, 4.X and 5.X
Multi-Region enabled thru a Remote control Code
Upgradeable via CD-R
5.1 Analogue audio out (6 phono sockets)
Optical digital audio out
Coaxial digital audio out
Composite video out (Phono socket)
S-Video out (4 pin)
21 pin scart socket (RGB)
Fluorescent digital display
Infrared remote control
Super Slim: Dims (LxWxH): 430x247x54mm
Weight: 1.85 kg
So, if you’re a normal person round-a-bout now your thinking ‘Ok that’s all very nice by why would I want this unit’. Well as I said this is a new generation of players and the added support of DivX, Xvid and MPEG4 is the reason, for this part of the op I’m going to try my best to explain all this technological mumbo-jumbo and show you how you could be using this technology very soon. If you want to skip this section scroll down to ‘Using the Unit’DivX (www.divx.com) refers to a video compression standard and NOT the pay-per-view DVD system that is now happily dead and buried; essentially DivX/Xvid are video CODECs (Coder/Decoder) and when used to compress any video stream can dramatically reduce its file size whilst maintaining viewable quality. The downside to DivX encoded content is that until now you have only be able to view these files on your PC (There are ways around this such as using Hauppauge’s MVP, or TV OUT on your Graphics card to view PC content on your TV, but you still needed to run the file on your PC and there were other problems with this technology that I don’t need to go into). I can tell your still not impressed or convinced so lets give you some examples of the benefits, I’ll explain how and why I use DivX.
Lets get one thing straight first , VHS Video is as dead as disco, its time to move into the 21st Century, within a few years nobody will be recording TV onto VHS, I personally watch and record Free view Digital TV on my PC with a Hauppauge DEC unit (Read my Op on that unit) I also have a Video capture unit that I am currently using to capture all my VHS videos onto my PC so I can throw away the tapes, I also have a Mini-DV camcorder and any of my home movies I shoot are captured straight to PC in DVD quality, now all of these systems capture video in DVD quality MPEG2 format, these files are very high quality but have huge file sizes (about 2 Gigabytes per hour of Video). So now you have your files you have a few choices as to what to do with them, but no matter which one of these you choose, the DK DVD-339 will play them ALL.
Ok so choice 1 is to leave the content as MPEG2 DVD Quality and using your favourite DVD authoring software and a DVD burner burn it to a DVDr that will play in 90% of standalone DVD players, this is a popular option but not for me, blank DVDr’s have a capacity of 4.4 Gigabytes so do the maths at optimum quality you can only get 2 hours of video onto one DVDr (There are programs that allow you to squeeze more onto a DVD but quality will be reduced)
Option 2. Taking your MPEG2 DVD files using your same DVD authoring software burn them to a CDr as either a VCD or SVCD (Super/Video Compact Disc) Again VCD’s will play in 90% of standalone DVD players but quality gets reduced and you can only fit just over an hour of video onto 1 CDr, SVCD is not widely supported by most DVD players, the quality is better in an SVCD but you can only fit about 40 Minutes onto 1 CDr.
Option 3. Take your MPEG2 DVD quality video and compress it using either DivX or XVid Codec. This is the option of my choice and a huge amount of people worldwide. Using freely available and downloadable tools (use google to search for tutorials on DVD to DivX compression) you run your file thru the software and it encodes it as a DivX file, dramatically reducing the file size and depending on settings quality will hardly be affected. The downside to DivX is that unless you have a fast PC re-encoding files is in real time or worse, and up until this unit you could only watch your videos on your PC. To put it into perspective lets say you have the complete 12 episodes of ‘Fawlty Towers’ either captured from VHS or TV as MPEG2 DVD files on your PC , That’s 6 hours of video and a total of about 12 Gigabytes lets run that thru the above 3 options and see the results
Option 1. Burn to DVDr = 3 DVD’s with 2 Hours or 4 episodes per disc.Option 2. Burn to VCD = 6 VCD’s with 1 Hour or 2 Episodes per disc
Option 3. DivX = After encoding to DivX 12 Gigabytes has been reduced to just over 2 Gigabytes, so COMPLETE 12 Episodes onto 1 DVDr and still have over half the DVD free for more videos or 3 CDr’s with 4 episodes on. Now that should impress even the hardest technophobe.That’s just an example and of course I don’t endorse piracy but if you download movies thru peer-to-peer software you’ll already know all about DivX , but the same technology works exactly the same for your home movie masterpieces.
Of course the downside to DivX is that until standalone DVD players that play DivX content are mainstream if you want to take a disc round to your friends and play your content your have to view it on a PC , well unless your friend buys this unit.
Using The Unit
First thing that strikes you when you open the box is the size, it’s a very small and slimline unit and will slot in nicely above existing Video or DVD player, it only comes with the mains cable so you’ll need to buy your own SCART lead (or composite or s-video depending on how you wish to connect). The mains lead is a 2 pin euro job , but fear not it has the 3 pin adapter already fitted to it.
Also in the box is the manual and the remote and batteries for the remote (2xAA) the remote is very long and thin and the buttons are a bit too small and fiddly for my liking but it’s a very comprehensive remote and clearly marked.
When you place a CDr or DVDr in with other content on it you will be greeted with a menu system, similar to windows, it shows you the contents of the disc with an icon next to each item to show its format, a very nice touch is that if you move the selection bar over an image file you get a thumbnail of the image in the box on the right of the menu.I have tested this unit with all formats and all the media I have, DVDr is a grey area purely because at the moment there are no set standards for DVD burning, you have DVD-R and DVD+R (Think of it as the VHS/Betamax war of the 80’s all over again) you have various brands and various dyes used on the playing surface and lots of burning standards with different programs, (I personally use a good brand DVD-R with Ritek dye and Nero to burn my DVD’s).
The unit is not perfect, it has been unable to play some older DivX files I had on CD (more thru bad encoding I think that anything else) but all the newer files that I have encoded have all played perfectly, either from CDr or DVDr. MP3’s and WMA’s all play fine and Image viewing is easy and the unit will automatically slideshow thru all the pictures in a directory unless you stop it.The player even has a built in screensaver, after a few minutes with no input that kicks in and disappears when you press any key on the remote.
One note of caution for anyone with an older TV without SCART Connections, copy protection is present on the DVD-339, so there'll be no hooking up the player to your TV via a VCR, a mild annoyance if you own an older TV without a SCART, S-video or composite video connection.Another nice feature is that the player can be multi-region thru a remote control hack, this is a very simple 5 step process where you enter a number on the remote, turn it off and on and hey presto multi-region , I have tested this and it worked perfectly.
I had high hopes for this unit and I have waited a long time for a standalone DVD player that can play DivX files as have many people, there are now a couple on the market and its definitely a growing trend, all in all I am extremely happy with this unit and for under a £80 its superb value for money.
Product Information : DIK DVD 339
Manufacturer's product descriptionWith DivX Playback
Table / Portable: not Portable
MP3 Playback: with MP3 Playback
Super Audio CD Playback: without Super Audio CD Playback
Integrated VCR: without Integrated VCR
Built-In Modem: No
MP3 Recording: No
DVD Audio Playback: without DVD Audio Playback
Real Dolby: without Real Dolby
Show View: without Show View
DivX Playback: With DivX Playback
Photo CD Playback: with Photo CD Playback
Super Video CD / Video CD Playback: Yes
DTS Decoder: without DTS Decoder
Memory Stick: No
Multimedia Card: No
Secure Digital Card: No
Smart Media Card: No
Compact Flash Card: No
Electronic Program Guide (EPG): No
DVD-R Recording: No
DVD+R Recording: No
DVD-RW Recording: No
DVD+RW Recording: No
DVD-RAM Recording: No
PCMCIA Interface: No
MPEG4 Recording: No
Blu Ray Playback: No
DVI Interface: Without DVI Connection
Progressive Scan: No
DVD Player / Recorder: DVD Player
Listed on Ciao since: 17/03/2004