Mitashi TFD-7608

Mitashi Edutatainment Pvt Ltd has launched the TFD-7608 portable DVD player for people who like to keep themselves entertained on the go. Also, this DVD player is better than its predecessor - TFD-7607 - with the addition of a TV Tuner as well as AV In capabilities. This sleek and stylish looking entertainment gadget has arrived at our Tech labs and we are going to find out how much juice it packs in its tiny frame.


Bundled accessories



Mitashi TFD-7608
Charger-cum-adapter
AV cable
Wireless controller
Car charger
Car stereo adapter
Headrest strap-on bag
Instruction Manual
Mitashi seems to have provided whatever is required for this entertainment device. We shall have a look at some of the notable accessories. The same AV cable serves for AV Out as well as AV In.


Accessories in details




A wireless controller is an indispensable accessory for any DVD player and the case is not any different here. The provided easy-to-use wireless controller comes with all the buttons necessary to empower you with complete control of this player. The shape and size of the wireless controller are very manageable, since it uses a small button cell, instead of AAA batteries.




Since it is meant to be used while traveling, it makes sense that it comes with a car lighter adapter, which lets you charge it inside the car.



Most car stereos can accept standard audio cassettes, and this has been taken into account to interface the player with the car audio system. The car stereo adapter bundled along with the player looks like a normal audio cassette and can go into the car stereo system. The difference between it and a normal audio cassette is that it does not have any magnetic tape, but instead has a head that touches the reading head of the car stereo cassette player and transfers audio information directly to it. The other end of the adapter has a stereo jack, which goes inside the stereo socket of the TFD-7608 (but you can also plug it into just about any stereo audio source). The sound played on the player will now be played on the car audio system.




Mitashi has even provided a bag with adjustable straps that let's you strap it on to the headrest of the seat, so a person sitting behind may view the player. You need to swivel the LCD and then put it inside this bag.





The bag has adequate openings for the LCD, speakers and the side controls, while the rest of the controls can be accessed using remote control. This makes it really useful as an "in-car entertainment system". They have even bundled along a pair of earphones, which are capable of decent quality audio playback.

Features


The Mitashi TFD-7608 is a stylish-looking player with a silver and gray polymer body. It resembles an ultra-portable netbook, with a folding 7-inch 16:9 wide-screen color TFT LCD display. The display can be swiveled around 180 degrees and folded back to give it a tablet-PC-like look. Unfortunately, since this is not a touch-screen, the control panel becomes inaccessible in this case and you have to manage everything using the wireless controller. It seems to be built well enough to take a few knocks at the least. The swivel and hinge mechanisms seem to be strong too.




As mentioned before, the panel consists of a 7-inch wide-screen TFT LCD. There are two speakers just below the LCD; one each on the left and right.



The LCD swivels 90 degrees in the clockwise and 180 degrees in the anticlockwise direction.


On the lower portion of the player is a button near the bottom right, which can be pressed to open a mechanically opening cover for the optical drive.



Playback control buttons are present on the left, and you can control a limited number of functions such as Pause, Play, Stop and Menu.


There are more control buttons present on the right. The first one seen is FUNCTION, which lets you conveniently cycle between the different input modes, namely DVD, AV-in and TV.  The SETUP button lets you configure various functions, which we will mention in the performance section of this review. DVD/SD/USB button lets you choose from the different sources of media playback supported by this player.

There is also a set of five buttons below that let you Fast-Forward (2x to 32x), Rewind (2x to 32x), Play Next, Play Previous and a center button for Select. You will not be in a fix even if you find that the wireless controller has run out of batteries. These also rotate images during the image display

Unlike the TFD 7607, this player has done away with the aspect ratio button that allowed easy and hassle-free switching between 16:10 and 4:3 aspect ratios. Also, there is no button to toggle the OSD, nor is there any button to directly control audio down-mixing options. These are present only on the wireless controller.

The buttons are a bit hard and noisy, but we don't think that it is much of an issue. And they certainly are not so hard as to give you a sore finger.


The rest of the controls and connectors are present on the right side of the TFD-7608. As you can see above on the extreme left is an analog volume control. We would have preferred a digital one instead, since an analog one tends to become noisy over a period of time. Next, there is a stereo audio socket, where you can either plug in earphones or the supplied cable to be connected to a TV. We must mention here that though the player only stereo audio, which is a big disappointment. After this port, you will be able to see the AV Out socket to let you connect to a TV using the bundled cable. Then there is the AV In, which connects using the same AV cable to an external source.

In addition to the above, there is also a sliding power switch, but a hold button is sorely missed.


As we stated earlier, this player can access media from two sources in addition to the optical drive. There is a USB port and a memory card reader capable of reading MMC/SD/MS cards, situated at the back of the unit.

A coaxial input is present on the left to connect Cable TV.


There are LED indicators are the front for power as well as charging. While the power LED glows white, the charging LED is red while charging and it turns green once the charging is complete.


On the underside of the unit is a rather large proprietary, 1600 mAH rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This has a lower rating than the 2000 mAH battery in the TFD-7607 and we expect this to show in the battery backup time.
Performance
We tested this player with several different audio and video formats and tried out all the three different sources. We also tried to gauge the performance on TV in addition to the device's LCD screen.

We shall briefly explain the various Setup options present in the device.

Setup menu
Setup menu has six subsections and we will briefly explain each one of them.



In the General section, you can define the TV aspect ratio; this means the actual physical aspect ratio of the display device. There are also options to define Angle Mark (for multi-angle DVDs), and language of the OSD. You can also define whether you want to view captions, enable/disable screensaver (during inactivity) and remember the last point at which the playback was stopped (for DVD only).



Audio setup lets you configure the SPDIF setup and Equalizers. The SPDIF setup lets you enable or disable it and choose the output type and bitrate.



You can choose up to seven equalizer presets to suit your taste. There is also a Super Bass option for extra Bass (and this does work great), in addition to Bass Boost and Treble Boost options, to fine tune the audio experience.


In the Video setup, there are two options - Quality and Panel Quality. These settings allow you to adjust various quality settings such as sharpness, brightness, contrast, gamma, hue, saturation, etc.


While the Quality option applies only for an external display device attached to the player, the Panel Quality settings apply exclusively to the LCD panel of the device.

The TV Tuner can be tuned in the DVB-T Setup page. Here, the first option you can view is Auto scan, which lets you automatically scan the cable connection for available channels and configure them later.



You are not limited to the PAL TV system available in India. This TV Tuber supports seven TV systems, which essentially means that you can take it to just about any place on Earth and it will not have a problem tuning in to TV at that place.
There is also a Preference section, where you can choose the TV system (PAL, NTSC or Auto), enable/disable PBC, choose default audio language, default subtitle language, default disc menu language and choose the level of parental control from among eight levels. Next is the Password setup page, where you can set a password to work with the parental control and to prevent unauthorized use of the player.
Playback
The player works flawlessly with all media types it supports. The access times are very fast and the contents of the media are displayed really fast. When playing an optical disc, there is a very small amount of vibration during the spin-up, but it is almost silent during the actual playback.
Video performance
Since the Mitashi TFD 7608 supports a variety of inputs, you can choose from either the controls present on it, or using the remote control. The dialog shown below, pops up on the screen prompting you to choose the input.




Barring the QPEL and XviD dev CODECs, it could play all the formats advertised by Mitashi. When we tried to play the above video formats, a message appeared mentioning that the video resolution was not supported, but the audio did play. As you may know, WMV and RM are not supported. The image quality of the LCD is decent and easy on the eyes. The color doesn't change as long as you look at the screen from the left or the right or even from above and this is very important since when multiple people would view it, they would view from these angles. If you look at the LCD from below, the image quickly gets discolored, but we think that this is a non-issue since this viewing angle would be practically not used.

Setting it up to play on TV is not a hassle, there is just a single cable bunch to connect and you can never go wrong (as long as you follow the color codes for your TV inputs). When connected to a TV, the image quality is quite good and there is no place for complain. Even while playing low resolution videos, the up-scaled image quality is rather good.

We tried to play back a DVD in a running car and found that the anti-skip mechanism of the device really works. Only when the road was too bumpy (even for us to sit comfortably) did it skip a bit.

We tested the TV Tuner on a Cable TV system and found that it is quite sensitive and could detect and auto-tune all of the available channels; even the weakest ones. It took about six minutes to complete the scan.


Audio performance
It could play audio CDs, DVD-Audio and also MP3, but not WMA. The audio quality of the inbuilt speakers is pretty good; of course the bass is understandably non-existent, but the sound is clear and loud. When connected to a TV, the sound quality depends on that of the TV speakers. There is minor disturbance in the audio playback when the player is connected to the power adapter, but if operated on battery, this is not an issue.

In addition to audio and video, you can also view JPEG images. The JPEG image preview can be seen on the right-hand side of the screen.

We tried connecting various USB storage devices and found that it can support any USB Flash drive and USB hard drive as long as the file system is FAT32.

The battery lasted for two hours 50 minutes for a DVD playback and we think that this is a good timing, as it lets you watch an entire movie. When we tried playing from a USB Flash drive, the power saved from the optical drive motor allowed us to use the player for around three hours 30 minutes. The battery lasts for the same amount of time for TV playback or playback using AV In. During playback on a TV, the LCD in the player remains ON even as it is being played back on the TV screen as long as it is kept open, but it switches off when you close the lid and the playback continues on the TV. This resulted in an additional playback of around half hour (also taking into account that the speakers of the player were also OFF). It takes around three and a half hours to charge the battery completely. Unfortunately, just like the TFD-7607, this player also does not feature any way to indicate the battery power status. What this means is that the player suddenly goes dead without warning when the battery dies off.

Verdict
The Mitashi TFD-7608 is a flawless performer with all the video, audio and picture formats it claims to support. This is one portable entertainment device that looks good enough to be taken along and the battery life is good enough to last more than a full-length movie. The sources it supports: DVD, USB Flash drive and memory card adds to its versatility. The 7-inch LCD is quiet good and easy on the eyes.

We do not yet know of what real purpose, the AV-in would serve, but it is an additional feature nonetheless. You may probably use it to connect your digital camera or camcorder to view the captured content on an LCD, which is larger than what came with the source device. The TV Tuner feature is useful, especially for people who are away from home, and would not want to invest separately in a TV and a DivX player, and also who would not have much space for these. We would like to state that the TV Tuner is useful only if you happen to have Cable TV, but if you have satellite TV with a set-top box, it doesn't serve any purpose; the AV In serves just fine as the Tuner is present in the set-top box of such systems.

Its main competitor is another such player from the same company - TFD 7607, which we had reviewed some time back. While the two are similar in every other aspect, the 7608 has a TV Tuner and supports AV In, but a lower capacity battery, thus yielding a lower battery life. If you compare the video quality, it is as good as any other stand-alone player out there. If we could point out one real negative, it would be the fact that there is no 5.1 channel audio out support, and that makes it impractical to connect to a home-theater system. If we were to point out another negative, then it would be that there is minor disturbance in the audio playback when the player is connected to the power adapter, but if operated on battery, this is not an issue. Also, it would have made life a lot easier if there would have been some indicator of the battery power status.

The Mitashi TFD-7608is priced at Rs.7,490 with a one-year warranty, but the street price should be much lower. When you consider all the accessories it comes with and the fact that it is a stand-alone player with a TFT LCD display that supports DivX, has a TV Tuner and can be even used to play content on your TV, the price suddenly doesn't appear to be too high. This is an attractive option for people who want a portable personal entertainment system, which is a lot more decent than watching videos on a mobile phone.

Test unit sourced from ICPAR
Specifications