ZVUE! $100 Personal Video Player Causes a Stir

At a price point that is sure to create interest, HandHeld Entertainment are going after the Christmas “tween” market with the $100 ZVUE! Player.

Long suspected to be vapourware, until it was actually seen in an interview. The device is based around Secure Digital/MultiMedia Cards and an ultra bright 2.5 inch full-colour screen (still TFT based, not OLED). About the size of an iPod, the ZVUE! will play full motion videos, MP3s and display digital images. The media cards are being branded as ZCARDS! and will be priced from $5.99 upwards, depending on capacity and content. The player has no inbuilt user memory and needs a media card to function.

Connectivity is provided via a USB1.1 socket and it features, a rather sociable, two headphone sockets. The battery life of around eight to ten hours is provided through standard AA batteries.

Nathan Schulhof, president and chief executive officer of HandHeld Entertainment said: “The ZVUE! has the right combination of features, price and content to make it the ultimate, ‘must-have’ and ‘must-give’ device for the 2003 Holiday Season.” The device certainly sounds interesting, but we’re worried about the proprietary format – though since Schulhof is credited as the inventor of the portable MP3 player, he may just know what he’s doing.

The ZVUE only plays files encoded in the proprietary HHe format – so you won’t be able to play just any old media files on it. This system will live or die based on the quality of the content available for it.

Retail content packages are to include cartoons, music videos and extreme sports.

HandHeld Entertainment

CNet PVP Roundup

Published by

Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?