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Features for DVD/mp3 players

Some features I've not yet seen (but would like to)
  [vote for,

The MP3 abilities of DVD players and portable CD/MP3 players are becoming more and more user friendly, but there are still a few things I'd like to see (perhaps someone can let me know if any player supports all of these)

-1- Ability to navigate within a "track", rather than just between tracks, in much the manner of CD players. To allow reverse navigation, the unit should keep a few seconds of audio in its buffer after it's been played, so that when scanning in reverse it could play that while loading an even earlier section into the buffer, etc. Given that the data rates for mp3's are much lower than for CD's, it should be possible to sustainably scan forward or reverse at up to 4x speed. Reverse 1x playback might be cool as well, but hardly essential except for those seeking satanic messages.

-2- Quick startup. Maybe I've just been unlucky with the units I've tried, but starting up a CD of MP3's seems to take a ridiculously long time. Especially if the player has seen the disk recently it should be able to come up very quickly.

-3- For DVD units, the ability to view JPEG's (and/or .GIF's and .PNG's). Especially useful with -5- or -6-

-4- The ability to include hyphens within filenames (sorry--I'm just annoyed that TDK's mojo player doesn't allow them).

-5- The ability to have playlist files on the disk; I'd probably just use straight text-files listing the name of each track, range to play (if not the whole thing), number of repeats, and time between repeats (if any). A few pseudo-file names would be supported for [silence], [loop whole playlist n times], etc.

-6- Support for 'menu' files, where each menu file would contain: (1) either some text to be displayed or the location of a picture (.jpg or whatever) to show; (2) the name of a music file to play while the menu is displayed, along with repeat-count and cue-points (optional), (3) a list of files (.jpg, .mp3, menu, or playlist) which the user may select.

Given the processing power required for playing DVD's and/or MP3's in the first place, I would think that parsing a simple text file for the playlist functions would be trivial. Anyone know of any players that actually have such features?

supercat, Jan 23 2002

DVD players ready for a makeover http://netscape.com...93.html?legacy=zdnn
"...they will be offering platforms that include...the ability to display digital images." Specifically Kodak Picture CD. [phoenix, Jan 24 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Alias/link support for CD-R burner http://www.halfbake...for_20CD-R_20burner
A PC software method for creating arbitrary overlapping playlists. [supercat, Jan 26 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

The 'Route66' http://www.anders.com/projects/route66/
PC-based MP3 player for your car. [phoenix, Jul 17 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

TDK Mojo http://www.tdk.com/cdmp3/
CD player, not DVD, but it does have the "quick startup" feature. Remembers the last 5 disks you put into it in non-volatile memory so it doesn't have to scan the directory (which is what causes the startup problem). [krelnik, Oct 13 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       1) I can fast-forward (and -reverse) the CD player in my car. I've not tried it on any of my other CD players.
2) Access times are physically limited by the requirement to move the laser. Any (electro)mechanical device will be slower than a purely electronic device. I think they can be faster, too, but there are a lot of things happening at initialization.
3) Certainly doable on a computer. More difficult to implement on a TV or portable unit because the CODECs can't change.
4) Again, your computer shouldn't have a problem with this (depending on OS). I think my APEX DVD player would be cool with it, too.
5) Baked. You probably don't have a player that supports them. Check out the latest version of Easy CD Creator from Roxio.
6) Again baked (in Windows). Check out ACDSee 4.0 - it's worth every penny.

       Most (modern) CD/DVD drives which support MP3s will ignore other data. This is on purpose. Maximum PC had an article a few years ago about how to build an MP3 player for your car that used spare PC parts, Linux for the OS and an LED display that could be configured to show data about the current track.
phoenix, Jan 23 2002


       (1) The CD/MP3 players I've looked at can fast-forward/reverse when playing "red book" (audio) CD's, but not when playing MP3's. Buffering to make fast-forward/reverse work well would be a little tricky, but even a 1x CD-rom drive reads data at a rate 7 times as fast as it's being played so there should be no problem with fast forward/reverse at 2x or 4x but I've not see it done.   

       (2) The "TDK mojo" player I just bought takes 18 seconds to start playing music from a single-session disk with 32 128kb/sec .MP3 files in the root directory and nothing else on it. My Aiwa DVD player takes 27 seconds to call up the directory for the same disk. I don't expect the mechanisms on these things to be lightning-quick, but I see no reason they should take nearly as long as they do. Did I just buy really slow units or are they all like that?   

       (3) A DVD player would have to have firmware to decode pictures stored on CD. Should be pretty simple though compared with decoding .MPEGs.   

       (4) The hyphen thing is probably just a TDK weirdness, but I found myself peeved at it; I think the posting as a whole isn't a rant even if that peeve might be.   

       (5) If the player supports them, why should Roxio support matter? Or do the playlists contain sector-number information to allow the player to use them more effectively? Do you have any recommendations for a player which supports playlist files?   

       (6) I'd like to have the menu-file feature in DVD/mp3 players and portable CD/mp3 players. On a PC with full screen and mouse, selecting files is quick and easy. Allowing 'menu files' on those other devices would allow a user to set up a disk to be conveniently-accessed using their more limitted controls.
supercat, Jan 24 2002

       1) Again, I've not tested this but you're right: it should be possible.
2) Either you got ripped off or you're using cheap CD-Rs.
3) The MP3 CODEC is established and universal. What are you going to do when new image formats are released?
5) To clarify: this information should be imbedded in the MP3 itself (ID3 tag). The playlist is generated from the tags.
phoenix, Jan 24 2002


       (2) Are portable players for some reason more sensitive to one's choice of CD-R media? Are there any recommendations for media which read better in those things? Computer CD-ROM drives never seem to have a problem.   

       (3) JPEG has been a standard for over a decade. PNG is somewhat newer, but still well-established. The idea here is to allow people to easily 'master' their own menued disks with photos and music.   

       (5) Players, including the Mojo, allow someone to select songs by a particular artist, or of a particular genre, but what if one wants to create playlists that don't fit those categories?   

       For example, suppose one includes the following recordings in one's MP3 disk:   

       The Cambridge Buskers: Not Live From New York
Les Miserables: Original French Concept Album
Les Miserables: Complete Symphonic Recording
Cecille Licad: Chopin Piano Music
Casper: Motion picture soundtrack
Children of Eden: Premiere American Recording
Garrison Keillor: Songs of the Cat
Rent: Original Cast Recording
Mullins et al.: Canticle of the Plains

       I would like to be able to create the following playlists:   

Mild Instrumentals (most of above)
Very mild instrumentals (a few of above)
"Happy" instrumentals
"Dreamy" instrumentals
Mild, instrumental or vocal
Catherine von Stade (some Songs of the Cat)
Garrison Keillor (overlapping list from Songs of the Cat)
Favorite happy songs
Favorite dramatic songs
Favorite dreamy songs

       I know of no way to juggle the id3 info to allow for anything even close to the above.
supercat, Jan 25 2002

       2) Yes (very). I've found that brands which use a silver coating (vs the darker coating) are more reliable across a greater range of players.
3) My point is only that you'd have no way of upgrading when imaging standards change. If you can convert all your images to Kodak Picture CD, you're all set now. (link)
5) I know of no software that will allow you to subcatagorize MP3s. I think you'd be better off creating multiple CDs.
phoenix, Jan 25 2002

       //5) I know of no software that will allow you to subcatagorize MP3s. I think you'd be better off creating multiple CDs.//   

       Uh, that's the point of my idea #5. I'd like to be able to have lists of tracks which I generate using whatever criteria I want (using a text editor if nothing else), and have the system be able to read such lists and automatically play the tracks thereon in either sequential or random mode.   

       On a related note, though, I was wondering: if I want more than one copy of the same file on a CD, is it possible to just have the file recorded once while appearing in multiple directories? If so, that might pose a reasonably nice solution using existing players (if burning CD's that way isn't too much of a pain).
supercat, Jan 25 2002

       phoenix: I came up with a solution to the multiple-playlist problem which would be bakable with the right PC software. Still think text-file playlists might be more conveninent, but see the link to my new PC software idea.   

       Essentially, the idea is to simply create a directory for each playlist one wants, containing all the files that should comprise the playlist. While normally this would require excessive disk space (some tracks might appear on a half-dozen playlists) it is possible to have the a file appear in multiple directories and yet only be stored once. Unfortunately, it is not at all convenient to create a disk that way, but the fact that it works suggests that it should be bakeable.
supercat, Jan 26 2002

       I'd like to see a portable MP3 player with Frodo's Governor. Adjust speed and pitch independently, or both together. The PaceMaker plugin for Winamp does this, but it isn't terribly stable.
Amishman35, Jul 17 2002

       As far as upgrading the codecs for a player with these capabilities. Throw in a wireless internet connection, or even a modem. I know that you can wirlessly transfer data from a calculator or PDA back and forth from PC. You could even wirelessly update your codecs on said player straight from your PC.
Cliffy, Jul 22 2002


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