Product Review (April 2006) - Coby
TF-DVD550 3.5" TFT Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Player

Portable DVD players have flooded the consumer market over the past few years with prices dropping rapidly. Most of them offer fairly large screens to maximize picture quality and the viewing experience, but this often results in a large chassis design. Coby has introduced a new portable DVD player (TF-DVD550) designed for kids that features a small 3.5 color TFT screen mounted on the front of the unit. Rather than focusing on a large screen, the TF-DVD550 is geared for convenience and portability while providing a durable housing. The unit measures 5.5" wide, 6.25" tall and less than 2" thick and weighs about 1.5 pounds with the battery pack attached. The protective rubberized trim helps to protect it from impacts. The unit includes a variety of useful accessories for both home and travel with a full function remote control. The detachable battery pack has a built-in stand. The unit fully supports DVD/DVD±R/RW/CD/CD-R/RW/MP3 and JPEG formats. Like most DVD players, this portable unit supports multiple viewing angles, subtitles, slow and fast motion play as well as zoom. The IR receiver window is located on the front, making it easy to control with the remote.

The TF-DVD550 is a simple looking unit, but has many features. The front has standard Play/Pause, Stop and Chapter control buttons. The Chapter control includes navigation controls that also function as chapter search and chapter scan controls. The Setup button is used to access configuration such as screen controls, language, TV type, etc. The LCD ON/OFF button is used to access the main menu on a DVD as well as toggle the LCD display to save power. The two built-in speakers on the face are small, so fidelity is limited especially with lower frequencies. The screen is only 3.5", yet has 336,960 pixels according the specifications. As a small portable unit, the TF-DVD550 works quite well. The left side of the player has a switch for power and a second switch for locking the controls. The locking switch prevents accidental button pushes from interrupting playback of a movie or music — a common problem with portable equipment. The power input jack is also located here and is common for either the AC or DC power adapter. The detachable battery pack has an LED indicator (lower left in the picture) that turns red when charging and changes to green when fully charged, which is a convenient way of knowing when the unit is ready for portable use.

The right side of the player has the audio and video output jacks in addition to the headphone output. The audio jack has a line level output, so the volume control has no affect on the output level. The same audio jack can also output an optical signal with the appropriate cable for interfacing with today's digital home theater receivers. The built-in speakers automatically mute when the headphones are inserted into the player. While the overall sound is rather thin due to the small speakers, Coby has cleverly placed speaker vents on the back of the unit that help create a more spacious sound.

The TF-DVD550 comes with several useful accessories including a full featured IR remote, headphones, carrying case, AC and DC power adapters and a set of A/V cables. The remote resembles the type included with many of today's video camcorders and provides the user with a complete set of controls for the player. The two power adapters offer maximum flexibility allowing the player to be used indoors or while on the go. The AC adapter operates from 100-240VAC on either 50 or 60 Hertz making it compatible with most countries. The cables provide connectivity to a regular television or audio system so everyone can enjoy it. The carrying case is padded and zips shut to help protect the unit when it is not being used. In addition, the back of the case has an adjustable Velcro strap.

The Coby TF-DVD550 is a great value for parents looking for an inexpensive travel companion for their kids. The portable design lends itself well for use in the car, on planes, or anywhere in between. The battery pack lasts several hours and even longer when the display is not being used (CD or MP3 music). Screen size and resolution is limited, but the kids never complained about it and the size and portability justify the tradeoff. The anti-skip electronics worked well and we didn't experience any problems during our review period. The included accessories proved to be useful, allowing us to take the unit on long trips with the AC and DC power adapters. The housing appears to be more durable than many portable DVD player and less likely to be dropped. Overall, the product is a real value and the kids love it.

- Kevin Nakano

OneCall: Your Home Theater, Digital Camera, and HDTV Experts

Review - At a Glance

Coby - 3.5" TFT Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Player


  • Super Slim Design
  • 3.5" TFT LCD Display
  • LCD for CD Information Display
  • Plays DVD/MP3/CD/CD-R/CD-RW
  • Built-in Anti-skip Circuitry
  • Multiple Viewing Angles
  • Multiple Subtitles
  • Convenient On Screen Display
  • Video Output
  • Optical Digital Audio Output

  • Specifications

  • Type: 3.5" TFT LCD with DVD Player
  • Compatible Format: DVD/MP3/CD/CD-RW
  • Display Area: 3.5" diagonal
  • Resolution: 336, 960 pixels
  • Video Output: Composite Video Out
  • Audio Output: Optical Digital Out ,3.5mm Headphone Jack
  • Color System: NTSC
  • Power Supply: DC 9V/2A AC Adapter
  • Screen Control: On screen display

    Package Contents

  • Full Function Remote Control
  • AV Cable & 110-240V UL Adapter
  • DC Car Charger
  • Stereo Headphones
  • Super Slim 2 1/2 hour Rechargeable Battery Pack (6 hours for CD/MP3)
  • Carrying Case

    Company Information
    Coby Electronics Corp.
    56-65 Rust Street
    Maspeth, NY 11378
    Phone: 800-727-3592

    Source: Manufacturer Supplied
    MSRP: $99.99

    Technical Assistance:
    Consumer Care Service:


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