Makers are enhancing the functionality of their portable DVD players to retain the products' advantage over other DVD-equipped electronics.
China manufacturers of portable DVD players continue to develop models with screens to attract buyers from the midrange and high-end sectors and improve profitability. Variants with displays make up 90 percent of the total supply and generate at least 10 percent margin, twice that garnered from units without LCDs.
Companies expect the former type to prevail in coming months in view of rising demand for this product in traditional markets such as Europe and North America. Although local businesses still release varieties without screens, these are customized orders. Many forecast their output volume will eventually shrink.
Among the LCD-enabled models, the notebook version accounts for 70 percent of the overall yield, being the most familiar form factor for users. Its design enables more functions, including a swiveling screen, and better heat dissipation because of the separate display and control board. The product is also easier to disassemble for repair purposes.
This type is popular in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, and will remain so, according to interviewed companies given its enhanced functionality. Selections are even available in all price categories.
Makers therefore expect sales of other variants to slide in the next 12 months. They will, however, continue to develop tablet configurations with touchscreen and boombox versions with high-quality sound output to help spur exports in these lines.
Across the different categories, manufacturers are adding more functions, including A/V I/O ports, to enhance the portable DVD players’ competitive advantage over tablet PCs and netbooks. The last two are beginning to pack features similar to mainstream players. It is the prohibitive price that has slowed down market penetration.
Portable DVD player trends
Raising portable DVD player exports
Models with larger LCDs are driving product development in China. Although 7 and 9in units dominate the mainstream supply, output of 10 to 17in types increased in the past six months. Some makers are eyeing variants with OLED screens for future releases if related panel costs go down. At present, LCDs comprise most of the displays.
Zheng Qi Long Electronic Co. Ltd has released a 10.8in type, the DA-710 model, with LCD screen, SD/MMC/MS slot, Dolby AC-3 surround sound, and digital optical and S-Video ports.
A few enterprises are manufacturing portable Blu-ray versions to match widening adoption. Due to rising costs, however, the product still commands a higher price than traditional DVD players.
Gaming function, wireless technology and digital TV capability are also part of China makers’ R&D priorities in coming months. Shenzhen Longxin Industry Co. Ltd, for instance, offers the LX-P9-096 model, a 9in player with DVB-T and gaming. It is compatible with PAL and NTSC systems.
Shenzhen Sibo Industrial & Development Co. Ltd’s model SB-D807 7in portable DVD player supports DVB-T, ATSC-M/H and ISDB-T, on top of its analog TV function. It also has gaming and FM radio, and a 270-degree swivel screen.
Besides adding A/V I/O ports, manufacturers are enabling multimedia compatibility. Mainstream units from China support CD, CD-R/RW, HDCD, VCD, SVCD, DVD, DVD±R/RW, MP3, WMA, JPEG, MPEG-4 and AVI formats. These generally have built-in rechargeable lithium batteries.
Low-end products make up 45 percent of aggregate supply. They have a 7in display with swivel, an analog TV tuner, a built-in speaker, a remote control, an earphone jack, and RCA and USB ports. Such units are compatible with most major formats, and integrate a multilanguage OSD menu, multiple subtitles and anti-shock.
Midrange versions have 8 to 9in monitors, screens with wider swivel, digital TV tuners and internal stereo speakers. In addition to common playback standards, these support RM/RMVB and incorporate YPbPr, S-Video, VGA and digital optical ports. FM radio, gaming and SD/MMC/MS slots are also built in.
High-end selections are designed with 10in and larger displays, touchscreens, hi-fi speakers, Dolby AC-3 surround sound output, Bluetooth capability, Wi-Fi function and HDMI ports.
China makers predict stable prices or reductions not exceeding 5 percent in the next half year. This is a positive forecast, considering that most component providers raised costs in recent months, except for LCD panels. DVD loaders and lithium batteries were not exempted from the increase. Further, higher labor costs and the yuan appreciation continue to affectquotes.
LCD panels, DVD loaders and lithium batteries are the key components in portable DVD player manufacture. Mainland China enterprises source the first from domestic providers and companies in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
There is a slight shortage of 8 and 9in LCDs for tablet PCs, netbooks and digital photo frames, but the supply is generally stable for other product lines. DVD loaders are purchased from Taiwan, Japan and South Korea partners.
Makers of portable DVD players export over half their output. They forecast this will increase by at least 5 percent in the next six months as orders from the US and the EU improve.
Shenzhen Sibo ships all of its 20,000-unit production per month to overseas customers. About 80 percent of this, in particular midpriced and upscale categories, goes to the US and the EU. The selections have integrated functions, and more expensive components and raw materials.
Despite the continued emphasis on traditional markets, makers are exploring emerging destinations such as the Middle East, Russia, South America and Asia. For Shenzhen Longxin, these areas are already major buyers of its products. It also ships DVD players to India and some places in South America, which combined account for 70 percent of outbound sales.
Zheng Qi Long exports 50 percent of its output to the Middle East and Southeast Asia, mainly midrange models. The company said buyers in such places have increased their purchasing power over the years and are now looking for varieties with a better performance-to-price ratio.
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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