Uncle Burger's

TechStar ST-029 DVD/MP4 Player

In Home Entertainment, Ipoh on June 29, 2006 at 9:54 am

Before I commence, I’ll like to state for the record that I actually bought this player after testing it at the shop – in this case, it’s Giant Hypermarket, Sunway City Ipoh … uh, Ipoh 😛 Got a story to tell on Giant too, but more on them later.

Why On Earth … I already have a DVD player in the house. The reason I wanted another is because I needed my home DVD player to play MP4 video discs – the old one couldn’t do that. I wouldn’t wanna get into specifics about what MP4 is; just suffice for all to know that MP4 is just another form of video on a shiny disc, like VCD or SVCD or DVD. Other “names” for MP4 video you’ll probably see pasted on DVD player boxes with such playback capability are “XviD”, or “DivX”.

So ok: Onto the TechStar DVD/MP4 player, model ST-029 … which of course, plays MP4 discs. The Player.

The first thing I noticed when testing it at Giant, is that there’s NOTHING on the box nor on the player itself that tells me it plays MP4. 1,001 other formats including JPG photos and MP3 audio, yes … (common enough these days). But I got a hunch that out of the tons of el cheapo DVD players flooding every nook and cranny of supermarkets and hypermarkets these days … at least ONE of them would play MP4 …

So I brought along my trusty demo MP4 disc and proceeded to stick it in every DVD player that was running in Giant, hehehe … I gravitated towards the physically good-looking units first (of course) – and that was the TechStar model ST-029 (the brand had other models there).

That’s the first thing that appealed to me – the exterior design of the player. Not flashy, no chrome bling (yuCks!), nice and simple LED display with a cute “rotating disc” icon while playing … and slim. Sweet. Then I ejected the disc-loading tray … and was slightly disappointed. It is one of them flimsy plastic things that flops around while ejecting/retracting … but I was relieved to note that it does so a lot less than others I came across. Just don’t be slamming the discs down on them, ‘k? It’ll either break or send your disc flying thru your living room like a decapitating, circular death blade them ninjas/Predators/whatever use …

The Audio/Video. So, in the MP4 disc goes … *thud* Nice, solid tray-closing sound; quite a surprise. The disc spins up; rather quietly, I must say. Some of these DVD players sound like a mini-jet taking off (like my old unit) and threaten to spit out the decapitating, circular death … nevermind. After about 3 seconds and a brief flicker of a small tag at the top-left of the TV screen that says, “CD-ROM” … a screen appears that lists out the MP4 files on-disc. I then selected and “clicked” the file I wanted played via the player’s buttons (the remote wasn’t available to me at that time). Another 3 seconds of disc-spinning and a black screen with a lil tag on top-left corner saying, “INITIALIZING” … the video starts! Woo-hoo!

So it plays MP4, despite it not having any labels/markings that says it would – not even in the flimsy manual, as I discovered later. I let it play awhile (a small crowd begins to gather around me) just to make sure it doesn’t hiccup halfway or somethin’ … no problems. Sound is as good as it gets from these made-in-China players … but it does have inputs/outputs for 5.1-channel sound, complete with built-in DTS decoder too. S-Video and optical-out for video output completes the connections. Cool.

Taking It Home. I am a happy dude. Finally, a DVD/MP4 player that looks good and plays well! Ejected my MP4 disc from the demo unit (groans and moans coming outta the crowd), eeny-meeny-mineey-MO! fished a new unit out of the hundreds piled head-high, opened the sucker to check if all the stuff was in there (1-year warranty card, manual, 3-way AV cable, remote, 2 el cheapo leaky batteries – trash them immediately, folks) … and I was off to pay for it at the checkout cashiers.

Price? RM119. Oh, sure: there are cheaper players. Problem is, they either don’t play MP4 discs, look frickin’ awful, or don’t have 5.1-channel audio in/outs … let alone S-Video and/or optical video outs. So again, I’m happy with the TechStar ST-029. It now sits proudly amongst my el cheapo TV (that’s another review) and the Astro decoder.

Ok, I’m a cheapskate, happy? Have a good time selecting your next MP4 player, people!

Note: This post has been read 33 times in the past.

  1. Hey

    The remote control right , u get it separately ? U know where to find it ?

    I have one dvd same model like u but lost the remote control d . I want to try the multi-brand thingy but scare it won’ t work.

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