Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Move over Fabio, it’s the Pavio


By James Booth

Okay, so this article has nothing to do with Fabio, I just capitalized on his name for the rhyme scheme. What this article does have to do with is the Pavio portable digital theater. This nifty little media device will play video (AVI), music (MP3 and WAV), and digital images (JPG), storing them all on a 30GB hard drive.

The neat thing about the Pavio, shown in Figure A, is that not only can you load your own videos on it, you can hook it up to your TV antenna, satellite dish, cable, VCR, and DVD player to record your own videos.


The Pavio personal digital theater not only plays videos, but lets you make your own. (click for larger image)

There's no shortage of personal media players out there, and Palm and Pocket PCs have been doing the same for years, but Pavio has singular features that make it stand out in the crowd.

The specs

The Pavio comes in a bit larger than your average PDA, as the comparison to my Palm LifeDrive shows in Figure B.


Pavio is slightly larger than a standard PDA in order to accommodate the 30GB hard drive. (click for larger image)

Pavio's 3.5-inch TFT screen has a resolution of 480x234, is accompanied by internal stereo speakers, a 30GB hard drive, 3.7v rechargeable lithium ion battery, and two media card slots, one for SD (Secure Digital), and one for CF (CompactFlash). In Figure C, you can find see what the display of a letterbox movie looks like on the Pavio.


The Pavio has a pretty good display for the screen size. (click for larger image)

Also included in the retail package are all the cables and cords necessary for Pavio's operation, with the exception of the S-video cable, a carrying case/sleeve, and headphones, plus the docking station and remote you saw back in Figure A. Not too many components use S-video anymore anyway, but it was nice that it was included. Not to leave you in the lurch when it comes to encoding your music and video, the Pavio comes with full versions of Dr. Divx and MusicMatch.

Pavio packs a lot of features and equipment into a handy-sized package, but how does it measure up? Let's find out.

The review

I'll tell you right off the bat, I think the Pavio is an awesome little device. Like most other men, I forewent the instructions when it arrived and dove right in. The controls and interface are rather straightforward and intuitive from the get go.

The Pavio uses a proprietary operating system, but it's friendly with all the files it's suppose to be, and is quite easy to navigate with the controls. The interface is composed of icons for movies, pictures, music, voice files, a file manager, TV, and of course settings. Menus can be navigated with the volume dial in addition to the directional pad.