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October 01, 2004

GBA Movie Player - review

I received my GBA Movie Player from Lik Sang. A few people have asked about it so here's a quick review.

Keep in mind, this thing only costs US$25 :-)
Physically it's a flimsy plastic box, but it holds together and fits snugly in the GBA.

The software is a little flakey, but it works. I converted a recent episode of The Simpsons and damn it looks good (animation works really well). The framerate is ~8-10fps at a guess, the audio is reasonably good. The Simpsons was a 21 minute show, which looked great at 50mb, so I could probably fit 8-10 episodes on a 512mb CF card.
I then converted StarLego - which was mastered at ~8fps originally, and at a similar resolution to the player - and damn it looks great (and the THX logo on a GBA gives you a laugh)

Audio-sync is a problem, but the designers seem to have understood that and put in the ability to skip/pause the audio for 1/10th of a second in each direction. A few presses of this will fix the audio sync problem (wish I had that feature on my DVD player!)
I've read that converting the audio and video separately can achieve better results, but I have not tried this yet.
The photo viewer is nice, you convert to BMP then display. Some of my images came out green with the included software but I'll bet you can just convert in other packages.
The NES emulator does not come with the device, you just grab the latest PocketNES freeware and use that! very very cool, and a great way to get some old-school games onto your GBA. The device cannot write to the CF so high-scores cannot be saved. You can play NES roms up to 192kb. Sadly you can't play GBA roms, even if they are small enough (although I bet theres a way to get around that using PocketNES as a launcher, I might try one day!)

Even the text viewer is good - not that I'd use the device for that, but the feature works well and the font is quite readable.

So, if you happen to be making an order at Lik Sang and also have a CF card (128mb+) handy, then it might be worth the US$25 to pick up the GBA Movie Player for a little bit of fun! - I can't think of a serious application for it, it's mostly the geek factor of showing movies playing on your GBA (although 10 episodes of The Simpsons could be handy on holidays!)

Posted by Zaph at October 1, 2004 08:34 AM

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