Tag Archives: USB Stick

Philips DVP3260 DVD-Player with USB

Philips DVP3260 DVD-Player with USB

They’ve done it again! At least that’s what I thought while I was browsing the dvd player section of a retail chain here in my town where I noticed a bunch of returned Philips players. The packaging had clearly been opened before so I took the liberty of checking out the manual and as you may have guessed already the device appears to be limited by a serious flaw: 640 files max! Now that I’ve had the chance to borrow a friend’s unit for tesing it turns out:

Philips manuals suck!

MCM 393: Number of albums/folders: maximum 99, Number of tracks/titles: maximum 500

DVP 3260: The unit can only support up to a maximum of 300 folders and 648 files.

Just compare both entries above, the MCM can play a total of 500 songs, the DVP 648 songs per folder! You couldn’t derive this from the wording? Well neither could I!

Of course the DVP cannot handle FAT32‘s 65535 entries per folder. Still this is a vast improvement over the puny 500 files of the MCM393.

It’s kind of ironic though that the lack of official USB HDD support is allegedly due to the large storage capacity making navigation very difficult rather than the filebrowser’s embarrassing limit of 14 (!) chars! The real problem of course lies in USB powered 2.5″ HDDs which sometimes draw too much power so that compatibility cannot be assured. Of course Philips wouldn’t bother to write this valuable info into their manuals either.

But what do you expect from a company that’s too stupid to list the firmware update’s version number on their support page? Hey, there’s a new one out on October the 10th 2008! Your newly bought player reveals the version number but not the firmware date it is using. So do you upgrade or not? I’ve written a FAQ that might help you decide.

Philips – they just don’t get it!

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Sony CDX-GT414U car MP3 CD Player with USB slot

Sony CDX-GT414U

Remember my mental note to check out products myself instead of relying on other’s recommandations? This time I got lured into a retailer’s shop cause they advertized a bargain on one of those car mp3 CD players featuring an USB slot which would finally save me from having to burn my own mixes to CD-RW. Since they assured me it could play more than a puny 500 tracks from USB and I had ample time to test and compare it to others mounted alongside the wall in the shop, what could go wrong? Unfortunately I didn’t realize the flaw until I drove home that night:

The USB slot faces the stick’s LED towards the driver!

Thus you always have this distracting blinking light in the right corner of your eye while driving at night. The clip I made of this effect doesn’t quite convey the annoyance it causes:

Yeah, I know, Sony :(

The company that always thinks to know better thus flooding the market with proprietary technology like ATRAC, Mini Disc, Memory Stick, UMD and so on despite consumers ignoring these schemes. Was I too stupid despite being warned by Sony’s track record? Afraid so…

A friend of mine who was riding shotgun in my car made a good point: why does the LED have to blink in the first place? But since this apparently is agreed upon by manufacturers I tried to verify my suspicions which turned out to be correct: all USB-sticks I’ve seen so far (which is a lot) do have the LED on the same side in reference to the connector and only Sony has the slot facing inwards, all other players I’ve checked (by Kenwood, Alpine, JVC, Blaupunkt, Clarion) have their slot installed the other way round so the stick’s LED blinks facing outward. This can’t be due to left-hand traffic in Japan either cause this would require the main controls (volume, skip, source) to be placed on the driver side too.

Sony knows best… not!

P.S. Aren’t you just thrilled by the caution alarm the front panel makes to keep you from forgetting it in the car?

Philips MCM393 Micro Hi-Fi System with USB Direct Playback

Philips MCM393 Micro Hi-Fi System with USB Direct playback
I’ve recently bought the Philips MCM393 Micro Hi-Fi System with USB Direct playback. My father is not so well so I planned on ripping all his CDs as mp3 to an external USB HDD so he’d have access to all his songs using the remote eliminating the need of getting up from his chair and switching CDs. Or so I thought.

As it turns out the device is limited by a serious flaw:

500 songs max!

Any song above this limit isn’t listed and therefore not playable. There was NO mention of this

  • in the retail chain’s flyer that initially caught my attention
  • on the product website at philips.de
  • at the retail store where I bought it
  • on the product’s wrapping

It is however mentioned on page 19 of the manual albeit not too specific:

  • Number of albums/folders: maximum 99
  • Number of tracks/titles: maximum 500

When I first read this after setting up the system (I usually don’t read any manuals prior to purchase) I thought it meant 99 folders with 500 songs each but sadly I was mistaken. While I wasn’t exactly planning on hooking up a 500 GB drive with tens of thousands of songs to it, I wasn’t expecting my cheap 2 GB USB stick filled with Audiobooks on 64 kbit/s to exceed any limit whatsoever. Certainly not after all the fuss Philips made on having a device with USB Direct playback like the prominently placed USB slot which also glows when selected as source.

Since I’m so used to companies selling hardware that never even left the beta stage of development I hoped it might be fixed by applying a firmware update. So I contacted Philips support which due to their staggering incompetence resulted in a to and fro of mails I’m reproducing here in summary:

Me:
I’ve just realized there’s a limit on songs playable by this system which is easily exceeded by my cheap 2 GB USB stick filled with Audiobooks on 64 kbit/s. Is there a firmware update to bypass this limit?

Philips:
You asked about a firmware update, there’s non available right now. Please explain what seems to be the problem (this mail has a full quote of what I’ve written above so what they are asking of me is already in there!).

Me:
Like I said in my first mail, I can only play 500 songs which wasn’t mentioned anywhere on the product’s website or wrapping. What am I supposed to do with a device that’s seriously limited?

Philips:
This microsystem is designed for home users/end users and therefore not equipped to process large amounts of data from HDDs.

Me:
So why isn’t this mentioned anywhere and why such a fuss over an USB slot?

Philips:
You can use an USB stick with your system (followed by a large quote on external sources from the manual, which wrongly mentions a limit of 1000 songs).

Me:
If you insist on quoting from a manual that I do own myself please use the correct one. This system plays _500_ songs max which is easily exceeded by cheap USB sticks.

Philips:
The system has an USB slot which allows USB sticks with 500 songs max which is within model specs as mentioned in the manual. If you’re not satisfied with your product please contact your retailer for a replacement or return.

Me:
I did. The retailer doesn’t care either so I’m stuck with it. Of course I won’t buy there nor from Philips in the future.

Philips:
We’re sorry about your decision but still advise you to inform yourself next time prior to purchase.

So there you have it, the flaw isn’t a flaw but a feature! Though I was clear on it from the moment they said there’d be no firmware updates I still engaged in this discussion just to see how Philips would try to weasel their way out of it. And this is the kicker: they don’t! It’s my fault I didn’t anticipate this kind of limitation and I should have informed myself better in advance! Way to go!

The question remains to be answered though: why knowingly produce such a limited device? Of course you can’t foresee all possible devices out there that come with an USB connector but by the time of their product’s inital release 8 or 16 GB USB sticks were affordable not to mention cheap and capatious HDDs. And seriously, how much cents did Philips save by using a chip with such a puny amount of RAM?

Philips MCM 393 – The new classic… NOT!