Children watch far too much television as it is at the moment, however a new gadget is hoping to ensure they watch even more. The VideoNow system launched with Nickelodeon is a portable device that allows you to watch movies and your favourite television programmes on a small screen.
The rather plastically, but brightly coloured unit is obviously aimed at children. In the centre is a small 1.85x 1.45in backlit LCD display capable of 216x160 pixels. Less quality than an entry-level mobile phone the screen quality is very poor. While kids are sometimes seen as less demanding in the quality stakes than adults, this takes the biscuit. Aside from the LCD display there is also a built-in speaker or headphone jack (a very wise move). A set of headphones isn't included in the box (another expense) and the quality of the speaker like the screen in pretty shoddy.
Programmes and movies come on a PVD (personal video disc) and can hold 25 minutes of footage. The player however is restricted to this format and is unable to play either CDs or DVD discs. At the moment judging by the selection on the VideoNow website it's only Nickelodeon shows like the Spongebob Squarepants, Fairly Odd Parents, The Jeff Corwin Experience and Fear Factor. Making this pretty limiting if you're not a fan of their branded shows. Battery life is around six hours and the unit runs off three AA batteries.
Okay, so if you’re a big fan of Nickelodeon television shows this might be up your street, however as soon as you experience the poor visual and audio quality you are likely to change your mind. What’s more the price of the unit and the discs are very expensive. And with only 25 minutes on each one you should be expected to pay £7.99 per PVD. Should this be among your kids’ presents at their next birthday party - we say stick it on Ebay.