With the World Cup just around the corner, you would be forgiven for getting excited about a portable DVD player that also offers a built-in TV so you can watch Freeview television on the go.

That's the promise of the Mustek DTV 407, a model that is part of a new wave of machines that offer digital television in a portable device.

Does it deliver? Well yes and no. On the DVD front the portable player with its 7-inch screen performs okay, the display is of a better quality than we've seen from previous models and you get things like twin headphone out so you can share the experience with someone else without having to disrupt everyone else.

As for playback it can cope with most formats; DVD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, JPEG and Kodak-CD. However the most notable omission is the lack of support for DivX.

But get past the core feature, i.e. the DVD player and it's here that the DVT407 starts to falter and falter fast.

The digital TV option is at best very poor. Poor in that you have to be in a very strong Freeview area to pick up the signal.

In our tests in and out of London (we tested it in Ascot, Milton Keynes, Wapping and Putney) we failed to find and locate a signal successfully. Making this feature virtually pointless if you are planning on catching that footie game while enjoying the sun in the park.

Of course, you can connect it to a household aerial, and therefore have a greater chance of picking up a signal, but for us this defeats the point. If you can do this, why don't you just switch on the television instead?

Admittedly, Mustek isn't alone with this problem, Toshiba's new portable DVD player with digital television experiences the same problem when the company Demoed us its lastest portable DVD with Digital Television last month.

But in both cases it’s a case of the technology is out-pacing what is actually available. The analogue signal might be being turned off in 6 years time, but if it were tomorrow a lot of households would be unable to pick up anything without a big aerial.

If that wasn't the nail in the coffin, Mustek has tried to add other bonus features such as games like Tetris, Minesweeper and something called Gomoku. A nice idea, but in practice, it just doesn't work, The games are difficult to control, and to get back to the main menu you have to turn the unit off.

Price when reviewed:

Overall we found little to like about the Mustek model compared to others available on the market.

Had the digital television signal worked in all the places we tried it without having to connect it to the house aerial then we are sure this review might have been a little different, however it didn't.

Add to this the unit's cheap manufacturer, overly large battery and poor features (i.e. no DivX support) means we can't really recommend this on any level.

One to avoid.

Sections TV