Boring journeys should be a thing of the past, thanks to the wide range of portable video players on the market. While the ability to watch last night's episode of The Simpsons on the way to work may be enough to make some people part with £300, the technology is still evolving and putting video on the devices is sometimes difficult, so they're not still not for the complete novice.
By far the best effort comes from Archos, with the AV420. The ergonomics of the device are just right, the screen is of a good quality, and perhaps most importantly, you can transfer DivX files straight over without any pesky re-encoding.
Creative's Zen Portable Media Center is based on Microsoft's standard MC interface, which looks great and is easy to use. However, the unit could do with a diet -- it's far too bulky. It also can't record programmes from an external AV source. You'll also need a PC running Windows XP.
The Samsung YH-999 is a toe-dipping exercise for the Korean giant, and not an entirely successful one. If you've got a Media Center computer packed full of recordings then it's easy, but for 99 per cent of people it proves a little difficult to re-encode DivX files and other media. Still, it's well built and video looks good when played back.
Thomson's Lyra series had some success in the music arena before the iPod arrived, and now it's having a crack at the video market. The PDP2860 looks the part and offers a great picture quality. It's also easy to record from an AV source such as television, and the hard drive stores up to 40 hours. However, despite claiming to support DivX, the device had trouble coping with some test clips from the official Web site.