Saturday, April 9th, 2005
For my birthday last week, my family gave me one of the gadgets I’ve been drooling over, a Creative Zen PMC. What’s a Zen? What’s a PMC you ask? You can look it up on the Wikipedia, but the shortest, most succinct description, would be a “Video iPod” (though Apple currently lacks such a product). As my wife likes to point out, I’m usually a little too far ahead of the technology curve in buying things, and better, less expensive versions usually come out not too much later. Guess what, she’s right. But who cares!
Why did I want one (Besides the obvious “because it’s there”)? Well let me start out that even though I think that this device is perfect for me, I’m the first to realize that it’s not for everyone. My commute to NYC each day is by Metro North commuter train, about 50 minutes each way. (anyone reading this that’s not from the NY tri-state area deserves to be appropriately shocked). I use the morning commute to read the paper, and have until now used the return trip to read books or magazines (or now that I’m 40+, to nap!).
Though my wife and I agree on many things (Like most good husbands, I usually like the things that she tells me to like), one area that we don’t often agree upon is movies. My taste tends to go to movies that are just a bit “different” (i.e. movies I like include those by directors Tarantino & Shayamalan, or films such as The Usual Suspects, Memento or The Shawshank Redemption to name a few). My plans are to use this PMC to record movies (and TV Shows) to then view on the train. I figure that can probably watch 1/2 a movie each day.
So how does this differ from a portable DVD? Well, to keep up the first analogy, it’s the difference between a Walkman and an iPod. A portable DVD player requires you to not only bring the media (DVD) with you, but like a CD, it’s not great at remembering where you last left off. The Zen has a 20 gig hard drive, which at first might not sound like much. However a full length movie (1 1/2 to 2 hours long) when converted to 320x240 (the size of the Zen screen) in WMV takes up about 512MB (that’s right, only 1/2 Gig!). That means I can store just under 40 full length movies (assuming that I don’t fill it up with music or photos). Am I going to get rid of my iPod? No way! This is too big to carry around on my belt, but perfect to keep in my briefcase.