Thursday Technology: Seen One, Seen 'Em All...

The ever-popular electronic silencing machine.

The ever-popular electronic silencing machine. Sean Locke /iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption Sean Locke /iStockphoto

Today we (the royal blogging "we") are doing something totally self-serving. I'm planning to take a long plane ride with two little kids and decided to bite the bullet and buy one of those electronic silencing machines, otherwise known as a portable DVD player. So we called Brian Cooley, CNET's editor-at-large for some tips. What he said surprised us (probably because we are so completely ignorant about home electronics).

Cooley says there is a difference in price among portable DVD players but not in quality. So don't get all hung up on brand names. They are all made by the same few factories you've never heard of and then rebranded by companies you have heard of.

Screen size and battery life are important, as well as the size of the overall product (does it fit in your carry-on next to the crayons, toys, books).

The only way to really determine overall size, Cooley says, is to turn off your computer and schlep out to an actual store and take a look. Then come home and shop online for the best price.

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