The Christmas Present That’s Gathering Dust

Over Christmas, I wanted to get the kid a cheap little portable video player so she could keep herself occupied on road trips. The Disney Mix Max player seemed like a good choice, and the $99 price made it sort of a no-brainer, so I picked one up for her.

Since Christmas morning, the device has gathered dust on my desk. The problem is that the device doesn’t come with its own software for converting and loading movies; you have to use the loathsome Windows Media Encoder to convert movies. The settings required by the device are totally nonstandard, and the instructions they provide (PDF) seem to be written by a non-native speaker of English. The guide also doesn’t seem to cover the version of Windows Media Encoder that Microsoft currently provides for download. Naturally the instruction manual didn’t actually come with the device either; you have to search the web for it, and if you’re lucky you can find it on the OEM’s web site (Memorex Electronics). But the fact that they hid the instructions doesn’t matter, since the instructions don’t accurately describe how to get the device to recognize converted videos anyway.

There’s a good comment thread on this where people have been trying for months to get the device to play converted videos. It doesn’t look like anyone has been able to get it to work.

They might as well have wrapped the "import a movie" feature of the device in electrified barbed wire, and when you think about it the reason is obvious — Disney doesn’t actually want you to convert the movies you’ve already paid for (or created yourself) to use on this device, instead they want you to pay them $20 a pop for them to reformat the movies you already own and sell it to you on an SD card.

The next time I got to a Disney theme park, I plan on hurling this
device off the top of the Matterhorn in hopes that it breaks into
enough pieces that no one else will be tempted to waste time getting it
to work. Avoid this product at all costs.