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RCA Opal - Digital Media Player

RCA has introduced a new RCA Gem line of digital media players -- small portable devices based on flash memory (product information).

The RCA Opal is small and light -- just over 1 ounce, with a 1.5 inch color OLED screen, and plays music, and displays photos -- and plays video clips! It uses a built-in (not user swappable) lithium battery, with a rated music playback time of 15 hours.

The thin design fits nicely in the hand (1.81 x 3.63 x 0.34 inches), with a Menu button and typical 4-way control to navigate the menus. The Opal connects to a PC through a single multi-purpose earphones/USB/line-in recording jack at the top of the unit.


For music, the Opal supports MP3, Windows Media Audio (WMA), WM DRM-10 for purchased music, and Audible for audio books. For photos, it supports JPEG format, with the pre-stored images at 640x480 resolution. And for video, it supports a custom SMV format (around 3.4 MB for a 1 minute clip). And it supports digital voice recording with the built-in mic, as well as line-in recording.

However, transferring media is a disjoined process -- you can sync music through Windows Media Player or Yahoo! Music Jukebox, but you drag and drop photos through Windows Explorer, and you must convert videos to the special format using the supplied RCA Video Converter software. After syncing, the unit works for a while re-building its ID3 tag database to navigate the music.

The Opal is available with 2 GB (680 songs) for $75 (model M4002 / blue). Other models planned are M4001 (red) 1 GB / up to 340 songs, M4004 (black) 4 GB / 1360 songs.

    Look up the RCA Opal media player on Amazon.com.




The other players in the Gem line are:


- Perl - combination USB thumb drive and music player, Micro SD slot, voice record, AAA battery, less than 1.5 oz, 1 GB $49.




- Jet - rugged splash-resistant sport model, built-in stopwatch and body mass index calculator, FM tuner/record, lithium battery, 15 hour playback, less than 1.5 oz, 1 GB $69
- JetStream - adds Kleer Wireless stereo wireless headphones - due Sept 07

See more in the Portable Media Players Gallery.

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This entry posted on June 20, 2007.

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