The iriver P7 PMP Transcodes Video For You

This last January, iriver made quite a splash when it showed off its 2009 lineup of portable multimedia players (PMPs) at CES. Tech journalists swamped the iriver booth like a fast-moving school of fish, trying to get a closer look at the prototype models that were on display--especially the P7, which is the flagship of the line. Pricing and availability were still unknown, leaving us high-and-dry, waiting for the wave of products to eventually stream into stores.

Well, at least for the much-anticipated P7, the wait is almost over. Today, iriver announced pricing for the P7 and also stated that it is about to become available from a number of sellers, such as Amazon, Fry's, J&R, B&H,, and others.

The P7 is a flash-based PMP that can play video, music, and photos, as well as including an integrated FM radio tuner and voice-recording capabilities. A lot of the excitement about the P7 is its sleek-looking, innovative design, which has even won an industry design award. The device is silver, made from lightweight aluminum, measures 2.9x4.4x0.5-inches, weighs 175.25g (6.18 ounces), and even includes a micro-SD slot for additional storage. The P7's 4.3-inch touch-screen LCD TFT has a native resolution of 480x272-pixels and supports up to 26K colors. The GUI uses a customizable magazine-like format with thumbnail icons separated into different columns.

The P7 also features a "built in media converter" that performs automatic video transcoding, so that users don't have to first convert video files for the device on their computers before they transfer the files to the device: "Users no longer need to go through a tedious, time-consuming conversion process to enjoy their multimedia library."

The P7 supports MP3 (up to 320Kbps), WMA (up to 384Kbps), FLAC (up to 8 channels per stream), OGG (up to q10 quality), and WAV audio file formats. Voice and FM radio can be recorded as WMA files. The P7 plays video at 30fps and it supports AVI, MP4, DAT, MPG, WMV, RM/RMVB, 3GP,K3G, and FLV video file formats. Supported video codecs include MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Simple Profile (SP), MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile (ASP) (B-VOP only), Xvid, WMV 7/8/9, RM/RMVB, and H.264 Baseline Profile (BP). Supported image formats include JPEG, BMP, and GIF. The P7 also supports text files (*.txt) up to 10MB in size, and the device can insert bookmarks and adjust the viewable font size.

The P7 can play up to 35 hours of audio (with the LCD turned off) or up to 7 hours of video when using headphones; the device also includes a mono speaker, which presumably would chew through the battery time faster. There are four versions of the P7: 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB; however, only the 8GB (with an MSRP of $179.99) and 16GB (MSRP: $209.99) will initially be available. Both Amazon and J&R are presently accepting pre-orders, and doing so at prices that are a bit below the MSRP.