Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ugh, I really don't like you iLuv

With a name that inspires confidence in the brand, and speaks volumes about your corporate integrity how can you go wrong? iLuv is not that kind of a name, nor is it that kind of a brand.

I have been looking for a portable media player for my wife for a while now. I tried the Media Center Portables and pondered small portable dvd players, but I wanted to have both the ability to play synced content (purchased digital videos or video podcasts etc) as well as DVD's. The Media Center Portables were pretty cool in theory, but required so much horse power out of your Media Center PC as to render them sort of not very useful, coupled with you couldn't play DVD's on them made the ultimately dust collectors in my household. Even if you ripped your DVD's to WMV with settings specific to the MCP's screen the Media Center PC would reprocess them before loading them on the MCP. The portable DVD players where pretty nice, but you where limited to the number of dvd's you loaded into a case and/or felt like renting from the airport kiosks.

I hem and haw about Mac and their products being overpriced, but my wife wanted an iPod. Knowing that the Gen 5 had screens, I thought getting one with an accessory that played video from the iPod onto a bigger screen. 7-10 inches was the range she said was portable enough to take with her and large enough to not be a pain to watch. I saw several iPod video accessories and caved when the Gen 6 iPods ( iPod Classic worse than the old gen 5's ) came out and bought her one. I conspired with family and friends to get her car yoked up with the Universal Aux Input Retrofit that Toyota recently released for almost all of their cars. After looking around for quite a while I found a player that did both the iPod video out, and the DVD playing with an 8.4 inch screen. Right in the sweet spot, the iLuv i1155blk. Purchased this item in October of '07 and she has, for lack of better description, used the hell out of it. She scrapbooks with it, as her Scraping Corner doesn't have a TV. Sure she could have, and does use a laptop from time to time but the iLuv was a great size and didn't interfere with her "paste eating". This was all well and good until just recently it stopped reading disks. Not just some disks, basically every disk I put in gets the Disk Err message on screen after about 2 minutes of the iLuv whirring. Every now and again the thing will read a disk and start playing, but it will not finish a DVD and eventually will give the Disk Err.

This behavior lead me to look into support. I purchased the machine at Sharper Image mostly because I had hopped it wouldn't need to be shipped. Well la dee da Sharper Image didn't stock that item in the stores it only had demo units, since it was rather close to my wife's B-Day at the time and I wasn't sure how long it would take from Amazon or the like to get to me I bought it. Sharper image only warranties this item for 90 days after that you have to deal with the Manufacturer, which while annoying is standard practice. I went to the iLuv's site to get the customer service number ((866) 807-5946) and quickly found that it was pointless to try calling at least after noon PST, I will remember to try again after 3pm PST which I think is 8am Beijing time. If they are in the Asia market, sometime after 4 or 5 pm PST should put me in to their work day. Following the advice of their phone support I filed a "express support" ticket online with details of how my DVD player (with the specific iLuv part number referenced) was not reading disks. Below is the verbatim response I received (minus my name).

Dear xxxx xxxxxx,

This is in reference with your Request Ticket Number: IL00003017.

Dear Customer,

Please select your radio station.

Press and hold PROG/PRESET until PROG flashes on the display.

Use the search wheel to select the preset #



If you have any questions or comments please contact Express Customer Support at

Customer Support
jWIN Electronics Corp.
2 Harbor Park Drive
Port Washington, NY 11050

Please reply back to this email without changing the subject line if you have further clarifications.

iLuv Support Team

I responded without the least bit of sarcasm:


I am hopping someone with a Radio got instructions for dealing with a DVD player, because I wrote about a DVD player not reading disks, not anything to do with programing radio stations.

Hope this helps us get back on track for my issue.

Details as they emerge, but customer support sucks in general.

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