The Philips Jackrabbit was to be almost the end of my laptop but now I see it is the making of it. This is a CD-Rom, a CD-RW and a DVD player combo drive which although screwed up my laptop is now an invaluable piece of equipment.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
My laptop was running on Windows 98 and after reading the instructions I found out that I needed a CD-ROM to install the drive. I decided to ignore that valuable piece of information and connected the drive to my PC by USB and the power supply. Everything was going fine until I tried to find the drive on my computer to install it. The laptop crashed and continually said it was trying to install new hardware even though I had nothing connected to the laptop it even went through everything that was already on the laptop so I was getting very worried!
So what was the valuable lesson there? FOLLOW the instructions!
It took weeks and after my laptop saying I needed to reinstall windows, I decided to ditch Win98 and went for XP which meant I didnt have to install drivers for certain hardware (I also have a pen drive which needed drivers). So, I managed to get XP sorted out and now I can connect the Jackrabbit to the laptop without the need of a CD-ROM and this drive now acts as that purpose. The drive becomes Plug & Play on XP.
In the box I got:
Remote control (supposed to have batteries but mine doesnt)
Two instruction manuals
A blank CD-R disk
I connected the Jackrabbit by the DC power cable to the plug and the connection on the Jackrabbit. I turned on the power and nothing seemed to be happening (Had I broken it already!?). I connected the cable to the Jackrabbit and the other end into the laptop which is USB. Blue LED lights started flashing good it works! Then I got a warning on the laptop screen to tell me that this was a Hi Speed device and my USBs were not that fast! Luckily this didnt really matter but my laptop checked to see if there were any faster ones. I think my computer was thinking I had USB 1.1 rather than 2.0.
Next (following through the instructions by the letter!) I put the CD into the Jackrabbit for it to install the software. The CD started spinning which was a good sign and I actually got the setup to come on the screen! It started running automatically and began by asking for the language. They only had US English but other options such as French or German etc. It then comes up with two pictures one I noticed was just to install a CD-RW drive and the second was the picture of the Jackrabbit which would install all the DVD files too. You can pick the wrong picture if you want but you could either end up with not everything you need to run your drive or too much that doesnt work with the drive. I just played it safe and went with the JR32RWDV. Music started blaring from the speakers on the laptop (it was quite groovy music) and a file to browse the CD, install the software or exit. I clicked on Software and installed everything that was recommended this includes the Power DVD, Acrobat Reader 4.0 and Easy CD Creator 5 Basic.
That was it! I was installed! I had a CD-ROM drive! YAY!
Well, I had all the software so I saw my Eva Cassidy DVD next to me and began by playing that. I double clicked on Power DVD, pressed play and there was the selection for playing the DVD or song selection Eva began singing away and I was very happy!
For that installation process, I was using the thin blue instruction manual which had a big HOW TO This gave me all the information on installing the software. The installation only takes me up to page 12 and the rest of the booklet tells you what each of the buttons on the Jackrabbit do but then moves onto:
How to play a DVD-Video or a Video CD on my computer?
How to copy a CD?
How to make a Data CD?
How to make an Audio CD?
What is good about the instructions is even though the booklet is explaining everything in 6 languages (UK is first) it is very understandable and easy to figure out what to do. There is also a picture to go with each relating to what you should be doing.
The second booklet is HUGE! 143 pages long but after figuring out there are 6 languages as well, English only takes up 25 pages. This manual goes into a bit more detail about the functions of the buttons especially on the remote control. There are quite a few tables giving details of buttons but what is better are the troubleshooting tables. Ive not had any problems so far (apart from the initial screw up) but the table looks pretty handy if I do. What I have to give Philips big thumbs up for is the Glossary table. This gives the details of all those abbreviations which we have no clue about what they mean. There is a long two page list of all the specifications which is a bit confusing so I wont go into that.
So, you might think this is a pretty good drive for a computer or laptop but it does have another benefit. This drive can also be used as a stand alone DVD too! All you need to do is plug it into your video player. I have a TV-Video combo and the only other connection on the back of that is a scart which is useless! Ive not had the luck in getting to do this which really annoyed me because I also have a DVD player but didnt have a scart cable! Well, at least I can watch DVDs on my laptop now!!
This is also a CD-RW but it only copies at around 32x. It reads a normal CD at 40x and reads a DVD at 12x. Im so used to burning CDs at 40x so it does take a little longer and because my USB is not Hi-Speed, it is quite slow.
So what does the drive play?
According to the big manual, if you use this as a stand alone DVD player, it plays digital video discs conforming to the universal DVD-Video standard. It will also allow you to select tracks, subtitle languages, and different camera angles but those depend on the discs themselves. It will also play digital video CDs, Super video CDs, Digital audio CDs, MP3s, JPG (Picture CDs + Kodak Photo CDs).
What wont it play?
DVD-RAM, DVD-Audio and Super Audio CDs. This DVD player as a stand alone player is only Region 2.
I have noticed that for some reason it wont play my Patricia Kaas DVD (this is a music DVD) properly. I can hear her sing, but the picture doesnt correspond to the voice and it stops and starts all the time. I know the DVD is all region so it should work.
The outside of the Jackrabbit will allow you to connect earphones as well as the other connections to Videos and computers. One thing that is good is the lid will not open if there is no power to the drive. If a CD is left in that is needed, there is an emergency eject but is only to be used in an emergency. The power supply should be disconnected and wait until the CD stops spinning. There are 3 LED lights on the Jackrabbit each one with a different purpose. The left one is the CD LED and will light up if there is a CD in the drive. The middle one is big and is the status bar LED and will light up when a CD or DVD is being played and the right one is the DVD LED so will light up if there is a DVD in it. Both come on when there is power to the machine.
This has been a really good purchase and Im glad I was able to get it. Not only do I not need to carry around another CD-Rom (I need to remove the Floppy drive if I was to have a CD drive) but I am also able to copy CDs and have a DVD player. Although I was bought it as a Christmas present (about a month after Christmas!) I had a look around, and this one is available at Amazon.co.uk for between £74 and £100.
Savastore.com has this for £69.33 it certainly pays to shop around! It is amazingly good value because if I were to buy a new CD-RW for this laptop, it would set me back £174!! If you are worried about having to carry this around, it isnt actually that much bigger than a portable CD player although it is a little heavier. It doesnt skip compared to my portable CD player, this thing is amazing!
Philips JackRabbit 3 ? Play while you work! The recently launched Philips JackRabbit 3 is a CD rewriter that believes it's a DVD player! Unusual name with more unusual features is what JackRabbit 3 is all about; it genuinely has a multifaceted personality! It acts as a CD rewriter, and DVD-Rom drive for your PC and MAC both, here is the prize catch if you hook this Rabbit to your TV it performs as a standalone DVD Video player. Whenever you wanna burn (Copy) all your data, audio, video files from your computer to a Blank CD all you need to do is plug in the Rabbit to your USB 2.0 port (don?t worry ?USB? is just a type of a slot on the back of your PC and on either side of your Laptop) and you are on, it can write a standard CD at 32x speed (I know it?s a bit slow!) and has bundled enough software for PC and MAC both. Rabbit when used as a DVD player works very well to be honest, I could hardly see any picture quality difference while watching ?Erin Brockovich? on Rabbit as well as on my normal Pioneer DVD player, and trust me I am not getting old. The sad part is it makes this ?chopper sound? whizzzzz?. when the disc is spinning which is quite noisy and disturbing? This Rabbit comes with lots of legs (connections) you get a blend of video connectors, analogue, digital audio and S-Video out and a headphone slot as well. The bundled remote is quite decent in size and has pretty user-friendly buttons; overall this Rabbit is a good option as MFD (Multi Functional Device) incase you have not invested in a good portable CD writer and a DVD player for your PC and TV both. Rabbit is ideal for all those on the move, as you can slip it inside your Laptop bag and you can burn CD?s or watch movies at cafes, airports, in-flight, etc Key features include: 32x writing speed, 10x rewriting speed, 40x CD reading speed, 12x DVD read speed, PC and Mac compatible, supported media: DVD-Vid
eo, DVD-ROM, CD-Audio, CD-ROM, VCD, CD Extra, CD Text, Photo CD, MP3 CD, connections: 1 x S-Video, 1 x composite, 1 x 3.5mm headphones jack, 1 x 3.5mm line-out jack, 1 x 3.5mm digital audio jack, 1 x USB 2.0 (even supports USB 1.1) Philips London is selling JackRabbit 3 @ approximate 250 sterling pounds (Approx INR 20,000) and it is definitely a steal for that price! Mehul Patel is the Consulting Director of KIPL.Net - Digital Design & Communications, The author can be reached via email on firstname.lastname@example.org