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Basic PC Laptop for viewing .MTS on the go?
  • I need some help from the P-V PC users. I have an idea, I can't find the answer to.

    I am a mac user (editing setup w/bootcamp partition & WinXP) having a crazy idea: Since AVCHD is supposed to play so easily on a PC, old used PC laptops are so cheap on craigslist, Macs are so expensive, and I am almost broke...

    What would a minimum PC requirement be (processor, speed, RAM, graphics chip, SD card slot, USB port for possible external drive) to only view hacked GH2 .mts files in the field? The GH2 manual and the posts here don't mention a minimum system to just view .mts files.

    I am thinking of these uses only: Off load SD cards in an emergency. Check focus on a critical shot. Best shot selection at the end of the day (pre-injest, pre-editing).

    Keeping it simple: No editing would need to be done on this laptop. It should be small and portable (12-13" screen) and therefore 1080x1920 is not needed. Screen resolution of at least 720x1280 should be fine. It is meant to take some abuse, from travelling, handeling, etc. If it breaks/gets stolen, no big deal, it was cheap off Craigslist (USA). Budget max. $200 USD (buying something older and used, but, not abused (yet :-))

    Am I crazy or is this possible?

    What could you recommend? Thanks!

  • 15 Replies sorted by
  • Not a laptop, but plays AVCHD from SD cards. Around $180-200

    I haven't tried it, but even a cheap $79 LG Bluray player plays Hacked GH2 footage.

  • @subco OK, on a Windows laptop... I read somewhere on a forum (not here) that AVCHD plays better on Windows than on the Mac OS (I am still on 10.6), meaning the Window platform needs less computing power or Windows Media Player can deal with it better, etc.

    Thanks for your reference, Amazon has X41 IBMs for $99 used.

  • @subco @Jleo I'd have to run windows as I have to run on the same laptop a windows automotive app (VCDS/VagCom) to troubleshoot a car issue I am having (and don't have money to get it fixed).

    I did see some toughbooks are cheap (another Panasonic product?)

  • Many very cheap, new, AMD E-450 based laptops exist. They play most footage fine (in hardware acceleration mode).

    Normally, it is best to get new laptop.

    I always suggest to look at , they have many cheap and good laptops.

  • Anyone else using a windows laptop for viewing on location and could share with me what the specs are. Many thanks!

  • I had an old gateway with a T2300(not sure exact number) intel and Windows Media Player could play GH1 Max lat clips, but VLC or Media Player classic couldn't. My new cheap laptop is a intel B940 and it plays back files good.

    Any new cheap laptop should work, really should try and get a laptop that can edit as well since there's time you'll want to edit away from desktop. I'm going to replace my CPU to help edit better soon since I could only afford the cheap laptop at the time, but if you can afford it, get one that can edit or at least be upgraded easy.

  • @CRFilms. Thanks for the recommendations.

  • just bought Acer Aspire 5750G-32354G32Mnkk . core i3 2,4 ghz and geforce 610m, 320gb hdd and 4gb ram. nice and fast viewing, basic editing with vegas and even some magic bullet looks applied- no problem. ran me under 400 euros.

  • I have a 6-7 year old Dell Latitude D820. This one came with 15.4" screen, resolution 1920x1200. Although the matte screen does not display the image very well outdoors. You will need a shady place or need to be indoors. Back then they were top of the Dell's business-class range. They don't make laptops with that kind of insane resolution anymore. The battery, when new, could last 5 hours -- perfect for on location use. It doesn't have an SD slot - you'll have to get a separate USB adapter (£3). Weight: 2.7kg. Built like a tank - I have been using and abusing this D820 for the past 6-7 years, it is still my primary laptop where I do all my Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 editing (although it is now a pain to edit and I'm building a proper desktop). You can put upto 4 GB ram in it (although XP will recognise only 3.2GB). Because the HDD is SATA 1 and because SATA III is backward-compatible, you can even put a 256Gb SSD there, which will be my next upgrade. You can pick up these Dell D820 laptops on eBay for circa £120-170 ($190-300), or £400 if completely refurbished on Dell website. Make sure that the screen is 1920x1200, because not all of them had that kind of screen. Good luck!

  • Think I read somewhere that some people are using a Toshiba Excite 10 tablet (not the 10 LE version) along with an android app that plays .mts files, and getting good results. Not sure if they're usjng hacked settings footage. I've looked at this tablet in stores and what I like is that when video plays on it, color and exposure look more accurate than a lot of the cheap PC screens where everything looks washed out. I'm no expert so make your own assessments, but this thing is cheap at $225-250. It also has a built-in full size SD card slot.

  • @matt_gh2 / @kronstadt / @fatpig Thanks for the recommendations!

  • Anybody tried to rough/basic edit on the run with an amd e-450 laptop with premiere?

  • Good example of cheap laptop ($260)

    Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5320 Refurbished Laptop 15.6” E2-1800 500GB HDD 4GB