If you have the necessary know-how — or don’t mind working through various online tutorials to get it — ripping your music and DVD movies to your laptop is a much easier way to take your home entertainment on a trip than carrying a stack of discs around.

If you have the necessary know-how — or don’t mind working through various online tutorials to get it — ripping your music and DVD movies to your laptop is a much easier way to take your home entertainment on a trip than carrying a stack of discs around.

Even so, it still seems a bit silly to sit staring at a small laptop screen when you have a perfectly serviceable telly to hand, and not everyone wants to leave a pricey piece of computer equipment unattended, even if it is within the relative security of a campsite.

This is where a portable media player comes in and the Crystal Acoustics MediaMatchbox is more portable than most. About the same size as a credit card (though somewhat thicker — it’s 85 x 54 x 16mm), the MediaMatchbox connects to the HDMI port of an HD TV and plays a wide range of video, music and still image file formats.

The only catch is that since there’s no internal hard disk, you’ll need to plug a portable hard drive, USB flash drive or digital camera memory card into the MediaMatchbox, but this does keep the price down to a very reasonable £50.

[Crystal Acoustics]

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