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Lyra is a series of portable media players developed and sold by RCA.
The 2201 is one of, if not the oldest Lyra made by RCA/Thomson. Originally sold with a 32MB CF card, it has a 1" × 3/4" backlit monochrome display, software five band graphic equalizer, and an external power jack. This series of players requires a proprietary CF reader used in conjunction with specific media players in Windows in order to write files to the card. A supported setup would take a blank CF card, recognize the correct reader attached to the PC, and then while syncing songs to the device, convert them to an encrypted version of RealAudio, MP3, MP3Pro, and later WMA format that is unrecognizable to any other device. It also drops a folder title 'Pmp' onto the root level of the device, which contains the boot image, a config file, and one or more executable, wma.exe, mp3.exe, or rlm.exe. modified versions of the wma.exe program, capable of playing unencrypted WMA files. This can be used in conjunction with a non-certified CF reader, making the device usable again to anyone who lost theirs and cannot acquire a new one. The only requirement then is to convert your MP3 files to WMA, using any number of free converters.
The device also supports much larger CF cards than it original shipped with, up to at least 512MB. At these sizes though, boot time becomes significantly long, as the Lyra scans the entire card before presenting you with any menu. With only 250MB of files, spread across roughly 100 tracks, this can be over a minute.
The 2201 also supports custom splash screens via third party software. The RCA logo can be replaced by overwriting the screen.bit file in the Pmp folder. See How To Create Lyra Screen BIT Designs for more information.
An updated version, the RD2204A, was sold with a 64MB Compact Flash card. This version supports Compact flash cards up to at least 2GB. Like the RD2201A, boot times increase with the size of the card. The RD2204A can also be used with a third party CF reader, provided that the user installs the RCA software on the PC.
The most popular of the Lyra series was the Lyra PDP-2860, which was also one of the first portable media players capable of playing MPEG-4 encoded videos. The PDP-2860 is remarkably similar to the Lyra RD2780. The device was manufactured having a hard drive with a maximum capacity of 20GB but could also work with a 60GB hard drive which had to be installed manually. Battery life was reported to last for up to 3 hours of video and 6 hours of audio playback.
One of the more popular features of this digital audio player was its ability to record live television through the RCA ports on your television set. The player's LCD display had a resolution of 320×240 pixels with 16 million colors. It was also possible to view photos on the display screen while audio was playing.
The PDP-2860 was also UMS-capable, meaning that it could act as a portable external harddrive with no additional software or driver installation.
The Lyra x2400 is a portable audio/video recorder and player with a 3.5" LCD screen. It has a CompactFlash slot, audio out, built-in speaker and RCA A/V inputs. Recorded video is compressed with an XVID encoder. The included software, Blaze Media Encoder, can transcode from most popular video and audio formats.
The Lyra x3030 features a 30 GB hard drive with support for many audio and video formats. Included is a DIVX encoder which can translate most video formats into smaller more efficient formats.
There is no provision to randomly play video clips, as the user may wish to do for a music video jukebox.
The DiVX converter gives its output file with the .divx extension, which the Lyra rejects as incompatible. However, all the user has to do is rename the file with a .avi extension to make it work.
The first documentation to be shipped spoke of a system tray resident icon and program to manage the device. No such software exists in the distribution, and they have since revised their documentation to remove all mention of it.