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The VideoNow is a portable video player produced by Hasbro and released by their subsidiary Tiger Electronics in 2003. The systems use discs called PVDs (which stands for Personal Video Disc), which can store about 30 minutes (half an hour) of video, the length of an average TV show with commercials (a typical TV episode is about 20–23 minutes without them), so each PVD contains only one episode, with trailers at the end to use the leftover time on most PVDs, including Nickelodeon PVDs. Video data is stored on the left audio channel with audio on the right channel, thus making it impossible to achieve stereo sound on the system, which only plays mono. The video plays at about 15 frames per second. Most of the shows were from Nickelodeon, such as SpongeBob SquarePants and The Fairly OddParents. [1] A small handful of movies were also released on the system, but they had to be split into three PVDs, due to the limited space on each PVD.

Hasbro also produced editing software for creating custom VideoNow Color PVDs called the VideoNow Media Wizard in 2005, which came with blank PVD media. A number of unofficial solutions are available for creating the oddly-formatted VideoNow files, including a plug-in for the popular video processing program Virtual Dub. The files can then be burned to a CD-R using standard CD burning software, and the disc cut down to the required size.

As the VideoNow Color does not accept standard 8 cm mini-CDs, some creative users have resorted to cutting down standard 12 cm CD-R discs, though not without problems. Hasbro made recordable PVDs available without the Media Wizard from their online store. However, at least one video has been posted on YouTube showing how VideoNow Color players can be easily modified to accept standard-sized CDs with a bit of cutting and gluing.[1] Full-sized CDs can hold roughly 42 minutes of total video, and play with no difference in the modified player.

It should also be noted that as VideoNow uses personal video discs, it has issue with skipping. To make matters worse, it has very little skip protection, making skipping more common.


  • VideoNow - The original version. Plays only black and white PVDs, and lacks a backlight, [2] though a light (which is simply called the VideoNow Light) is available to make up for the lack of a backlight. The laser is, when the system is off, hidden from sight to make sure kids wouldn't touch it, and moved to where it can read a disc when the system is turned on. If no disc was recognized, the laser would return. This was never done since, with the other versions using the standard measure of having a sticker saying "Never touch the lens" instead. Was made and released in 2003.
  • VideoNow Color - The second version, the VideoNow Color is a major upgrade. It has, as the name suggests, color (although the original's PVDs, which this is compatible with, still play in black and white, as they don't have color data. On top of that, they are cropped on the VideoNow Color). It also has a backlight, Fast Forward and rewind (achieved by holding the Next (FF) or Prev. (Rewind), and bigger PVDs. Was released in 2004 for about $50.
  • VideoNow Jr. - The third version, this time released by Playskool around the same time of the release of the VideoNow Color in 2004. As the name suggests, it is a variation of the VideoNow Color and was designed for preschoolers. A notable feature is that the PVDs for this system are flexible. This was done because the target audience is really young, and might break a normal disc by bending it, so flexibility was an extra precaution.
  • VideoNow XP - The fourth version. Plays in color, backlit, has a larger screen and includes game playing capabilities and controls. Unfortunately, the games were either quizzes or games similar to Dragon's Lair and Space Ace, since no actual gaming components (except what the VideoNow already had and the controls) essential to make other types of games were put into the system. Was made and released in 2005.
  • VideoNow Color FX - It is simply a translucent variation of the VideoNow Color and was released in 2006. Other differences are all in the design:
    • The previously silver circle where the screen and buttons (excluding the eject button) were now matches the color of the rest of the unit.
    • Said the government buttons, also previously silver (again excluding the eject button), match the color of everything else as well.
    • The logo was changed from the Color's logo to the Color FX's logo, to signify the different version.
    • Because of the translucent design, you can see more of the PVD.


  • VideoNow light: A light for the original VideoNow that requires a separate battery, since the VideoNow lacked an expansion port to connect the light to. Obviously made obsolete when the Color came out due to its built-in backlight.
  • Carrying case: Made to place VideoNow and PVDs in. There are 4 types, one for the original, one for the Color (There is also a version for the VideoNow Color FX that was the same, but with the VideoNow Color FX logo, while the Other one had the original logo), one for the Jr. (It's similar to the Color's, but with a different design), and one for the XP
  • Headphones: VideoNow-branded headphones with a standard 3.5mm audio jack. These are completely unnecessary, as these were just normal headphones with the VideoNow brand, meaning that any headphones would work.
  • VideoNow Media Wizard: Software used to make custom PVDs for the VideoNow Color.
  • VCamNow: VideoNow-branded camcorder that came with a copy of the Media Wizard.

Complete list of shows and movies available on VideoNow[edit]

In the UK, a different range of discs were produced, presumably for licensing reasons. The PVDs are interchangeable and have no region protection. The UK range included most of the Nickelodeon shows from the USA plus:

  • Manchester United Football
  • Arsenal Football
  • A series of three action sport PVDs including the Tony Hawks USA issue.

The lower age group discs from Disney and Nick Jr. were in general not available through UK outlets.

PVDs were issued in waves to retailers - 6 to a box, generally comprising 3 titles. There were 6 waves of PVDs released in the UK, although some popular titles appeared in more than one box.

See also[edit]



External links[edit]