Capabilities of portable media players
The main attractant of portable media players is often their versatility: being able to load and play different formats of video (including MPEG, DivX, and XviD), audio (including MP3, WAV, and Ogg Vorbis), digital images, (including BMP, JPEG, and GIF), and interactive media (Adobe Flash and Flash LITE). Some even count some Handheld game consoles like sony's PSP and GamePark Holdings' GP2X as being a PMP for their media playing capabilities.
Portable media players capable of displaying video and/or images typically feature a color LCD or OLED screen. Other capabilities seen on various portable media players include the ability to record video and audio, and include card readers (SD, MMC, etc.) which makes it convenient to store audio, video, and photos on the road.
Types of portable media players
A portable video player is a type of portable media player which focuses on the playback of digital video. Some portable media players can store and display digital images. In this instance the Apple 5th-generation iPod could be considered a portable media player- as it is capable of playing back audio as well as displaying digital pictures and video. Also the Creative Zen Vision:M is another player that can play both audio and video, picks up FM Radio and records voice as well as the larger screened (2.5" to 4" respectively) Zen Vision. The Sony HMP-A1, released only in Japan and Europe, had these same capabilities as well as longer battery life. The Samsung Yepp YP-T8 also provided these capabilities, as well as voice, FM radio, and line recording. It also included a USB host capability for link up to other portable devices without the use of a PC. Some other examples of portable media players with these capabilities include the Archos Gmini series, aigo E-858, X2 MegaView series, the Neuros 442, the iriver series of media players, the Olympus m:robe, the acclaimed iStation v43, MP4 Star by Intechip Corp. and the Cowon A2. MSI developed and showcased the first solar powered player, the MSI MEGA 540, at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany . Other portable media players combine a focus on recording capability with playback features, for example the Neuros Recorder 2 records as well as plays back several audio and video formats.
A new type of portable media player has emerged as a result of satellite radio companies' push into popular markets in the North America (XM Radio  and Sirius). These devices  are linked to the paid subscriber's account in that the players record a certain number of programs, a la Tivo, and allows the user to listen to pre-recorded programs, often popular songs or talk shows, while on the run. This has caused the music industry to be concerned about the high-fidelity music becoming pirated secondary to the ease of recording. One such a recording device that conveniently records all the music, once hooked up a desktop computer, was successfully forced to stop being sold through the satellite radio companies' portals by the music industry.
Downsides of portable media players
Often downsides of portable media players are their size, cost, and battery life. Some may be the size and thickness of a large paperback, enormous compared to other miniaturized players. In addition, the cost of these players can be prohibitive, often in the 400-800 dollar price range. There are also PMPs such as the Sandisk Sansa e200 series, where the 8GB model costs about $250, but the screen is much smaller than most.
Now, however, companies such as Apple and Creative are pushing the price mark lower, with their additions and the newly added Zune by Microsoft. (Apple iPod 5G 30GB- $249.00 Microsoft Zune 30 GB- $249.99 and Creative Zen Vision:M 30GB- $299.99).
Digital Rights Management (DRM) issues also plague a typical user in that music purchased on iTunes can only be played on iPods because of proprietary Apple technology that prohibits transfer of music secondary to DRM issues. Similarly, music purchased from other companies (e.g., Real) cannot be played on Apple products because of Microsoft DRM technologies. From the outset, a typical user must "choose" which device she or he would use dominantly in order to buy and use the music. This can stifle the user's experience of enjoyinig his or her music legally purchased online.