AC Ryan PlayOn!HD 1TB and Mini review -
With new V2.0 updated firmware / GUI
Today we review two media players from AC Ryan, a review that was postponed for a long time already. See, when AC Ryan submitted these two samples, the products where available for a year already in the market (roughly). The minute they arrived, they announced a newer version of the PlayOn!HD series, pretty much making these players a little obsolete.
Curious as we were, we plugged one of the units in. I was surprised about the quality, but absolutely disliked the gruesome and slow menu interface (GUI). In the AC Ryan forums however there where a couple of 'hints' that a new Firmware would bring new life into these units, so we waited ... and waited --- and yep... waited.
Then along with the sunny nice weather here in the Netherlands two weeks ago, AC Ryan submitted two Beta Firmwares for the Playon!HD 1TB and Playon!HD Mini, we installed them and where absolutely flabbergasted of what became alive. Our little apparatus had grown from a young boy into a mature playah.
So today a review for that company that originally specialized in FANS and colorful LED lit upgrades for your customized PC, A.C. Ryan. They drilled into a new market roughly a year ago with a new marketing team, and that brought along good success.
Today thus, we finally test the Playon!HD 1TB and Playon!HD Mini, both products are media streamers, they can sniff your network for photo's, music, but most of all these little kits are specialized for high-definition content playback up-to 1080P, and that's where stuff gets interesting.
Along with the new firmware comes output quality, features and menu structure, that are just as good as any niche Home Theater PC build. With the most simple device costing less than 80 EUR, products like the ones shown today are just incredibly cheap whilst offering heaps of functionality and quality playback.
Let's have a look at the two siblings we test today.
The market is continuously changing, the biggest trend last year where tablets, Android entered the market and that certainly changed the balance of smart phones. The concept proofs that you can do a lot of stuff with very little hardware, yet it remains intuitive. With that concept in mind AC Ryan started developing a new media hub slash player, in fact I shouldn't call it a media-player really as it is much more then that. The end product is called the Veolo. The Veolo is AC Ryan's version of a media 'HUB' powered by Android 2.2 (Froyo).
AC Ryan PlayOn!HD 2 1TB review
The interesting thing about the PlayOnHD series 2 media-players is that they come standard with the new and very much improved GUI but also hardware wise harbor the latest Realtek 1185 chipset, and that changes a thing or two as the performance issues we had noticed in 1080P content playback (with very high bit-rate) are now a thing of the past. That Realtek 1185 chipset has an increased clock frequency, 500 MHz coming from 400 MHz on the original version. And it makes all the difference. Meanwhile AC Ryan started to further improve on the PlayOn!HD 2 as you'll spot a USB 3.0 slave port which you can use to quickly play back from or transfer files.
AC Ryan PlayOn!HD 1TB and Mini review
Today we test the Playon!HD 1TB and Playon!HD Mini with new updated firmware, both products are media streamers, they can sniff your network for photo's, music, but most of all these little kits are specialized high-definition content playback up-to 1080P, and that's where stuff gets interesting.