So before we begin I wanted answer the most essential question that some of you MIGHT have, what in fact is a media TV player? Well, this is a self-contained unit with some dedicated hardware that has a focus on dedicated functions.
In the case of the Playon!HD series that's content playback of photos, music but most of all video content. The last topic is where the Playon!HD is specialized in. Typically when we build a HTPC (Home Theater PC) we tend to put down significant money for a motherboard, processor, memory, power supply, storage and the chassis. And if the unit does not have a graphics subsystem, we often add a dedicated graphics card as well to be able to enjoy full 1080P content. A simple HTPC starts at 250~300 EUR really.
This is what the Playon!HD series does best, playback high-definition content, the units are based on a 400 MHz Realtek 1073 IC, specialized in media capabilities. The Playon!HD and Mini supports JPEG HD, BMP, GIF, TIFF and PNG picture formats, while audio support covers MP2/3, OGG, WMA, WAV, AAC, COOK and FLAC, Dolby Digital or DTS pass-through and stereo down-mixing - even DTS-HD is supported.
When we look purely at the video side of things we notice that the box can play back anything you can think of, including HD MPEG 2/4, H.264, WMV9/VC-1 and RM/RMVB (up to 720p) codecs in AVI, ASF, DAT, FLV, MKV, M2TS, MP4, MOV, M4V, RM, TS, TP, TRP, VOB/ISO/IFO, WMV, and xVid/DivX containers with SRT, SMI, SSA, IDX and SUB subtitles and full menu video previews. And yes, there's even proper support for 1080p 24.
We reviewed both the 1GB HDD version and the Mini. Youll find almost the same connectivity on the Mini as found on the rear panel of the full-size Playon!HD, though it lacks that models co-axial digital audio output and side-mounted memory card reader.
These boxes offer HDMI 1.3, proper component and composite video outputs, twin USB inputs and non Mini versions support up to 2TB hard drives and Ethernet.
You'll see in the product gallery that Wireless-N Wi-Fi is an option as well, for roughly 20 EUR you can pop in a wireless dongle and go WiFi with fully configurable settings from within the Playon!HD boxes.
As if things are not enough features wise, you'll get analogue stereo and digital optical audio out as well, so that means that all the basics are very well-covered. Audio wise all foreseeable formats are supported. We obviously recommend you to output HDMI towards a proper AV receiver, have that decode sound (pass-through) and then head onwards towards the preferably Full HD (1080P) telly.
Anyway, talk is cheap ... let's have a look at the product gallery.
AC Ryan Veolo Review 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.