AC Ryan PlayOn!HD 1TB and Mini review -
AC Ryan PlayOn!HD Mini
Here we have the Playon!HD Mini, a very cute little (151 x 102 x 42mm) box. Once powered on or off it will show a red/blue colored logo. I honestly wish that companies stop doing that, we do not want to stare at LED lit brand logos while watching a movie.
Though the design itself is fine, that LED lit logo is a little screamy. At the foreside there is furthermore a power on button, and that's it.
The backside of the Playon!HD Mini is surprisingly well equipped with connectivity. This is a 80 EUR device yet you get a very decent feature set. From left to right we can see the power-connector, a 100 Mbit Ethernet jack that you can plug into your local network (that's how you access your content).
Then we see a HDMI 1.3 connector, ideally you hook it to an AV receiver that will decode the multi-channel audio and then pass through the TV/video signal towards your telly. There are four RCA connectors for component and composite video output, as well as two for left/right stereo channels should you require analog audio. Then we see two USB host ports -- you can plug in the wireless dongle here but also insert a USB stick with content or, and we do recommend this ... upgrade to the latest firmware over USB.
But let's take a look at that other unit, the Playon!HD with a 1TB HDD.
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.