Tag Archives: HD Media Player

Asus O!Play HDP-R1


I finally got my hands on the O!Play just to be disappointed again. True, it does play back DVD Menus and idx/sub subtitles properly and even completely turns off my attached WD passport drive including LED, something WD seems to be incapable of doing with their WD TV. However, it’s design is a bit too clunky for taking it with you on a video night over at friends.

O!Play vs WDTV: can you say clunky?O!Play vs WDTV: can you say clunky?

Judging from the looks of the (pretty slow) GUI, it uses a similar chip to Antarius and Auvisio and although it’s possible to turn off the annoying video preview, because of the empty preview window

file names still cannot use the whole width of the screen.

That’s something the Xtreamer apparently is capable of, I really need to get me one of those. Next!


Auvisio True Vision 1080p

Auvisio True Vision 1080p

Since the WD TV most likely won’t ever support idx/subs properly and Asus does have no clue when the O!Play HDP-R1 will be available in Germany, I’m still checking out other devices despite their quite ugly (apparantly generic) design.

Auvisio GUI

From the looks of GUI and menus (a puny 16 chars max, why don’t they do it like Xtreamer?) it would appear the Auvisio is equipped with the same (Realtek 128X?) chip as the Antarius, with no DTS downmix but quite an impressive feature list given it’s price tag of 99,- Euros:

  • LAN support (no WLAN)
  • full DVD menu support (ISOs/VOBs)
  • USB hub support
  • HDD support > 1 TB (1.5 TB Maxtor drive worked flawlessly)
  • pretty much every HD trailer I’ve tried played back fine

However, contrary to the Antarius there’s no setting to turn off the annoying video preview. So I mailed Pearl, the mail-order company that sells Auvisio, to ask about any upcoming firmware updates that might fix this flaw but apparently the manufactury does offer

no end user customer support!

As confirmed by the Pearl hotline, the Asian manufacturer does not deal with end users ever. So if you’ve got any problems with/suggestions about their product you can mail the retailer who will pass them on eventually but you won’t get any feedback. If it’s commercially viable the manufacturer might release an update but don’t count on it.

Sorry, but I won’t support any company that out of touch with it’s customers. Next!

Trekstor MovieStation Antarius

Trekstor Antarius

Just popping in for a brief review of the Trekstor Antarius I’ve borrowed from a friend for a couple of days.  Similar to the WD TV DVD menus are ignored but as it recognizes VOBs < 30 mins and ISOs < 40 mins and allows the user to select each title of these files via the remote, watching episodic shows and music DVDs is possible. Although it’s still gonna take me some time to jump on the HD bandwagon my next mediaplayer is bound to have HD support, however despite being advertized as such, the Antarius falls short of that category cause as of firmware 1.26 there’s

no H.264 support.

When pressing play on some trailers resulted in “invalid file” I re-checked homepage and manual and indeed, somewhere in the fineprint it says that MPEG-4 Part 2 ASP (xvid/divx) is supported up to 1080p but not MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC  (H.264) which means that pretty much every mkv out there won’t play back. Epic fail.

OTOH I don’t feel to bad about skipping this device cause I think both design and UI suck and it comes with further flaws (YMMV), some of which might get fixed by an upcoming firmware:

  • due to a pointless preview window on the right side of the screen the file browser is limited to a puny 16 (!) chars with painfully slow scrolling (yes, it’s even slower than my old Panasonic’s display)
17 chars

file browser: 16 chars max

  • the remote’s NEXT does not skip to the next song but goes PAGE DOWN (thanks for breaking usability)
  • no shuffle play (and as a matter of fact even no continuous play in folders unless you switch to music mode and select “repeat all”)
  • m3u playlist selection
  • some ID3 v2.3 tags don’t work (no time for further testing)
  • after file copy is done (you can’t write on FAT32 but only NTFS drives!) you’ll end up at root dir instead of the dirs you were in
  • on -> standby -> no power -> power -> on (instead of standby)
  • with some idx/sub only every other item is shown
  • no srt font size selection so word wrap does not work properly with some subs

Next up for testing are EGreat EG-M34A, Xtreamer and Asus O!Play HDP-R1 (I’m not kidding, that’s the name!), whichever is available in Germany first.

WD TV HD Media Player


Currently I have all my original DVDs stuffed away in the basement and ripped to my Mediacenter PC in the living room which keeps me from playing DJ. But I’m still looking for a smaller device for bedroom and at my girlfriend’s. Since Philips does not seem to be interested in fixing bugs but rather releases new hardware I’ve started checking out other products, this time Western Digital’s WD TV.

You see, in Germany you can return products purchased over the internet for a complete refund within two weeks no questions asked. Some local retailers try to keep up offering the same return policy which means I can test the player for 14 days and give it back and buy it elsewhere again, repeat. Of course device and packaging have to be in mint condition which is why I carefully open it, don’t remove foil and use my own cables and batteries. Unfortunately the device is flawed as well:

No DVD menu support.

I know, it’s meant to be a HD player and therefore SD material is hardly prioritized, still I don’t get why one of the oldest formats around that any cheapo standalone can playback is not supported. I usually don’t care about menus but having to fast forward through the first three eps of a DVD to watch the last ep is a PITA. Sometimes even this won’t work as VOBs < 30 mins and ISOs < 40 are not recognized (for no technical reason). Apparently I’m not the only one who expected their media center to support old formats as well.

Although 4 months for the first firmware update with so few features seemed like a bad joke, a huge community evolved around the WD TV, just check out AVS Forums english and german Wiki, modded firmware (with nice extra features like network support). WD is doing the right thing by listening to the community and trying to make the WD TV a better product. Way to go.

However, the current 1.02.07 firmware still has some serious bugs some of which affect my personal viewing habits like messed up idx/sub subtitle display due to weird palette interpretation. I’ve upped a rar file with some screenshots to demonstrate this effect (right-click, save as, rename to .rar). During my tests I’ve corrected some serious issues in the german UI which I’ve mailed to WD and b-rad.cc who said to implement them. If you don’t want to wait or feel uncomfortable to install B-rad’s modded firmware just to have some proper translations on your screen you can patch the official 1.02.07 firmware like this:

  • download xdelta
  • download my corrected UI translation of 1.02.07 final or 1.02.08 pre (right-click, save as, rename to .rar)
  • rename the official wdtv.bin to wdtv.old.bin
  • open a dos prompt in windows: START > RUN > cmd [ENTER]
  • apply the patch by typing: xdelta -d -s wdtv.old.bin wdtv.xdelta wdtv.bin
  • open wdtv.ver in notepad and change version to 1.02.08
  • copy wdtv.bin and wdtv.ver to an USB stick’s root dir and flash the device

I’ve only corrected the german UI files (ge.po, ge.mo) and adjusted their MD5s, other than that your new wdtv.bin will be identical to the official firmware.  It goes without saying that I don’t take any responsibility in case you brick your WD TV. Done properly you can always flash over the original fimware by adding a higher version number to wdtv.ver.

I really hope WD is gonna put some more effort into this device and not just it’s already planned successor. Until then I’m gonna return my device and wait for positive rewiews on the next firmware update.