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Media Players chipset - Shoot out....

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ranpras

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iboum.com : Future Entertainment Technology : Chipsets in Media Players


This page gives some background to the history of Media Player chipsets and lists the key players associated with each.

863X:
Popcorn Hour A-110
WDTV (mk1)
Dune HD Base
EGreat EG-M34A
Myka
Tvix M-7000A
QNAP NMP-1000
HDX 1000
Sigma 863X
CPU: 300mhz

The first chipset to be capable of decoding 1080p full-HD video was the 863x, clocked at 300mhz, from a company called Sigma Designs. The Sigma 863x spawned a whole series of Media Players from early 2008 onwards. It was these players that kick-started the Media Player revolution. Manufacturers released machines with modified versions of the original Sigma firmware, so the Sigma 863x machines are not identical. There are differences in all areas, from user interface to marginal decoding performance. Ultimate performance will always be a combination of hardware and software.

The Sigma 863x is now being superseded by newer chipsets, aimed squarely at the growing Media Player market. Limitations of the Sigma 8635 such as slow user interface, limited DTS support, and just general lack of power are being addressed in a new generation of chips released in 2009.

Realtek 1073/1283
CPU: 400/450mhz 1073/1283:
Xtreamer
Mvix Ultio
ACRyan Playon!HD
Asus O!Play
DViCO Tvix 6600
MediaGate M2TV
Brite-View CinemaTube
IcyBox IB-MP305

The Realtek 1283 / 1073 chipset range appeared in mid 2009 and is clocked between the old Sigma 863x and the newer Sigma 864x/865x. The Realteks use one CPU, clocked at 400mhz. A flood of cheap Realtek based Media Players have arrived through 2009. These have included the 1073 based ACRyan PlayOn, ASUS O!Play, Mvix Ultio, and the 1283 based Xtreamer, amongst many others. The 1073 is simply the 1283 with some DTV functions stripped out, they are otherwise the same chip providing the same performance in a Media Player. The only hardware performance difference amongst the Realteks is that the Xtreamer is clocked at 450mhz rather than 400mhz.

The Realtek chipsets provide fast and reliable performance at a low cost. These players can cope with all Media files you are likely to come across with only abnormally high reframe files or some HD audio formats providing any problems. The one big problem common to all the Realteks is a fairly unattractive user interface. This should be fixed in future software updates.

Sigma 864X
CPU: 667mhz 864X:
Popcorn Hour C-200
Dune HD Base 3.0

Sigma released both 864x series and 865x series chipsets in late 2009, with the first player featuring the 8643 (Popcorn Hour C-200) shipping in September 2009, and the first 8655 players (WDTV Live / Eminent EM7075) arriving in October 2009.

The Sigma 864x and the 865x are related and similar chips. The 864x has Blu-Ray capability and is the more powerful. It contains a 667mhz CPU and a 333mhz IPU (image processing unit), 2* HD video decoding, and three 333mhz Audio DSPs. The 865x lacks Blu-Ray support and uses a 500mhz CPU / 333mhz IPU, 1.25x HD video decoding, and one Audio DSP.
865X:
WDTV Live
Eminent EM7075
Datastor Media Player
WDTV (mk2)
Sigma 865X
CPU: 500mhz

Even at this early stage, it is apparent from testing that the new Sigma chips are more powerful than both their 863x predecessor (much more powerful) and the competing Realteks. Less testing has been done on the 864x because it is only available in one player with limited availability, however a decent amount of testing has now been done on the 8655. All these tests indicate that this is hugely impressive chip, capable of dealing with anything you throw at it in terms of reframes/bitrate. Other problems from the previous generation have been solved, the user interface is now much quicker, and DTS is supported.

In late 2009 Intel is expected to release it's own new media processor, the 800 MHz CE3100. This chip promises to take everything one stage further towards a single integrated home entertainment hub with computer functions. In some ways it is really just a Pentium M rebadged. It will be interesting to see how this chip compares (including for price) when devices are released utilising it such as the Conceptronic Yuixx.
CE3100:
Conceptronic Yuixx
Intel CE3100
CPU: 800mhz

2009 has seen many Media Player chipset developments. The old Sigma 863x is now a relic of the past, with new more powerful and cheaper chips being available from both Realtek and Sigma. The players using these chips are all at an early stage in their development so it is impossible to make any final judgements. What we can say though is that both the new Realteks and the new Sigmas are capable of playing back flawlessly almost any file you will find in the wild. In this sense, the choice of which to buy has become slightly irrelevant. Of more concern should be the usability of the device and it's price. In the near future we would expect the range of HD formats being used to become much more narrow, largely negating the format issue. Interface and additional web-based services will become much more important to the bulk of users.
 
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ranpras

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Intel has put hold its new plans for there Graphic chipset to compete with NVIDIA

So intel is out of picture for some time .
 

ranpras

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Realtek is sorting this out with the HD Audio codec vendors .

Hope to hear some good news in 2010. As of now nothing on cards ...
 

madbullram

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Good to know WDTV Live is using the best chipset available today :)

Ran: Good to see you moving out of AC Ryan and being objective.
 

cmsajith

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The Sigma 864x and the 865x are related and similar chips. The 864x has Blu-Ray capability and is the more powerful. It contains a 667mhz CPU and a 333mhz IPU (image processing unit), 2* HD video decoding, and three 333mhz Audio DSPs. The 865x lacks Blu-Ray support and uses a 500mhz CPU / 333mhz IPU, 1.25x HD video decoding, and one Audio DSP.
865X:
WDTV Live
Eminent EM7075
Datastor Media Player
WDTV (mk2)
Sigma 865X
CPU: 500mhz

So the WD Live cannot play from Bluray drives even w/ a firmware update, since the chipset is not supporting that. Am i right?
 

madbullram

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So the WD Live cannot play from Bluray drives even w/ a firmware update, since the chipset is not supporting that. Am i right?

I am not sure of that but I know for a fact that its plays BR ISOs (direct backups though menu not supported) perfectly well :) Like my WD, i always backup my DVDs and WD plays it well.
 

ranpras

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All have there own preference of AV products .

I like Mutent over JBL , Wharfadale over any other Towers , Panasonic over Sanyo on projectors , AC Ryan over Others .

I use most of these brands and there is nothing wrong in talking about the brand u use morning noon night.

AC Ryan is close to heart as this forms the heart of my whole Home Theater stuff ..This is all the new box with Firmware upgradable boxes .

We speak of what we can change . Can we change anything in a Yamaha Amp ???


I see many people in Xstremer , WDTV forum talking of it morning noon night . Nothing wrong i believe as they believe and follow the product .

People believe in brands and carry it forward . Some follow it very regularly .
 

madbullram

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Off course you can, but you have to be objective about it . Though WDTV is close to me, I recommend XT or Pop corn based on the need. Being objective is what makes the forum balanced and more valuable.
 

ranpras

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We all have to agree on one thing that it was Realtek which changed the face of Media players .

They change was more towards pricing and affordability for end customers ...

No doubts Jayam Multimedia who used to sell DIVX now has taken distribution of Xstremer .

Good for end customers as they get better price for affordable budgets ..
 

dolfin

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So the WD Live cannot play from Bluray drives even w/ a firmware update, since the chipset is not supporting that. Am i right?

True, at present none other than PCH C-200 and Dune HD 3 can play direct from Blu-Ray drive. However they can play Blu-Ray ISOs (w/o menu support). I myself tried playing Blu-Ray ISO and it worked fine... Had some trouble playing DVD ISO for some strange reason...
 

aneelr

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True, at present none other than PCH C-200 and Dune HD 3 can play direct from Blu-Ray drive. However they can play Blu-Ray ISOs (w/o menu support). I myself tried playing Blu-Ray ISO and it worked fine... Had some trouble playing DVD ISO for some strange reason...

Hi,

I guess Sajith meant external Bluray ROM(i.e Bluray Drive). And if that's the case, PlayOn can read external Bluray ROM, and guess Xtreamer can also do the same. But if Sajith meant Bluray player, then both PlayOn and Xtreamer does not support. And Dune HD 3 is a Bluray player with built in HD media player.



cheers.
 

cmsajith

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Hi,

I guess Sajith meant external Bluray ROM(i.e Bluray Drive). And if that's the case, PlayOn can read external Bluray ROM, and guess Xtreamer can also do the same. But if Sajith meant Bluray player, then both PlayOn and Xtreamer does not support. And Dune HD 3 is a Bluray player with built in HD media player.



cheers.

I meant external Bluray ROM drive for PC. If xtreamer and PlayOn are supporting, then a firmware update will do, right?
 

dolfin

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Hi,
I guess Sajith meant external Bluray ROM(i.e Bluray Drive). And if that's the case, PlayOn can read external Bluray ROM, and guess Xtreamer can also do the same. But if Sajith meant Bluray player, then both PlayOn and Xtreamer does not support.

I am not sure about Blu Ray Drive (PC) support but they definitely do not support playing Blu Ray movie disk through the Drive. They might read Blu Ray disk encoded in ISO file system (not sure) but not the movie disk encoded in UDF 2.5. The differentiation for PCH C-200 / Dune etc is their capability to support Blu Ray drive out of box. Hence they command a premium price tag. If players like Xtremer and PlayOn can do it, there is no USP for them to command such a high price.

Dune HD 3 is a Bluray player with built in HD media player.

Dune HD 3 does not come with any Blu Ray drive. It has a HDD slot in the center. Dune BD Prime 3 which resembles Dune HD3 in look has a Blu Ray drive. Both PCH C-200 and Dune have SD-8642 the only SoC in the market to support Blu Ray disk playback out of the box.
 
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