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Xtreamer / WDTV Live / Popbox / AC Ryan Playon HD Mini

Wharfedale Linton Heritage Speakers

Raghav

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I have been reading the online forums and the websites of the devices trying to garner information about the various new media playing devices. However, one tends to get lost in a sea of information and views. Number of questions are unanswered as many points confusing to someone new to this. I also went through iboum.com which has good reviews. But the comparison there is of 60 odd players and overwhelming.

However, after all that I have shortlisted 4 media players to choose from (nothing eye-opening as I end up listing the most popular ones anyways)
1. WDTV Live
2. Xtreamer
3. Syabas Popbox (cheaper than Popcorn Hour at $130 and hence in the same price range)
4. AC Ryan Play on HD Mini (Mini is in the price range of others whereas the original is slightly more $$)

Could someone do a simple analysis of features offered by the above four pointing out major differences, pros and cons)? Maybe some member who understands the relevant points can take the details off the iboum.com table an create a simple and more useful one - only relevant points just for 4 players as most are choosing from these brands only?

Also I have been reading about network attahced storage (NAS) like the eTrayz etc. The above players also claim to act as NAS when an external HDD is connected to them. So do we need a separate dedicated NAS or one the above + HDD will work just as well? What is the trade-off involved?

What are member views? Have I missed something or understood wrongly?

Thanx in adv.
 

dolfin

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Popbox being the latest, has the best hardware among these. It is based on high-end Sigma 8643 processor that is used in PCH C-200. Its firmware is Linux derivative and the initial screenshots look good. In fact its the best interface I have seen so far in the media players available till date. Reports says that the interface is designed by ex Microsoft Executive.

The best part is it will support 3rd party application development. It means you can extend the functionality of this device my installing 3rd party applications just like a smartphone! This is a big step in media player market. Devices like WDTV have already been hacked and custom firmwares have been developed. The new approach does not compromise the stability of core software, yet allows what the user wants. For e.g. someone can develop torrent downloader, another can develop web browser etc... the possibilities are infinite.

However there are downsides too. This is a scaled down option of C-200. In order to keep the costs down the manufacturers have made some compromises. They have removed internal HDD slot, composite out and Wi-Fi extensibility. The last is worst and if that is true it might be a big minus.

Nevertheless its a device worth buying for $129. Given that its a Syabas device, it will have a good developer and community support for sure.
 

Raghav

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interesting points.

Internal HDD is a personal preference. Only Xtreamer has that in the list. Popcorn hour & Play on had that but were in a higher price bracket. So I chose their new offerings with lower prices.

Could you elaborate Wi-fi extensibility? I see that it does have an Ethernet port as well as Wi-fi option. what is missing


Popbox being the latest, has the best hardware among these. It is based on high-end Sigma 8643 processor that is used in PCH C-200. Its firmware is Linux derivative and the initial screenshots look good. In fact its the best interface I have seen so far in the media players available till date. Reports says that the interface is designed by ex Microsoft Executive.

The best part is it will support 3rd party application development. It means you can extend the functionality of this device my installing 3rd party applications just like a smartphone! This is a big step in media player market. Devices like WDTV have already been hacked and custom firmwares have been developed. The new approach does not compromise the stability of core software, yet allows what the user wants. For e.g. someone can develop torrent downloader, another can develop web browser etc... the possibilities are infinite.

However there are downsides too. This is a scaled down option of C-200. In order to keep the costs down the manufacturers have made some compromises. They have removed internal HDD slot, composite out and Wi-Fi extensibility. The last is worst and if that is true it might be a big minus.

Nevertheless its a device worth buying for $129. Given that its a Syabas device, it will have a good developer and community support for sure.
 

Raghav

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I had after thinking about it finalised the WDTV live for 6.4k via 20north.com

but now that price is no longer available on the site. at 6.4k it was a no brainer against Xtreamer and POHD.

WDTV Live is for 8309 via 20north
Now Xtreamer via ebay offer is for 8290
Also, POHD mini is launched for 7.7k in India

I am again confused which one to go for. Are there any major differences in features that will be the deal-breakers or makers. A comparison will be appreciated (especially regarding the user experience and interface).
 

srinisundar

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Deal breaker is there now for Xtreamer, for valentine day offer ebay is throwing some 1000 to 3000 worth gifts if you purchase for 4999 / 9999.. So final cost is very much less than all.

Regards


I had after thinking about it finalised the WDTV live for 6.4k via 20north.com

but now that price is no longer available on the site. at 6.4k it was a no brainer against Xtreamer and POHD.

WDTV Live is for 8309 via 20north
Now Xtreamer via ebay offer is for 8290
Also, POHD mini is launched for 7.7k in India

I am again confused which one to go for. Are there any major differences in features that will be the deal-breakers or makers. A comparison will be appreciated (especially regarding the user experience and interface).
 

migasmahn

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It depends what kind of features you need and wish to have, personally i went for PlayOn!HD fat with internal HDD slot. Definitely a +1 for me. :clapping: as I dun have a NAS yet.

Of coz, the brand, price, specs, warranty, features do play a bigger part for your decision to buy or not.

However if you already had NAS, then go for those players that doesn't have internal HDD slot. Being small in form would be nice to have and portable. Of cos - i 'm greedy, i want more in those small in form + with internal HDD slot for 2.5" HDD but having to consider the brand, I still went for AC Ryan.

Specs wise - all players are similar, then it boils down to hardware (which chip makers), firmware and what it could play, what ports you have on it and blah blah, which GUI, what further development and of cos the community support and the after-sale support should you encounter any issues. :)

Just my 2cents :p

Cheers!
 

bansal98

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The provision to install an internal SATA hard disk in PlayOn HD is a big plus as external USB drives of similar capacity are 1.5-2 times costlier. A 1.5TB internal hard disk is only 6200/- whereas the external one is around 9000/-. Not to mention the external power supply and cables required for USB disks. 2.5" size disk based USB drives are too costly to even consider, esp if you are planning to store HD movies. I am going to buy one POHD this weekend.
 

aneelr

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The provision to install an internal SATA hard disk in PlayOn HD is a big plus as external USB drives of similar capacity are 1.5-2 times costlier. A 1.5TB internal hard disk is only 6200/- whereas the external one is around 9000/-. Not to mention the external power supply and cables required for USB disks. 2.5" size disk based USB drives are too costly to even consider, esp if you are planning to store HD movies. I am going to buy one POHD this weekend.
In that case you can connect only 1 internal HDD, which is going to get filled with data in no matter of time, once that HDD is full you're going to buy a new one and are you going to keep changing the 2 internal HDD's when ever you use any particular one. I guess that is very cumbersom rather than just changing the HDD the USB way. On the other hand, you could also buy an internal HDD along with an external casing.


cheers.
 

bansal98

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In that case you can connect only 1 internal HDD, which is going to get filled with data in no matter of time, once that HDD is full you're going to buy a new one and are you going to keep changing the 2 internal HDD's when ever you use any particular one. I guess that is very cumbersom rather than just changing the HDD the USB way. On the other hand, you could also buy an internal HDD along with an external casing.


cheers.
Well, 1.5TB is going to last me quite some time. Moreover, if that gets filled up, I'll just connect a USB hard disk. I mean, instead of having 2 USB HDDs, I'll have internal and one USB. The home theater setup looks cluttered as it is with all those wires going here and there. Two less wires are a very good thing in my opinion (one for power and one for data).
 

santhosh

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Raghav, I have an Xtreamer and a NAS (etrayz). Xtreamer is a great player, it performs the task of playing movies very well and so do the other players you mentioned.

Many members who own Xtreamer have complained of noise issues caused by the fan. So adding a 2.5 inch hdd inside it will only add more heat and require more cooling, which in turn means you get more noise. So, I would avoid adding a HDD in the Xtreamer. If you intend to take it with you when you travel, just carry an external HDD. I have ordered XSC http://www.tranquilpc-shop.co.uk/acatalog/cooler.pdf. According to some members on xtreamer forums, you can add a hdd and still switch off the fan once you have installed this mod.

About the etrayz NAS, I have been reading the install notes since last one week and tweaking it for the last 2 days and there is nothing xtreamer-specific about it (atleast from what I have read and tried so far). Please correct me if I am wrong. Any fast NAS should work with your xtreamer and similarly etrayz should work with any Media player (which supports Network access).
 

Raghav

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Since this will also be used to browse a large music collection of 10000 songs how is the interface to reach your song i.e. filtering by artists, albums, genre composer etc.....

I would like to go for the best interface, if there is a difference
 

cmsajith

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As far as i know there is nothing specific with eTrayz, its only a NAS. Any NAS with a n/w port should work. A dedicated NAS is a dedicated PC with NAS OS, nothing more than that. A custom build PC will do the same. I am thinking to use my HTPC to setup with dual booting, NAS OS and Win7 (need to check the feasibility).

Raghav, I have an Xtreamer and a NAS (etrayz). Xtreamer is a great player, it performs the task of playing movies very well and so do the other players you mentioned.

Many members who own Xtreamer have complained of noise issues caused by the fan. So adding a 2.5 inch hdd inside it will only add more heat and require more cooling, which in turn means you get more noise. So, I would avoid adding a HDD in the Xtreamer. If you intend to take it with you when you travel, just carry an external HDD. I have ordered XSC http://www.tranquilpc-shop.co.uk/acatalog/cooler.pdf. According to some members on xtreamer forums, you can add a hdd and still switch off the fan once you have installed this mod.

About the etrayz NAS, I have been reading the install notes since last one week and tweaking it for the last 2 days and there is nothing xtreamer-specific about it (atleast from what I have read and tried so far). Please correct me if I am wrong. Any fast NAS should work with your xtreamer and similarly etrayz should work with any Media player (which supports Network access).
 

sarge_in

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Btw, don't know if you care, but the WDTV Live cannot play DVD Menus from ISO or VOB files. To me that was enough to strike off the list. Waiting for the Popbox to release as it has nice features and great codec support.
 

vishalj

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Hi,

I had almost finalised buying WD TV live when the Xtreamer Pro was announced. I was planning to get WDTV live from my friend in US as the price on 20north.com is now at Rs. 8309 (even in Gift option).

Now I am considering the following options:-

(1) Xtreamer at Rs. 7990 (and USB Wifi for another Rs. 1000) from xtreamer.india
(2) Xtreamer Pro at Rs. 10700 (pre-order on xtreamer.india). Whether Xtreamer Pro is equipped with Wi-fi or I would have to buy USB adapter seperately.
(3) WDTV live from US at around Rs. 6000 (from a friend) or at Rs 8309 from 20north.com (without any discount)

I would be connecting the media player to my 32" Sony LCD and this would be mostly used for the movies I have on my portable HD. Though I am planning to buy a new HD, but that depends solely on the media player I opt for.

Please provide your suggestions.
 

ashishkesarwani

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Hi,

I had almost finalised buying WD TV live when the Xtreamer Pro was announced. I was planning to get WDTV live from my friend in US as the price on 20north.com is now at Rs. 8309 (even in Gift option).

Now I am considering the following options:-

(1) Xtreamer at Rs. 7990 (and USB Wifi for another Rs. 1000) from xtreamer.india
(2) Xtreamer Pro at Rs. 10700 (pre-order on xtreamer.india). Whether Xtreamer Pro is equipped with Wi-fi or I would have to buy USB adapter seperately.
(3) WDTV live from US at around Rs. 6000 (from a friend) or at Rs 8309 from 20north.com (without any discount)

I would be connecting the media player to my 32" Sony LCD and this would be mostly used for the movies I have on my portable HD. Though I am planning to buy a new HD, but that depends solely on the media player I opt for.

Please provide your suggestions.
You could go in with Xtreamer route and save a couple of thousand bucks over the pro. but Pro has the advantage of accomodating 2x 3.5" internal hdd whereas the old unit only supports Hdd upto 750 Gb and that too a 2.5" one. Also Pro hasn't been launched yet so there are no user reviews, and Pro doesn't have inbuilt wifi support but its through the same wifi antenna which we use with Xtreamer.
About WDTV I would not suggest the route through 20north as the difference in cost becomes negligible in comparison with the Xtreamer for 9000 and that too without any warranty.
 

Dushie

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In the current scenario the xtreamer is pretty cheap and should be the better option, as you can take a call what you want to connect to it and use it accordingly.
 

ruffdaddyz

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hi friends,
i've set my mind on buying Xtreamer but as the package does not include include a HDD im opting to buy an external HDD preferably 1TB storage space to play via USB.
- Im confused abt are there any copmatibility issue an HDD cud have with Xtreamer that we shud consider while buying an external HDD.

- plus does the Xtreamer play TRU HD, which i think comes in bluray rips ?
if yes how do u downmix it ,i have a 5.1 HTIB ,people keep mentioning it in this forum, frankly i have no idea wat 'DOWNMIXING " is !!:eek:
im new to all this,even the HTIB is new just bought it few days back

pls any good samaritans out there help me !
 
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