I got my new ScreenPlay PRO HD 1 TB drive.
This is going to take me a while to go through all of the features, so I'll post here as I do each one. I finally found better specs for it on the support website. Since I haven't made 3 posts yet, I can't post URLs, so this is the mangled URL:
First: My purpose - I wanted a media player unit on which I could store my entire collection of 200+ DVDs (and eventually 50+ VCR tapes that are degrading). I needed something that my kids could use. I wanted something inexpensive. I wanted something that wouldn't use a lot of power when it wasn't being used. And I wanted something that would run quiet but cool. Small form factor and nice looking box would be a bonus, but not required.
My experience - I like the way it looks. It isn't much bigger than my Western Digital MyBook external drive. Plugging it in was easy. I hooked it up to my HDTV via HDMI and to my computer through the USB port. Pressed the power button and voila, I had a new drive on the computer. I copied pictures, music, homemade DVDs, and ripped a DVD onto it last night.
The UI was better than I thought it would be after seeing the ScreenPlay HD 500 GB one, but it wasn't as good as it could be. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile. It starts off listing the different devices you scan display files from:
ScreenPlay Pro (from the 1 TB on board unit)
External USB (for any additional hard drive/card reader you plug into it)
Network (any shared directories on the network)
AV Input (composite input plugs)
Schedule (scheduling the DVR)
As you browse to the device, it shows the folders from the root directory. You can browse into each folder from there and while at the folder level, narrow your search to Music, Videos, or Pictures. As you scroll down through the list, a preview window on the left side of the screen shows you information about what you've highlighted. So for MP3s, it shows the tags. For videos, it starts playing them (without sound). And pictures -- obviously it shows them. You press play once you've selected the item and it plays.
Now, I am NOT an audiophile, so I really cannot comment on the sound much other than yes, it has sound and I couldn't really hear anything wrong with it. But that isn't saying much, as I have a hearing problem. Setup allows you to switch between 2 channel and 5.1 channel audio. There's a "night mode" (don't know what it does) and S/PDIF can be configured as HDMI LPCM, HDMI RAW, SPDIF LPCM, and SPDIF RAW.
When you browse to a directory that has VIDEO_TS in it, it will automatically launch the DVD in it. I haven't watched a whole DVD yet, but what I did see was impressive. Standard DVD stuff worked fine. Zoom allowed up to 8x zoom and using the arrows I could move around the zoom screen. With it being a hard drive, skipping to other chapters and stuff was without any pauses. I saw nothing that concerned me. In fact, one of my home videos I made played better on this unit than it does in my DVD player. My DVD player skips over the "Show First" video and this thing got it right.
Hooked up to an old analog TV via composite, it selected 480i output automatically. The items on the top/bottom edge tend to get cut off. Due to the interlacing TV, the menu was a little irritating to look at (the horizontal lines need to be double the width to prevent flicker on interlaced TVs). Switching it to NTSC mode didn't help any. But the video on it was fine once I got it launched. I didn't try hooking up the component video cables (composite hook ups are in front, component hookup is in a wire jungle I wasn't prepared to navigate last night).
It was not able to play any videos downloaded directly from my camera (MJPEG format). Nor did it recognize the raw video from the camcorder (AVI DV1 format). Nor could it do the 720p MKV sample file I downloaded.
Picture slideshow capability works well. I haven't tried putting MP3s in the same folder but apparently it will play the MP3s as it is viewing the pictures and going through about 8 different types of transitions. For a quick and easy slideshow, it would do the job.
Documentation totally sucks. And so does the remote. Those are the two major downsides. I have a utility on my computer that I don't even know how it works or what it does. It can make my folders sharable, and apparently has some transcoding capabilities, but I don't know how they work. Looking in the directory, there appears to be bittorent client and several codecs. The remote is small, crowded, complicated, and oddly arranged. for instance, the volume has the + on the left side and the - on the right. On nearly every other remote I have with a horizontal volume layout, they are - on the left and + on the right. The 0 is not below the 8, it's below the 7. Navigating up levels in the menu seems to be inconsistent. Sometimes you press stop, sometimes return, sometimes menu. Othertimes you just give up and press Home and start over. I'm going to be working hard to get this into my JP1 remote.
Playlist manager that comes with it requires the drive to be plugged in through USB to create a playlist, as it doesn't find my drive on the network. Haven't tried a playlist yet.
Network access to the drive is just like a remote computer. It's in the "Workgroup" workgroup and it shows a folder called "ScreenPlay" that you can open and copy files to. But trying to copy files over 2 GB to this NTFS formatted drive doesn't work unless you do it via USB.
There's a telnet client on the drive, but the password is unknown. There's also a web server on the drive that uses CGI and a sample HTML page, but no clue as to how to get further into it. There are also a few partitions on the drive that are "unknown". So there's lots of interesting mysteries for a hacker to explore
This thing will keep me occupied for a little while.
So suitability to the job I wanted it to do: Almost perfect. The few problems I've run into can be fixed via firmware update, which Iomega has already shown they do on the past ScreenPlay HDs. For the time being, I can keep my uploads under 2 GB (I haven't tried ISOs yet).