New iStar HD NMT Media Player is here! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 152 Old 12-09-2008, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I just received the latest new NMT player, the iStar HD. Below are some pictures of the 'unboxing'. This seems to be a very well put together unit. The solid black aluminum exterior will go very well with my black components. The unit, including shipping (in the USA), is $200 and arrived in great condition. It also comes with very good quality HDMI, USB and Optical cables. The company I ordered from (HDPlex) was very good in keeping my updated of the status. I have a number of Blu-ray rips I plan on testing this week and I'll post a review in a few days. Based on the iStar website, this latest NMT player should play as much or more than the coveted Popcorn Hour (and it is $50 cheaper!).









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post #2 of 152 Old 12-10-2008, 09:33 AM
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Are there any reviews out for this iStar HD / iStar H5 ?
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post #3 of 152 Old 12-10-2008, 09:50 AM
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There has never really been a problem with media server hardware, the problem is that UI's are designed by the blind. I always laugh when I see an "unboxing" for a new media server as that's not the weak spot. If you want to share images, show the UI.
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post #4 of 152 Old 12-10-2008, 10:15 AM
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I am sitting in my office waiting for the delivery now!

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post #5 of 152 Old 12-10-2008, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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So far the iStar HD has been flawless! It has played every HD movie I have thrown at it. The setup took all of 10 minutes; 1) plug unit into my power supply, 2) hook up HDMI cable to my HDMI switch and 3) connect network cable to existing router. Upon starting the iStar HD, it connected to my home network and got an IP address. I then could immediately see the myIHome instance I am running on my Windows PC. I was then able to start streaming my Blu-ray rips immediately without any slowdowns across my wired network. I plan on testing some more of my standard def movies, in addition to streaming music and photos over the next few days, but here are my early impressions so far. In addition, below are a few shots of the UI. It is basic, but very functional and fast.

Pro's
1) Very quick to get up and running
2) Well built outer shell in 'stealth' black
3) Codes for iStar HD are already in the Harmony database
4) Media Portal option on the UI is very slick and gives access to various video streaming sites, such as YouTube and Veoh.
5) UI is basic, but navigation is fast
6) Good quality cables included (HDMI, Optical Audit, USB, Network)
7) Discrete on/off allows unit to be easily controlled by Harmony remote
8) Flawless playback (so far) of Blu-ray 1080p video with PCM audio

Con's
1) No manual or CD included in box. Kind of an odd omission, but since I was up and streaming movies in 5 minutes, they are not missed so far.
2) No media software included for PC. But, I was able to download myIHome and install without any issues. Also, media servers iPlay and TVersity also work.















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post #6 of 152 Old 12-10-2008, 11:25 PM
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So is it safe to say that this iStar HD is just like the PCH A-110 except that its a bit cheaper and quicker to receive after ordering?

Are there any negatives on this NMT that I am not aware of over the PCH?
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post #7 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 05:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by komteks View Post

So is it safe to say that this iStar HD is just like the PCH A-110 except that its a bit cheaper and quicker to receive after ordering?

Yeah, that's a fair summary. I own the previous model iStar Mini and it's also just the same. People just seem to be blinded by the PCH brand for some reason.

Quote:


Are there any negatives on this NMT that I am not aware of over the PCH?

The only significant difference is that the iStar doesn't (currently) decode DTS on board. It will play DTS movies through a compatible amp, but it can't decode to basic 2.0 PCM. You can get software that will convert any DTS download in just a few minutes though.

I saved a fortune by buying an iStar and it shipped same day.
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post #8 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 06:59 AM
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The fact that there is a new, 2nd Gen NMT quickly availble from a distributor in the USA is great, great news. The key to this type of product gaining more widespread acceptance is distribution in the US. It is also the key to prices coming down. I am waiting for the day to be able to buy a fully functional NMT, with YAMJ and NZBget pre installed, off Amazon or Newegg for $100.
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post #9 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 07:02 AM
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1. Can a movie jukebox software like YAMJ be used with this ?

2. From the pictures it looks like there is no component or S-video out, how does this affect the quality if connected to a SD tv ?
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post #10 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dudenj View Post

1. Can a movie jukebox software like YAMJ be used with this ?

2. From the pictures it looks like there is no component or S-video out, how does this affect the quality if connected to a SD tv ?

You can convert VGA to component with a cable.
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post #11 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 08:10 AM
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How about firmware upgrades?

Does iStar send them out as frequently as PCH?
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post #12 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 11:07 AM
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wow, website says $188. And the VGA - Comp adapter is only $5. Not too bad.

Wonder how loud the fan is?

lazura, would you be able to tell us how the fan noise compares to other units, say the Dvico or PCH?

Thanks for the review!
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post #13 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by komteks View Post

How about firmware upgrades?

Does iStar send them out as frequently as PCH?

The hardware is the same. The last PCH firmware even worked on my iStar, the exact same Firmware.

The official firmware upgrades generally come out on he same week as the PCH ones, a day or so later. Nice of the PCH guys to test it first
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post #14 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr b View Post

wow, website says $188. And the VGA - Comp adapter is only $5. Not too bad.

Wonder how loud the fan is?

lazura, would you be able to tell us how the fan noise compares to other units, say the Dvico or PCH?

Thanks for the review!

On my iStar mini, there is zero fan noise. It's quieter than a PCH.
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post #15 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaffacake View Post

On my iStar mini, there is zero fan noise. It's quieter than a PCH.

A PCH doesn't even have a fan! How can the iStar be quieter?
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post #16 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelZ View Post

A PCH doesn't even have a fan! How can the iStar be quieter?


sorry, don't have a PCH so didn't realize there was no fan. My 4100 has a fan and am trying to decide whether to upgrade to the 6500, the PCH or something else such as this unit.
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post #17 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaffacake View Post

Yeah, that's a fair summary. I own the previous model iStar Mini and it's also just the same. People just seem to be blinded by the PCH brand for some reason.



The only significant difference is that the iStar doesn't (currently) decode DTS on board. It will play DTS movies through a compatible amp, but it can't decode to basic 2.0 PCM. You can get software that will convert any DTS download in just a few minutes though.

I saved a fortune by buying an iStar and it shipped same day.


Just to double check and make sure I understand what you are saying. If I pass the audio through an optical cable to my Onkyo receiver then I will get DTS. Correct?
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post #18 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 12:23 PM
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Yes. The DTS fuss is all about downmixing DTS to stereo so peoplke withouth a capable receiver can get sound. Agree the hyp over PCH is just a fable, created by the fact of regular beta updates making people feel they release more than others. This is not the case... except for DTS there is no difference and in fact some players are better harsware wise and feature more options like eSATA, MCU (power on / off by remote which should not be underestimated for convenience), both optical and coaxial, card reader etc....

Small differences in hardware and hardly any in software...
NMT's are all the same bulky batch of players, but beat the overpriced players.

Especially DViCo has been blown off the market by these NMT's due to DViCo not finding an answer or hardly releasing updates this year... They will feel that next year while NMT's will feel they cannot keep claiming to be cheap alternatives by intent while they are cheap by hardware materials being a bit low end instead of breaking the prices on the market... $188 is cheap for US although for Europe there are different prices to be found.

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post #19 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi-Jack View Post

Yes. The DTS fuss is all about downmixing DTS to stereo so peoplke withouth a capable receiver can get sound. Agree the hyp over PCH is just a fable, created by the fact of regular beta updates making people feel they release more than others. This is not the case... except for DTS there is no difference and in fact some players are better harsware wise and feature more options like eSATA, MCU (power on / off by remote which should not be underestimated for convenience), both optical and coaxial, card reader etc....

Small differences in hardware and hardly any in software...
NMT's are all the same bulky batch of players, but beat the overpriced players.

Especially DViCo has been blown off the market by these NMT's due to DViCo not finding an answer or hardly releasing updates this year... They will feel that next year while NMT's will feel they cannot keep claiming to be cheap alternatives by intent while they are cheap by hardware materials being a bit low end instead of breaking the prices on the market... $188 is cheap for US although for Europe there are different prices to be found.


Cannot agree with you more.

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post #20 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelZ View Post

A PCH doesn't even have a fan! How can the iStar be quieter?

It doesn't support an internal hard disk
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post #21 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 03:01 PM
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Opened the unit tonight. I was suprised how much better the case looks than it does online. Looks less flimsy and cheap

I found that when I tried to connect it to TVersity it would crash TVersity. So i shared a folder and it works much better. Before crashing TVeristy it would go to a screen with the istar logo and "buffering" onscreen. With a network share the movie starts instantly.

Very quiet, so far works with the 50 files I tested it with.

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post #22 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaffacake View Post

Yeah, that's a fair summary. I own the previous model iStar Mini and it's also just the same. People just seem to be blinded by the PCH brand for some reason.

Wait, so this is the exact same thing? You can use the same firmware updates, etc?
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post #23 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaffacake View Post

On my iStar mini, there is zero fan noise. It's quieter than a PCH.

I thought I saw and internal picture of this iStar H5 with a fan. Cant find it now.

Does the iStar H5 have a fan?



Looks like it does have a fan. Is it noisy?
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post #24 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 05:56 PM
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It has a fan and I can barely hear it at 9'. I certainly cannot hear it while watching a movie.

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post #25 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 06:41 PM
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Does it come with a hard drive installed as shown. The Spec said HARD DRIVE: YES which means hard drive installable or comes with one, if comes with one what size is the drive?
I'm interested in getting a one to play with.
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post #26 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I can not hear the fan at all. It is very quiet. Since it has discrete on/off, I always turn it off when not in use, so the unit doesn't get very hot. There a lot of buttons on the remote that I have no idea what they do, but I .lkjjuse my Harmony One remote instead and it works great. It is such a relief to be able to just rip Blu-ray movies (with AnyDVD, highly recommended) and not have to do any recoding of the video like I had to for my PS3. At some point I may add an internal hard drive or an external drive via the eSata connection, but for now streaming from my PC works well. I intend to try more video formats and test the photo and music streaming soon.
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post #27 of 152 Old 12-11-2008, 08:24 PM
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I like the looks of the new IStar.

I have an older Hitachi Rear Proj. HD Monitor with component video accepting a 1080i input. I see the Istar uses a VGA > component adapter.

Does it pass a correct component signal via the adapter?

I ask that because one can't simply connect a PC to a HD using a VGA to component adapter cause the correct Y-Pb/Pr signal is absent. (with the exception of some ATI video cards and their special dongle & Windows tweaking).

The Hitachi has no VGA input either.

Any users out there connecting the Istar using the Component adapter?

Quality of image? I know 1080p would look better than my 1080i but I'm trying to avoid re-buying another TV.

Also - can one plug in a PC monitor to the Istar using a VGA cable?

I assume all the Istar output settings are user selectable.

TIA

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post #28 of 152 Old 12-12-2008, 06:44 AM
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Can someone explain how this and the popcorn hour are the same?

Is Network Media Tank basically a platform someone created, and numerous companies license it? If so, do they all use the same firwmware and have the same user interface ... the only real difference being occasional HW difference (I/O, etc)?

How many companies make these things?
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post #29 of 152 Old 12-12-2008, 07:23 AM
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If they were PCs, NMT would be windows.

You can buy a windows PC from Dell, HP etc but underneath it's still a PC and it still runs windows.

They have a different case and slightly different firmware but, fundamentally, they do the same stuff.
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post #30 of 152 Old 12-12-2008, 07:40 AM
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Hello,

Is the iStar HD and iStar H5 the same thing?
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