All-in-One Home Theater/Media Player/Receivers? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-07-2010, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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There are several decent media players on the market, but all seem to require an external stereo system for audio and video. I don't have space in our bedrooms for lots of individual components, so I would like to find a small all-in-one media player with a built-in receiver/amplifier. Basically, I want to play music from CD's or a hard drive/flash drive, and I want to watch movies from DVD's, as well as video clips from a hard drive/flash drive. I do NOT need 5.1 surround sound, I have two in-wall speakers in our bedroom and only need stereo.

I would like to store the music from our CD's, and some of our favorite movies and music videos on a hard drive/flash drive, so they're easy to access without taking up lots of space. Of course, good sound and picture quality is a must, and navigation must be easy for music without turning on the TV.

I purchased a Yamaha DRX-730 micro component receiver last Christmas that comes close. It basically does all of the above, but navigation of USB material is very clumsy.

For audio, the DRX-730 is difficult to select a specific folder without turning on the TV. This makes it nearly impossible to use for my intended purpose of selecting a CD when turning in for the night. Something like our car stereo would be nice, up/down to select the folder, left/right to select a specific track, with a display of the folder/track on the front of the unit.

Video is basically limited to DivX and the clumsy chopped off menu's make it very difficult to find the desired clip. I also found the DRX-730 only plays about half of the DivX files well, whether they are on USB or burned to a DVD disk. It also seemed to have problems displaying aspect ratios properly.

Does anyone make a small media receiver like this?

For now, I'm using the DRX-730 as a basic stereo system for listening to one CD or DVD at a time. Then I have my old Tvix M6500 media player connected to the TV to watch our video material. It works, but I would prefer a small all-in-one unit.
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-07-2010, 08:05 AM
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I think I have this straight: you want a single unit that plays audio and video discs, but also has the ability to store and stream both types of files digitally, from its own hard drive? And, the ability to drive speakers?

I really can't think of anything like that. Sorry.

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post #3 of 8 Old 09-07-2010, 08:11 AM
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In other words a True All-In-One Box. It is very unlikely it will ever exist. And if it ever does come to fruition, It won't excel in all areas. There will always be devices that excel in areas where other boxes don't.

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post #4 of 8 Old 09-07-2010, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


you want a single unit that plays audio and video discs, but also has the ability to store and stream both types of files digitally, from its own hard drive? And, the ability to drive speakers?

Correct. An internal hard drive would be preferred, but even support for an external HD or flash drive would be acceptable (as long as the USB port is in the back).

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In other words a True All-In-One Box. It is very unlikely it will ever exist.

My Yamaha DRX-730 comes very close. With a little more fine tuning it would be perfect. It plays CD and DVD disks, as well as MP3's on a CD or USB drive. It even plays "some" Divx video files.

It's main failure is in the user interface, requiring a TV to select music tracks, and a very clumsy interface for selecting video.

I don't need a player that plays every format out there, just one that excels at the one or two formats it does support.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-07-2010, 10:02 AM
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I can't imagine how a small remote control can handle all functions from that box (if it could exist).
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-07-2010, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awatson View Post

Correct. An internal hard drive would be preferred, but even support for an external HD or flash drive would be acceptable (as long as the USB port is in the back).



My Yamaha DRX-730 comes very close. With a little more fine tuning it would be perfect. It plays CD and DVD disks, as well as MP3's on a CD or USB drive. It even plays "some" Divx video files.

It's main failure is in the user interface, requiring a TV to select music tracks, and a very clumsy interface for selecting video.

I don't need a player that plays every format out there, just one that excels at the one or two formats it does support.

That's right; I almost forgot about the "standalone" navigation. Seriously...unfortauntely...I really don't think you're going to find this, and I suspect your Yamaha is not quite as close as you think.

It sounds like it only accepts a single, external drive...so storage will be limited. Let's say you could even live with like an external 2T drive or something; file support is extremely stifling (mp3 and DivX??), and the navigation on most of these so-called "streaming" Receivers stinks.

I am ALL for trying to eliminate boxes, especially in a location like a Bedroom. But my advice is to simply go small, with 2 boxes. A good A/V streamer, and small amp to drive the speakers...or something like the Sonos ZP120, audio streamer and amp...and do the video in another box.

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post #7 of 8 Old 09-07-2010, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I can't imagine how a small remote control can handle all functions from that box (if it could exist).

I have a harmony remote that controls all the gear in my living room, so a single device should theoretically be easier to control. With proper planning, all you really need is power, a volume control, and the four way up/down/left/right/select pad. Maybe a menu button and/or a mode selector. Those are all I typically use now on a much more complicated system.

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I almost forgot about the "standalone" navigation.

Yeah, my car stereo and portable MP3 players have no problem with this using the standard left/right for folder selection and up/down for track selection. I don't know why home players find it so difficult.

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It sounds like it only accepts a single, external drive...so storage will be limited. Let's say you could even live with like an external 2T drive or something; file support is extremely stifling (mp3 and DivX??)

My needs are nothing so grand.

I convert our music to MP3 anyway to maintain compatibility with various devices (portable MP3 players, car stereos, etc.), so that's not a limit in my case.

We rarely watch TV in the bedroom anyway, so I would only be accessing a few music videos and whatnot. I have no problem converting them to a single format as long as the player supported that format well.

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my advice is to simply go small, with 2 boxes.

Yep, that's what I've done for now. The Yamaha is tiny (maybe 5" high x 9" wide) and works fine for playing CD's and DVD movies. It sounds nice too, not like a cheap boom box. My old Tvix M6500 sits next to that for watching music videos and other miscellaneous shows.

As I mentioned, neither really gets much use, other than playing CD's at bed time. This setup works fine, I was just hoping something newer and better had come along in the last year.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-08-2010, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awatson View Post

I have a harmony remote that controls all the gear in my living room, so a single device should theoretically be easier to control. With proper planning, all you really need is power, a volume control, and the four way up/down/left/right/select pad. Maybe a menu button and/or a mode selector. Those are all I typically use now on a much more complicated system.



Yeah, my car stereo and portable MP3 players have no problem with this using the standard left/right for folder selection and up/down for track selection. I don't know why home players find it so difficult.



My needs are nothing so grand.

I convert our music to MP3 anyway to maintain compatibility with various devices (portable MP3 players, car stereos, etc.), so that's not a limit in my case.

We rarely watch TV in the bedroom anyway, so I would only be accessing a few music videos and whatnot. I have no problem converting them to a single format as long as the player supported that format well.



Yep, that's what I've done for now. The Yamaha is tiny (maybe 5" high x 9" wide) and works fine for playing CD's and DVD movies. It sounds nice too, not like a cheap boom box. My old Tvix M6500 sits next to that for watching music videos and other miscellaneous shows.

As I mentioned, neither really gets much use, other than playing CD's at bed time. This setup works fine, I was just hoping something newer and better had come along in the last year.

Look in the HTPC section of this forum for your answer
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