Comparison Dune Smart / Base 3.0 / Mede8er / ACRyan / NeoTV 550 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 11-18-2010, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I am about to buy my first media streamer and I'm hesitating between the following units:
I have tried to compile a comparison of these players.

Important: all players are compared to the DUNE SMART H1.
Hence only points in which they are *different* are emphasized (i.e. they're "identical" except for the points addressed)


My main question is---is the extra price of the Dune Base 3.0 really worth it?

HDI DUNE SMART H1
+ modular concept, can buy additional Smart modules later
+ user can add own internal HDD (up to 2TB)
+ eSATA, SD card reader
+ can read commercial DVDs from external player/drive
+ can read DRM-free BDs from external player/drive
+ Dune allows hardware upgrade to new chipset
+ cheapest 4th generation Dune player but still more expensive than non-Dune players
+ plays "every" file format you throw at it
+ supports all current HD audio standards
+ HDMI 1.4
+ "RealD" for side-by-side 3D support (though not *full* 3D)
+ excellent (for a media player) video scaling
+ extensively customizable GUI (with Zappiti, YaDIS, MyMovies...)
+ WiFi capable (optional dongle required)
+ can read BD-ISO with full menu support
+ IPTV, Internet radio and b!tt0rrent support
+ A/V Streaming via UPNP (supports PlayOn, TVersity...)
+ very active user base, Dune asks for requests to implement in next firmware

- no internal PSU. Does the external PSU support both 110/220V?
- no front display
- no coaxial SPDIF out
- no analog 7.1 outputs
- cannot read commercial BDs from external drive (except using BE extension module of course)
- "funky" appearance for a home theater component (users complain it's too narrow)
- hardware upgrade to new chipset is rather expensive ($150)
- additional Smart modules require own power supply
- no web browser, no internet streaming from youtube etc. on its own
- no automatic switching of video resolution output (annoying if you have an external high-quality scaler)


HDI DUNE SMART D1
+ front display (but except for looking nice, I'm not sure how useful it really is!)

- user cannot add own internal HDD without breaking the warranty (must order with HDD initially)
- no HDD rack (can't hotswap)
- $20 more expensive


HDI DUNE BASE 3.0
+ coaxial SPDIF out
+ analog 7.1 out
+ internal PSU
+ standard home theater component size
+ supports Gigabit LAN

- most expensive player in this list
- "older" unit (released in 2009)
- no hardware upgrade offered
- HDMI 1.3
- no 3D support
- Gigabit LAN is a joke, no real advantage over 10/100 ethernet


MEDE8ER MED500X (DD+)
+ much cheaper than Dune players
+ controls on unit
+ coaxial SPDIF out
+ boots faster than Dune (~20 seconds)

- Realtek 1073DD+ based (Consensus is that Sigma chipsets are a bit better)
- quality of video scaler is not as good as Dune
- HDMI 1.3
- no 3D support
- limited Dolby Digital Plus support (only passthrough 5.1 = no downmix to stereo, no 7.1)
- no support for commercial DVDs through external drive
- only Lite menu support for BD-ISO
- USB ports only on the side, not on front/back
- no HDD rack (can't hotswap)
- no eSATA
- "older" unit (released in 2009)
- no IPTV, no b!tt0rrent
- GUI not as customizable (partially supports YAMJ but only for one image per video file - no indexing)


ACRYAN PLAYON!HD+
+ cheapest player in this list
+ coaxial SPDIF out
+ boots faster than Dune (~20 seconds)

- Realtek 1073DD+ based (Consensus is that Sigma chipsets are a bit better)
- quality of video scaler is not as good as Dune
- not as mature as MEDE8ER
- limited Dolby Digital Plus support (only passthrough 5.1 = no downmix to stereo, no 7.1)
- only Lite menu support for BD-ISO
- no support for commercial DVDs through external drive
- HDMI 1.3
- no 3D support
- no HDD rack (can't hotswap)
- no eSATA
- no IPTV
- "older" unit (released in 2009)
- "clunky" Realtek interface (not as well tweaked as MEDE8ER)


NETGEAR NEO TV 550
(Take the following with a grain of salt, the final player has not been released yet!!)

+ web services (Youtube, Flickr, RSS...)
+ automatic firmware update
+ comes with advanced GUI pre-installed (including indexing)

- no internal HDD
- limited Dolby Digital Plus support (no 7.1)
- external BD not supported. External DVD unknown.
- unclear whether full BD menus as opposed to Lite menus are really supported.
- no b!tt0rrent
- HDMI 1.3
- no 3D support
- just-about-to-be-released new player, so expect bugs

Comments, corrections and recommendations are very welcome!

(edited to reflect comments)
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-18-2010, 04:17 PM
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Nice summary, but the fact that the HDMI version is 1.3 has got nothing to do with 3D. In the same vein, claiming HDMI v1.4 doesn't mean it can do 3D.

Most HDMI 1.3 streamers can still do 3D when connected to the appropriate display.

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post #3 of 14 Old 11-18-2010, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakmal View Post
Nice summary, but the fact that the HDMI version is 1.3 has got nothing to do with 3D. In the same vein, claiming HDMI v1.4 doesn't mean it can do 3D.

Most HDMI 1.3 streamers can still do 3D when connected to the appropriate display.
Don't you need HDMI 1.4 to be able to show the higher resolution 3D? With only HDMI 1.3, it is at a lower resolution isn't it?

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post #4 of 14 Old 11-18-2010, 06:46 PM
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Didn't they already confirm that the Netgear box will have full menus for BD-ISO?
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post #5 of 14 Old 11-18-2010, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post
Don't you need HDMI 1.4 to be able to show the higher resolution 3D? With only HDMI 1.3, it is at a lower resolution isn't it?
The issue you are referring to is the 'frame interleaved' 3D that is on BD-ISOs. Currently, there are no media streamers which can play back 3D BD-ISOs.

Most 3D material floating around right now is the side-by-side variety which HDMI 1.3 streamers can deal with. In that sense, you are correct that it is not full resolution.

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post #6 of 14 Old 11-18-2010, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xiaNaix View Post
Didn't they already confirm that the Netgear box will have full menus for BD-ISO?
Yeah should be

Netgear ntv550
+ Supports full menu blu ray iso(not lite)
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post #7 of 14 Old 11-18-2010, 08:11 PM
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Was just reading the Netgeear website and it doesn't say anything about supporting full blu ray menus. Also, what chipset is in this player?
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post #8 of 14 Old 11-19-2010, 03:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opentoe View Post

Was just reading the Netgeear website and it doesn't say anything about supporting full blu ray menus

Netgear told Anandtech.com "There is full support for Blu-Ray-ISO and DVD-ISO (inclusive of menus)"

Also, the pre-review at havetheknow.com states
Quote:


Blu-Ray Media
Full Menu navigation and playback, BD-Live
NOTE: BD-Live requires an external USB or eSATA Blu-ray drive.

However, the official website does not mention menus or BD-Live.
The data sheet (link to pdf) only says:
Quote:


Blu-ray (external USB Blu-ray player not supported)

Note also there is no mention about external USB DVD support, either.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Opentoe View Post

Also, what chipset is in this player?

Again according to Anandtech the player is based on Sigma 8642. The data sheet makes no reference to chipset.
(I think it's more of a pamphlet than a detailed spec sheet anyway)

Having said all that, there are already threads for discussing the NeoTV in detail - I'd rather keep this thread focused on the comparison of these players if possible
I am leaning towards a Dune player, but I'm not sure which one!
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post #9 of 14 Old 11-19-2010, 04:34 AM
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Just to comment on the ntv550 as that's the only player I'm interested in:
- no internal HDD -> That's a positive point!
- limited Dolby Digital Plus support (no 7.1) -> I believe Bob confirmed that decoding of all codecs will be available.
- external BD not supported. External DVD unknown. -> Don't care for this although I believe Bob said this will work unofficially (sans blu-ray logo/blessing).
- unclear whether full BD menus as opposed to Lite menus are really supported. -> Blu-ray support has always been the #1 priority for this player and will be 100% there on release.
- no b!tt0rrent -> Don't know or want this. Less things to concentrate on/go wrong.
- HDMI 1.3 -> Agreed should be 1.4a at this day & age.
- no 3D support -> Agreed although you can still impress some of your friends who don't know any better with some half-resolution material
- just-about-to-be-released new player, so expect bugs -> Not sure on this, some players released months ago still have bugs and always will, will reserve judgement on this one.
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post #10 of 14 Old 11-19-2010, 05:16 AM
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Keep in mind that it appears bitstreaming HD audio from Realtek players is unstable, and I have heard there are many issues with the new SDK for the Realtek chip

Cheers,
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post #11 of 14 Old 11-19-2010, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xiaNaix View Post
Didn't they already confirm that the Netgear box will have full menus for BD-ISO?
That is true for the pre-release boxes in testing. Everyone is waiting for the final release to walk off the boat so we can see what it really does.

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post #12 of 14 Old 11-22-2010, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 720p View Post

(...)
- no internal HDD -> That's a positive point!

You surprise me with that statement.

Of course I understand that some people don't want/need an internal HDD, but then I would think the reaction to this lack be just "neutral".

Instead, why would you consider the lack of an internal HDD to be explicitely positive
Only because it helps to keep the price of the player down?

Or is there a technical advantage to not having an internal HDD present?
What could that be? Less noise? Faster boot-up time? Lower temperature?

I'm confused...
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post #13 of 14 Old 11-22-2010, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCSmarties View Post


You surprise me with that statement.

Of course I understand that some people don't want/need an internal HDD, but then I would think the reaction to this lack be just "neutral".

Instead, why would you consider the lack of an internal HDD to be explicitely positive
Only because it helps to keep the price of the player down?

Or is there a technical advantage to not having an internal HDD present?
What could that be? Less noise? Faster boot-up time? Lower temperature?

I'm confused...

Internal hdd is most likely purely individual . For example, having the ability to add an internal hard drive turns my player into a portable movie jukebox which has come in handy a lot of times.

Some people may consider an internal drive a negative only because the player needs to be bigger then without, otherwise there is no reason to consider a negative

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post #14 of 14 Old 11-22-2010, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCSmarties View Post

You surprise me with that statement.

Of course I understand that some people don't want/need an internal HDD, but then I would think the reaction to this lack be just "neutral".

Instead, why would you consider the lack of an internal HDD to be explicitely positive
Only because it helps to keep the price of the player down?

Or is there a technical advantage to not having an internal HDD present?
What could that be? Less noise? Faster boot-up time? Lower temperature?

I'm confused...

You've already answered your questions. There are many reasons why harddisk less players are best. I'll list some of them:
- The player is fanless, fans make noise, I don't like noise
- Harddisks also produce noice, see above
- The player is cooler, hard disks produce heat, don't like heat either
- The player looks better and is smaller since no allowances have to be made for harddisk (access/vents/layout/etc.)
- The player is obviously cheaper both hardware & software wise since no allowances for harddisk
- I have multi-terrabyte servers all over the house, no single harddisk no matter how big could fit anything meaningful, GbE all over the house so access to these files from anywhere is lighting fast, accessing anything on a media player from somewhere else would be painfully slow
- Before anyone mentions ssds (run cool, silent, fast), I use them in my laptops/pcs they are mega expensive and very small in size, the aren't for storage, they are best used running an os
- Content creation is best done in pcs (i.e downloading/creating files/managing/encoding/arraging/renaming/etc.) so it makes sense to keep the harddisks there.
- Also harddisks have an easier life ina big pc case with multiple large fans and proper airflow (intake/exhaust) instead of being crammed inside a tiny plastic box with a tiny fan
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