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post #1 of 38 Old 08-09-2011, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone. I've been reading through a lot of threads, but still can't seem to make up my mind what media player to buy. I have been looking into the Dunes and med8er 500x2 mostly.

My setup is a 40" TV that I will connect via HDMI for video and then optical audio to a switch that goes to my receiver. The receiver only has 1 optical input so I have a harmony one remote that controls everything for me so I don't have to worry about my optical switch. I also have a Windows Server 2008 R2 in another room that is on 24/7 that has a fair bit of blu ray ISO rips from my collection. Also have most of those in just the m2ts file form with foreign languages stripped and etc.

What I'm looking for in a player is something that can handle uncompressed blu ray quality files over the network if possible. I have a wired gigabit connection going through the walls so the bandwidth is there. I have read that some players will still stutter on the high bit rate parts of a scene no matter what connection you have plugged into them. If possible I was hoping to not have to put a hard drive in the player to ensure smooth playback, but I guess I could. Just seems like a hassle to drag movies to the streamer before watching them when I have TB's of storage in my server already.

I'm open to suggestions and not sure if I described everything clearly, so let me know if you need more clarification.
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post #2 of 38 Old 08-09-2011, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe89 View Post

Hi everyone. I've been reading through a lot of threads, but still can't seem to make up my mind what media player to buy. I have been looking into the Dunes and med8er 500x2 mostly.

My setup is a 40" TV that I will connect via HDMI for video and then optical audio to a switch that goes to my receiver. The receiver only has 1 optical input so I have a harmony one remote that controls everything for me so I don't have to worry about my optical switch. I also have a Windows Server 2008 R2 in another room that is on 24/7 that has a fair bit of blu ray ISO rips from my collection. Also have most of those in just the m2ts file form with foreign languages stripped and etc.

What I'm looking for in a player is something that can handle uncompressed blu ray quality files over the network if possible. I have a wired gigabit connection going through the walls so the bandwidth is there. I have read that some players will still stutter on the high bit rate parts of a scene no matter what connection you have plugged into them. If possible I was hoping to not have to put a hard drive in the player to ensure smooth playback, but I guess I could. Just seems like a hassle to drag movies to the streamer before watching them when I have TB's of storage in my server already.

I'm open to suggestions and not sure if I described everything clearly, so let me know if you need more clarification.

Easy, Dune. When it comes to playing back Blu-rays rips over the network it is by far the most reliable player I have tested/used.

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post #3 of 38 Old 08-09-2011, 10:55 AM
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I would like to add one piece of information that maybe of help.

Since you are wanting to watch uncompressed bluray video stream, to the best of my knowledge, Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-MA Audio does NOT pass over optical. They are only passed through HDMI, which means you'll need to connect the HDMI cable through your receiver then to the TV. If your receiver cannot accept an HDMI cable, then, that will be a limitation.

I faced a similar scenario not too long ago and upgraded my receiver. From what I read, that your receiver only has on optical input - it gives away its age

Media streamer experts - please keep me honest and correct me if what I wrote is an incorrect statement

While I'm at it, I'd like to throw in a plug for Popcorn hour C-200. It too is a strong contender for what you are looking to accomplish.

It wasn't too long ago (a week ago to be exact) when I was overly concerned about the gigabit connectivity to my NAS. I can't speak for the Dune since I don't have one but the 10/100 connectivity from the popcorn hour C-200 to my NAS has worked flawlessly so far with no stutter or dropouts. Made a believer out of me.

The 1gb network connectivity, I believe is a limitation of the chipset in these units. Again, I can't confirm about the Dune devices, whether they connect at 1Gb or not.

What I'm getting at, is, that don't let that be the deciding factor. If you have a sound network and a good back end storage, streaming should not be a concern. To give you additional feedback, recently, I was copying movies from two different SATA drives onto the NAS and was streaming a bluray movie rip from the NAS to my popcorn C-200 at the same time - absolutely NO stutter.

I enjoy reading Damian's write ups here and on his blogs. He may have compared the Dunes and the PCH side by side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe89 View Post

Hi everyone. I've been reading through a lot of threads, but still can't seem to make up my mind what media player to buy. I have been looking into the Dunes and med8er 500x2 mostly.

My setup is a 40" TV that I will connect via HDMI for video and then optical audio to a switch that goes to my receiver. The receiver only has 1 optical input so I have a harmony one remote that controls everything for me so I don't have to worry about my optical switch. I also have a Windows Server 2008 R2 in another room that is on 24/7 that has a fair bit of blu ray ISO rips from my collection. Also have most of those in just the m2ts file form with foreign languages stripped and etc.

What I'm looking for in a player is something that can handle uncompressed blu ray quality files over the network if possible. I have a wired gigabit connection going through the walls so the bandwidth is there. I have read that some players will still stutter on the high bit rate parts of a scene no matter what connection you have plugged into them. If possible I was hoping to not have to put a hard drive in the player to ensure smooth playback, but I guess I could. Just seems like a hassle to drag movies to the streamer before watching them when I have TB's of storage in my server already.

I'm open to suggestions and not sure if I described everything clearly, so let me know if you need more clarification.

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post #4 of 38 Old 08-09-2011, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadget-zilla View Post

I would like to add one piece of information that maybe of help.

Since you are wanting to watch uncompressed bluray video stream, to the best of my knowledge, Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-MA Audio does NOT pass over optical. They are only passed through HDMI, which means you'll need to connect the HDMI cable through your receiver then to the TV. If your receiver cannot accept an HDMI cable, then, that will be a limitation.

I faced a similar scenario not too long ago and upgraded my receiver. From what I read, that your receiver only has on optical input - it gives away its age

Media streamer experts - please keep me honest and correct me if what I wrote is an incorrect statement

While I'm at it, I'd like to throw in a plug for Popcorn hour C-200. It too is a strong contender for what you are looking to accomplish.

It wasn't too long ago (a week ago to be exact) when I was overly concerned about the gigabit connectivity to my NAS. I can't speak for the Dune since I don't have one but the 10/100 connectivity from the popcorn hour C-200 to my NAS has worked flawlessly so far with no stutter or dropouts. Made a believer out of me.

The 1gb network connectivity, I believe is a limitation of the chipset in these units. Again, I can't confirm about the Dune devices, whether they connect at 1Gb or not.

What I'm getting at, is, that don't let that be the deciding factor. If you have a sound network and a good back end storage, streaming should not be a concern. To give you additional feedback, recently, I was copying movies from two different SATA drives onto the NAS and was streaming a bluray movie rip from the NAS to my popcorn C-200 at the same time - absolutely NO stutter.

I enjoy reading Damian's write ups here and on his blogs. He may have compared the Dunes and the PCH side by side.

Correct, HDMI is required to bitstream HD Audio

The gigE limitation is in both the Dune and PCH as the share the same chipset. gigE is only needed if you plan on transferring files to/from your player over the network, but 10/100 will suffice for bitstreaming HD content

The PCH is a solid machine and has come along way. To be fair being a PCH C200 and A200 owner at the onset of when they were released does still hurt a little in my opinion of them, and there are still some issues (like broken TrueHD downmix) that does impact how they can be used. Overall the Dunes and PCHs are solid machines with large communities to back them. I don't believe you could go wrong either way

Cheers,
Damian

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post #5 of 38 Old 08-09-2011, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
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My receiver isn't actually old, its just not a full receiver. It's a couple year old home theater in a box setup for my bedroom. As far as I know they is no hdmi in, only out since it has a DVD player built in. I always thought optical was one of the better connections for audio. Also, maybe I need to read up on some terminology, but when I read downmix and bitstream I get confused on what they mean.

What I'm looking for the best audio and video I can get and willing to spend probably around 200-300 or maybe more if its really worth it for a player. I'm really technical on the computer side so how difficult the network setups are and etc are not a problem. Just want top notch video and audio with no stutter and preferably fanless and hddless since those noises drive me crazy.
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post #6 of 38 Old 08-10-2011, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe89 View Post

My receiver isn't actually old, its just not a full receiver. It's a couple year old home theater in a box setup for my bedroom. As far as I know they is no hdmi in, only out since it has a DVD player built in. I always thought optical was one of the better connections for audio. Also, maybe I need to read up on some terminology, but when I read downmix and bitstream I get confused on what they mean.

What I'm looking for the best audio and video I can get and willing to spend probably around 200-300 or maybe more if its really worth it for a player. I'm really technical on the computer side so how difficult the network setups are and etc are not a problem. Just want top notch video and audio with no stutter and preferably fanless and hddless since those noises drive me crazy.

Bitstream means to send through the unaltered audio from the player to the receiver for the receiver to downmix. Downmix is where the player itself will decode the HD audio to stereo to send through (for TVs/Receivers that cannot handle HD Audio).

The Dune Smart D1 has optical out that you can use to send audio to your receiver, and it is fanless.

Cheers,
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post #7 of 38 Old 08-10-2011, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post
Bitstream means to send through the unaltered audio from the player to the receiver for the receiver to downmix. Downmix is where the player itself will decode the HD audio to stereo to send through (for TVs/Receivers that cannot handle HD Audio).

The Dune Smart D1 has optical out that you can use to send audio to your receiver, and it is fanless.
I wouldn't call the Dune Smart D1 fanless... I am a fan!
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post #8 of 38 Old 08-10-2011, 08:41 AM
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I wouldn't call the Dune Smart D1 fanless... I am a fan!
I will give you credit for trying lol

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post #9 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I was leaning towards the Med8er because of the covert art and what I saw of the UI looked really nice. Is there a particular reason so many recommend the Dune? Also, what is the difference between the sigmatel vs realtek chips I'm seeing in the upper end players?

Edit: Also forgot, how well does the Dune B1 play blu-rays as I have no blu-ray player anymore except my computer that I use to rip them. Sold my PS3 :/.
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post #10 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by strobe89 View Post

I was leaning towards the Med8er because of the covert art and what I saw of the UI looked really nice. Is there a particular reason so many recommend the Dune? Also, what is the difference between the sigmatel vs realtek chips I'm seeing in the upper end players?

With the Dune you get full covers, artwork, metadata, etc... you just need to set it up using a 3rd party jukebox. My understanding with mede8er to get this full experience as well you need to manage a 3rd party jukebox (Y2M).

Main difference off the top of my head with the Dune is support for full BR menus. I believe Sigma is considered to have better PQ then Realtek with SD content (something I did notice with my Xtreamer).

Mede8er sounds to be the best amongst the realtek players so I am sure you can't go wrong either way

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post #11 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I've assumed either player will be great, but spending 200+ I would like to get the best one. I like the idea that the dune would be automatic for the cover art and stuff which brings me to ask, how does it do that? Do I have to name the files a specific way for it to pull the data?

Also, any advantages the realtek player have over sigmatel? Not concerned about SD quality really.
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post #12 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe89 View Post

I've assumed either player will be great, but spending 200+ I would like to get the best one. I like the idea that the dune would be automatic for the cover art and stuff which brings me to ask, how does it do that? Do I have to name the files a specific way for it to pull the data?

Also, any advantages the realtek player have over sigmatel? Not concerned about SD quality really.

Here is an example of a 3rd party jukebox for the Dune (Zappiti):

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010...-for-the-dune/

So you need to manage the jukebox from a PC but you don't actually need to use your PC to access the jukebox on your Dune (same would go with Mede8er and Y2M)

Realtek I found to be quicker when scrolling around. Otherwise I have seen no benefits of Realtek over Sigma. I have been thinking about picking up a mede8er to do a review on, but haven't pulled the trigger yet

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post #13 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

Here is an example of a 3rd party jukebox for the Dune (Zappiti):

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010...-for-the-dune/

So you need to manage the jukebox from a PC but you don't actually need to use your PC to access the jukebox on your Dune (same would go with Mede8er and Y2M)

Realtek I found to be quicker when scrolling around. Otherwise I have seen no benefits of Realtek over Sigma. I have been thinking about picking up a mede8er to do a review on, but haven't pulled the trigger yet

Ok, I looked over the link and that looks really nice. The way I understood it I need to put a flash drive in the dune for that to work. So I basically build a library then export it to the dunes flash drive?

Kind of leaning towards the dune now, but if I go dune I am unsure if I should get the D1 or B1. I like the idea of having a blu-ray player in case I rent a movie or something and don't want to bother ripping it first. Just not sure how well the Dune B1 will take any old blu-ray as I know lots of players need upates to play newer ones. Side note, why is there an H1 dune when the D1 also accepts a hard drive + has a screen?
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post #14 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 07:07 AM
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Ok, I looked over the link and that looks really nice. The way I understood it I need to put a flash drive in the dune for that to work. So I basically build a library then export it to the dunes flash drive?

Kind of leaning towards the dune now, but if I go dune I am unsure if I should get the D1 or B1. I like the idea of having a blu-ray player in case I rent a movie or something and don't want to bother ripping it first. Just not sure how well the Dune B1 will take any old blu-ray as I know lots of players need upates to play newer ones. Side note, why is there an H1 dune when the D1 also accepts a hard drive + has a screen?

Yes and no on the flash drive. You don't need a flash drive. A flash drive can allow you to do two things (1) You need a flash drive if you want to add a Zappiti shortcut to the Dune screen. You can otherwise still access Zappiti, but you will need to browse to the Zappiti folder (2) You can export your Zappiti jukebox to the flash drive. I export my Zappiti jukebox to my WHS so I don't have a need for this (using a flash drive speeds up navigating the jukebox a little)

The H1 has a hot swap tray (for those who may be constantly swapping out internal hard drives)

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post #15 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 07:53 AM
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The popcorn hour C-200 has similar options to use a 3rd party jukebox software. YAMJ is quite popular. It will give great fan art/cover art/meta data info.

There is a built in network media jukebox (NMJ) that comes with the popcornhour C-200. Its performance is passable but it is a good substitute if you are coming from a streamer where you have been launching movies by the file name.

YAMJ takes that to a whole new level. Here's a link for its details with screenshots.

http://code.google.com/p/moviejukebox/wiki/MovieJukebox
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post #16 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gadget-zilla View Post

The popcorn hour C-200 has similar options to use a 3rd party jukebox software. YAMJ is quite popular. It will give great fan art/cover art/meta data info.

There is a built in network media jukebox (NMJ) that comes with the popcornhour C-200. Its performance is passable but it is a good substitute if you are coming from a streamer where you have been launching movies by the file name.

YAMJ takes that to a whole new level. Here's a link for its details with screenshots.

http://code.google.com/p/moviejukebox/wiki/MovieJukebox

I have a co-worker who is a Mede8er fan and told me to stay away from popcorn hour players. Don't recall why atm, but he told me to go for the 500X2 mede8er instead and if i didn't like that to get a Dune.

What do you mean by performance is "passable" and how does YAMJ on the PCH compare to Dune with Zappiti?
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post #17 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe89 View Post

I have a co-worker who is a Mede8er fan and told me to stay away from popcorn hour players. Don't recall why atm, but he told me to go for the 500X2 mede8er instead and if i didn't like that to get a Dune.

What do you mean by performance is "passable" and how does YAMJ on the PCH compare to Dune with Zappiti?

YAMJ on the PCH is similar to Zappiti on the Dune (they both rely on static jukeboxes). There is a new Flash Jukebox called Eversion that combined with YAMJ on the PCH works well.

The PCH had a very rough beginning when the C200 (very rough may actually be an understatement, more like horrible!). That has tainted many peoples view of PCH. However, that was 2 years ago and much improvement has been done to make the PCH a stable player.

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post #18 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dbone1026 View Post

YAMJ on the PCH is similar to Zappiti on the Dune (they both rely on static jukeboxes). There is a new Flash Jukebox called Eversion that combined with YAMJ on the PCH works well.

The PCH had a very rough beginning when the C200 (very rough may actually be an understatement, more like horrible!). That has tainted many peoples view of PCH. However, that was 2 years ago and much improvement has been done to make the PCH a stable player.

Is YAMJ/Eversion quicker to use than Zappiti on the dune? I don't want to have to take a bunch of time sorting my movies and getting it to look nice. Kind of hoping for a quick/automated route to have my movies looking good. Otherwise I might just resort to picking file names from a menu lol. Sometimes after a hard days work I just want to relax and have a nice simple UI for selecting a movie. I deal with computer issue all day at my job and last thing I want to do after initial setup is start tinkering with jukebox software to make it show my movies nicely.
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post #19 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe89 View Post

Is YAMJ/Eversion quicker to use than Zappiti on the dune? I don't want to have to take a bunch of time sorting my movies and getting it to look nice. Kind of hoping for a quick/automated route to have my movies looking good. Otherwise I might just resort to picking file names from a menu lol. Sometimes after a hard days work I just want to relax and have a nice simple UI for selecting a movie. I deal with computer issue all day at my job and last thing I want to do after initial setup is start tinkering with jukebox software to make it show my movies nicely.

No quicker or slower to set up. With YAMJ you can set it up to auto update on its own whereas with Zappiti you will need to initiate an update yourself from your PC

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post #20 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strobe89 View Post

I might just resort to picking file names from a menu lol.
Sometimes after a hard days work I just want to relax and have a nice simple UI for selecting a movie. I deal with computer issue all day at my job and last thing I want to do after initial setup is start tinkering with jukebox software to make it show my movies nicely.

+1
Same here.... I'm IT and computer repair five days/week- when home I don't want to deal with complicated issues just to relax and watch movies. I just use the simple old school OEM file list GUI on the Dune D1. Like the rest of the D1.... it just works without issues.

At any rate- get the D1 (immediately update to the newest FW/GUI) and enjoy it- you can always work on the jukebox stuff during the long cold boring winter nights when you have nothing else to stimulate your brain.

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post #21 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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+1
Same here.... I'm IT and computer repair five days/week- when home I don't want to deal with complicated issues just to relax and watch movies. I just use the simple old school OEM file list GUI on the Dune D1. Like the rest of the D1.... it just works without issues.

At any rate- get the D1 (immediately update to the newest FW/GUI) and enjoy it- you can always work on the jukebox stuff during the long cold boring winter nights when you have nothing else to stimulate your brain.

1. Do you know anything about the B1 too? I'm kind of interested in that one too since I have no blu-ray player hooked up to the TV anymore and that could kill two birds with one stone.


2. Which method should I use to share the movies over the network? SMB, NFS, etc. I have Server 2008 R2 installed on my server and currently have lots of shares throughout the house including a couple iSCSI connections which seem to be the fastest in my desktop with only an SSD then iSCSI storage (silent machine with no spinning disk lol).
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post #22 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 10:28 AM
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1. Do you know anything about the B1 too? I'm kind of interested in that one too since I have no blu-ray player hooked up to the TV anymore and that could kill two birds with one stone.

I originally intended to purchase the B1 (with built-in BD ROM) but ultimately decided against getting a media player with built-in BD ROM because of the possibility of Cinavia being forced into it's FW in compliance with it's BDA licensing agreement. It's a personal decision you have to make- I just didn't want to chance it, so I went conservative...

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2. Which method should I use to share the movies over the network? SMB, NFS, etc. I have Server 2008 R2 installed on my server and currently have lots of shares throughout the house including a couple iSCSI connections which seem to be the fastest in my desktop with only an SSD then iSCSI storage (silent machine with no spinning disk lol).

SMB has been flawless for me on the D1 from my FreeNAS server (with Gb NIC). We've had up to three 1080i streams running from that server at one time with zero glitches on any of the media players.

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post #23 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 10:32 AM
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SMB has been flawless for me on the D1 from my FreeNAS server (with Gb NIC). We've had up to three 1080i streams running from that server at one time with zero glitches on any of the media players.

+1. Also enable Fast SMB on the Dune

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post #24 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 10:36 AM
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+1. Also enable Fast SMB on the Dune

Yeah, actually I have "Fast SMB" enabled on my D1 also.
Wish I knew what "Fast SMB" actually represents- but it sure works great in any case

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post #25 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm. Think I might give this dune a go. Just trying to talk myself into pulling the trigger lol. What does the D1 show on its screen? Does it show the time when not in use or anything?
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post #26 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 12:02 PM
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Did you look at the Boxee Box? If you want a nice UI that you don't have to jump through any hoops to get, the Boxee Box has it. Also, since you speak of optical and an older receiver, you obviously aren't running TrueHD audio or DTS-MA. That's one of the only current drawbacks with the Boxee, is problems bitstreaming HD audio. With a gigabit hard-wired connection, your video playback of Blu-Ray should be fine.

http://www.amazon.com/D-Link-DSM-380...3089338&sr=8-1
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post #27 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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That boxee box looks broke to me. Looks like someone cut part of it off lmao. Besides that, I never said I had an old receiver. It is just a home theater in a box setup not a giant box with tons of inputs. It's a sleeker setup for a bed room. Not sure what all it supports, but my PS3 used to get some kind of decent audio. Been a couple months I've been without a decent device to stream with and play blu-rays, but the like info overlay on the PS3 used to show the audio type and I swear it said something like DTS 5.1 and another HD something. I'd have to dig up the manual and find out what exactly it supported.
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post #28 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Just ordered the D1 from duneplayer.com. Hope that is a good place to buy them from.I checked a bunch of the "Where to buy from" links on Dune's site and most them didn't even have online stores or didn't have any D1's in stock. Thanks everyone for the help.
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post #29 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 06:56 PM
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Just ordered the D1 from duneplayer.com. Hope that is a good place to buy them from.I checked a bunch of the "Where to buy from" links on Dune's site and most them didn't even have online stores or didn't have any D1's in stock. Thanks everyone for the help.

Congrats!
Can't go wrong with duneplayer.com- Mike is very helpful- although you have us here for that too

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post #30 of 38 Old 08-11-2011, 07:37 PM
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Is there such a thing as a home theater in a box that supports HD audio?

I hope you enjoy the Dune, they are great units from what I understand. I just like my Boxee since it does so many other things.
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