What is the best set-top box for blu-ray ISO playback? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-02-2013, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm thinking of upgrading my Popcorn Hour (A-110) to something more modern. The Popcorn Hour A-300 look promising, but I want to make sure I explore my options.

Ideally, I'd like something that can playback YouTube and Netflix videos in addition to Blu-Ray ISOs. Also, it should go without saying, that I'd need MKV/MP4/AVI compatibility.

I'd like something that could house an internal hard drive, like the Popcorn Hour, but it's not a deal breaker.

Any suggestions?

P.S. I don't care about about 3D compatibility, nor do I need wi-fi built in...I prefer wired ethernet anyway.
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-02-2013, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booruguru View Post

I'm thinking of upgrading my Popcorn Hour (A-110) to something more modern. The Popcorn Hour A-300 look promising, but I want to make sure I explore my options.

Ideally, I'd like something that can playback YouTube and Netflix videos in addition to Blu-Ray ISOs. Also, it should go without saying, that I'd need MKV/MP4/AVI compatibility.

I'd like something that could house an internal hard drive, like the Popcorn Hour, but it's not a deal breaker.

Any suggestions?

P.S. I don't care about about 3D compatibility, nor do I need wi-fi built in...I prefer wired ethernet anyway.

The closest device to what you want is an HDI Dune Smart D1. Having said that it cannot do Netflix (but then no streamer that supports blu-ray ISO does). I think if you look around these forums you will find that between PCH and Dune, Dune is the way to go as it seems to be more reliable. I've used Dune players for over two years now and they are flawless for blu-ray ISO and are great for MKVs too. The only limitation (also shared with PCH players) is support for 1080p IDX/SUB subtitles - not a deal breaker but you basically don't want to use software that converts subtitles on your blu-ray discs to 1080p SUB/IDX when creating an MKV file.

Whatever you do, if you want full blu-ray support act fast! The new crop of PCH and Dune players only support bd-lite as all new licensed blu-ray players have to have Cinavia which cripples a media player's ability to playback any blu-ray rip that has it.
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-02-2013, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I keep hearing about KDLINKS, are they any good? They boxes seem to hit most of the points on my list.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-02-2013, 08:48 PM
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I just purchased a KDLink HD700 (disclaimer, this is my first player such as this, and am still in the newbie stage). It will do You-Tube but not Netflix. Supposed to cover all the formats you list. Doesn't have a hard drive, but does have 4 USB ports, for multiple HDs. To me that makes more sense anyway, if a hard drive goes out, you're not also tossing the player. Or visa versa. Does have Wifi, found my router no problem. The manual isn't great, doesn't cover all the features of the player (such as photo slide show options). The unit's Premium apps seems to be more for the Chinese market, adapted for English use. If you read the reviews on Amazon, lots of folks give Kudos to their support person, Eric. I can confirm this, he has been very quick in answering my emails to him.

Here's a prior review posted, that covers quite a bit:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1448804/media-player-roundup-what-are-todays-recommendations

Here's another:

http://www.your3dcenter.com/kdlinks-hd700-extreme-full-hd-review/
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-02-2013, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booruguru View Post

I keep hearing about KDLINKS, are they any good? They boxes seem to hit most of the points on my list.

You mentioned in your original post that you want to playback BD ISO. Three brands of media players support this Dune, PCH, and the discontinued Netgear NeoTV550 - that's it.

While many media players support bd-lite there is a misconception that blu-ray menu support is only needed to navigate an entire disc and that it isn't needed for playing back only the main movie - this is only partially true. Even if you rip only the main movie to a blu-ray ISO you need a player that can read the blu-ray structure (such as those mentioned above) otherwise you will have problems with movies with seamless branching (e.g. any of the pixar films) and perhaps even more importantly bd-lite does not support forced subtitles. Many people aren't aware of just how many movies contain forced subtitles for non-english speaking parts.

You can get around the bd-lite limitations if you use MKV but forced subtitles in an MKV is still an issue with most media players so you may be right back to Dune and PCH anyway. I suggest you visit mediasmartserver.net a very knowledgeable AVS member has posted some very detailed reviews of media players on that site with some very specific tests - these should help bring you up-to-speed on the limitations most media players have.
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