Questions on Dune players - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-17-2013, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I've owned several media streamers including Popcorn Hours A-100 and C-200, WD-TV Live, and now an Oppo BDP-103. I stream off a gigabit NAS via SMB primarily 1080p high bit rate MKV's, but have the occasional AVI/MOV/MP4/MTS to deal with, as well as some DVD ISO's and BD ISO's. Some of these have multiple language tracks and subtitles (anime, for example). I really only need bitstream audio out plus the option for stereo downmixing as I have a new receiver where I have more than 2 speakers.

The PCH A-100 was a miracle when it was new (5 years ago!), but is now very long in the tooth, has trouble with high bit rates, doesn't do ISO's, etc. The PCH C-200 has horrible reliability (I have replaced the power supply twice and the current one is failing again), and has made me swear off future PCH products. Seeing early feedback on the A-400's unreliability and buggyness reinforces that. The WD-TV Live is reasonable for the price, but has a clunky UI that doesn't remember SMB shares and is not very easy for family members. The Oppo is a wonderful BD player, but more of an experiment as a network streamer.

With the C-200 failing and a new TV needing a media streamer, I'd love to buy a set of identical highly reliable players for the house that would:
  • Play this selection of video formats (and as many variants as possible), including high bitrates off SMB shares, with good performanceand reliable transport controls
  • Have a non-technical family member usable UI, including remembering authenticated SMB shares
  • Support switching language tracks and subtitles during playback
  • Nice to have is 3D support

I haven't looked at media players in a couple years and figured I'd see some clear front-runners, but it seems like the field is as muddled as it was a few years ago. I see a lot of good things on this forum about the Dune players playing "everything" and being highly reliable, but I'm not sure what the "right" Dune player is for these requirements. I don't need physical disc playback or internal storage, so it seems like the Dune HD Smart D1 is the player to choose, but then I see reviews for it from 2010.

Is a 2+ year old player really the front runner for media streamers? What about the Zappiti Dune Base 3D at about the same price, is that a better choice? Or the Dune HD TV303D for cheaper? Thanks for any suggestions or pointers!

- Dan Butterfield
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-18-2013, 01:20 AM
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Both the Zappiti Dune Base 3D and the dune HD TV303D are pretty much the same exact player with same firmware. And like the A400 being based of a newer sigma chipset they have bugs, The older dune smart series is like the PCH 200 series but without the power supply issues and with slightly better ISO/menu support. From an mkv/avi standpoint without needing 3d almost any of the players out there will suit your needs and are pretty stable at it. If 3d is something you want the only stable player for it is the meder8er 600x3d or 1000x3d at this point in time.
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-18-2013, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, weird timing, but it looks to me like the Dune HD Smart D1 player is no longer on the DunePlayer site. So, I guess that eliminates it from my consideration! I did an A/B comparison between the Dune Base 3D and the Dune HD TV303D and came up with these differences:
  • TV303D has Wi-Fi, Base 3D does not
  • Base 3D has HD Audio support ((Dolby True HD, DTS HD Master Audio, LPCM, FLAC), TV303D does not
  • Base 3D has some additional connectors (Coaxial audio and component video)
  • Base 3D takes a 3.5" drive, TV303D takes a 2.5" drive
  • TV303D has a USB 3.0 slave port, Base 3D does not
  • TV303D is slightly smaller with ports in different positions
  • TV303D costs $199.95 and is in stock, Base 3D costs $299.95 and is not in stock

It seems like the TV303D is the model to buy here, except for one question. Does the lack of HD Audio support on the TV303D mean it will not stream a Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream over HDMI to an external AVR? The Base 3D details site has a feature that says this:
Quote:
HD audio support: pass-through (up to 7.1 channels) and decoding (up to 7.1 channels) of Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD MA audiotracks (Blu-ray, TS, MKV), pass-through (up to 7.1 channels) of multichannel LPCM audiotracks (Blu-ray, TS, MKV), decoding (up to 7.1 channels) of FLAC audiotracks (MKV, external)
The TV303D has no statement whatsoever about Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD MA. Does that mean it won't even output their undecoded bitstreams to an external AVR?

Finally, I see a Zappiti Dune Base 3D Media Player for $50 more than the Base 3D player ($349). However, in a review Zappiti Media Center Software for Dune HD Players it says the Zappiti front end is free to U.S. customers. Since the TV303D is almost the same as the Base 3D, does that mean I can add the Zappiti front end to it for free if I wish?

Sorry for all the dumb questions... A Dune player comparison matrix would probably help me out quite a bit!

- Dan Butterfield
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-19-2013, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danjb View Post

Well, weird timing, but it looks to me like the Dune HD Smart D1 player is no longer on the DunePlayer site. So, I guess that eliminates it from my consideration! I did an A/B comparison between the Dune Base 3D and the Dune HD TV303D and came up with these differences:
  • TV303D has Wi-Fi, Base 3D does not
  • Base 3D has HD Audio support ((Dolby True HD, DTS HD Master Audio, LPCM, FLAC), TV303D does not
  • Base 3D has some additional connectors (Coaxial audio and component video)
  • Base 3D takes a 3.5" drive, TV303D takes a 2.5" drive
  • TV303D has a USB 3.0 slave port, Base 3D does not
  • TV303D is slightly smaller with ports in different positions
  • TV303D costs $199.95 and is in stock, Base 3D costs $299.95 and is not in stock

It seems like the TV303D is the model to buy here, except for one question. Does the lack of HD Audio support on the TV303D mean it will not stream a Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream over HDMI to an external AVR? The Base 3D details site has a feature that says this:
The TV303D has no statement whatsoever about Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD MA. Does that mean it won't even output their undecoded bitstreams to an external AVR?

Finally, I see a Zappiti Dune Base 3D Media Player for $50 more than the Base 3D player ($349). However, in a review Zappiti Media Center Software for Dune HD Players it says the Zappiti front end is free to U.S. customers. Since the TV303D is almost the same as the Base 3D, does that mean I can add the Zappiti front end to it for free if I wish?

Sorry for all the dumb questions... A Dune player comparison matrix would probably help me out quite a bit!

I've owned the 303D. It does output TrueHD and DTS-MA bitstream OK with the latest firmware, regardless of what it says on the website. I also tested Zappiti front end on the 303D and it works fine. If you send you're receipt to the guys at Zappiti they will 'unlock" the feature for you. You still get 7 days anyways ... if I recall.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-22-2013, 07:28 PM
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I recently went through this comparison too. Base3d vs 303d. I went with a Base3D, got it a couple days ago. I'm on the fence right now on if it was the better one for my needs or not. A couple more observations...
  • The base3d DOES have Wifi.
  • The base3d has a lcd display on the front, it's not terribly useful but can be handy for a quick glance at how far you're through a show.
  • The base3d takes 3.5 drives which in general are much cheaper then their 2.5 equivalents and also are rated to last longer.
  • The 303d has an IR extender which is pretty cool.
  • The 303d is a much smaller form factor

What really tipped me to the base3d was the 3.5 port and the lcd display. There are a couple of downsides to both of these devices the first I initially thought was major but I'm getting used to the idea.
  • They advertise them both as having 1G nics but in real world testing you get something closer to 150M. Which I think is kinda crappy but apparently most of these device perform that way.
  • I think the standard Dune remote is a lunk of turd. The device is pretty responsive but it's hard to tell with the big spongy keys on the remote. I was planning on getting a harmony but that was also a let down.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-24-2013, 08:41 AM
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Interesting read, I just yesterday got bitten by the upgrade bug! I bought a 3D Projector and now looks like an upgrade to everything I own. I have the Dune Smart H1, my question is if I go to the Base 3d will the zappiti function exactly the same way? Meaning I won't have to redo all the movies just transfer the soles over to the new unit? Does anyone know of any features that I will lose going from the H1 to the Base 3D? Why oh why did I buy a new projector? :-)
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