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!