I've been searching for a decent media player for a while. Practically every one that I have encountered thus far (embedded in my Bluray player and included in my plasma TV) has been lacking in...
richest feature set I've found with good a/v quality at a very reasonable price
there are far too many gotchas and problems that need to be overlooked. you need a fair bit of patience to work with this unit.
I've been searching for a decent media player for a while. Practically every one that I have encountered thus far (embedded in my Bluray player and included in my plasma TV) has been lacking in some way. The Micca MPlayer-HD is the best I've found thus far, but it is far from perfect.
At the time of writing this review I have been using the unit for 4 months. I recently purchased 2 more as gifts for friends -- that should tell you that I'm pleased enough with it to give it as a gift.
You might wonder, given all the cons listed below, how I can fault on the side of a positive recommendation for the unit. For the most part it is the most usable media player I've found for my purposes. On the whole though the quality of the unit is lacking and it requires a fair bit of patience to work around its shortcomings. It feels more like a beta version of a product, but it's the best I've been able to find to date and it is a reasonable value.
1) Plays DVD files (VOB, IFO, TS) recognizing their navigation/menu structures. This is really important to me as I want my media player to be a means of playing archived DVD content from HDD and SSD.
2) Recognizes (M3U) music playlists. There are many media players that do not. This is VERY important to me.
3) Plays a reasonable set of video file formats, e.g. FLV/H263, aforementioned DVD (VOB, IFO, TS), etc. However ... see con #4 below.
4) File manager sorts files alphabetically. This may sound simple enough, but I've run into FAR TOO MANY media player's file managers that use algorithm's for sorting files that I've yet to figure out -- they have something to do with how the files are layed down on the disk or is solid-state storage -- they can be very non-intuitive for a user interface presentation. Kudos to Micca for getting this right.
5) Support of BOTH NTFS and FAT32 file systems.
6) Audio Connection: SPDIF optical -- much appreciated.
7) Both sound and video quality have been very good.
8) It's a good value. I paid more to load up the memory slots with high capacity cards than it cost for the media player itself.
1) The remote keys generally associated with chapter forward ( >>| ) and chapter backward ( |<< ) function as NEXT FILE and PREVIOUS FILE when playing videos. In order to navigate chapters you have to hit the 'goto' button on the remote and then scroll over to the chapter portion of that menu and manually decrement/increment the chapter number in order to perform the otherwise simple chapter fwd/back function. That's a pain in the rear.
2) There is no album/cover art display in the music player. Even the simplest / lamest built-in media players found on my TV and Bluray player display the album art found in the ID3 tags. The music player display would appear to have real estate set aside for album art display, but instead there is a lame little graphic telling me nothing more than the MUSIC player is indeed playing MUSIC. duh.
3) Generally sluggish and finnicky remote. In general there is a latency in the response from the unit to most remote actions. The sluggishness can result it some unfortunate results. Also, you need to have a fairly direct line of sight between the remote and the unit for the unit to respond to the remote commands. You need a fair bit of patience to use the remote, and since that is the ONLY way to control the unit, you need a fair bit of patience to use the Micca MPlay-HD.
3) Stuck in music shuffle. Once I placed the music player in shuffle loop I wasn't able to figure out how to get it out of shuffle loop. After much frustration I selected "repeat off", which apparently is the universal "off" switch for BOTH repeat (one / all) and shuffle loop modes. I'm used to having an off button for each mode, not one that applies to both.
4) It doesn't play all the video formats advertised. I haven't quite figured out exactly what it does and doesn't play as yet. I just know it skips over a lot of my video files (e.g. FLVs not H263, mpeg)
5) Many menus and PGCs (warnings/disclaimers) are displayed as 4:3 when they should be 16:9, while the main DVD title plays at the correct aspect ratio. This isn't critical, just annoying.
6) Resume Play is flakey / inconsitent. I haven't figured out how to get it to work reliably. Combine this with the cumbersome method for 'chapter forward' and it's easy to get frustrated when it doesn't remember to resume play where you last left off.
7) Media indexing/cataloging seems slow and inefficient. The unit ought to be able to do a very quick, simple check to ascertain that nothing has changed on the drives since the last indexing, but it doesn't appear to do this. It appears to do a complete re-indexing everytime the unit powers up. Yes, I know I can turn off automatic scanning, but I'd prefer your scanner would possess some modicum of efficiency. I wanted to put my entire music collection (currently at 48 Gb and growing) on a flash drive and be accessible by my media player. Given this inefficient indexing mechanism I sadly can't realize this goal as I don't want to wait HOURS before the indexing is complete. The unit ought to be able to index/catalog a static music collection ONCE and only re-index when something changes.
8) Firmware revisions seem to lack quality control. I was fortunate that I didn't run into any showstopper problems with my initial unit. When I bought 2 additional units as gifts for friends, those units contained a newer version of the firmware (2012-07-17). That version contained 2 critical errors (1. DVD menus inoperable, 2. DVD main title reboots unit after 15-18 seconds when played through "Movies", cf. through "File Manager"). When I updated the firmware on their units to the newest version available (2013-02) the first problem was fixed, but the 2nd (showstopper) one remains. I was able to sidestep those critical problems by reverting to the oldest version of the firmware (2011-07-19), but I can't help but wonder what problems fixed by the newer versions of the firmware are out there waiting to afflict my friends' use of the unit. I wondered why Micca placed mutiple versions of the firmware updates for download on their website, but it seems they recognize the flakiness of their firmware and offer you a set of options you can try to fix your particular problem. I would hope that the latest version would be highest quality, but this doesn't seem to be the case. If one doesn't fix your problem, try another and then treat it 'gently' and hope you don't bump into another problem. Update (2013-03-01): Micca placed a new version of the 2013-02 firmware on their website. It fixes both of the serious problems identified here.
9) Sub-titles are enabled sporadically when starting a DVD video or even after being paused and resuming. Sure, it is easy enough to disable them, it's just annoying to have to do that.
10) Indexing not finding music on SD card. I can play the music fine if I access it through the "File Manager" path, but when I look in the "Music" (cataloged/indexed) menu it doesn't know about the music. This is true with firmware version 2012-05-10, but doesn't seem to be the case on version 2012-01-04.
11) The unit can get quite hot.
12) Flash memory card max support at 32Gb. Too small. 64Gb & 128Gb are getting reasonable these days and when you are talking about DVD video support this is not unreasonable to expect. Granted you can get the support with USB SSD and HDDs, but it would nice to not be limited in this way.
13) Particularly susceptable to static electricity -- more than any other my electronic devices. It causes the unit to reboot, turn on or turn off.
14) It freezes up a bit too often for my taste. It requires a hard recycle of the power (unplug and replug) to get it going again. No amount of remote button pressing or front-panel power switch depressing will bring it out.
Particulars for my Micca MPlayer-HD:
Firmware version: System:2012-05-10.
Player serial number begins with 1055 (not the older version which apparently was quite a different beast).