First impressions; great little unit, but not great quality control.
A little background, I’ve be using a HTPC since the early 90’s (they weren’t called that then) I currently have 2 HTPCs, 2 Sony LED TVs, and 2 Sony BD players, all streaming HD movie files and Netflix. Most are 720p MKV files because of Sony’s limitations, about a 50/50 split between DD5.1 and DTS sound. I also stream Netflix and just started Amazon Prime. They are all connected through Netgear Powerline and a couple of routers acting as switches, everything works fine. So over all I’m very familiar with the whole process.
The main reason for trying this unit is that Sony’s streaming capability is a little limited. With the help of Serviio (a great program) everything plays well, but not DTS from files and no DD5.1 from Netflix. So always in search of a little better, I thought I’d give it a shot. The ultimate goal it to cut or greatly reduce my cable costs.
First off I had to get 3 units before one worked correctly, that why I say there are QC issues. The first one would not go out to the internet and the second one would not see any of my shares. Since I was confident everything was set up correctly, it had to be a problem with the units.
The third one worked as it should, easy setup, went to the internet and installed the latest firmware, connected to all my shares, saw all my files, and was able to get all the info for about 225 of my 256 files. The rest of the files, I need to select the correct movie from a list, very simple setup, very clean. I was able to stream all my files butter smooth, including the few 1080P files that I have. I was also getting DTS which was important to me, although it was only 5.1, which I understand is a unit limitation, I didn’t manually set up the receiver, I let the unit auto detect the receiver’s capabilities.
Next was Netflix, at first, to say the least, I was very disappointed. It was barely able to get to the interface and that took over 5 minutes and it couldn’t play a movie at all, just stuck on loading. My Netflix is set to stream the highest quality and works on all my other devices, so I knew it was some issue with the unit. I didn’t want to reduce the quality of the steaming from Netflix. I guessed that is was caching data and didn’t have enough room to do it properly, so I attached a hard drive to the unit and that did it. It seemed to start working fine. I unplugged the HD and put in a 1 gig thumb drive and it work great, High HD and 5.1 sound when available. I think there is higher than High HD but I haven’t gotten that yet, but I’ve only watched a few moves for a short period of time. The movies start quickly and gets to High HD in 30 seconds to 1 min.
It also work great with my Sony TV and receiver, the Sony remote can control it and the WD remote can turn on and off all the components for an easy 1 button on and off.
So over all I’m very happy with the unit. If you’re having trouble with your shares and you can see the PC that the files are on, but not the folders, it’s probably a homegroup issue. Right click on the folder, take share with, take specific people, remove homegroup (it’s probably there), than add everyone read/ write. After that you’ll be able to see your files if the unit is working properly. If you can’t see the PC you aren’t on the same network, change the unit from “Workgroup” to whatever you PC is on. You can check that by looking at the computers properties. Also make sure you login as an admin. Once you get it working you can tighten it down. If you having slow Netflix response, try adding a thumb drive to the unit and that should fix that issue.
If those fixes don’t work, you may have a bad unit, return it and try another. As soon as I got a good one the difference was night and day.
Next I’ll going to get a HD receiver hook it up with a hard drive and try the DVR feature, I’ll let you know how I make out.
If you see anything wrong please correct.