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Recommendations Needed: Best non-Cinavia Media Player under $200

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a non-Cinavia affected media player that can handle BD ISO's and folders with full menu support, and audio pass through support for all popular BD audio formats. I've looked at the Pivos AIOS, which looks almost perfect, but it has the 1185 chip, which only handles some BD menus. The Micca EP600 Gen2 looks promising, but I don't know what chip it has or how it compares with the AIOS.

Any other media players that fit my requirements and are under $200?
post #2 of 62
I don't believe any media player currently on the market is encumbered with Cinavia, so the field of players is wide open for you. The number of players that handle BD menus is a short list. The ones that do it very well are all over $200.
post #3 of 62
Quote:
I'm looking for a non-Cinavia affected media player that can handle BD ISO's and folders with full menu support, and audio pass through support for all popular BD audio formats.
No 3D streamers will give you full menus. Only BD lite. That includes Micca EP600 Gen2. It uses Realtek's 1186 chip vs. 1185 in AIOS (no 3D ISO support).

For 2D with full menus, your best bets would be Dune Smart series or Popcorn Hour 200 series.
post #4 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by PillPu$her View Post

I'm looking for a non-Cinavia affected media player that can handle BD ISO's and folders with full menu support, and audio pass through support for all popular BD audio formats.

No new device like this will ever exist again.

The Bluray Alliance says who gets menu support. You have to pay them for the privilege of licensing their technologies and selling a bluray player.

To get menu support (aka make a bluray player), you must also enforce Cinavia detection. It became part of the standard earlier this year.
post #5 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

I don't believe any media player currently on the market is encumbered with Cinavia, so the field of players is wide open for you. The number of players that handle BD menus is a short list. The ones that do it very well are all over $200.

If I remember correctly, the Netgear NEO NTV550 has Cinavia on it, but I'm not aware of any others.
post #6 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

No new device like this will ever exist again.
The Bluray Alliance says who gets menu support. You have to pay them for the privilege of licensing their technologies and selling a bluray player.
To get menu support (aka make a bluray player), you must also enforce Cinavia detection. It became part of the standard earlier this year.

I was wondering how that went down and why it was just BR players that were getting the mandate. Makes sense now. Thanks.
post #7 of 62
DVD is based on more open standards. Open meaning not as locked down and harder to monetize. That was one of Sony's goals in creating the bluray standard.

DVD menus are all based around MPEG2 video and are rendered/created when the disc is originally made. As long as you have the proper decoding ability you will be able to navigate the menus.

Bluray is an entirely different beast. It uses proprietary runtime environment based on Java to create the menus and bonus features. It is a set of closed technological patents owned by the Bluray Alliance. To do menus, you have to license the technology. They aren't going to do that if you don't follow all of their other licensing rules.

Oppo, Dune, and PCH were able to get around this at first, as were the PC software packages Power DVD and Total Media Theater. New versions of these products will have to enforce Cinavia.
post #8 of 62
The only real option going forward to defeat Cinavia and have access to menus and 3D will be the following path:

-Use a PC for playback

-Run Anydvd or DVDFab Passkey on physical discs or use them to rip your media. This will eliminate your need to update software for new AACS keys.

-Get a copy of Power DVD or Total Media Theater BEFORE they were updated to enforce Cinavia detection. Never update the software. Once you update to allow you to decrypt and watch newer movies you will be stuck with Cinavia too.
post #9 of 62
I have a HTPC but I couldn't resist WD's new Gen 3 for $76. Recommended. It will do the job, even managed to play a 1080/60i 8GB .ts rip, which is impressive.
post #10 of 62
Hi smitbret,
Quote:
Originally Posted by smitbret View Post

If I remember correctly, the Netgear NEO NTV550 has Cinavia on it, but I'm not aware of any others.
No, the NeoTV-550 does not have Cinavia, although Netgear did talk about it briefly.

And I don't understand how the BDA licenses for full menus work. I believe you need the license with Java, but that full-menus can be used without a license if you don't use Java. However, full-menus have yet to be reverse engineered, so we don't see it on unlicensed players. The NeoTV has full menus, yet it isn't encumbered with a BDA license. But I suspect that happened because Netgear was intending to get a BDA license, but saw the error of their ways.

I'm very happy with my Neo, mainly because it does full BD menus for $80 and also does music well.
post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

And I don't understand how the BDA licenses for full menus work. I believe you need the license with Java, but that full-menus can be used without a license if you don't use Java.
That is my understanding too, that you don't need a BDA license for basic BD menus. I believe the BDA license is required for the advanced BD features like BD Live. I do a fair bit of BD authoring with MultiAVCHD and I don't see the menus it creates as having to use java.

But I guess this is all kind of irrelevant for a media player. If a player advertises that it does BD menus, people will always expect it to do all features of the menus so the experience is like putting the disk in a BD player. That means it will be expected to support the advanced features which do require a BDA license. I think a player that supported limited BD menus would have limited appeal, especially if its price point were substantially above something like the WD Live.

Cinavia is still almost exclusively a Sony show, although WB has started releasing Cinavia titles (Project X, Wrath of The Titans, Rock of Ages, The Campaign) and Disney has just released its first Cinavia title (Frankenweenie). The other difference is whereas Sony is using Cinavia on just the BD titles, Warner Bros and Disney are putting Cinavia on both BD and DVD copies.

DVD Fab has just released their PC-based media player that supposedly does full BD menus and does not have Cinavia. It doesn't have a BDA license either. It works on the basis of cracking the protection of any disk you feed it. If you only play BD.iso or BD file structures from storage the player is free.
post #12 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

No 3D streamers will give you full menus. Only BD lite. That includes Micca EP600 Gen2. It uses Realtek's 1186 chip vs. 1185 in AIOS (no 3D ISO support).
For 2D with full menus, your best bets would be Dune Smart series or Popcorn Hour 200 series.

Thanks Brajesh. 3D isn't really important to me since I don't have a 3D capable hdtv. Is that the only real difference between the AIOS and the Micca EP600? Will both run BD Lite?

As far as apps go, I don't really use them. Amazon Instant Video is about the only app I would want to have, if possible.

Also, 99% of the time, I don't need menus. I only rip the main movie. The only time I think I need menus is for tv series' episode discs. I don't want to have to rip each episode separately.

Dune and Popcorn seem like the best alternatives, but too expensive for my first try at media streaming. If I had to choose between the AIOS HD, Micca EP600 Gen2, and the WD, which would be the most recommended?
post #13 of 62
The only players I know of that support full menus are the Dune players (some of them anyway), the Popcorn Hour C200, C300, A300, and the Netgear NTV550. Are there any others?
post #14 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi smitbret,
No, the NeoTV-550 does not have Cinavia, although Netgear did talk about it briefly.
And I don't understand how the BDA licenses for full menus work. I believe you need the license with Java, but that full-menus can be used without a license if you don't use Java. However, full-menus have yet to be reverse engineered, so we don't see it on unlicensed players. The NeoTV has full menus, yet it isn't encumbered with a BDA license. But I suspect that happened because Netgear was intending to get a BDA license, but saw the error of their ways.
I'm very happy with my Neo, mainly because it does full BD menus for $80 and also does music well.

This is interesting because I believe I had read the implementation of Cinavia in the 550 from several different sources like press realeases and web reviews and had removed it from consideration because of that. What Cinavia titles have you been able to rip and playback successfully? I would be very interested in this device again.
post #15 of 62
Quote:
3D isn't really important to me since I don't have a 3D capable hdtv. Is that the only real difference between the AIOS and the Micca EP600? Will both run BD Lite?
Yes to both. The AIOS supports a movie jukebox, but I found the setup clunky, and unless they've improved the main UI, that looked amateurish as well. The player itself functioned fine.
Quote:
Dune and Popcorn seem like the best alternatives, but too expensive for my first try at media streaming. If I had to choose between the AIOS HD, Micca EP600 Gen2, and the WD, which would be the most recommended?
That's a tough one, but I'd personally (of those 3) pick AIOS if I needed both DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD, plus a jukebox (none on Micca). Otherwise, WD as their UI/presentation is nicer. However, while WD passes Dolby TrueHD as is, it only gives you 1.5Mb/s core from DTS-HD.
post #16 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

Yes to both. The AIOS supports a movie jukebox, but I found the setup clunky, and unless they've improved the main UI, that looked amateurish as well. The player itself functioned fine.
That's a tough one, but I'd personally (of those 3) pick AIOS if I needed both DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD, plus a jukebox (none on Micca). Otherwise, WD as their UI/presentation is nicer. However, while WD passes Dolby TrueHD as is, it only gives you 1.5Mb/s core from DTS-HD.

Depends on how much you need a good GUI. I tried the AIOS out before I bought my WD Live Hub and just couldn't stand using the AIOS. It feels like it was designed by the 6th grade science class and the WAF was terrible. It works fine if the people using it are fairly networking and computer savvy but was not pretty, not very respopnsive and didn't feel the least bit intuitive. Otherwise it was fine. I just happen to prefer the WD interface and that's why I chose it.

Incidentally, I also tried setting up the Jukebox but just don't have the necessary knowledge of telnet, SAMBA and NFS networking to pull it off. I tried for a day or two but never got it to work and just gave up. Like I said, this box felt like a technogeeks dream and the average user's nightmare.
post #17 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

Yes to both. The AIOS supports a movie jukebox, but I found the setup clunky, and unless they've improved the main UI, that looked amateurish as well. The player itself functioned fine.
That's a tough one, but I'd personally (of those 3) pick AIOS if I needed both DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD, plus a jukebox (none on Micca). Otherwise, WD as their UI/presentation is nicer. However, while WD passes Dolby TrueHD as is, it only gives you 1.5Mb/s core from DTS-HD.
I'm a little confused. I thought all of these players had straight audio passthru via optical. I have a Pioneer Elite SC-25 that should handle any audio codec available AFAIK. Also, what is a jukebox (sorry for the newb question)?
post #18 of 62
I was referring to passthru of HD audio formats, which can only be done via HDMI.

Re: jukebox, it's a movie wall with posters and details. I have screenshots in my review at http://brajeshblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/my-review-of-mede8ers-med1000x3d-full-3d-hd-media-streamer/
Edited by Brajesh - 12/14/12 at 12:37pm
post #19 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by smitbret View Post

This is interesting because I believe I had read the implementation of Cinavia in the 550 from several different sources like press realeases and web reviews and had removed it from consideration because of that. What Cinavia titles have you been able to rip and playback successfully? I would be very interested in this device again.
Will confirm AGAIN that the neotv550 does NOT have Cinavia. Have had one since launch..
post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by PillPu$her View Post

Thanks Brajesh. 3D isn't really important to me since I don't have a 3D capable hdtv. Is that the only real difference between the AIOS and the Micca EP600? Will both run BD Lite?
As far as apps go, I don't really use them. Amazon Instant Video is about the only app I would want to have, if possible.
Also, 99% of the time, I don't need menus. I only rip the main movie. The only time I think I need menus is for tv series' episode discs. I don't want to have to rip each episode separately.
Dune and Popcorn seem like the best alternatives, but too expensive for my first try at media streaming. If I had to choose between the AIOS HD, Micca EP600 Gen2, and the WD, which would be the most recommended?
You can easily score a used a200 for $100 on ebay. I do not consider that "too much"..
post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by comicguy View Post

Will confirm AGAIN that the neotv550 does NOT have Cinavia. Have had one since launch..

Had all of the Firmware updates, too? Pardon my skepticism, but Cinavia was the whole reason I dumped my PS3.
post #22 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by smitbret View Post

Had all of the Firmware updates, too? Pardon my skepticism, but Cinavia was the whole reason I dumped my PS3.

PS3 added it because its sony, They are the only player that added it to a "old model" player. The sigma chipset inside the neotv550 does not even support cinavia so its impossible for it to have it, And it came out well before the bda rule went into effect.
post #23 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by comicguy View Post

You can easily score a used a200 for $100 on ebay. I do not consider that "too much"..

Wow. Does the A-210 support full menus for 2D and 3D iso's and folders?
post #24 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by PillPu$her View Post

Wow. Does the A-210 support full menus for 2D and 3D iso's and folders?
No to the 3d yes to everything else. There are currently ZERO "streamers" that do full menu 3D blu ray..
post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by smitbret View Post

Had all of the Firmware updates, too? Pardon my skepticism, but Cinavia was the whole reason I dumped my PS3.
Holy CRAP! Do you want a sworn testimonial? rolleyes.gif It does NOT have Cinavia, never did and never will as it is a non dead product from netgear and will not recieve any more firmware upates...
post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by comicguy View Post

No to the 3d yes to everything else. There are currently ZERO "streamers" that do full menu 3D blu ray..You had mentioned that you were not concerned with 3D which is why I mentioned the a-200
post #27 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by comicguy View Post

No to the 3d yes to everything else. There are currently ZERO "streamers" that do full menu 3D blu ray..

Are you positive that the A-210 supports full blu-ray Java menus for 2D movies? I could have sworn it didn't. I thought I remember that was one of the major reasons to go with the C200. I could very well be wrong, and I'm having a tough time finding a solid answer via google.
post #28 of 62
I believe it does, but to be certain, I'd ask in the NMT forum.
post #29 of 62
Thread Starter 
I really appreciate all of the advice. A thread like this that compares different models and features is very helpful to narrow down my choices. I will certainly go on and read the full threads for whatever models are on my final list.

I was really interested in the Micca EP600 G2 at first, but now I want something with a comprehensive jukebox. The AIOS has the older 1185 chip, but I'm not sure why that's a problem if 3D ISOs are the only thing it doesn't support. The AIOS UI looks a bit weak, though.

Full 2D Java menus are important to me, but I don't need any of the web apps. So what do the WD Live and Netgear NTV550 lack that the PCH and Dune models have?
post #30 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by PillPu$her View Post

Full 2D Java menus are important to me, but I don't need any of the web apps. So what do the WD Live . . . lack that the PCH and Dune models have?
Simply put, the WDTV Live lacks any support whatsoever for BD menus and BD playlists. There is none. The only thing the WD Live will play from a BD rip are the .m2ts files in the BDMV\STREAM folder. So if you are looking for a player that will give you the experience of putting a BD disk in a player, the WD Live is definitively not it.
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