Is this the correct process to start an official thread? This is a bit of a read. My apologies for the time-challenged.
Anyway, there are some random threads discussing these players and I thought they should have their own thread.
After reading a lot of reviews and product Q&A on Amazon and email responses from Eric @ KDlinks, I decided to purchase and demo the HD720 to see if it fit my needs. I have kind of a "I want everything" approach to my media, but as I have been researching set-top media players I have realized that there are all sorts of compromises I have to be willing to make. I can put together a HTPC and have zero compromises although, I am kind of getting tired of dealing with the routine OS (Win7) maintenance and all the tinkering. WMC7 with "MyMovies" collection management software was great, but my interest in maintaining this 5-year setup is waning due to the lack of BluRay support. I was hoping Windows 8 would have native BR support with WMC8, but that's a different story.
Anyway, I purchased the WDTV live streaming media player about a month ago. It is my basis for comparison.
Pros: interface looks great to me. I like that I can change the views of folders. Pretty straight forward.
Cons: ***Only passes DTS core not DTS-MA.*** ***It does not handle main movie BR rips with seamless branching.(possible fix with recent FW update)*** This is when the main .m2ts movie is split up between multiple files. It only plays the largest or first .m2ts file. It got hung up on every BD file I played. Had to power-cycle the player. ***There are also known problems with the rear usb port.***This is not a thread to discuss the WDTV smp. This is just a brief summary of my experiences which led me to look elsewhere. I do really like the WDTV and am considering putting it in the bedroom for some light-duty work.
What I want: I want to rip my disc to the pc once and that's it. The full disc in either BDMV or ISO. I want to walk over to my media streamer, turn it on and play that rip through my wired network. Simple. Now, I can hear the people, rip/remux to single.m2ts, rip to MKV, players don't support ISO, rip main movie only, what about Cinavia. These are all great options/concerns but I really don't want to spend that much time doing all this. It would be quicker over the long haul to just walk over to the shelf and pick the movie out and play it in the PS3. I want the option to be able to put the rip back onto disc (in case the actual disc gets lost, damaged) with minimal effort and 100% quality.
The KDLINKS HD720 (Realtek 1186 chipset)
I went with the 720 over the 700 because for $20 more I have the ability to house a HDD in the unit. According to the website, it offers 4TB support.
The interface is really bad. Ugly. And the app selection is equally as ugly. The menu interface is ok to navigate, some of the options are so-so explained with the accompanying paper manual. There is a video on YT that goes over this model, but it lacks any actual media demonstration and just serves as a brief overview. The remote feels....strange. The buttons have this rubberized "click" feel to them. Browsing network folders over wi-fi was painfully (deal-breaker) slow. Turning off auto-scan in the setup menu might solve this, although that might be just for internal hdd media. It also took a long time for my folder.jpgs to populate the thumbnails on the folders. Turning off wi-fi and connecting my cat6 cable made the system a lot more speedy.
My test media: "Oz the Great and Powerful". This movie is split among three .m2ts files. It has a 20 second "Disney" intro .m2ts, a 10 second opening credit .m2ts, and then the last half of the opening credits followed by the main movie (30GB) .m2ts. I ripped this disc four ways using dvdfab:
1. Full disc ISO
2. Full disc BDMV
3. Main movie BDMV
4. Main movie rip to single .m2ts file
These movies are sitting on my computer's HDD in the office. The Kdlink player is in the livingroom, connected via cat6 on gigabit network. HDMI to Yamaha 673 reciever, through to a 40" Sony LCD.
I went into the kdlinks and selected "Network", clicked on my workgroup folder and all my media appeared. Hovered over the folders and clicked on the play button on the remote. The "Use BD-lite menu" appeared on the ISO (i think), which was nice. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that it played the movie right away with all .m2ts files in order. Clicking on the subtitles button on the remote brought up a menu that let you choose different subtitles, and the info button displayed DTS-MA, as well as my yamaha 673 receiver. The audio button let me select between different audio tracks, AC3 (DD), probably some commentary tracks, DTS, and DTS-MA. No actual movie menu (BD-lite). I know I won't get this. The movie looked and played* great! Same as having the disc in my ps3. I need to experiment more with this unit and will report back. I am hoping others will chime in.
It's not without some minor hiccups of course.
1. I can't remember which one of the 4 rips this occurred on, but the subtitles are on by default. Going into the menu is easy enough to change this but......
2. Every time I power the unit on and connect to Netwok->workgroup, it asks for a password. There is no password set up for my media on my pc. I have to clear the username and PW to connect. After doing it the first time it added the shortcut to my "favorites" location. I a assuming that I should access my fav location to bypass the logon screen from now on?
3. The following has the potential to be a big problem. I mentioned the movie above was split into 3 files. I noticed during the transition between the files the video would pause for a brief second. It is very similar to network buffering. In fact that is what I thought it was until I noticed it happened at the same 2 spots in the movie. I hoped on my pc and played the 2 smaller .m2ts files in pdvd and confirmed the pause was due to the changing of the .m2ts files. It was sort of like the layer-brake with DVD9 discs, but more of a stutter. I played the (#4) single.m2ts file rip. It did not stutter at all, played smoothly. Assuming most branched BD movies only have a couple splits, this is not a huge problem. Have you guys seen movies (main movie) split into a ton of .m2ts files? This would be bad then.
I would love to hear other who have purchased these KDLINKS media players chime in.
Thanks for reading!
Edited by johnBlanker - 12/21/13 at 7:53am