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post #1 of 32 Old 07-22-2016, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Dune Solo 4K review

Hey everybody,

I got a review device from IBDL and want to share my thoughts on the Solo 4K with you. Although there is already a large thread about the device I made a separate topic on it because otherwise it might get lost.

The hardware:

The Dune Solo 4K uses the latest Sigma Designs 8759 (although Dune lists 8758) which has two cores clocked at 0.999 Ghz along with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage.



The I/O is as follows (see also the pictures of the back of the unit further below):
  • Antenna input for DVB-T/T2
  • HDMI 1.4 (HDMI cable included)
  • IR extender input (IR extender is included in the package)
  • 3.5mm AV out which functions as analog out (cable included)
  • LAN 10/100/1000
  • 2 x USB 2.0 (1 x front, 1 x back)
  • Power on/off button
  • 2 x WiFi antennas with 802.11b/g/n/ac support and Dual Band 2.4/5GHz (antennas included in the package)

What’s in the package?







Blu-ray playback:

The good news is that this player is the first media player after the introduction of Cinavia to support full playback of Blu-rays including the menu. This means that playback is essentially identical to playing the physical disk in a proper Blu-ray player. The big advantage of having BD menus are that there is no need to worry about remuxing the movie to mkv. This can often be cumbersome with playlist obfuscated titles (a lot of near identical playlist, but only one is the movie in the right order) or especially with TV shows where you need to figure out which episode is which file.
During the review a lot of different BD features have been tested and are working:
  • Resume function (native BD Java): works with BDs which support it (see pictures below)
  • Forced subtitles
  • Different angles (such as Star Wars) which correct switching when changing the audio track
  • Correct menu language and audio setting (which can be set in the settings)
  • Seamless branching
  • Playlist obfuscation
The only things not working for full BD menu are:
  • BD live features
  • 3D subtitles (just displayed in 2D)
The overall speed while BD playback is pleasantly fast. On occasion the menu freezes for a few seconds after you selected to start the film. The same applies to some BDs after a chapter skip. After that short freeze, the video plays fine though. Another minor issue is the inconsistent speed of a chapter skip: sometimes it is as fast as the Pioneer BDP-450 and sometimes a little bit slower. Future updates will hopefully make this behavior more persistent. Another issue that I encountered in the latest (beta) FW is that the device needed to be rebooted before watching a 3D BD in order to have playback without stuttering.
On the plus side is that VXP does also apply do BD and DVD (more on VXP later) playback.
More than 30 Blu-rays have been tested and every single one of them loaded properly and starting the movie as well as skipping chapter went fine.

The following table shows the loading speed of BDs compared to a Pioneer 450 with a custom FW which allows playback over network. Although this player is from late 2012 it is a very fast BD player when it comes to loading BDs, initializing the menu or skipping chapters.



The Pioneer needs 47 seconds on average to load the BD menu whereas the Solo is 5 seconds faster. One the one hand it is nice to see the Solo beating the very good performance of the Pioneer, on the other hand this player is nearly 4 years old and therefore the performance could be faster. Please keep in mind that the loading times include warnings and notices (which sometimes can be skipped and sometimes not) and therefore the movie can’t start instantaneously.



The above picture shows the information screen of full menu playback. The advantage of this screen over the other info screen (see further below) is that it visualizes the duration of the video and states what kind of audio is played. Unfortunately, no information about any bitrate, neither audio nor video, is being displayed.

Pictures of the resume function:




The following picture shows a selection bug present in some BDs:

How it should look:


How it looks, basically impossible to see what is selected:


Another issue is that the 3D popup menu is displayed in 2D:

How it should look:


How it looks:


Picture quality:

In order to get an idea of the picture quality the Solo will again be compared to the Pioneer which uses a Marvell Qdeo chip.

Chroma Alignment:
Pioneer:

Solo 4K:


Pioneer:

Solo 4K:


Pioneer:

Solo 4K:


As you can see the Pioneer uses the simpler nearest neighbor method which is inferior to the Sigma’s Bicubic/Bilinear method.

Upscaling:

Pioneer:

Solo 4K:

Solo 4K with VXP to max:


Winner is again the Solo 4K with its Sigma Designs SoC. The Pioneer shows clear ghosting in the lower part of the little black and white squares whereas the Dune doesn’t show it. In addition, the image looks sharper on the Dune without being too sharp. VXP does not really make a difference in this case.

The following pictures show a detailed image of the 20th Century Fox logo in order to show what VXP does:

VXP off:

VXP set to on (max value):


As you can see the bright lines above the word “century” are even brighter which is true for all bright parts in gold. The blue sky as a background is darkened in order to increase the contrast. The difference is not very significant, but rather subtle. If VXP delivers a better picture is very subjective and in case you don’t like it, you can simply deactivate it. The big advantage is that the option is available for people who what to alter the image.

The overall picture quality is excellent and exactly what you expect from a Sigma SoC which are always known for their great and accurate picture quality.
Auto framerate does work well and gives you the exact framerate of the video. The only exception is material with 60 frames a second which gets outputted as 59.95. This framerate is not supported by the Solo 4K and therefore results in stutter on such content.
Auto resolution does output 480p/576p/720p/1080p natively to your TV without doing any scaling by the Solo 4K. This feature should be used if you have a very good external video processor (Lumagen for example) or AVR. For uncommon resolutions (i.e. not 480p/576p/720p/1080p) the Solo does the upscaling and your external scaler won’t be used.
That said, a few instances were found in which both, auto framerate and auto resolution, didn’t work properly.

Last edited by Sledgehamma; 09-29-2018 at 11:50 AM.
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post #2 of 32 Old 07-22-2016, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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General playback:

The overall playback is very fast. Starting or stopping a video happens almost instantly and functions like time seek, fast forward or next item on playlist are also very fast. 2D PGS subtitles (format which is used for Blu-rays) are displayed correctly and the forced flag is honored as well.
The only problem with regular playback is that the default flag in mkv is ignored. The Solo 4K decides from the selected language option in the settings menu which language will be played. This can be problematic in some cases:
Take a concert for example which normally uses the same language for the different audio formats. The first track might a PCM stereo whereas the second track is DTS-HD MA 5.1 with a default flag. In this case the Solo 4K will choose the PCM track and not the DTS-HD MA audio.



The picture above shows the info bar displayed while playback for simple playback (everything but DVD and BD menu). On the plus side are the detailed information about the video aspects of the file as well as the output format. A nice addition is the information about the remaining time. That said, a visual representation of the times would be nice, something similar to the full menu playback.
On the negative side is the fact that the information about bitrate takes several seconds to show information at all, and even then it is not very accurate which can also be seen in the picture. Furthermore, there is no information about the audio of the displayed files whatsoever. This should be changed in the very near future since this is information is rather essential.
Another minor bug which can be seen in the above picture is that the screenshot function does not capture the video, just the GUI elements.

In general, the Solo 4K has no problems with the usual videos ranging from BD remuxes, HDTV caps, iTunes or webrip 720p/1080p video or HD audio. One issue that remains is that Dolby TrueHD will result in dropouts when pressing the info button. Sadly, MVC inside MKV is not supported so that the only solution for proper 3D is to use .iso. The SoC is able to support that so that Dune should implement this feature in a FW update.

The GUI:

The GUI in general is very responsive and also displayed natively in 1080p on the JVC X35. There are different skins to choose from and the file explorer can also be tuned to the users liking, from list view to a grid of icons. The background of the home screen as well as file explorer is changeable, too.

This is a different skin and you can see the different options how the user can customize it:



The home screen allows you to scroll horizontally and select the main items: As you can see in this picture there is an Android icon which should launch Android. Unfortunately, this feature is still missing, although it is clearly listed in the specifications:



This is the sources menu which shows network paths and USB media. It shows everything where you can get your media from:







Settings:




The following picture shows the menu while playback where it is possible to choose playlists, change the audio tracks or subtitles among other items:


View of audio tracks: “DTS-HD MA 2.0” is the name of the audio track and “DTS HD MA stereo DEU” is identified by the Solo 4K:


This image shows information of the chapters which are displayed correctly and can be started directly from this menu:


Subtitles can be adjusted and shifted vertically which might be important for people with a 21:9 screen:


DVB-T/T2:

The Solo 4K has a built-in receiver for terrestrial (DVB-T and T2) signals so that it is possible to watch free TV programs in certain countries like Germany. However, I was not able to test this feature because the coverage in my area is not really good and the massive concrete of the place where I live in doesn’t help to receive a singal, either. In any case you will need a passive or active antenna in order to receive those signals.

Wi-Fi access point:

The Solo 4K offers the option to set it up as a Wi-Fi router: If connected via LAN it creates a Wi-Fi signal on its own and gives the network/internet access it receives from the LAN to its own Wi-Fi network. This might be important in the case you have connected the Solo 4K via LAN to stream your media but your Wi-Fi Signal is too weak to get a signal to your tablet or smartphone. In this case you can create the access point and be able to have Wi-Fi coverage in your room. This feature was tested and worked flawlessly. Keep in mind that the unit needs to have a static IP in order for this to work, dynamic IP settings won’t allow you to setup the access point.

Z-Wave:

The Solo 4K is the first Z-Wave certified media player which allows you to control other Z-Wave certified devices. As of writing, it is the only player to feature this technology. The way this is supposed to work is that it doesn’t only act as a device which can be controlled by Z-Wave but rather a device which can control all those Z-Wave certified devices in your home. This sounds like a really awesome feature but I was unable to explore it due to the fact that I don’t have any Z-Wave certified devices to test it with.

Case:

The case is very small and made from plastic which features a glossy finish on the side. A red LED indicates that the unit is turned off whereas a blue LED is activated while the device is operating. Unfortunately, the Solo 4K comes with a fan installed. Luckily, this fan is rather silent and can also be disabled in the menu. There are three settings to choose from: activated, deactivated or auto. Strangely the auto function seems to always activate the fan, even in a 20 degrees Celsius basement. In case the fan bothers you, just deactivate it. Although it shouldn’t be done in case a hard drive is installed.
It is also possible to mount the Solo 4K on a wall and the clips to do so are provided in the package as well.








Remote:

The remote is a little bit too thin and doesn’t sit comfortable in the hand since it’s not formed ergonomically. The buttons have a good point of pressure, give a clicking sound when pressed and are positioned well. Sadly, the remote does not offer backlit. That said, the remote is certainly not bad, but also doesn’t stand out from the crowd.





Some more settings:











Conclusion:

The full BD menu capabilities work surprisingly well and will be a welcome addition for people who value this features. The Sigma SoC delivers not only a great picture quality which easily beats Qdeo but also has enough power in order to beat the BD loading performance of higher end BD players as well and make navigating the GUI a fast experience. Overall, this is a good device for people who value good picture and audio quality while being super easy to setup. Sadly, there are still some issues that remain, ranging from missing Android, no 3D subtitles and some problems I encountered with 3D.iso playback.

I will update this thread accordingly in case of fixes.
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Last edited by Sledgehamma; 09-29-2018 at 11:50 AM.
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post #3 of 32 Old 07-22-2016, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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post #4 of 32 Old 07-27-2016, 01:01 PM
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Sledgehamma what an exellent review am do any Thanks for taking the time to do the review.

Have you done one for the popcorn a500?

Thanks




Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

TV: Sony 65" A1E OLED Surround: Yamaha RXA3070 + Orbs Audio Mod 4/2 7.1.2 + SVS SB12-NSD Stereo: Yamaha AS500 + Kef Q300 Processor: DVDO Iscan Mini + Darbee 5000S Players: Oppo UDP-203 / Dune Solo 4K / Apple TV 4K / VU+ Ultimo 4K NAS: Qnap TVS-871 Pro i7 10GBE
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post #5 of 32 Old 07-27-2016, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, much appreciated.

Review of A-500 should be done shortly.
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post #6 of 32 Old 07-28-2016, 08:26 AM
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Dear Sledgehamma,

I see that you use the Spear Munsil test files.

Please can you post some pictures off the contrast Red Green Blue patterns.

I ask this question because the GREEN contrast test file is clipping on the Dune Solo.

I also have the Oppo 93 and the contrast test files off Red/Green/Blue are all ok.

I also noticed in the colour space evaluation pattern, that mine TV (Samsung) is on colour space BT601 and not on BT709.
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post #7 of 32 Old 07-28-2016, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Unfortunately, I had to send the device back already. So I can't test any further. The only thing that I can do is to test it on the PCH A-500 which uses the same SoC.
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post #8 of 32 Old 07-28-2016, 11:29 AM
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Which spears and munsil did you use 1 or 2?

Thanks

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

TV: Sony 65" A1E OLED Surround: Yamaha RXA3070 + Orbs Audio Mod 4/2 7.1.2 + SVS SB12-NSD Stereo: Yamaha AS500 + Kef Q300 Processor: DVDO Iscan Mini + Darbee 5000S Players: Oppo UDP-203 / Dune Solo 4K / Apple TV 4K / VU+ Ultimo 4K NAS: Qnap TVS-871 Pro i7 10GBE
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post #9 of 32 Old 07-28-2016, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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post #10 of 32 Old 07-30-2016, 11:37 AM
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Good review. Only thing I miss is how it performs with 4K content

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Displays: LG 65C7V - Optoma HD20 - Panasonic 50PZ80 - Samsung 32C650 - LG M2380D
Speakers: Focal Aria 948- Focal Aria 906 - Focal CC900 - BK XLS200 MK2 - B&W CCM362
Electronics: Roksan K3 - Yamaha RX-A2070 - Oppo 203 - PS4 Pro
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post #11 of 32 Old 07-30-2016, 06:40 PM
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Hello Everyone

I just bought a Dune HD Solo 4k player and when I tried to change the skin, the display went blank (i.e. no picture at all), I shut down the player and re-boot it but what I can see now is only the Dune HD logo and loading..... and then went to blank screen. I followed the instruction on Dune HD website to try and recover using "dune_firmware.dff" but to no avail. I sent about 10 e-mail from Dune HD website but still received no reply and I even called Dune HD in Taiwan but they told me I have to use their website to enter my problem. Anyone can help me fix this problem will be very much appreciated. I searched everything I could find on the web but could not find anything that help. May I know if there is a way to revert the unit back to it factory settings? If there is, maybe it might help to resolve my issue but I just don't know how to do it. Really need help here, please................! Thank you!!

Best Regards
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post #12 of 32 Old 07-30-2016, 10:20 PM
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The biggest downside I have for the box is it's 7mm hard drive requirement - 7mm laptop drives are really small space wise - well under 1TB (1TB drivers are 9.5mm or so, and the larger 12.5and 15mm get you the larger 2+ TB Units)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worf View Post
The biggest downside I have for the box is it's 7mm hard drive requirement - 7mm laptop drives are really small space wise - well under 1TB (1TB drivers are 9.5mm or so, and the larger 12.5and 15mm get you the larger 2+ TB Units)
Western Digital has a 1TB 7mm drive. Regardless, the SATA port is actually using USB and is rate limited to 10MB/sec. Use an external drive or a NAS if space is an issue.
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Looky here!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnix View Post
Western Digital has a 1TB 7mm drive. Regardless, the SATA port is actually using USB and is rate limited to 10MB/sec. Use an external drive or a NAS if space is an issue.
That works within a network domain, but I do use my media players away from my network, and an external drive becomes another thing that needs carrying instead if just bringing the unit, remote and wall wart.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worf View Post
That works within a network domain, but I do use my media players away from my network, and an external drive becomes another thing that needs carrying instead if just bringing the unit, remote and wall wart.
I used to do that when traveling, but switched to a Chromecast and a travel router that does WISP mode like this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1, along with a PLEX server at home.

Looky here!
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post #16 of 32 Old 08-27-2016, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sledgehamma View Post
I believe it was 2.

You can also try this video directly:

https://mega.nz/#!tJ8DxCwA!ZPmrxQ_li...OXvBUMPmcMf8tU
hi On the bottom center of the Color Space Evaluation pattern are three boxes that help to determine if the correct conversion is being used.
When Dune solo play this pattern
there is a smaller box inside the red box.
This means that the incorrect BT.601 conversion is being used.
Also in the clipping section in the top center of the pattern,
in the Green channel chroma clipped
http://spearsandmunsil.com/portfolio...color-space-2/
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I reported this color problem earlier see post 6.

I also tested the Spears Munsil second edition in a Oppo player and al the color tets file are okay where the Solo fail this test.

Test the green contrast tets file on the Solo and you will see that green is clipt.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koestuiv40 View Post
I reported this color problem earlier see post 6.

I also tested the Spears Munsil second edition in a Oppo player and al the color tets file are okay where the Solo fail this test.

Test the green contrast tets file on the Solo and you will see that green is clipt.
Thanks for comparing with the Oppo. I did test it on the A-500, with the same result. That said, I can't test it for sure since the bulb in my projector is very old. Will get a replacement in the next two weeks.
A friend tested with A-500 again and it was okay.
I will test this again (with A-500, don't have the Solo anymore) when my PJ has a new bulb and is calibrated.
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post #19 of 32 Old 08-28-2016, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koestuiv40 View Post
I reported this color problem earlier see post 6.

I also tested the Spears Munsil second edition in a Oppo player and al the color tets file are okay where the Solo fail this test.

Test the green contrast tets file on the Solo and you will see that green is clipt.

The clipping created because Dune incorrectly use the equations from the older standard definition spec, BT.601
I copied from the explanations given by the Spears & munsil for the Color Space Evaluation pattern
http://spearsandmunsil.com/portfolio...color-space-2/

"All HD video should be using the equations specified in the HD video spec, BT.709. Some components may incorrectly use the equations from the older standard definition spec, BT.601. On the bottom center of the Color Space Evaluation pattern are three boxes that help to determine if the correct conversion is being used. In order for the pattern to work, the Y’ channel must not be clipped, so for convenience the center box allows you to check for Y’ clipping. If you can’t see a smaller box inside the center white box, then this pattern section won’t be accurate. Just skip over it and don’t try to score it. Assuming the signal is not being clipped, then either the red box or the green box but not both should have a smaller box showing in the middle. The red box can be very hard to see, so you may need to get close to the screen to see it. If there is a smaller box inside both the red and green boxes, there is some kind of odd error, which should be treated as a “fail.”
If there is a smaller box inside the green box, the correct BT.709 conversion is being used, and you should check the box in the row labeled “BT.709”
If there is a smaller box inside the red box, the incorrect BT.601 conversion is being used, and you should leave the box blank in the row labeled “BT.709”"
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post #20 of 32 Old 08-28-2016, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sledgehamma View Post
Thanks for comparing with the Oppo. I did test it on the A-500, with the same result. That said, I can't test it for sure since the bulb in my projector is very old. Will get a replacement in the next two weeks.
A friend tested with A-500 again and it was okay.
I will test this again (with A-500, don't have the Solo anymore) when my PJ has a new bulb and is calibrated.
You can try with a tv and A-500 ?
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post #21 of 32 Old 08-28-2016, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svellinis View Post
You can try with a tv and A-500 ?
My TV is farily ancient, second gen of 1080p TV I guess.TV is NOT calibrated.
I see a square inside the green box (as it should be), no square in the red box (as it should be), but I see no square in the white box (there should be one).
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post #22 of 32 Old 08-28-2016, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sledgehamma View Post
My TV is farily ancient, second gen of 1080p TV I guess.TV is NOT calibrated.
I see a square inside the green box (as it should be), no square in the red box (as it should be), but I see no square in the white box (there should be one).
No need to be calibrated.
Do you try to reducing the contrast ?
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post #23 of 32 Old 08-28-2016, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svellinis View Post
No need to be calibrated.
Do you try to reducing the contrast ?
No change.
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post #24 of 32 Old 08-28-2016, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Sledgehamma View Post
I will test this again (with A-500, don't have the Solo anymore) when my PJ has a new bulb and is calibrated.
You don't have the Solo anymore - why? Any advantage with the A-500?
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post #25 of 32 Old 08-28-2016, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by UdoG View Post
You don't have the Solo anymore - why? Any advantage with the A-500?
It was a review device which I had for around three weeks.
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post #26 of 32 Old 09-10-2016, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by svellinis View Post
You can try with a tv and A-500 ?
New bulb and calibrated -> everything is as it should be!
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post #27 of 32 Old 09-10-2016, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Sledgehamma View Post
New bulb and calibrated -> everything is as it should be!
Ok thanks the proplem is only with iso files
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post #28 of 32 Old 05-04-2017, 03:31 PM
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Hi guys, I just acquired a DUNE SOIL LITE 4 k, and I've got two problems (a network and other audio):

1. The network is the following: I come from a DUNE HD SMART D1 connected to a Desktop with Windows 10, and my folders are read without problems by the DUNE HD SMART D1 via SMB, that occurs with the SOLO LITE, although he acknowledge my shared folders, he can't open them, says I don't have the same access rights but the correct username and password really does not solve, what can it be?

2. My system uses a vintage JVC receiver, which does not have HDMI inputs/outputs, COAXIAL and OPTICAL input only, however the SOLO as well as SOLO LITE only has that multifunctional connection, which works with the cable xingling that comes with it, but I would put a COAXIAL cable with P2 better and see this model on AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V436UQU/?tag=htfo-20 , anyone know for sure if he will serve to the DUNE to send stereo and multi channel 5.1 audio to my Receiver?

Thanks for the attention.

DruidCtba.

Last edited by DruidCtba; 05-04-2017 at 04:38 PM.
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post #29 of 32 Old 05-04-2017, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by DruidCtba View Post
Hi guys, I just acquired a DUNE SOIL LITE 4 k, and I've got two problems (a network and other audio):

1. The network is the following: I come from a DUNE HD SMART D1 connected to a Desktop with Windows 10, and my folders are read without problems by the DUNE HD SMART D1 via SMB, that occurs with the SOLO LITE, although he acknowledge my shared folders, he can't open them, says I don't have the same access rights but the correct username and password really does not solve, what can it be?

2. My system uses a vintage JVC receiver, which does not have HDMI inputs/outputs, COAXIAL and OPTICAL input only, however the SOLO as well as SOLO LITE only has that multifunctional connection, which works with the cable xingling that comes with it, but I would put a COAXIAL cable with P2 better and see this model on AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00V436UQU/?tag=htfo-20 , anyone know for sure if he will serve to the DUNE to send stereo and multi channel 5.1 audio to my Receiver?

Thanks for the attention.

DruidCtba.
No need to double post, these questions can go in the official thread.

Looky here!
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post #30 of 32 Old 07-07-2017, 08:04 AM
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Is Dune still rely on 3rd party app for building movie collection ?
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