Default BD menu setting:
Note: The A11 also offers a custom Kodi (VidOn) which is built on Kodi 16. This was not included in the review as it is a relativ old version, in this setup HD audio didn't work and Egreat will focus on their own poster wall for the time being.
As the SoC offers all the latest capabilities such as HDR10 and BT.2020 support it’s a good choice for people who want to consume the more and more available UHD BDs.
One great aspect of the A11 is that the player is able to smoothly play videos that are well beyond the BD or UHD BD specifications. The H264 decoder can handle 250mbit videos @ High 5.1 without any problems. Higher bitrates for H264 could not been tested due to the lack of available material. When it comes to HEVC 250 mbit videos @ Main10 6.1 play also extremely smooth. However, HEVC encodes videos with bitrates of 300 and 400 mbit did not play smoothly and resulted in stutter. In real world use this should not be an issue due to the fact that even the UHD BD is only specified for bitrates up to 128 mbit (100GB discs).
Note: The bitrate tests were conducted via a Qnap TS-453A NAS with 4x10TB IronWolf HDDs @ Raid5 via NFS through a TP link Gigabit switch.
Another great feature is the ability to playback Blu-rays with the menu present (this also applies for 4K UHD BDs, more on that later). As this is Egreat’s own version and not an official license by the BDA, there is no Cinavia included. This feature 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:
• Forced subtitles
• Playlist obfuscation
• Seamless branching (e.g. John Wick Chapter 2 US BD)
• 3D subtitles
Not working are:
• Resume function (native BD Java) e.g. Grimm S5/6 and complete X-Files
• Different angles (such as Star Wars) so that the correct angle will be chosen when switching the audio track
• Menu language and audio selecting in regards to default language doesn’t work. BDs start with English menu although German version is available and German is set to preferred language for Egreat
The overall speed for BD playback is pleasantly fast. This includes loading the BD, navigating through the BD menu and loading and navigating through the popup menu.
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 average loading time of the Pioneer is about 38 seconds whereas the A11 takes 37 seconds on average. Seeing that the Pioneer is quite an old player in todays world it would have been nice to see the A11 beating it by a large margin. However, one should consider that the Dune Solo 4K was tested against the Pioneer as well and the difference was 5 seconds on a different set of BD movies (47s Pioneer vs. 42s for Dune) showing that the Pioneer is indeed fast. What is more, the loading times include warnings and notices (which were not skipped for testing purposes) and therefore the movie can’t start instantaneously so that the time difference a player can achieve can not be that significant to an already fast player.
Over 50 different Blu-rays have been tested and only a few issues could be found. A small number of BDs would not start immediately, but stopping the movie and starting it again helped. It may also help to not skip the intro videos of BDs. Only one Blu-ray could not be started at all. Some display issues for full menu:
X-Files. A very similar issues was found during the review of the Dune Solo 4K. How it should look like:
How it looks:
John Wick 2. Pop-up menu is always displayed:
Pop-up menu is not correctly displayed:
How it should look like:
In addition to the Blu-ray menu capabilities, the A11 (also true for the A5 and A10) are the only media players (as of writing) which can play 4K UHD BDs with menu as well. Just recently it became possible to copy many 4K UHD BDs to your HDD. A lot of those discs have been tested and only one disk (Life of Pie) didn’t play. Every other discs started with menu and movie playback was possible.
This certainly is a unique feature of this player and will only become more useful in the feature as more UHD BDs are available. Skipping chapters works as fast on UHD BDs as it does on regular BDs.
However, there are some minor displaying issues with some UHD BDs as well as some stutter was observed on titles such as Inferno and Passengers.
On some UHD BDs the pop up menu stayed displayed after opening it once:
Some other displaying issues in the menu:
Apart from this, the player correctly identified HDR10 as well as BT.2020 and did send this over to the display devices so that correct output was achieved.
Furthermore, the player is also able to handle 3D videos not only via BD (folder and .iso) but also inside mkv. The player also automatically switched the display into the 3D mode. A minor issue is that the A11 is not yet able to read the meta data inside the mkv regarding which eye is first, same goes for BDs. Most 3D BDs are using left-eye-first which the player is setup to by default. In case the video has the right eye first, the user can manually flip the eyes. Another problem is that 3D playback at 23.976 frames gets outputted at 24.000 (results in stutter every ~41s). Its already on Egreat's list to fix.
Forced and default flags for mkv are working as they should:
A forced subtitle stream is automatically displayed.
When there are two audio tracks with the same language and one has a default flag, the default one will be chosen. This setting will only be overruled when the default language (“preferred audio language” under settings) is set to another language. Example:
1st audio track has default and forced flag and its language is German
2nd audio track has no flags and its language is English.
When the preferred audio language is set to English, the A11 automatically chooses the 2nd audio track.
Overall, the A11 handles PGS subtitles (the native BD format) flawlessly and can even display them correctly when the video is 3D.
The progress screen when pressing the right arrow once. It indicates filename, resolution, chapter, audio and subtitle tracks, the current time as well as the progress of the movie:
When pressing the menu key:
Chapters. Names of chapters are not displayed:
Changing audio tracks:
Settings for 3D modes. The 3D depth can also be altered:
Jumping to a specific time:
Detailed info screen when pressing the info button.