AVS Forum banner
  • Our native mobile app has a new name: Fora Communities. Learn more.

Buffalo PC-P3LWG vs Roku PhotoBridge HD

1208 Views 19 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Mkellyvich
Are any reviews or user experiences available yet that compare the strengths/weaknesses of these two units ?

Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
I couldn't stand it any more (the Roku or the curiosity about the Buffalo). Ordered mine yesterday. Techonweb said it was shipped (though I don't have a tracking number yet). I chose ground, so maybe someone even more impatient will have a review first.
I am looking forward to your review. Based on specifications alone, each of the available systems have their strengths and weaknesses.

Another possible choice may be the new Omnifi which may be available in March.

OK. I got it. And let me just say that there is no way I know enough about or am passionate enough about this stuff to give anywhere near as in depth or detailed a review as others do in this forum (so please be gentle with the flames). It's bedtime, so I'm not going to be as detailed as I could be. I'm drunk and tired and haven't given this thing much time yet. So here's the dump of what I'm seeing so far.

First, I bought this from techonweb.com. I ordered it Friday since their web page said it was in stock. As soon as I checked my order status online that day it showed "shipped" as the status. I finanlly got an e-mail with a time stamp of 8:01 this morning (Tuesday) with a tracking number. I ordered it ground, and it was picked up in NJ at 11:21 Monday and left at my house (near Annapolis, MD) at 9:45 today. This in spite of the fact that it was supposedly shipped "FEDEX GROUND SIG REQ" and there was no one home. I opened the huge box with no packing materials, and found my new LinkTheater ratteling around in there. The LinkTheater packaging itself seems fine. Yeah!

Hooked it up to my Toshiba 56" HD RPTV (component and coax digital audio)and ran setup. No real problems there. I installed the software on the Windows PC (I use XP Pro)and it doesn't look like it installs as a service (no real investigation yet). Later added the UPNP device to Windows Media connect and it seems to work just fine (shows two devices for the same server on the buffalo, one entitled WMC), but I haven't really tested anything but WMVHD on the WMC side (which has the same problem described below)

It mostly works. I can stream just about every file type I've got (DIVX, RM, WMV, AVI, MPG, ISO rips of DVDs, WMVHD, and DIVXHD).

The WMVHD I downloaded from MS website plays beautifully but no sound. The WMVHD that Atom Films downloads to my PC doesn't play at all (weird pixelated, unrecognizable video, no sound).

Everything else plays quite well so far. FF / RW is choppy (not unexpected), and rate seems dependent on the encode rate (but only very preliminary testing so far). Zoom works fine here.

It seems to lock up occasionally when I'm using FF/RW (and other remote commands - i.e, >>| on previews at the beginning of a DVD). Sometimes I have to keep hitting FF before it will go back to play. Actually, lots of remote unresponsiveness / bizarreness.

DVD playback is not quite what I'd hoped for. Zoom doesn't seem to be supported (only tried one DVD), and FF/RW is pretty choppy, but sound and video during playback seem good.

I'll give more details later, but my first impression is: "Not ready for Best Buy, but beats the hell out of Roku because it at least plays my video files."

Next: Music, playlists, etc.
See less See more
Quickie Review

- Also got one from buy.com for $319 (now listed as $309).

- Infant Mortaility Problem: DVDs / CDs not recognized

- Loose piece of plastic rattling around inside, probably related to DVD drive mechanism

- Returning to buy.com for a replacement

All the below was done from 'PC playback'

- Using component output, 720p

- WMVHD: Same issue as above, nice picture, no sound (tested MSFT content also)

- AVI / MPG, looks good

- VOBs play back fine (this is also a way to play back DVD content upscaled)

- The manual says that DVDs playback will not be upscaled, so this is a work around if you're willing to rip

- Internet radio works fine

- Some issues w/ photos when pointing to a network drive instead of local drive (photos do not show up when using network)

- Network drive for music and video works fine (even w/ WMVHD)

- Double dipping in terms of network b/w, but w/ wired ethernet doesn't seem to be an issue

- Tried WMVHD on local drive, same sound issue

- Using wired ethernet, have not tried wireless

- Some audio hiccups at the start of browsing music, but could be related to network drive taking time to spin up after idle

When I get the replacement unit, I'll add some details on DVD playback (assuming it works).
See less See more
A few quick questions for you:

When setting up the player, do you set it for your display's resolution (in my case, 1080i over component), and then does the player output everything (photos, videos, on-screen displays) at that resolution? Or does it switch back and forth between 480p/i and 1080i depending on content?

Do you have to install the server software on your PC, or will the player read directories from say a Buffalo Linkstation or other NAS on the network without requiring server software?


See less See more
When setting up the player, do you set it for your display's resolution (in my case, 1080i over component), and then does the player output everything (photos, videos, on-screen displays) at that resolution? Or does it switch back and forth between 480p/i and 1080i depending on content?
It stays at 1080i for all content (except I assume for DVD playback from disc, not network, but since the DVD player portion is dead, I cannot confirm this).

You do two things to set this up, switch to 'TV mode' to 1080i and then set a checkbox in the setup menu to do 'HD menus'.

You do not have to use the PC server s/w. It claims to also work from a LinkStation (PCast, with upgraded f/w) and a TerraStation.

It also supports Windows Media Connect, so I think it will support any upnp server (but don't quote me on this, I have not tried TwonkyVision, etc. yet)
Good info, thanks. What is your subjective evaluation of picture quality at 1080i for digital photos and mpeg video files?

Also, have you tried playing any HD-resolution mpeg videos (such as might be generated by HDTV2MPEG2)? If so, did they play smoothly and how did they look?


Subjective Eval:

Looks pretty good, I'm using a 10x7 DLP front projector as my display, so in the end limited to that resoultion. This looks better then my old Amoi net DVD player (which recently died on me, due to failure playing back DVDs, hmm a theme here?) However, no real A/B testing going on.

I haven't played with HD MPEG vids, only WMV HD, if you have pointer to samples I can d/l, I'll take a look and let you know.

One big caveat: this is definetly a hobbyist box, not the smoothest UI, have to deal w/ PC server s/w, some issues with WMV HD (audio issue), so a big caveat emptor...


Also got TwonkyVision (on linux) working, so might ditch the PC s/w (issue is that functionality is currently more limited)
See less See more
I was hoping to have a little more control with UPnP. A friend has a D-Link player and uses the Intel UPnP AV Media Controller on a laptop to browse content on his server and tell the D-Link to play it. But the LinkStation doesn't appear to Intel's tools as a Media Renderer device (doesn't show up as a UPnP device at all).

I too consistently have some audio issues when first starting to stream audio, but it's just a couple of seconds and then it seems to work fine.

The Internet Radio doesn't work for me. I get a message saying "can't connect to the internet" but I can browse some web pages, so I don't think it's a connection issue. Might be something I have to setup on the PC side that I'm not aware of. The documentation is a little lacking in this area.

I do find it annoying that just like the Roku there is no way to browse for and enqueue music once it's playing. It's definitely a single-tasking device.

As I said, I have it plugged into my CRT RPTV and video looks very good. If I get a chance this weekend I'll plug it into my HP2335 (1080p LCD) and see what it looks like.
See less See more
Have any of you tried playing DV-RMS video files from Windows Media Center Edition? If so, did it work, and how did it look?

Any further impressions, quirks, great things you have noticed in further playing with the Linktheater?


I don't have WMCE, but Windows Media Connect does say the device is capable of playing DRM protected files. Is that what you're looking for?

Watching DVDs seems to be fine, but I haven't watched one all the way through. I have tried to watch a few DVDs ripped with DVD Decrypter ( IFO mode / no file splitting). Some play the wrong language track and won't switch to English when hitting the audio button. Matrix played fine for about an hour, then the audio got very messed up and nothing seemed to fix it (other than stopping playback). All these are files I have been able to watch successfully with mplay on Roku.

In general, this is not ready for prime time, but I still like it better than the Roku in its current state. I eagerly await the next firmware update on both.
if you have pointer to samples I can d/l, I'll take a look and let you know.
I believe Dvico has some samples at their site.


Thanks for the info.

DV-RMS files are the recorded TV files you get from MCE - they are basically mpeg2 files with additional metadata giving the show information. Not the same as WMV files with DRM.

I think I'll go ahead and get one of these to play with - I've dealt with all three versions of MCE, and have enjoyed growing the Kenwood Sovereign system into a reliable platform, so the linktheater should make a good hobby for the next few months...

See less See more
DVICO files didn't work (with or without the demo player installed on the PC).

ISO image isn't recognized.

Good luck, MK. I think it's definitely worth playing with if you want HD, there may be some others that are more polished and cheaper though for SD.
HD over component is the big attraction for me - I've held out from buying any of the networked players in order to get one that would feed HD to my 57" toshiba.

Now go down to Ram's Head and have a beer for me!


(former Crofton resident)
Got my LinkTheater last night. Overall I'm quite pleased with the unit. Installation was straightforward; the manual spells it out pretty well. Started out with a PCCast connection to a Linkstation on my network, everything worked fine although I did have to manually input the IP address and share folder name. My only gripe with this setup is that you can only share one folder from the LinkStation, so if you have additional media on an external USB drive attached to the LinkStation you can't share the media on both drives at once.

First bit of good news - Linktheater WILL play HD MPEG-2 videos! Video in question was a 30-minute sitcom, captured real-time via 1394 from an LG-3410a using CapDVHS, then edited and converted to MPEG-2 using HDTVtoMPEG2. Playback (audio and video) was flawless.

Next trick was to load the Linktheater server software onto my MCE-PC and share out the media there (and also the external USB drive attached to the LinkStation). This also went smoothly, and I like the ability to share multiple folders for video, music, and photos.

The PC-based software comes up with a much better-looking interface than the LinkStation, but otherwise works much the same.

Next bit of good news - the Linktheater will play HD .ts files! These were the raw 1394 captures from CapDVHS off the LG 3410a. Playback was not perfect, however, as audio wasn't always present and stuttered pretty regularly. That may have been due to the fact that I was pulling the file from the USB drive through the Linkstation to the PC, then to the LinkTheater. I'm copying the 8GB .ts file to the PC now to see if it plays better directly off the PC.

When playing video off a PC source using the Linktheater server software you can select "play all" - this is good for playing ripped DVD folders as it will play the VOBs in sequence. If you haven't cleaned out all the menus the program will also play them, but pressing the down arrow will skip to the next VOB so you can easily get past them. The Linktheater does not let you navigate the DVD menus when playing VOBs off the PC, it merely displays the menus for a brief period, then moves on to the next VOB. The player appears to ignore the .IFO files.

Music playback is fine, although the functionality is pretty simple (play song, play folder, random play folder).

Photo playback looks great, although I've been spoiled by the MCE slideshow and its ability to zoom and pan photos.

Contrary to a statement in the LinkTheater manual, the player DOES upscale DVDs to HDTV resolution (in my case 1080i). Picture looks very sharp, but there seems to be more noise in it than I get from my Faroudja-equipped Kenwood changer over 480p component.

BTW, all testing was done via wired 100Mbps Ethernet, and all display was via component on a 57" Toshiba HDTV.

Overall, a pretty nice piece of gear for the price. I think I'll go play with it some more...

See less See more
Your problem with no audio from the WMV-HD files probably stems from the fact that their audio is encoded as WMA so unless you receiver can decode it you'll get exactly what you did, nothing. This is a problem for those watching the WMV-HD movies when their PCs are hooked up to the receiver via a coax or optical cable as well. The only two ways to fix it are to 1 connect the PC via analog cables (I don't know if LinkTheater supports this) or 2 get a receiver that can natively decode WMA (not an option for most people).

BTW, the LinkTheater will also play MCE's DV-RMS files - makes the box effectively a high-definition media extender without the live TV or the sexy MCE interface.

1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Not open for further replies.