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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The hardware:

The A11 uses the same SoC (System on a Chip) that the A5 and A10 are using. This SoC is made by HiSilicon and is called the Hi3798C V200. It’s a 64 bit ARM A53 CPU clocked at 1,6 Ghz paired with 2GB RAM and 12GB onboard storage. Currently its running on Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) but development on Android 7 has already started by Egreat. One of its selling points is the video decoding section which claims to offer very good capabilities (more on that later) due to its HiVXE 2.0 processing engine which is similar to VXP incorporated in some of Sigma Design’s SoCs.



The package and what’s inside:






Included are:




• 2x HDMI cables
• SATA extender cable
• Remote
• User guide
• Power cord
• RCA cable

The I/O is as follows (in addition, see the picture of the back of the unit):

• HDMI 2.0 as main video out
• HDMI 1.4 as audio out in case the AVR does not support HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2
• Optical out
• Stereo RCA out
• Coaxial out
• 1x USB 3.0 (back)
• 2x USB 2.0 (1x front, 1x back)
• SATA extender
• RS-232
• IR extender input
• IR eye on the back

The case:

The case is well built, finished with aluminum brushing and overall feels in accordance to the price tag of the A11. It features a large and bright display at the front, which can be used to show the remaining time of the movie which is playing for example. The brightness can be changed and it can also be turned off completely. In case you turn off the display there is no light whatsoever on the A11 while in operation. This is of special interest to people who are placing the player near the display and are not distorted by any light. When the unit is turned off there is a small red light to indicate so.
The front cover can be opened to reveal one USB 2.0 port and the 3,5” hot swap drive bay for fast and easy access to the internal HDD. The A11 comes with a fan installed which can be deactivated by the user. However, it is recommended to turn on the fan (or set it to intelligent mode) in case a HDD is installed. Luckily the fan is rather quite in operation.

Front:


Open front cover:



Sides:



Back:


Bottom side:



Display:


The remote:

The remote control offers a lot of functionality and is well built. Although its is not very ergonomically shaped it fits well in the hand after some use. The pressure point is excellent and gives a haptic click as feedback that you pressed the key. Furthermore, the remote offers keys which are automatically backlit for a few seconds after a key was pressed. The navigation keys are pleasantly big and are surrounded by the most important functions like play/pause, menu and the info button. Vastly helpful are the short keys for video, music, photos and all files. This makes it possible to reach the folders with your media very fast.
Furthermore, its also to use the remote via Bluetooth. This can be done by activating Bluetooth inside the settings. Then the buttons "up" and "down" need to be pressed simultaneously until the red light on the remote blinks frequently. Keep both buttons pressed, then press the "eject" key for 5 seconds and you should see a message indication that Bluetooth is activated.




The graphical user interface (GUI):

Although the player is based on Android it is hardly visible due to Egreat skinning almost every aspect of the player to make it their own and more user friendly for a big TV.
This is the home screen which is shown after booting the device. It looks very minimalistic and clean. From this point every important aspect is easily accessible. At the bottom of the page it is possible to pin apps for fast access.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Home screen:




When going to “all files” one can connect their network shares, either SMB or NFS. After mounting them they will be pinned on the left.


Adding an NFS network share:



After the shares have been added they appear on the file browser:


List view displays 10 items at once. This is not changeable:


Several options of the file manager such as copy, move or delete files:


Overview of installed apps:


Poster Wall:

The poster wall is Egreat’s own Jukebox which indexes your videos such as movies and TV shows. The jukebox runs directly on the unit itself and can consolidate the media of several different sources into one jukebox. One minor drawback is that the poster wall requires read rights on your shares in order to create the database. At this point its not possible to store the database on the player itself. Hopefully a future firmware update will change that.

At first one has to add the HDDs and/or network shares where the videos are stored:


Multi source support is built-in:


After that the player starts indexing the videos and the jukebox can already be used:


Season overview:


Selecting a season. Poster for all seasons are the same. From the overview page it’s not possible to see which seasons are available. Only when selecting a season, it indicates which season it is:


Episode overview. No support for names of episodes:


Options:


Editing a movie:


Sorting. Many options available: name, release date, name, file date or rating. For each category you may choose ascending or descending. Also, visible in this picture is a tag for BD or 4K UHD BDs.:


On the left side its possible to quickly filter between the entire collection or just a subset like TV shows, BD, 4K (UHD BDs and 4K videos) as well as 3D videos:


You may also filter by source:


Further filtering options:
Genre:


Year:


Region:
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Collections:




Settings:



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.

Playback:

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:


Repeat mode:


Jumping to a specific time:


Aspect ratio:


Detailed info screen when pressing the info button.


Image engine:
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Display mode can be changed. This offers some basic options like contrast and brightness:


There are several presets available:


More advanced settings via Imprex engine:


With the option split screen its possible to clearly see how it alters the image:


However, Noise reduction and MPEG noise reduction settings have currently no effect.

HDR to SDR:

The A11 is also able to convert HDR to SDR. The above shows John Wick 2 UHD BD on the A11 with HDR to SDR conversion enabled versus the PCH A-500 PRO playing the normal BD. Projected image from a 1080p projector.

A-500 PRO:


Egreat:

The image of the A11 looks a little bit darker.

A-500 PRO:


Egreat:

Skin tones are less vivid and look cold. Picture is also darker and therefore details are lost.

A-500 PRO:


Egreat:

Picture darker again, some detail between the two boards on the left side is lost.

Picture quality evaluation:

For evaluating the picture quality of the A11 an Oppo 205 was used. The test pattern was 1080p and the display device has native 2160p resolution so that the test patterns needed to be upscaled by the player.
Note: post processing such as increasing sharpness or detail enhancements were deactiviated on both players.

Chroma Upsampling:
Oppo:

Egreat:

It looks like the Oppo uses the inferior nearest neighbor whereas the Egreat uses the better bicubic or bilinear method (hard to see).

Oppo:

Egreat:

The Egreat can upsampling chroma significantly smoother than the Oppo.

Oppo:



Again better upsampling by the Egreat, although not as significant as before. Also visible in this picture on the lower right is the high frequency vertical resolution burst which shows again that the Oppo uses the simple nearest neighbor method whereas the Egreat uses the more advanced method.

Oppo:

Egreat:

And again the Egreat does a better job.

Banding:
It seems that both player are not able to upscale this test pattern from 1080p to 2160p without banding:

Top: Oppo. Down: Egreat.

Upscaling/Sharpness:
Oppo:

Egreat:

The Oppo tries to sharpen the image more than the Egreat so that you can clearly see the double contours. The image of the Egreat looks more natural.

Oppo:

Egreat:

Again, its clearly visible that the Oppo over sharpens the image and introduces artefacts and contours. The same artefacts and contours can be seen with the Egreat but they are significantly less visible.

The same can be observed in this pictures:
Oppo:

Egreat:


Oppo:

Egreat:

Yet again a cleaner image produces by the Egreat.

Oppo:

Egreat:

The previous added sharpness can be seen in this natural picture as well. The Egreat represents a more accurate picture whereas the Oppo’s image looks sharper.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
A very quick comparison between the Popcorn Hour A-500 PRO and the Egreat A11 and on a 1080p projector.

A-500 PRO:

Egreat:

Both provide a very good upsampling. However, it can be observed that the A11 introduces double contours next to the red lines which the A-500 PRO does not do and the A11 also doesn’t do when outputting a 2160p signal.

A-500 PRO:

Egreat:

The A-500 PRO uses Bilinear method whereas the A11 uses the Bicubic method. Both methods are very good and superior to the nearest neighbor. Usually differences between those two methods are hard to see.

A-500 PRO:

Egreat:

A little smoother representation with the A-500 PRO.

A-500 PRO:

Egreat:

Upscaling looks very similar between those two players.

From this testing it can be seen that the HiSilicon SoC inside the A11 offers superior picture quality when compared to the Mediatek’s SoC inside the Oppo 205. While both, A-500 PRO and A11 offer good picture quality, the Popcorn Hour is a little bit better.

Settings:
The settings menu is skinned and customized by Egreat. This is genuine good idea as the default android menu is cumbersome.

Several themes available:




The fan can be set off to make the A11 completely quiet:
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
All important settings can be found in Egreat’s custom settings menu. In case the settings is not there, one can still access the default settings menu under “more settings”:


Display settings:

Resolution:


XX 24p UI

Testing correct scaling:


Bit depth:

HDR mode:


Syncing the display to the framerate of the video:

Playback options:





Settings regarding the frond display:
Brightness can be altered or turned off completely:

Changing what the displays shows:

Turn 3D on or off:

Sound:



Selecting which codec your TV or AVR supports:


Selecting the default audio language for your movies. Depending on this setting the A11 chooses the correct audio language:


Subtitle:

Info. Information about the current version as well as the option to update the FW or join beta program to receive the beta FWs online:

Comparison of remote and case with Popcorn Hour A-500:







Conclusion:

The Egreat A11 trumps the picture quality of the latest Oppo UHD BD players generation, which makes it a good choice for videophiles. The ability to not only play Blu-rays with menu, but also 4K UHD BDs makes it a great choice for playing the latest format. Furthermore, it offers support for all important features such as 3D (inside BD or mkv) BT.2020, HDR and framerate sync. The powerful decoder has no problems high bitrate videos and is ready for more UHD BDs.
Still, there remain some bugs foremost regarding full menu playback, which need to be taken into account for people who need this feature. However, the hardware is more than capable so that future firmware upgrades should address the mentioned issues.

Note: This review will be updated in case of bugfixes or addition of new features.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A lot of great information here, but why nothing about the A10 vs. the A11?

Given the more-than-2.5x-the-cost price of the A11 (US $499) compared to the A10 (US $189), I can't think that Dual HDMI outputs is the sole reason :D
Additional differences are internal WiFi antennas and home automation integration like Control4.
Functions of FW and picture quality are the same. That's why I didn't compare it to A10.
 

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Additional differences are internal WiFi antennas and home automation integration like Control4.
Functions of FW and picture quality are the same. That's why I didn't compare it to A10.
Wow :eek:

Good to know, I don't need any Control 4 stuff so I'll save my money for an A10. Thanks!
 

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Wow :eek:

Good to know, I don't need any Control 4 stuff so I'll save my money for an A10. Thanks!
It looks like another device, the A8, is now available. I'm not sure of the differences between all of the Egreats, but they all use the same SOC.
 

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Wow. This extensive review must have taken forever to put together. I very much appreciate your efforts. Also on your other deep-dive review of the zappiti. Thanks.

Looks like Sigma Designs is still on top if your number one priority is image quality. Hopefully they will have a proper 4K/HDR solution with 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 sooner than later from Dune or Popcorn Hour.

So 23.976 support is only broken for 3D? Regular BD discs play smoothly without any stutter or glitches on seamless branching titles?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks @Wizziwig!

Yeah, took quite some time.
It seems that Sigma dropped the ball so that Popcorn Hour and Dune are looking into alternatives.

Yes, 23.976 is no problem at all on regular BDs, as are branched titles. John Wick 2 for example even has audio dropouts when remuxing it with makemkv, whereas its absolutely flawless on the A11.
 

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Nice review @Sledgehamma. I believe 23.976 remains an issue (occasional microstutters) with 3D ISO's with all players using Hi3798C V200, but nice to read it does most else well.
 

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Great review Sledgehamma, and thanks for posting.

I have the A5 and can confirm that it does a good job of playing back almost everything I try to playback on it.

I'm sure most of the bugs (Pi, JW menu, etc.) will be worked out in future FW updates

But there is one issue I run into that I'm not sure you may have run into. The navigation for networked UHD BD's is extremely slow for most if not all titles I play. Not a dealbreaker and the navigation does work, just very when compared to the same physical title (GOTG2, FoF, Passengers, etc.) My Dune HD-DUO never had issues with BD menus, but I haven't really tried using the A5 for BD menus.

It's looking like the best way to playback the full range of formats for titles over a network, so it allows me to have backups.

And if they are able to get DV added, it would be close to checking all the boxes.

Thanks again.
 

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Here are some great motion patterns to make sure a player can properly reproduce all common frame rates and that it properly auto-switches to the correct output frame rate.

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/40-oled-technology-flat-panels-general/1620098-mkv-h-264-motion-test-patterns-23-976-24-25-29-97-30-50-59-94-60hz.html

Second post has some additional ones I found a few years ago. If there are any frame repeats or drops, they will be very obvious watching these patterns for a few minutes. Let us know if it passes these tests.

Have you noticed any of the banding issues that were shown in this comparison of Zidoo X10 vs. Egreat A10?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great review Sledgehamma, and thanks for posting.

I have the A5 and can confirm that it does a good job of playing back almost everything I try to playback on it.

I'm sure most of the bugs (Pi, JW menu, etc.) will be worked out in future FW updates

But there is one issue I run into that I'm not sure you may have run into. The navigation for networked UHD BD's is extremely slow for most if not all titles I play. Not a dealbreaker and the navigation does work, just very when compared to the same physical title (GOTG2, FoF, Passengers, etc.) My Dune HD-DUO never had issues with BD menus, but I haven't really tried using the A5 for BD menus.

It's looking like the best way to playback the full range of formats for titles over a network, so it allows me to have backups.

And if they are able to get DV added, it would be close to checking all the boxes.

Thanks again.
No, the UHD BD menu speed seemed totally fine for me.

Here are some great motion patterns to make sure a player can properly reproduce all common frame rates and that it properly auto-switches to the correct output frame rate.

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/40-oled-technology-flat-panels-general/1620098-mkv-h-264-motion-test-patterns-23-976-24-25-29-97-30-50-59-94-60hz.html

Second post has some additional ones I found a few years ago. If there are any frame repeats or drops, they will be very obvious watching these patterns for a few minutes. Let us know if it passes these tests.

Have you noticed any of the banding issues that were shown in this comparison of Zidoo X10 vs. Egreat A10?
I forgot to mention this, but the Egreat has no problem with switching to the right framerate (I used very similar test patterns for this).
The native output of the test pattern that I used did not show any banding from the A11. Only when this was upscaled from 1080p to 2160 there was some banding.
 

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Hello all,

about the Control 4 : it is also available on the A5 and A10.


Hello Brajesh,

how are you since all this time ?

Yes, occasional microstutters with the Himedia chipset, but honestly, it is very very discreet as you said, and since the time that the problem is present (himedia Q5 / Q10 pro 2016) the problem will never fixed, I think.

About the auto framerate :

I use the 2 hdmi output with the A11 and I have a message that indicates that switching to the right frequency at the bottom of the screen and I confirm what sledgehamma says, auto framerate is working properly.


see you
 

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Wow!!! Great review. Thanks.

In the "poster wall" section u say: "One minor drawback is that the poster wall requires read rights on your shares in order to create the database."
Do you mean "write" and not "read"? Cause that is a no-go for me...
 
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