Guide on which brand media player to select (Dune, OPPO (clone), Zappiti and Zidoo)

Nice Monkey

Active Member
Guide on which brand media player to select
This for playing local content including native DVD/BD/UHD in ISO or Folders with or without their respective menus.
Regarding Video format support and Picture Quality including DV and HDR10+ all mentioned media player models are good and offer basically the same. For Music they all play Stereo PCM formats in High Definition and 2CH SACD (with DSD => PCM conversion).
MovieWall features on the other hand vary a lot per brand.

Dune is an above average stable and universal media player doing everything pretty well. The best all-around media player I found thus far and I have seen plenty of them. Only my Egreat players (no DV or HDR10+ on these) do get close. The MovieWall has been improved a lot with the Alpha NewGUI FW and Dune is definitely catching up here with the current competition.

If you want perfect BD/DVD Menu playback/processing from ISO/Folder a Dune is now (almost) identical to a real disc player similar to my OPPO playing menus smooth as silk too. An Egreat on the other hand is fluent too but has more problems with some BD menus scoring below Dune on that. Zidoo is following at a considerable distance at the bottom of this list with regular BD/DVD menu problems and is far from playing BD menus fluently.

If you want many advanced Video player features in general and specifically Music Library & Movie Wall features too then get yourself a Zidoo. They also have a large range of standard and HiFi models all having a great value/money ratio to choose from. Prices from Dune and Zidoo for individual models are on par.

If you want next to Stereo Music also perfect MCH Music from DVD-CD, SACD, DVD-Audio and BD Pure Audio albums then get yourself an OPPO (or equivalent disc player). There are no full alternatives here (yet) but Dune and next Egreat come close:
  • No Native DSD via HDMI but 2CH DSD => PCM conversion (Dune including MCH too)
  • 2CH Native DSD supported on HiFi models only
  • No DVD-Audio support for playing essential MLP tracks in High Definition audio!
Zidoo specifically also suffers from essential Menu troubles playing DVD-Audio and BD Pure Audio albums. This next to some nasty problems with PCM gapless MCH album playback including DTS-CD. As-is not suitable for MCH music overall in my view.

If you want perfect video streaming services get a Powered by Android TV, NVIDIA Shield TV or a Fire TV stick. This restriction is not a media player shortcoming but enforced by the respective video streaming providers stripping high end features as they like per brand/platform. The Android APP compatibility in itself is excellent with both Dune (Android TV) and Egreat or Zidoo (Android Leanback).

If you want to listen most conveniently to stereo music streaming services like Spotify etc. then get yourself a Zidoo Neo S or Neo X player. Keep using the APP's of preference on your smartphone for convenience and compatibility and stream when you like your content in HiFi format straight to the BT enabled DAC input.
No; other equivalent players e.g. from Dune or Zappiti don't include a BT HiFi enabled DAC input.

No Egreat did not stop as they still release both new HW models and FW (Chinese and English languages only) but seem to concentrate on the internal Chinese market these days. I regard that a pity as I always liked them.

But what about Zappiti? The main FW looks very much Dune like including the information displayed on the Front Panel. My educated guess is that Zappiti FW is actually coming from and is licensed by Dune. The Zappiti MovieWall follows their own Client/Server model and is of proven quality which may next to their much appraised good-looking GUI be a valid reason to go for a Zappiti taken the premium price to be paid for granted.

You might end up with more than one choice finally as I did myself.

About Android OS versions and their peculiarities:
This is highly relevant to understand the differences and problems encountered when installing APP's via either the Google Play Store or directly running installation APK's.

Many customers think there is only one Android existing and used universally for everything. As a consequence they expect all Android APP's to run on any platform which they for sure won't.

Android OS versions
There are 3 different Android versions playing a role here. Knowing with which version one is dealing is far from trivial.

Android (standard Android)
It is just called Android running on Smartphones and Tablets
This is the most used Android OS version and referred to by me as "standard Android".

The appearance changes with each OS generation slightly adding new features but appearance will vary mostly due to manufacturers/brands mostly using their own overlay on top of it.

Android TV
This is labeled as such and indicated on selected platforms with the "Powered by Android" logo. Only that version is really designed by Google directly for big screens. Android TV or (ATV) must be licensed to be used and may not be altered or customized on a platform to get certified by Google. This warrants stability and compatibility in a high degree.
Using the Google Play Store one will get to see and next get access only to applications specifically designed for Android TV. Some applications exist in both standard Android and Android TV versions to run optimized on mentioned different platforms. Above all APPs for streaming services are mostly made available in both versions.

ATV comes with its own integral application Launcher/GUI which is really nice and easy to be recognized. Specifically the Launcher/Menu coming with ATV8 and above OS versions is very easy to recognize. it can also be controlled by voice command with remotes including a microphone.

Android Leanback
But omitting Leanback to be mentioned anywhere causing a big confusing for users and applications to be the standard Android OS version.

This is a modified/patched standard Android kernel for Media Players. It is e.g. patched to be controlled by IR remotes, have HDD's attached via SATA or USB and use the Wired Ethernet. Also the screen aspect ratio is typically forced to use Landscape instead of configurable/automatic Portrait plus Landscape on standard Android.
Manufacturers using modified Leanback seem to be free to use the Android core without licences (remember that is originally a mere Linux kernel).

The Android application menu will vary completely with each implementation and may include various options to customize it or not.

Android OS peculiarities
Almost all media players use Android Leanback but some come with Android TV. Using this Leanback Android OS stupid/strange things can happen: Dynamic contrast option for phones, getting settings for battery saving, Notification Bar peculiarities, APP's insisting to use WiFi as they think a Wired=Mobile Network, inconvenient keyboard pop-ups, problems with access to Google Application Services and/or the Google Play Store, SDHC optional Internal Storage formatting, limited/bad HDMI-CEC implementation etc etc. IR remote controls often work only partially with installed APP's which often can be improved adding a real pointer-mouse via RF or BT operation to simulate touch screen operations including swiping.

Using different brand media players one will see that the Leanback modification/patching is different with each implementation with varying results for what works or doesn't. Occasionally additional Custom Patching (facilitated by knowledgeable customers) improves compatibility for certain aspects.

The Android Leanback OS implementation typically comes with the SDK (Software Development Kit) of the SOC providers (AMlogic, Realtek, HiSilicon etc) not from the media player manufacturer. The Android OS upgrade policy hence also comes from the SOC manufacturer! Realtek thus far never upgraded their Leanback OS versions on any of their SOC's once being released (RTD1195=A4, RTD1295=A6, RTD1296=A7, RTD1395=A7, RTD1619=A9). An exception is Hisillicon which moved from A5 to A7 for e.g. Himedia and Egreat media players. It is not media player brand or any other SOC implementer deciding that! For integrated media player FW the Android OS version and generation hardly matters but for App's added manually it for sure makes a big difference.
 
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dazm41

Well-known Member
i don't think you can include egreat there support is none existent in my experience with the a11 they release them and forget there boxes and customers with no support .
 

Nice Monkey

Active Member
It is good for comparison for those having an Himedia or Egreat already. Agreed not for buying so removed Egreat from the title.

Just installed the latest FW on my A10 a few weeks ago. Lots of small fixes in there. Obviously in English. If you don't need another language then I do recommend upgrading Egreat players to android 7.

Upgraded my A11 also to Android 7 which is an improvement with SMB v2/v3, very nice Music Player and the matching Egreat APP for Android phones.
 
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Nice Monkey

Active Member
Got a test FW from Dune to validate the reported problems with playing BD Menus smoothly. The problem seems to be resolved as they now play as fluent as using my OPPO.
It was reported as a bug only occuring with Vision Series models and not older generations.

Updated my Dune Real Vision review and also this guide for player selection accordingly. I regard this a major improvement for those playing BD ISO's/Folders with Full Menu.
You will need to wait for the next FW to include the fix.
 
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Nice Monkey

Active Member
Updated once more including a product advice for using streaming music services.

Also included the Android OS versions overview now.
 
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Nice Monkey

Active Member
Surprisingly no comments.
 
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JimmytheSaint

Active Member
Thanks for your write up, should help others who are looking to digitise all of their formats.
It's very true there are no all round players out there and each excel in one thing or another. I have got an Oppo-203 (recently as my SACD player died) for playback of actual media that I own, primarily for the SACD and DVD-Audio. I also have owned most of the Dune players over the last 10-15 years since creating archives of DVD's, BD's and now UHD's has been possible. It's just the hi-res audio that is a pain!
I tested the Real Vision 4k with DSD material comparing directly to the Oppo, both out of HDMI and also the analogue outs (Oppo). The 2 channel playback is close. The multi-channel rips that I do have are not quite there, but it is so much more convenient than inserting discs.
I have decided to move to the SOLO 4k as it has a dedicated HDMI audio out and the Dune's have an option in the menu to disable the onboard DAC. This should mean that the digital stream should make it to your chosen DAC as is and thus reproduction should be close to a direct DSD stream. This I am yet to test and will update once I have done the tests.
The movie art is where the Dune is not there in comparison with the Zidoo, or Zappiti players. I use My Movies to catalogue my discs stored on a server and playback via the app. Works very well. I have not yet tried the new Dune firmware so will give that a whirl once the Solo gets here.
 
I'm by no means a videophile. I have an Oppo 205, Nvidia Shield 2019, HTPC with 3090 GPU (Kodi), and eGreat A10. For Blu-ray ISO files, the Oppo and HTPC gives me the best picture, then the Nvidia Shield, and dead last is the eGreat A10. I rarely use the Shield for non-streaming playback and have boxed up the eGreat.

I'm thinking about getting a new media player for the future and hesitant with these Android boxes due to the very bad experience with the eGreat. I've read that the 1619DR chip provides a slightly less overall picture quality compared to the Oppo. Is that true?
 

Nice Monkey

Active Member
It is not. Most inclusive myself and a critical friend having both types regard the picture very close for UHD also with DV/HDR10 or HDR10+ modes.

Egreat is not that bad but must be tuned and the Picture Engine must be turned off. Still use my Egreat A11 with a 1080P TV used for also 3D. Frankly always liked my Egreats even more after upgrading those to Android 7 which made them very stable, added SMB 2/3 support and a nice Smartphone APP.
 
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kwatz

Standard Member
Thanks for the informative thread! After the latest Shield update broke Plex's FLAC support, I'm finally moving up to something a bit more robust for my home theater. I know many have reported issues with DV/HDR10+ being washed out on the shield as well, though I have never had a direct comparison so I can't speak to that. From everything I'm reading seems like the Dune is my best option but want to be sure.

As I transfer my physical collection to my NAS, I've been creating .mkv remuxes and have a pretty extensive collection at this point. If I can access BD menus on BD and UHD discs, that would make things much easier on my end.

So, my requirements are:
  • HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support
  • .mkv support (some files upwards of 100GB)
    • Full .mkv audio support, from PCM and FLAC to Dolby Atmos
  • Full A/V HDMI passthrough
    • native audio/video resolution and refresh rate passthrough. Want my TV (Sony 77" A80J) to do the upscaling
  • Seamless connectivity with NAS
    • TBs upon TBs of movies
  • Good UI
Given these requirements, with picture and sound fidelity being a top priority and cost no object (though I wouldn't pay any amount for the smallest advantage), is the Dune my best option?
 
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Nice Monkey

Active Member
@kwatz
They will all do that. OPPO is somewhat restrictive on NAS and very restrictive on subtitles.
 

Six66Mike

Active Member
Seems strange to suggest Zidoo for their GUI yet claim Zappiti is irrelevant. With all the issues I've read about getting HT4.0 setup properly and to maintain it, it's a lot of fudgeing around where Zappiti Video is scan & go, hassle free. And looks so much better.

Worth the price difference? Probably not, but HT4.0 is still a long way off from even being close to competitive. And don't bother asking for support on the forums...
 

Nice Monkey

Active Member
Never discuss taste for good reasons. To be honest does not make a real difference for me but player features should be stable and good for me primarily.
Did not suggest to get Zidoo for its GUI anywhere I think? It is just a GUI (in fact 2 versions) which can't be customized.

The latest HT4 features are regarded good by even the critical customer/users and actual video player features are very extensive. I prefer Zidoo over Dune/Zappiti above all for the far more extensive and better subtitle support.

I have a player to watch movies and listen music not looking at menus or (impressive) collections. My TV is off listening to music.
 
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AngryVirginian

Standard Member
Seems strange to suggest Zidoo for their GUI yet claim Zappiti is irrelevant. With all the issues I've read about getting HT4.0 setup properly and to maintain it, it's a lot of fudgeing around where Zappiti Video is scan & go, hassle free. And looks so much better.

Worth the price difference? Probably not, but HT4.0 is still a long way off from even being close to competitive. And don't bother asking for support on the forums...

I had more trouble getting my collection right in Zappiti than in Zidoo. For example, it seems that Zappitti does not consider the year in the file name. E.g., Mulan (1998).mkv and Mulan (2020).mkv. The Zidoo got this right every time. I also have a lot of locally ripped extras and those kept popping back in the Zappiti even if I explicitly chose to exclude them in the Zappiti UI.

I would describe Zappiti UI as very pretty but barebone. The layout, spacing, color scheme, etc just look really well thought out. However, it lacks many features compared to Zidoo. Off the top of my head;
  1. No navigation on director & actor names on the title detail page. I.e., cannot click on the director's name in the movie detail page to bring up other titles in the collection with the person.
  2. Multiple cuts of the same movie cannot be grouped under the same poster.
  3. No support for local extras. E.g., trailers, deleted scenes, featurettes, etc.
  4. No automatic trailer in the movie detail page.
  5. Cannot configure the scraper to exclude files with preconfigured words. I came from Plex so I have a lot of extras with Plex naming convention. E.g., -featurette, -interview, -deleted, etc. I can tell Zidoo to exclude these files so that they don't show up unmatched and slow down the re-scraping process.
Some Zappti features that I want Zidoo to implement are
  1. Automatic theme song.
  2. Client-server architecture.
 
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Roberto1975

Active Member
Guide on which brand media player to select
This for playing local content including native DVD/BD/UHD in ISO or Folders with or without their respective menus.
Regarding Video format support and Picture Quality including DV and HDR10+ all mentioned media player models are good and offer basically the same. For Music they all play Stereo PCM formats in High Definition and 2CH SACD (with DSD => PCM conversion).
MovieWall features on the other hand vary a lot per brand.

Dune is an above average stable and universal media player doing everything pretty well. The best all-around media player I found thus far and I have seen plenty of them. Only my Egreat players (no DV or HDR10+ on these) do get close. The MovieWall has been improved a lot with the Alpha NewGUI FW and Dune is definitely catching up here.

If you want perfect BD Menu playback/processing from ISO/Folder a Dune is now (almost) identical to a real disc player similar to my OPPO playing menus smooth as silk too. An Egreat on the other hand is fluent too but has more problems with some menus scoring below Dune on that. Zidoo is following at a considerable distance at the bottom of this list with regular BD menus problems and far from playing those fluent.

If you want many advanced Video player features in general and specifically Music Library & Movie Wall features too then get yourself a Zidoo. They also have a large range of standard and HiFi models all having a great value/money ratio to choose from. Prices from Dune and Zidoo for individual models are on par.

If you want next to Stereo Music also MCH Music from DVD-CD, SACD, DVD-Audio and BD Pure Audio albums then get yourself an OPPO (or equivalent disc player). There are no full alternatives here but Dune and next Egreat come close:
  • No Native DSD via HDMI but 2CH DSD => PCM conversion (only Dune including MCH too)
  • 2CH Native DSD supported on HiFi models only
  • No DVD-Audio support for playing essential MLP tracks in High Definition audio
  • Zidoo specifically suffers from essential Menu troubles playing DVD-Audio and BD Pure Audio albums. This next to some nasty problems with PCM gapless MCH album playback including DTS-CD. As-is not suitable for MCH music.

If you want perfect video streaming services get a Powered by Android TV, NVIDIA Shield TV or a Fire TV stick. This restriction is not a media player shortcoming but enforced by the respective video streaming providers stripping high end features as they like per brand/platform. The Android APP compatibility in itself is excellent with both Dune (Android TV) and Egreat or Zidoo (Android Leanback).

If you want to listen most conveniently to stereo music streaming services like Spotify etc. then get yourself a Zidoo Neo S or Neo X player. Keep using the APP's of preference on your smartphone for convenience and compatibility and stream when you like your content in HiFi format straight to the BT enabled DAC input.
No; other equivalent players e.g. from Dune or Zappiti don't include a BT HiFi enabled DAC input.

No Egreat did not stop as they still release both new HW models and FW (Chinese and English languages only) but seem to concentrate on the internal Chinese market these days.

But what about Zappiti? Just seen the first reviews/demos and I conclude there is really nothing unique there for me at far higher prices. The main FW looks very much Dune like including the information displayed on the Front Panel. Their MovieWall follows their own Client/Server model and is of proven quality which may next to their much appraised good-looking GUI be a valid reason to go for it. For me personally these are irrelevant.

You might end up with more than one choice finally as I did myself.

About Android OS versions and their peculiarities:
This is highly relevant to understand the differences and problems encountered when installing APP's via either the Google Play Store or directly running installation APK's.

Many customers think there is only one Android existing and used universally for everything. As a consequence they expect all Android APP's to run on any platform which they for sure won't.

Android OS versions
There are 3 different Android versions playing a role here. Knowing with which version one is dealing is far from trivial.

Android (standard Android)
It is just called Android running on Smartphones and Tablets
This is the most used Android OS version and referred to by me as "standard Android".

The appearance changes with each OS generation slightly adding new features but appearance will vary mostly due to manufacturers/brands mostly using their own overlay on top of it.

Android TV
This is labeled as such and indicated on selected platforms with the "Powered by Android" logo. Only that version is really designed by Google directly for big screens. Android TV or (ATV) must be licensed to be used and may not be altered or customized on a platform to get certified by Google. This warrants stability and compatibility in a high degree.
Using the Google Play Store one will get to see and next get access only to applications specifically designed for Android TV. Some applications exist in both standard Android and Android TV versions to run optimized on mentioned different platforms. Above all APPs for streaming services are mostly made available in both versions.

ATV comes with its own integral application Launcher/GUI which is really nice and easy to be recognized. Specifically the Launcher/Menu coming with ATV8 and above OS versions is very easy to recognize. it can also be controlled by voice command with remotes including a microphone.

Android Leanback
But omitting Leanback to be mentioned anywhere causing a big confusing for users and applications to be the standard Android OS version.

This is a modified/patched standard Android kernel for Media Players. It is e.g. patched to be controlled by IR remotes, have HDD's attached via SATA or USB and use the Wired Ethernet. Also the screen aspect ratio is typically forced to use Landscape instead of configurable/automatic Portrait plus Landscape on standard Android.
Manufacturers using modified Leanback seem to be free to use the Android core without licences (remember that is originally a mere Linux kernel).

The Android application menu will vary completely with each implementation and may include various options to customize it or not.

Android OS peculiarities
Almost all media players use Android Leanback but some come with Android TV. Using this Leanback Android OS stupid/strange things can happen: Dynamic contrast option for phones, getting settings for battery saving, Notification Bar peculiarities, APP's insisting to use WiFi as they think a Wired=Mobile Network, inconvenient keyboard pop-ups, problems with access to Google Application Services and/or the Google Play Store, SDHC optional Internal Storage formatting, limited/bad HDMI-CEC implementation etc etc. IR remote controls often work only partially with installed APP's which often can be improved adding a real pointer-mouse via RF or BT operation to simulate touch screen operations including swiping.

Using different brand media players one will see that the Leanback modification/patching is different with each implementation with varying results for what works or doesn't. Occasionally additional Custom Patching (facilitated by knowledgeable customers) improves compatibility for certain aspects.

The Android Leanback OS implementation typically comes with the SDK (Software Development Kit) of the SOC providers (AMlogic, Realtek, HiSilicon etc) not from the media player manufacturer. The Android OS upgrade policy hence also comes from the SOC manufacturer! Realtek thus far never upgraded their Leanback OS versions on any of their SOC's once being released (RTD1195=A4, RTD1295=A6, RTD1296=A7, RTD1395=A7, RTD1619=A9). An exception is Hisillicon which moved from A5 to A7 for e.g. Himedia and Egreat media players. It is not media player brand or any other SOC implementer deciding that! For integrated media player FW the Android OS version and generation hardly matters but for App's added manually it for sure makes a big difference.
Hi, would you know if is it possible to stream master quality titles on Tidal from phone/iPad to the Neo S?
 

cybergambit

Active Member
Posted elsewhere, but I thought here might be worthwhile.

For playing just mkv / m2ts files, is one one these media players any better/worse than getting something like a Sony X800M2?

Thanks
 

Nice Monkey

Active Member
Hi, would you know if is it possible to stream master quality titles on Tidal from phone/iPad to the Neo S?
Using LDAC BT up to 24-bit 96Khz is supported and can be streamed to Neo models DAC input.
see my Neo X review on the Zidoo forum (Chapter-8)
 

Roberto1975

Active Member
Using LDAC BT up to 24-bit 96Khz is supported and can be streamed to Neo models DAC input.
see my Neo X review on the Zidoo forum (Chapter-8)
Thankyou. Just a bit confused by this choice. I use my dedicated cinema room for music listening as well. I have been using an Nvidia shield to stream movies for my projector but want to get a better unit and store my own content and hopefully get a better sound visual and sound quality. Would also like to get a music streamer as well, one with good a DAC to improve audio quality going through my Arcam AVR550 amp. Looking at the Neo S it looks like it should do the job in both respects, but also let me stream the music without having to turn projector on. Thanks for replying.
 

Nice Monkey

Active Member
Updated the Zappiti chapter. Regard it a Dune with a Zappiti unique layer on top for the HW builds, its GUI and MovieWall Client/Server implementations. I conclude this from recent FW updates coming from both Dune and Zappiti.
 

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