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HiDef Network Media Players

Discussion in 'Televisions' started by Tarbat, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. Tarbat

    Tarbat
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    I've seen mention on these forums of network media players, and have seen names like Snazio, Linkplayer, Buffalo, Pinnacle Showcentre, KISS, etc. mentioned. I'm looking for a network media player that will play WMV-HD (with DRM), DivX, MPEG4, etc. over the network (i.e. streamed from my server PC), and output a Hidef picture to a HD-Ready TV. Any thoughts on:

    1. Where to find reviews of these players. I've been to http://www.mpeg-playcenter.com/ but found little coverage of HiDef players.

    2. Any specific views on the pros and cons of any of these players. Any pitfalls I should be aware of. Any reviews (good and bad).

    Budget is not the most important concern, just something that will let me view some decent HiDef material on my TV without having to upgrade my PC and connect it directly to my TV.
     
  2. marker

    marker
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    Right now m8 I think the only one that will play WMV with DRM is the linkplayer2, someone let me know if im wrong. Head on over to www.avsforum.com and you will find out so much more about the Linkplayer and other net players... I did a lot of research before i ordered mine and one of the main things was support, IO-Data has a great support team with FW releases virtually every month with new features and bug fixes...
     
  3. Tarbat

    Tarbat
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    Thanks for the link, somewhere else to research. From some searching around I've done so far, I've tracked down two other players that seem to do HiDef:
    - Pinnacle Showcentre 200
    - Buffalow Link Theatre
    The Showcentre appears to be available at Dabs for £165 - anyone have any experience of how good this is? How does it compare with the Linkplayer 2? And the LinkTheatre is £182 from broadbandbuyer, again, anyone have any experience of this player?

    And another good link I've found is http://forum.doom9.org/forumdisplay.php?f=73
     
  4. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    For your information the Showcentre 200 is reviewed in the new issue of Home Cinema Choice. It handles High Def material (only over wired network) but I'm not sure how it would cope with DRM in WMV (apparently it has no problem with DRM in WMA). Looks like it might be a product worth investigating anyway!
     
  5. Tarbat

    Tarbat
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    Thanks Rasczak, I'll see if I can get hold of the magazine. Did they say under what circumstances they couldn't stream HiDef material over a wireless LAN. Pinnacle claim that it works, with two exceptions:
    - not 802.11b which would be too slow - only over a 802.11g LAN.
    - not in ad-hoc mode, only with an access point.
    Just wondered under what conditions HCC tested the wireless LAN functionality. At the moment the Showcentre 200 is looking well worth investigating. If only the Linkplayer 2 was available in the UK. Has anyone bought a Linkplayer2 from NextGen?
     
  6. ChrisN

    ChrisN
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    This is from the Showcenter 200 specs from Pinnaclesys.com...

    Supported File Formats

    HD Video: WM9 HD up to 1080i, WM9 HD up to 1080i with DRM, MPEG-2 HD up to 720p, MPEG-4 HD AVI up to 720p
    Incompatible video files (such as DV) will be converted to a ShowCenter compatible format as set by the user.

    Have a look here as well, lots of do's and don'ts and can's and can'ts regarding the Showcenter 200.

    I am laying the groundwork with SWMBO that we REALLY need one of these :)
     
  7. Rasczak

    Rasczak
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    No. The precise wording was "one type of video you might not want to stream across a wireless connection is bandwidth hungry high-definition - stick with Ethernet here". Make of that what you will...
     
  8. Tarbat

    Tarbat
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    Yes, I've already had a good browse there, I already use the Pinnacle forums for other products I've bought from them. I've always liked Pinnacle products, and at the moment the Showcenter looks favourite on my list. At £165, looks worth a try.
     
  9. machu

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    OK, so is there a player that can support Transport Stream (TS) files at 1080i ?
    Obviously the Pinnacle's player can't play it (I assume it would downscale it to 720p).
    I looked at the Linkplayer 2, but I stopped reading specs as soon as I saw that it has only analog outputs - ridiculous!
     
  10. lfletcher

    lfletcher
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  11. machu

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    Roku doesn't have a digital output.
     
  12. scumball

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    What's the deal with these new players only playing 1280x720 MPEG2-TS files at 30fps? Has anyone got one and can confirm they can't play 60fps progressive or 30fps 1920x1080?

    I believe this limited playback was fixed in the AVeL LP2 via a firmware, do the Buffalo and Pinnacle units use the same chipset as the AVeL?
     
  13. Tarbat

    Tarbat
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    Okay, thought I should close the loop on this thread. Finally bought a ShowCenter 200, because:
    1. I've always had success with Pinnacle products in the past.
    2. I don't need a DVD player, just a media streaming device.
    3. Only £140+vat from DABS.

    So far a qualified success. It's played everything I've thrown at it so far, all the way up to xVid 1280x720P (the King Kong trailer). Works perfectly over a wireless network (802.11g). Still need to test it with some WMV-HD media.

    Only problem so far is a problem with aspect ratios. Anything like a 2.35:1 ratio (i.e. wider than 16:9) has to be played in letterbox format, but I'm hoping that either:
    a) Pinnacle will fix it. They state that this is their top priority to fix.
    b) Using a proper HD Ready TV will solve the problem. I'm currently just using a normal widescreen CRT TV, so TV expects an anamorphic picture for anything widescreen, and the SC200 can only do anamorphic for 16:9, not 2.35:1. Once I get my SP46l6hx HiDef TV, I'll be able to use the 720P component outputs.

    In summary, the SC200 is a reasonably cheap HiDef media streamer. At the price I'm happy if it only lasts me a couple of years until proper HiDef DVD players arrive on the market.

    It claims to support all the following formats:
     
  14. ChrisN

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    Hi cjgpers,

    I too have just bought the Showcenter 200 and am very impressed with the overall functionality :thumbsup:

    The only problems I've had so far have been with WMVHD files. 720p files give an amazing picture but no sound while I can't get Media Manager to recognize the 1080i files :confused:
    Pinnacles user forum does say
    but I've had no joy, though as I'm typing this I'm wondering if having the digital jack connected somehow cuts off the analogue phono outputs???

    Can you let me know how you get on with any WMVHD files?

    Cheers


    Chris :hiya:
     
  15. Tarbat

    Tarbat
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    Okay, I've tested a 720P WMV with WMA-Pro soundtrack, and it plays okay with sound, although I'm using analog phono outputs. Pinnacle do state that WMA-Pro soundtracks are downmixed to stereo and are only available on the analog audio outputs. To get analog outputs, you'll need to change the settings on your SC200 to output the soundtrack on the analog sockets.

    Now also tested a 1080P WMV with WMA-Pro, again, plays no problem. Just put the WMV in one of my watched folders. I can't find any 1080i files to test, any ideas where to find one?

    Files I used for testing are:
    720P Godsend

    1080P Robotica
     
  16. ChrisN

    ChrisN
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    Thanks for that :thumbsup:

    Correct me if I'm wrong but don't you have to pay a fee to play the digital files through the analogue sockets? Is that what you have done?

    Sorry, I meant 1080p :suicide:
    It was the Batman Begins trailer that wouldn't import into Media Manager

    Chris
     
  17. Tarbat

    Tarbat
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    Yes, but it's only about £3.00 (5 USD).

    Strange. Have you tried just putting it into one of your watch folders. Give me a URL to the Batman Begins trailer, and I'll have a go at downloading it. Does it use DRM - that could be the problem.
     
  18. ChrisN

    ChrisN
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    Message to self: :rtfm:

    Thanks for clearing that up, I think I can just about stretch to £3 :blush:

    HERE is the link to the Batman Begins trailer. I don't think it's a DRM issue as I played it in Media Player to make sure the correct license was aquired.

    Chris
     
  19. Tarbat

    Tarbat
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    Okay, downloading now.

    Re: DRM, note that you need to have Windows Media Connect running to play DRM protected content - see olivers post on the Pinnacle support forums. I have to say, the more I use the SC200, the more I like it. An excellent piece of technology - the wife's currently watching all those movie trailers that, until now, have been locked up in my office on our PC. Great invention!! Looking forward to getting my Hi-Def DLP TV to appreciate all the Hi-Def content.

    ADDED: Okay, DRM seems to work okay - you'll see a little padlock symbol in the MediaManager
     
  20. ChrisN

    ChrisN
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    Thanksfor trying all that out - I'll have a play when I get home and see how I get on

    Chris :hiya:
     
  21. ChrisN

    ChrisN
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    Well I paid for my activation key - I have now got the option on the Showcenter 200 movie settings menu of selecting 5.1 or stereo :smashin:
    Neither give me any sound on WMV files :thumbsdow

    I also STILL cannot get the Batman trailer to import into Media Manager, it tells me it is an unsupported file format - I can feel a re-install coming on...
     
  22. Tarbat

    Tarbat
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    You are using the analog sound sockets, not the digital output?

    If you've got Windows Media Connect up and running, and in WMC you're sharing the folder that the Batman trailer is in, it will appear automatically in Media Manager, you don't need to import it. It takes a couple of minutes to appear.

    After another day's use, I remained impressed with the ShowCenter 200. I was expecting problems running this over a wireless network (802.11g), and so far the only video it's struggled with is 1080i. To be fair, Pinnacle do recommend NOT streaming 1080i WMVs over wireless, since the bitrate is so high. I only intend using it for 720p anyway.
     
  23. hkessels

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    Good day. I am a bit disappointed. I hoped the showcentre 200 would play my music - more importantly stream internet radio - directly from WMP but alas. Instead I have to use another media manager and start my television with again another remote control to access media on my laptop. :(

    Too much hazzle. I want to play music and radio from my laptop NOT from my TV screen. Even more - being an expat - I can not stream my Dutch radio using media manager. They do offer Rhapsody but why pay 5$ pm if I can listen for free to my favourite radio through WMP?!

    I guess I have to buy another streaming device, or don't I?

    :oops:
     
  24. Tarbat

    Tarbat
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    I don't think Pinnacle have ever claimed the SC200 can stream internet radio directly from WMP.
    Depends what you want. Since you're posting in a HiDef TV forum, then I reckon the SC200 should meet your HiDef TV streaming needs. It's great at streaming HiDef video, and also plays most music and photo files.
     
  25. carefactornil

    carefactornil
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  26. dodgyd

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    Yes it does, it's a coaxial digital output. I'm using it on my system.

    Dave.
     
  27. tscotsman

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    sorry if this has already been answered but is this able to show ts files, this is quite important for me as i have quite a few that i would like to show
     
  28. dodgyd

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    What do you mean by "is this able to show ts files"? Which device are you referring to? I can vouch for the Roku HD1500s ability to show ts files.

    Dave.
     
  29. Tony Hoyle

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    The SC200 is nice hardware but their software is frankly crap (wouldn't play more than 10% of my media files without crashing). I switched to SwissCenter and it's been fine ever since.

    Their hardware won't play H264 (I asked pinnacle and they say it's impossible to make the hardware do it), so is going to be obsolete quite quickly as mpeg2 starts to be phased out... might be better waiting for something with more power for future proofing.
     
  30. tscotsman

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    sorry im referring to the showcentre 200, can it play ts files?
     

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