Media player with internal blu ray drive?

SillySausage

Active Member
Merry Chistmas everybody :)

I'm not entirely sure where this thread should go as it encompasses a fair few areas.

At the moment we have a Sony 350 BDP, PS3 (Jap spec so won't play disks), Sky HD going into an Onkyo 876 AV amp via HDMI

I now want to put a media server in (probably HP ProLiant MicroServer N40L) and a media player to pull from it.

I don't have any free HDMI slots on the AV amp and don't really want to be buying hubs and switches if I can help it.

Is there such thing as a reasonably priced (sub £200 ideally) player that has the bluray and media player built into one unit.

I need the ability to simply drop a disk in and watch a film without ripping it to disk and messing about etc, but would also like to keep the box count down and ease of use simple.

I do chase picture and sound quality foremost, but conveniance is coming a close second.

I could just buy a british PS3 and donate the jap one to the eldest, but just how good are new PS3's in comparison to dedicated media players and BDP etc ?

Thoughts and opinions welcome.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
Merry Chistmas everybody :)
Bah Humbug :D
Is there such thing as a reasonably priced (sub £200 ideally) player that has the bluray and media player built into one unit.
For just over budget at £239 there is the HDI Dune Smart B1 that is a full blown media streamer with a BluRay drive as well. Like all the Dune BD player/streamers the drive can be made easily multi-region/Zone for both DVD & BD with a simple software patch you run on the player - no hardware mod required.
AFAIK this is the only media player in this price bracket with a BluRay drive. Dune also do a more expensive HD Max at £369 or you could look at a PCH C-200/C-300 and add a PC BluRay drive - but these are all well over budget.

Mark.
 

SillySausage

Active Member
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the quick answer.

The Dune smart B1 looks interesting, especially as I can connect my 1.5tb external drive to it as a storage device.

Looking through a few reviews suggests I may be able to talk to the external HDD from remote PC and Mac as it has an SMB server built in.

How this would compare performance wise (speed) with the Dune linked directly to a server I don't know, but if it is workable then it could be a good solution and save me buying a server as well.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
Yes the Dune B1 with a HDD connected to it via USB or eSATA will act as a NAS on your network. So your PC etc would be able to copy files to or from the HDD on the B1. However as the player only has a 100mbps network port it will be slow with large files so you may be better using the USB slave port as that should be around 4x faster for file transfers.

Mark.
 

SillySausage

Active Member
Hi again Mark.

Thanks for your comments once more. In the end I decided that I really want to set the whole house up with a wired network and a large server for music and video.

However at the moment there just are not the funds present to do it properly.

So I have decided to go with a simple Sumvision Cyclone Primus and am to put a 1.5tb HD in that I already own.
It will give me what is needed at the moment, and that is a simple way to get 150 DVD's out of the living room ;)
 

SillySausage

Active Member
As a bump to this thread, the Cyclone Primus turned up today.

It looks good as a component, the HD went in well and I spent 5 hours ripping a selection of DVD's onto it as a test.

After a few flakey restarts and a firware update, the video content plays back reasonably well, but the audio is 2ch stereo no matter what I do with it.

A read up later confirms that it is always likely to be the case through HDMI and although I couldn't get it any different through the co-ax digital out, I quickly decided that this player is much too much low rent for my needs.

It is going back and now I am searching for something similar that gives full HD audio out through HDMI, as I want to pull our blu ray library over to it eventually.

I suspect I'll end up back at a Dune device.... doh.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
Well if looking at a cheaper Dune you have the TV101 at £100 but no internal HDD or the TV301 at £140 (due for release soon) with a 2.5" (laptop) HDD bay. Both passthrough the HD audio over HDMI.
A slightly cheaper option is the new WDTV Live SMP at around £90 but it does not passthrough DTS-HD MA, just the core DTS and no internal HDD space.
There are many other media players that should do most or all of what you want for not too much money.

Mark.
 

SillySausage

Active Member
Hi Mark,

Thanks for your comments once again.
I've spent a good few hours on this since yesterday and was all but set to pull the trigger on a Chinese Realtek based player (Measy X5) as they can be had for very little money.

At the last minute I noticed a review on the Netgear NTV-550, which seems to have the same chipset as the Dune players. OK I go without the internal drive, but this isn't a major problem. For the money the are available for (Under £110), so far I can't see it being bettered.

Am still open to suggestions of course, but for simple movie playback of high quality blu ray and DVD rips, whilst keeping the audio as is (pass through HDMI), I don't think there is much else at the quality and price.
 

SillySausage

Active Member
Oh I have read that to death over the last 24hrs :rolleyes:

People complain about picture handling and a few other niggles, but it seems no different to any other device under £200, in so much as they all have their quirks.

The Realtek 1186 based Chinese players also look interesting, but I have no interest in 3D and I don't want half my menus in Chinese so have discounted them for the time being.

The netgear seems to have the same processing and capability as the more pricey Dune players, yet is a lot cheaper.

The lower spec DuneTV101 and all the other 8670 based players seem to be much of a muchness and not of the output quality that the better Sigma chips give.

Ultimately I'm going round in circles with this damn lot. Just when I've settled on something, I find a pile of brown stuff on the tinterweb or a different technology to go chasing.

I'm only spending peanuts as well, lord knows what it would be like with £1000s to spend :eek:
 

MarkE19

Moderator
The Dune TV101 has the fastest chipset of any Dune player - the 8670 is not a cut down version of the 8642 in the NeoTV or other Dune players. When the Smart v2 players are released they are likely to have the 8670 chipset which adds gigabit network port and a slightly faster CPU.
The TV101 is only lower spec in regards to its connectivity, and in every other way is as good as the Smart range of players IMO. I've run my Prime, a TV101 and Smart H1 side by side and I can't see any differences in picture or audio quality from any of them - they are all excellent IMO.

Mark.
 

SillySausage

Active Member
Hi Mark,

Interesting. Don't know where I had read that the 101 was inferior, but I live and learn :)

I've seen your review on the 101 and it looks promissing, but I'm not sure just what it does with blu ray playback and ISO's. Some say it is ok just the menu system is a little convaluted as the player doesn't have a license, but other forums suggest blu ray is best avoided on the 101 as it doesn't pass TrueHD or DTS(MA) etc.

Is this the case, as I want the media player to have all the capability of the original disk in the blu ray drive would give.

Ta, Adam.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
When you play a BluRay ISO (or folder structure rip) the TV101 generates a playlist. From the menu you just need to select the main film (generally has the most chapters) and it goes directly to the start of the film with no annoying adverets or slow loading menu that you get with the full BD license.
The TV101 does passthrough the HD audio over HDMI and IMO was very good at playing the BD rips I have. Even the high bitrate rip of Avatar played fine although I don't have an HDMI AV system so couldn't check how good the audio was.

Mark.
 

awink1

Distinguished Member
What Mark said.... :D

That said if you want to have the full BD menus with java warts 'n all, then you might want to look at the Dune Smart series of players :smashin:
 

MarkE19

Moderator
Yes a Smart H1 at £180 is the cheapest Dune player with a full BluRay license. If you then want to upgrade to a player with a BluRay drive you can just add a BE extension module for £140 rather than having to replace the player.

Mark.
 

SillySausage

Active Member
Right, decision made.

Dune TV101 is to be bought now and upgraded to a more functional device when funds allow, thus allowing the 101 to be moved into the bedroom at a later date.

For now I'll use the external 1.5TB hard disk with it and then progress to a server to feed everything as time progresses.

Thanks for your help (and patience Mark ;) ), and I'll post back with my thoughts and findings when it comes, just for others to hopefully learn from my purchase error and thought process :)
 

MarkE19

Moderator
Right, decision made.

Dune TV101 is to be bought now
So what made you decide to get a Dune :rotfl:

Good choice and I'm sure you will be happy with it :thumbsup:

Mark.
 

SillySausage

Active Member
Well it seems to do all I need right now, especially if it passes the HD audio.

I'm not especially fussed about the blu ray menu gobbledegook, as the OH and I get rather rattled by 7 previews before tha actual movie. :)

I'd have liked the USB connection round the back and very nearly went with the 301 because of it, but in the end it isn't a real deal breaker and not worth another £30 for the smoother looks in the rack.

Ultimately, the reason I went for it is that I can't find too many complaints about anything Dune related. Every other option, including the Netgear 550 (which on paper has cracking specs), seem to have problems beyond niggles.

What I don't want and can't do with in life is things that don't work. There's nothing worse than being engrossed in a film on the projector (hence the need for blu ray quality) and the audio drops out or picture starts throwing a wobbly.

Hopefully the Dune should give me the best possibility for just playing without any fancy frills or gimmicks to trip over.

And of course, once I have the baby one in the system, the next purchase when I upgrade will be easy :smoke:
 

SillySausage

Active Member
Quick follow up to the thread.

Recieved the Dune today and I'm thoroughly impressed by it.

The menus flow well, the software is smooth and most importantly it is just easy to use and the quality is excellent.

Very happy. Just now need to learn how to get the Zappity thing working as the guides all look complicated.
 

MarkE19

Moderator
Zappiti is not too bad once you get your head around what you are doing. But if you need any help just shout and I'll do what I can to help. But to get you started this guide is fairly good, but a little out of date due to all the updates that have been released - Guide: Setting Up Zappiti For the Dune

Mark.
 

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