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Well, the £60 Medion was no good - which should I try next?

gadg17

Standard Member
Bought the Medion Life E85015 HD from Aldi in the UK for £59.99 this morning. Returned it this afternoon.

Connected to a 32" Sony LCD TV via HDMI and wired LAN.

Plus points:
  • Worked straight out of the box. Found network and share folders immediately.
  • Very good photo slideshow quality
  • Menu fast enough to navigate

Minus points:
  • Absolutely terrible picture quality when playing any 640x480 Xvid file over the network. No stuttering, just grainy and very degraded compared with playback of the same files from a laptop hooked up to the TV. (720p Xvid files were better).
  • Awful quality playback of H.264 videos from my 720p camcorder when played off SDHC card. (Quality was better when played from external HDD.)

For me, the convenience of having the device was offset by the poor viewing experience. Most of my files are 480 Xvid and what I want is to stream them over the network without losing any of the quality. The Medion was a no-risk purchase since Aldi has a 20-day return policy, but I want to get it right next time.

So - can anyone recommend, say, the Hisense MP800H or Ellion Labo? Or something else? I've read here that the Hisense is pretty good but its hardware is more or less the same as the Medion.

Thanks for any advice.

David
 

lmaolmao

Prominent Member
Awful quality playback of H.264 videos from my 720p camcorder when played off SDHC card. (Quality was better when played from external HDD.)

i'm gonna have to disagree. playing one file from HDD, and the same file from sdhc will not give different quality. or do you mean smoothness?

:confused:Pay cheap pay twice, why not just get something half decent like an xtreamer or something similar.:smashin:

xtreamer and this have the same chipset.

gadg17, i cant see how you'll be any better off with playon!hd, xtreamer, ellion, hisense, or sumvision, all will offer similar picture quality (if not similar, then identical as they are all realtek units). perhaps your better looking at a sigma based one, not that they offer better pq, but they are different, whereas the ones you've suggested are pretty much the same box.
 
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gadg17

Standard Member
i'm gonna have to disagree. playing one file from HDD, and the same file from sdhc will not give different quality. or do you mean smoothness?

The difference was in the way the picture was degraded, as if it was being downsampled. The same file played from SDHC card through the camcorder hooked up to the same TV was fine.

But the real issue was the quality of standard-def Xvid files looking much worse through the Medion than direct from a PC or burned on to a disc
 

Plain_Vanilla

Established Member
:confused:Pay cheap pay twice, why not just get something half decent like an xtreamer or something similar.:smashin:

Some people may not have so much money to throw at it, or it could have been a bargain and worth a try.

I just read that review as this Medion box wasn't outputting such good quality. Personally I would go for something that is more likely to be supported in the future, even a WD box, Sumvision, something like that although personally I'll be going Xtreamer or mede8ter route.
 

lmaolmao

Prominent Member
The difference was in the way the picture was degraded, as if it was being downsampled. The same file played from SDHC card through the camcorder hooked up to the same TV was fine.

But the real issue was the quality of standard-def Xvid files looking much worse through the Medion than direct from a PC or burned on to a disc

sorry, i read it as:

played through sumvision from sdhc -> bad
played through sumvision from hdd -> good

are you sure you had the resolution set correctly? to be honest it all sounds like you had the resolution at 480i or 576i.
 

WiZeR

Standard Member
I must say I disagree with the OP's comments. I also bought it today and I think it's very good. At the price, you can't argue IMHO. If the OP is unhappy wth this machine then you will have to go to the top end of the market. I tried the Xtreamer and was hugely disappointed, it was buggy and the OSD looked awful. The Medion is a much more polished product and works well for what it is.

Edit: So far I have tested on a 20" Samsung Syncmaster & a 40" Toshiba
 

Plain_Vanilla

Established Member
Well I jumped in to thank the Op for a review, but it seems opinions differ. I was sort of expecting it to be functional but basic. If you or anyone reading who bought this has different opinions I'd be happy to hear. there are several boxes at just a liottle more than this price so I'm wondering how it compares, or would be just nice to get a one or two more reviews/opinions then.

I might pick one up tomorrow to have a play although i had pretty much made up my mind to get something with a HDD and streaming capable.
 

gadg17

Standard Member
I suppose it depends on what you'll be using it for.
My findings in detail (having tested only Xvid, H.264 and JPG files:
Xvid 720p quality - very good
Xvid 420p quality - very poor. Clearly an upscaling issue. This for me was the dealbreaker as most of my files fall into this category.

H.264 from SDHC card - poor. Picture terribly degraded. (Same file viewed on same TV from same SDHC card but played from the camcorder instead of the Medion - fine.)

H.264 files from HDD - OK but not as good as when played back through the camcorder.

JPG photo slideshow - Excellent quality, and with rostrum pan/scan (the "Ken Burns effect") enabled by default.

Music playback - fine (I used only the TV speakers).

All the above with the Medion outputting at 1080i and 720p.

Hope this helps. My current thinking is that I'll wait a while before buying again. It is after all only the convenience of not having to burn Xvids to disk or hook up the laptop to the TV that I'd be gaining and it's not worth putting convenience over quality IMO. I may change my mind...

David
 

tvjohn

Established Member
i'm gonna have to disagree. playing one file from HDD, and the same file from sdhc will not give different quality. or do you mean smoothness?



xtreamer and this have the same chipset.

gadg17, i cant see how you'll be any better off with playon!hd, xtreamer, ellion, hisense, or sumvision, all will offer similar picture quality (if not similar, then identical as they are all realtek units). perhaps your better looking at a sigma based one, not that they offer better pq, but they are different, whereas the ones you've suggested are pretty much the same box.

& I have to agree 100% with your statements, based on what I currently own & have viewed & listened to:)

As you point out, most of these recent boxes contain a Realtek chipset (SoC), & assuming the decoders are in hardware, all boxes will display & sound similar. Having hardware decoders means the CPU doesn't need to be ultra fast (compared to say a desktop computer) for good performance, & critically for low power. Energy's dear here in the UK.

I recently bought an Asus O!PLay after having done a little net research on these players. No matter how much one reads, really experience of a box is necessary to get a feel for what's required. I wanted the E-sata option, & imagined support would be reasonably good.

Since I bought it though, I've spent more time playing with Telnet to it, & realised it needs to be in the living room where others can actually use it for its intended purpose :)

So, I've bought the Medion to do the Telnetting on, as it's Linux like all the other players, but with some differences. In effect it's a decently priced embedded Linux evaluation board :)

Apparently the only difference in the Medion box to the others in terms of common hardware, is that it has an early iteration of the Realtek RTD1073, that doesn't support some flavour or other of DTS audio. Well, I can live with that, & a couple of weeks with it will determine how useful it will be.

The first thing I did was connect it to our recent LG plasma, & play back a several years old TV recording, done in xVid. I wanted to compare it with the Asus of course, as I can't get much info' on the Realtek (it is pretty recent) & wondered if there are some software "profiles" possible to alter the DivX / xVid playback quality. The pq is identical to the Asus.

However, that quality, to my surprise when I originally played back this test episode, is not as good as the LG's internal DivX decoder!

When I'd watched the episode a year or 2 ago on computer, it was probably the same quality as these boxes display, so I was really pleasantly surprised that there was no "mosquito" effect, or bad artifacts on the LG display. Maybe LG did a good job because the TV's are "certified" by DivX, I don't know.

I was hoping to get rid of the HD attached to the USB port on the LG & just use the media player, but I've a fair number of files encoded via xVid, so as someone pointed out in this thread, it's a question of convenience.

xVid's etc. I find are perfectly watchable on these media players, but just that bit nicer from the LG's own decoder.

H264 stuff, Real media, DVD structures, etc., are fine from the media players, & a disadvantage of the LG is the very limited codec support, but what it has is very good.

I suspect you're right that the only way to see if pq is improved is to try a box with the Sigma chipset. I doubt I'll compare any more Realtek based boxes now in terms of picture quality.

Since the more recent codecs, H264 etc., are very good quality from the Realtek, unless one has a lot of xVid's like the OP, I imagine most people will find most of these boxes good value.

I've (temporarily) installed Samba (so I can use the Medion as a NAS) which also works fine, but as I'm mac based here, I'd like to try NFS too.

So, again, £60 isn't too bad for a NAS & media player combined.
 

WiZeR

Standard Member
So, again, £60 isn't too bad for a NAS & media player combined.


This is the point. At £60 it's drastically cheaper than it's competitors. If you are not fussy about the 'perfect' environment, then the Medion unit is a cracking deal IMHO. All I want is a box that will play backed up DVD's over the network so that my 2yr old won't destroy both the DVD player and the discs. I also want something that will play music (don't have a hifi in the lounge) and display photos when the inlaws come round. The medion handles this task beautifully.

I think a lot of people get put off these units when they read fussy reviews that talk about things only serious video\technology buffs are concerned with.

I can't speak highly enough of the medion based on the price to performance ratio.

Get one if you can!
 

gadg17

Standard Member
I think a lot of people get put off these units when they read fussy reviews that talk about things only serious video\technology buffs are concerned with.

Surely wanting to have a decent quality picture isn't just a technology buffs' requirement?
 

WiZeR

Standard Member
Surely wanting to have a decent quality picture isn't just a technology buffs' requirement?

Yes it is. There's a difference between perfectly acceptable video quality and fussy high end quality. It's like the difference between listening to an MP3 and the full uncompressed version. 90% of the population would never notice the difference or care about it if they did. Obviously, on an AV forum, the regular members are interested in the very best they can afford. But for the lay person, who's just searching to find out whether a piece of equipment is generally ok, would be put off by fussy talk about differences in video quality that are only there if you look for them.
 

candg

Established Member
Just bought this unit. Very frustrated as I cannot get the remote to work at all so stuck with the menu on the screen and no more. Anyone had this problem ? the remote is completely non responsive (yes I have removed the plastic cover from the battery). Pretty impressed with the build quality so fat though

Any ideas ?

Graham
 

WiZeR

Standard Member
I bought 2 units and neither had this problem. To be honest, I'd just take it straight back for an exchange. Might just be a bad'n.
 

candg

Established Member
Managed to get the remote working now. Connect to my Yamaha Receiver through HDMI and on to my In Focus HD projector, it works brilliantly (although the remote is a bit crappy). OK the picture quality is not 100% but for this price its excellent. Have tried playing media through the network, USB drive and all work great. Has anyone any idea where I could get a compatible Wi Fi dongle ? It says on the box that you can make it wireless with a dongle. The instruction book does not mention this at all. Any thoughts anyone ?

Many thanks

Graham
 

tvjohn

Established Member
It's hard to give anything other than a subjective opinion on picture quality without some sort of reference.

It's easier to say "these 2 boxes display identical quality" when the same display (tv) & cables etc. are used.

Even the distance away from the tv will be significant, e.g., the comparison I did between the players & the LG tv displaying the xVid file were viewing a 50" plasma at about 2 metres away. 3 to 4 metres away makes the differences much harder to spot.

Unsure if this will be any help, but I just watched a few minutes of this clip having these properties, coming from the Medion & it looks fine - to me.

If you can point me to a shortish clip encoded with x264, I can give my opinion on it, but again, depends on your viewing "standards" :)

*** MediaInfo Mac // Plain text file report
2010-01-25 22:06:48 +0000
Information for File: Test.mkv

General / Container Stream # 1
Total Video Streams for this File -> 1
Total Audio Streams for this File -> 1
Video Codecs Used -> AVC
Audio Codecs Used -> AAC LC
File Format -> Matroska
Play Time -> 30mn 25s
Total File Size -> 621 MiB
Total Stream BitRate -> 2 854 Kbps
Encoded with -> DivXMKVMux 3.2.0.0252
Encoding Library -> libDivXMediaFormat 3.2.0.0252
Video Stream # 1
Codec (Human Name) -> AVC
Codec (FourCC) -> V_MPEG4/ISO/AVC
Codec Profile -> [email protected]
Frame Width -> 1 280 pixels
Frame Height -> 720 pixels
Frame Rate -> 29.970 fps
Total Frames -> 54722
Display Aspect Ratio -> 16/9
Video Standard -> NTSC
Scan Type -> Progressive
Colorimetry -> 4:2:0
Codec Settings (Summary) -> CABAC / 4 Ref Frames
Codec Settings (CABAC) -> Yes
Video Stream Length -> 30mn 24s 66ms
Bit Depth -> 24 bits
Video Stream Language -> English
Audio Stream # 1
Codec -> AAC
Codec (FourCC) -> A_AAC
Audio Stream Length -> 30mn 25s 892ms
Number of Audio Channels -> 2
Audio Channel's Positions -> L R
Sampling Rate -> 48.0 KHz
Bit Depth -> 16 bits
Audio Stream Language -> English


A suitable wifi "dongle" will probably have to be based on a Realtek chipset as the firmware has Realtek drivers for the hardware. I've got one on order, so I'll report back if it works.......
 

rebulous

Established Member
Yes it is. There's a difference between perfectly acceptable video quality and fussy high end quality. It's like the difference between listening to an MP3 and the full uncompressed version. 90% of the population would never notice the difference or care about it if they did. Obviously, on an AV forum, the regular members are interested in the very best they can afford. But for the lay person, who's just searching to find out whether a piece of equipment is generally ok, would be put off by fussy talk about differences in video quality that are only there if you look for them.

Thank you. I'm one of those 90% and appreciate detailed reviews without the 'fuss'. :) More importantly, I appreciate discussed reviews.
 

candg

Established Member
Still pretty pleased with the unit for the price it performs well on wired LAN, USB hard drives, and USB stick, all files appear to play fine. I have been trying to find out how to get this working with Wi Fi as I am thinking about buying a second one to use in my bedroom where a wired connection would be great hassle for me ! I have tried using a Belkin wireless access point which seems to connect to the network, after set-up the Medion menu states that the Network is connected. I can't however see any files on the network. I rang Medion earlier (their after sales service has always been really excellent) and despite it stating on the box that it can be converted to WiFi with a suitable USB dongle Medion say that this unit does not support Wi Fi at all.

Any ideas anyone

Cheers

Graham
 
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tvjohn

Established Member
.......... I can't however see any files on the network. I rang Medion earlier (their after sales service has always been really excellent) and despite it stating on the box that it can be converted to WiFi with a suitable USB dongle Medion say that this unit does not support Wi Fi at all.

Any ideas anyone

Cheers

Graham

You've confirmed what I've just found! As I wrote in a prior post above, I ordered a Realtek (they make the chipset for the player) 802.11n usb dongle which arrived yesterday, & nothing from the Medion :(

Luckily I have an Asus O!PLay (similar but bit better spec'd & a bit dearer) which works with the dongle just fine. I was confident it would with the Asus, but surprised at the Medion. As you know their service is good, all I can suggest is can you ask them for a link to a firmware (system) upgrade file? If you get that, I'm quite prepared to reflash (reprogram) the Medion with an alternative file which will allow it to work with a wifi dongle (as long as it's Realtek) & report back on its success. Naturally I need to be able to restore its original firmware if it fails.

One relatively minor disadvantage would be a learning type remote would be necessary as its own remote is unlikely to work afterwards, but offset by the nicer features (file copy, delete, rename etc.) of alternative firmware :)
 

mark.m.moran

Standard Member
Hey guys,
I too bought this Medion player and love it so far. I want to turn it into a NAS like some others here did. How does one do this?

I can telnet to it and with username "root" I can get in. I have found a script here (http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?t=64544) that automates the installation of A-Optis on the ASUS O!Play. I think the O!Play and the Medion use the same chip with the Medion having a smaller internal memory.

I am a Linux noob and all I really want to be able to do is transfer and manage files on the HDD connected to the Medion player from my laptop. I would prefer not to have to plug it in and out evertime.

Can you help?

Cheers,
Mark
 
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