Network players are different: black, white, ASUS ...

    ASUS is once again going to bake delicious pancakes;) This time, she swung to the market of network media players.


    I share the recipe.

    The output of this player suggests that the market for such devices is already large enough (which costs only twixes and corn), so that such large players as ASUS could enter it. Although a little late, but there is still much to sell - such devices are gaining more and more popularity among ordinary users.

    Speck *

    * There are new firmware - for example, BD-images are already quite coming.


    The dimensions of the colored box can be seen in the photo. In a very modest size fit:


    - Network player ASUS O! Play ;
    - AC adapter (2A, 12V);
    - Remote control + 2xAAA;
    - Quick installation guide;
    - A / V cable;
    - CD.


    The full name of the device is ASUS O! Play HDP-R1 , so it is always easy to find in the search - you can’t confuse it with anything. Manual in different languages, including Russian.
    On disk - Russian-language manual in PDF format. Velcro on wires can turn out to be a pleasant trifle - for neat styling or “pigtails”.


    The player is somewhat different in appearance from its predecessors, and to the last it seems that there is still a hard disk installed. However, it is not there) The case is small, made of black matte plastic (although the front side does contain a little gloss - behind this "half-glass" body part there is an IR receiver and two blue LEDs of medium brightness).



    On the back side there are almost all the connectors - despite the fact that HD-video is most suitable for HDMI (here it is 1.3), without component video output it is somehow directly empty. In addition to HDMI, there is also a power connector and a network port, stereo audio and digital optical output.


    At one end there are two USB ports (2.0), one of which is combined with an eSATA connector.


    I did not open the device, but according to reviews available on the network, there is one single shielded printed circuit board on which a multimedia processor Realtek RTD1073 with a frequency of 400 MHz is installed .


    (These two images are taken from a review on the 3DNews website)

    Judging by the specifications , HD video up to 1080 @ 60p should be fully supported. In the same place, by the way, the line “ It supports a Wireless LAN IEEE 802.11b / g / n in-house total solution ” was embarrassing - although nothing was said about working on Wi-Fi.


       As for the power supply - as you may have noticed, it is external. Why, with such dimensions of the device and in the absence of a disk inside, the power supply still had to be brought out - I’m lost in conjecture. I think he wouldn’t particularly hinder the “greenhouse conditions” inside, although the absence of noise from passive cooling is always a nice bonus. Well, at least the block itself is very small - exactly the same as on netbooks.

       Remote ... such a remote. When he first met, he seemed like a Chinese child’s toy - a plastic craft with a couple of large rubber buttons. But only after you pick it up and click on the channels for a couple of minutes, you realize how convenient it is. Firstly, it is very small - even the smallest hand reaches out to any of its buttons. Secondly, he has a very embossed case - he won’t be able to drop it. Thirdly, there is no frightening amount of buttons on it - just what you really need. And fourthly, the buttons are tactilely pressed very nicely.



    Inclusion and work

       At the first start, you need to make some settings - language, hdmi mode, network settings (it worked for me with DHCP). Later, the player goes into a ready-to-work state in 10 seconds - immediately after that, a beautiful color menu appears on the TV screen in front of the user. Well, how beautiful ... much prettier than in many other players, but otherwise it is the simplest. It provides 5 points (located in the "carousel") - movies , music , photos , copying files and settings . The carousel spins quickly, without any brakes or delays.

    There are 5 tabs available in the settings window - sound , video , photos, network and system .


       Switching between them also happens without brakes, which is very nice (although in everyday life you will not come here so often). The settings do not indulge in their quantity - you can adjust the screen format, video output mode, brightness-contrast, effect (which is already 8) and the interval for changing frames when viewing a slide show, encoding / subtitle language, system language and something else - nothing non-standard for players. Most likely, everything will work without additional user intervention, but in any case, difficulties are unlikely to arise. All menus are well Russified.

       Источником медиаконтента могут выступать носители типа флешек и внешних жестких дисков (ФС – FAT32/NTFS/HFS+) – через порты USB и eSATA. Но более интересной мне кажется функция просмотра файлов по сети. Работая через протоколы SMB/CIFS, плеер способен качать голых тетек фильмы со скоростью до 33мбит/c (по крайней мере, через мой 100-мегабитный роутер) – средней мощности фонтан, но этого вполне хватит для многих фильмов, вес которых не исчисляется десятками гигабайт. К системе устройства можно получить полный telnet-доступ.

       There are a couple of buttons on the remote control that allow you to select the desired type of content, bypassing the main menu - in fact, ordinary file filters. In the case of the photo - through hdmi on the large panel they look very nice and quickly switch, but with the rotation and the scale of the case a little slower. You can put the music to play in order and go to another menu - it will play.
    Music plays, but no frills - there is rewind (up to 32x), tags were read only from mp3 files and occasionally with the Cyrillic alphabet down.


       Watching the video pleasantly surprised me. Despite the fact that the player plays from the network (i.e., in fact, downloading a movie, and not storing it on a disk inside itself), I did not encounter any artifacts. Even when rewinding - in most cases everything is smooth even with very large files (I did not have time to try 40-gig movies). The usual 700-megapixel video player clicks like nuts (in such files I have most cartoons, including ancient ones). In all the specifications of the device that I met, it does not say anywhere that the player knows how to play DVD-video from ISO-images, which also can be found in our time.

       The player itself consumes about 10W, the rest of the power supply unit is designed for external devices. Despite the absence of a cooler, the device remains barely warm even after prolonged use.

       During our short time that we were together, the player never hung and generally left only positive memories :) Now I suggest everyone to familiarize themselves with the recorded clip, which shows the operation of the device. The sound is terrible - it did not replace it, because part of the video is “voiced” by the music of the device itself:

    I repeat that the device can easily be flashed, fixing bugs and adding new functionality. I myself did not have time to do this, but there is a lot of discussion on the forums on this topic.

    By the way, I suddenly found an interesting picture on the open spaces of the network:


    Control weighing

    - Compact sizes;
    - Minimalistic design, including a convenient remote control;
    - Several interfaces for external media (USB, eSATA, LAN) and quick work with them;
    - Work with Windows 7 and file systems FAT32, NTFS, HFS +;
    - Fast navigation through a very pleasant player menu;
    - Support for a large number of file formats;
    - Ability to increase the functionality of firmware;
    - Price!

    - No HDMI cable included;
    - Built-in hard drive would give more options;
    - A couple of times there were jambs with tags of music files;
    - Does not work on Wi-Fi network and does not download torrents.

    At the time of writing the review, the device is still positioned on the as a novelty, however, the price is not at all biting - 4500 rubles. Perhaps for someone such a decision would be a good gift for the New Year tree.

    Price dynamics:


       Considering that there were already a lot of various media solutions, the company chose, in my opinion, the right way - it released a functional device with an attractive pricing policy. From here, in fact, came all the minimalism and simplicity that are inherent in this device, plastic instead of luminium, etc.
       Despite the fact that for the company this is, in fact, the first experience in the design of such devices, the pancake was not lumpy. It may not be suitable for creating a serious home theater system, but it is ideal for a number of domestic tasks. In terms of speed, the player surpassed all those devices that I have met before; and the Internet whispers that this is generally one of the fastest players on the market. Given the cost of the device, choosing a worthy (and affordable in our market) competitor becomes even more difficult even among the "Chinese".
       If we take into account all of the above, we can assume that the player will be interesting for a fairly large audience of users. The device is not perfect (like everything in this world) - there are also very significant disadvantages. But the reputation of the manufacturer as it hints that many of the shortcomings will be eliminated, and the functionality expanded. That which cannot be eliminated programmatically, I think, will soon be implemented in a new device - for example, in the new O! Play Air HDP-R3, which is already in a hurry to replace its younger brother. Apparently, this is no less delicious gourmet dish from ASUS, so Chinese manufacturers of media players will have to make room.

    imageFeel free to join the ranks of the fans of the company;)

    Good luck and with the upcoming!

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