Featured Articles

Nvidia Shield 2 shows up in AnTuTu

Nvidia Shield 2 shows up in AnTuTu

Nvidia’s original Shield console launched last summer to mixed reviews. It went on sale in the US and so far Nvidia…

More...
AMD CSO John Byrne talks ARM

AMD CSO John Byrne talks ARM

We had a chance to talk about AMD’s upcoming products with John Byrne, Chief Sales Officer, AMD. We covered a number…

More...
AMD Chief Sales Officer thinks GPU leadership is critical

AMD Chief Sales Officer thinks GPU leadership is critical

We had a chance to talk to John Byrne who spent the last two years as Senior Vice President and Chief…

More...
OpenPlus One $299 5.5-inch Full HD phone

OpenPlus One $299 5.5-inch Full HD phone

OnePlus is one of the few small companies that might disrupt the Android phone market, dominated by giant outfits like Samsung.…

More...
KFA2 GTX 780 Ti Hall Of Fame reviewed

KFA2 GTX 780 Ti Hall Of Fame reviewed

KFA2 gained a lot of overclocking experience with the GTX 780 Hall of Fame (HOF), which we had a chance to…

More...
Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2010 orks, a business unit of Nuevvo Webware Ltd.
Monday, 15 November 2010 08:00

ACRyan Playon! HD reviewed

Written by Slobodan Simic
acryan_playonHD_thumbrecommended08_75

Review: One player to rule them all

For quite some time, the market has been flooded with various media players that have slammed a rather large nail into the HTPC market coffin. HTPC’s are mostly used for various media reproductions and thanks to a little chip from Realtek, it can all be done with a simple, small and in most cases, quite well designed media player.

After the review of ACRyan's Playon! HD Mini we were given a chance to play around with its bigger brother, the Playon! HD. Unlike the small, simple, but quite versatile Playon! HD Mini, this one features slightly more features, and comes with an integrated 500GB, 1TB or 2TB hard disk drive.

acryan_playonHD_2
The ACRyan Playon! HD is a 227 x 165 x 60mm device that can play almost every known video and audio format and reproduce it via wide variety of output including the HDMI with support for 1080p content. As noted, unlike the Playon! Mini, the Playon! HD features an integrated HDD and has the BitTorrent download feature.

acryan_playonHD_4

As far as design goes, Playon! HD is a well designed device that will definitely look good in a living room setup. The glossy front and a large brushed plastic case are pretty well designed and can be paired with any other high-tech device.
acryan_playonHD_1a
The back part of the Playon! HD features all the outputs and goodies, and that’s where all the fun starts as this one certainly has it all. From left to right you have optical and coaxial audio output, Ethernet, HDMI, Composite and RGB analogue outputs and a DC input for power. You may have also noted the small 40mm fan on the far left but we’ll mention it a bit later.

acryan_playonHD_3

Due to the fan placement, inputs had to be moved to a side of the device and there you can find a card reader slot, two USB 2.0 host inputs and an USB 2.0 type B slave slot.

acryan_playonHD_1

ACRyan seems to have included pretty much everything you need to get the player started right out of the box and you can find a media player, remote control with two AA batteries, composite A/V cable, Y/Pb/Pr cable, one USB A to B type cable, AC Adaptor, one power cord and the user manual.

acryan_playonHD_9


The HDMI cable is also included and we must say that ACRyan is one of the rare companies that bundles a quality 2m HDMI 1.3 cable with its media player. It’s a minor inconvenience if you don’t get an HDMI cable, but then again - these things mean much to customers.

Since they don’t come with an integrated WiFi, ACRyan’s media players can be bought bundled with the ACRyan USB 802.11bgn WiFi dongle, which gives you a full WiFi connection. Of course, it can be bought separately as well.

acryan_playonHD_11

The feature list is quite extensive as, after all, the ACRyan Playon! HD is one of the most versatile media players that we have seen. It supports almost all, if not all, video and audio formats, has support for UPnP media streaming, has wired and wireless network support (wireless is done via optional adapter), has an integrated HDD, can be used as a network drive (NAS), has support for BitTorrent-Client download, support for Internet Radio and Internet Feeds (Picassa, Flickr, News feeds) and has a SlideShow feature in case you want to check out some photos.

acryan_playonHD_5

The main feature is the integrated hard drive and Playon! HD supports any 3.5-inch SATA/SATA2 HDD with up to 2TB of capacity. Our model has a 1TB Hitachi 7200RPM SATA2 HDD. Since we got the device a while back, we must note that all ACRyan media players now use eco-friendly hard drives and have the Greenlife sticker on the box. When compared to those before, including ours, the new HDDs feature 30 to 50% lower power consumption, reduced heat generation and reduced noise by up to 30 percent.

acryan_playonHD_6

acryan_playonHD_7

Since it has an integrated HDD and a fan, it is only logical to talk about noise. We must say that ACRyan surprised us there and despite the fact that it has an integrated HDD and a 40mm fan in order to keep things cool, the ACRyan Playon! HD is as silent as it can be. You can hear the drive spin up but only if you literally put your ear to it. The fan spins up fast enough to keep the air flowing but it is dead silent, something that we really didn’t expect.

Again we must note that we have an older version of the Playon! HD and that new ones come with a GreenLife eco-friendly HDDs that are even more silent, cooler and use less power. Bear in mind that, since this is a media player that reside below a TV or a monitor, you’ll be at least few meters away from it so noise is definitely something you wouldn't associate with ACRyan’s Playon! HD.

We, of course, decided to check out the internals as well and as you can see, the Playon! HD is quite simple as it all about that single RTD1073DD chip made by Realtek. It is cooled by a simple heatsink and gives you everything that you need.

acryan_playonHD_8

In stand-by mode the Playon! HD’s power consumption is 0W, or to be precise, it might be under 1W as our power-meter only kicks in if something is measureable. Under full load (playing a full HD 1080p video from the HDD) it uses around 14W. The same power consumption is in idle, when the player is in its main menu. The highest power consumption that we saw is around 25W and that happened only for a short time when the device was booting and was spinning up the HDD.

The remote controller is quite simple and it is the same one that comes with the Playon! HD Mini. It works pretty good, although if we're picking hairs we'd say that it could be a bit smaller.

acryan_playonHD_10

We have been using the Playon! HD media player for quite some time and have updated the firmware twice since. Don’t get us wrong - we didn't actually need the update, but rather to get the new features. The list of positives goes on, if ACRyan can brag about something then it is flawless support, as new firmware versions with new features are always in the works. While you are reading this, ACRyan is working on an exclusive new Playon! GUI 2.0, which is currently exclusive for their new Playon! Essential media player but should come to the rest of the line by the end of the year.

We used the r3582 firmware version for our review and we must note that ACRyan went far away from the original one that came with the  media player, and it just keeps getting better and better. The GUI looks quite pleasant and pretty simple. We honestly can’t find anything to nag about and minor glitches will probably be corrected in the next firmware update. There are also a couple of other beta firmwares, but we tend to stick to the recommended ones, and are eagerly awaiting the new Playon! GUI 2.0.

The main menu has eight options: Browser, Media Library, Movie Jukebox, Torrents, Internet Feeds, Internet Radio, File Copy and Setup.

The browser is quite simple, self-explanatory, and pretty much made to be easy enough to use with the remote control. You get a list of all the connected devices, including USB, memory card, internal HDD, optical drive (if connected), network, UPnP, NFS and playlist option.

acryan_browser

Media Library is a nice addition if you don’t mind the hassle, as yours truly keeps its videos organized on the HDD as well, so we didn’t bother with it. Some might find it useful but we simply don’t like the idea of needing to update it every time we add something new, and never preferred sorting by genre, album or artist. On the other hand, search option is a nice thing if you happen to have a bunch of unsorted files and it makes life a bit easier.

acryan_medialib

The Movie Jukebox, or to be precise YAMJ (Yet Another Movie Jukebox) is yet another feature that ACRyan decided to implement with its media players.

acryan_YAMJ

The YAMJ is open source software and ACRyan managed to hook up with the team behind it and make it work with its own players. It is simply yet another way to organize your movie collection and get a more pictorial view of movies, at least compared to the browser list.

acryan_YAMJ_1

With YAMJ, you get a cover picture, short description, rating, and various other details regarding a specific movie inside your collection. Again, neat feature if you don’t mind updating it.

acryan_YAMJ_2

We all know what torrents are, and this one is self-explanatory as well. You can setup a BitTorrent-Client and simply tell the Playon! HD what to download to its internal HDD. The same thing goes for Internet Feeds and Internet Radio. All need an active internet connection via wired or WiFi network.

acryan_torrent

acryan_ims

acryan_iradio

Internet Feeds include pre-set links for Picassa, Flickr, Weather and News (CNN, BBC or URL that you might add).

The File Copy works like a charm and it’s quite easy to get files from one device to other, including network, internal HDD, USB device or any other device that you might have connected. You simply set the source device and file(s) that you want to copy or move and then a destination device, including the creation of the new directory.

acryan_filecopy

Setup is, of course, used for setting up the device, including settings for audio, video, network, system and miscellaneous settings.

acryan_setup

ACRyan’s Playon! HD handled everything that we managed to throw at it. It even has the ability to play ISO Blu-rays but with certain limits, especially with Java driven menus because the player currently does not support Java and you have to select the stream manually. It can be hooked up to your network via wireless and despite the fact that we are talking about 802.11n we still don’t recommend 1080p streaming as it might stutter, it is simply easier to copy it to the internal HDD and then play it.

The rest of the files that we tried also ran great. We used a bunch of various HD files that we usually use for testing and every last one of them worked. You may find some issues, or to be precise, stuttering with files that are over 40Mbps, but most of the files that you might usually try will work, and will work quite well.

Conclusion

The ACRyan Playon! HD is one of those rare players on the market that comes with everything that you might need and everything works just right out of the box. It can take care of any video or audio content and can cope with most, if not all, 1080p media.

It is available in five different versions depending on the HDD size, so you have the one that comes without the HDD, 500GB version, 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB version. The reviewed 1TB version can be bought directly from ACRyan's website for €249 in Europe and it is basically one of the cheapest in its class, at least if you compare all the features.

The one without the HDD will set you back for €149, the 500GB version sells for €199 while the 1.5TB and the 2TB can be bought for €299 and €320. We checked out the prices at our price search engine and some are even lower as UK e-tailer Scan.co.uk has the 1TB version in stock for as low as €230. Those that live in the USA are a bit lucky as ACRyan offers a free Playon! Wireless-N USB Adaptor with every Playon!HD or Playon!HD Mini and Playon! HD.

In case this price is a bit over your budget, you can always go for ACRyan’s Playon! HD Mini, that we reviewed a while back, and that easily snatched our Top Value award.

We used the ACRyan Playon! HD for quite some time and it simply impressed us as you basically need an HDMI cable and that little box can play your favourite 1080p video files in your living room. We must mention again that ACRyan bundles its own high-quality 2m HDMI cable with every media player.

There are quite a lot of media players on the market and the offer is quite good, but considering that ACRyan really has a decent support and keeps releasing new firmware updates, has designed a neat looking device that you don’t have to hide behind a TV screen and has made sure that it works flawlessly, we honestly have no other choice but to recommend it.

recommended-2010



Last modified on Monday, 15 November 2010 13:07
blog comments powered by Disqus

Comments  

 
0 #1 defecta 2010-11-15 12:51
READ THIS FIRST! Despite looking the goods on paper and in these reviews, what is not as easy to test for is their reliability and life expectancy.

The 3.5" HDD model has an unacceptably high failure rate. They inexplicably brick themselves after just a few months use. The most common issue is the front power LED works and changes colour when you power it on but the unit gives no display signal. If you have a look at the LEDS on the LAN port on the back you should notice they are both solidly lit. If you are seeing that, its bricked itself. We get a couple of these a week.

I DO NOT recommend these to anyone. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
 
 
+2 #2 Wolfdale 2010-11-15 13:34
Quoting defecta:
READ THIS FIRST!
I DO NOT recommend these to anyone. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!


yep, so you just had a bad luck with shipment and/or batch ?
ive had toshiba laptops breaking after just shaking them gently for 5 sec
also
you talk about "we get a couple of these a week" but fail to explain who we is..
if you get 2 broken ones a month, on a pile of 50.000 units.. meh.. hardly interesting.
all you did there was flaming without actually backing up any of your claims or providing any evidence or traces that might prove you right or wrong..

i must admit im not a fan of hitachi hdd's tough, bad experiences :)
 
 
+1 #3 AndromedaB 2010-11-15 15:07
bittorrent intergration? holy effing cow sign me up!
 
 
0 #4 bobo 2010-11-15 20:19
Quoting defecta:
READ THIS FIRST! Despite looking the goods on paper and in these reviews, what is not as easy to test for is their reliability and life expectancy.

The 3.5" HDD model has an unacceptably high failure rate. They inexplicably brick themselves after just a few months use. The most common issue is the front power LED works and changes colour when you power it on but the unit gives no display signal. If you have a look at the LEDS on the LAN port on the back you should notice they are both solidly lit. If you are seeing that, its bricked itself. We get a couple of these a week.

I DO NOT recommend these to anyone. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!



This one has been with us for couple of months .. Unfortunately for you, there aren't any conspiracy theories... ACRyan made a good product and I'm sure that you can RMA yours pretty easily...
 
 
0 #5 Wolfdale 2010-11-15 23:14
Quote:
Those that live in the USA are a bit lucky as ACRyan offers a free Playon! Wireless-N USB Adaptor with every Playon!HD or Playon!HD Mini and Playon! HD.

some vendors in europe sell the mini for even cheaper than u said..

playon hd mini
netherlands, 109 euro including the usb wlan dongle and shipment

either way, how does it preform with subtitles, and the fps stutter you encountered.. was that streaming from its own hdd? or from a network drive?
if you copy drive to nas, what actual mbps did you get..

more information = review,
you did a very nice explanation of the manual and a first impression tough.. but this is a preview judged by the actual content of the story
 
 
+1 #6 bobo 2010-11-15 23:31
Quoting Wolfdale:
Quote:
Those that live in the USA are a bit lucky as ACRyan offers a free Playon! Wireless-N USB Adaptor with every Playon!HD or Playon!HD Mini and Playon! HD.

some vendors in europe sell the mini for even cheaper than u said..

playon hd mini
netherlands, 109 euro including the usb wlan dongle and shipment

either way, how does it preform with subtitles, and the fps stutter you encountered.. was that streaming from its own hdd? or from a network drive?
if you copy drive to nas, what actual mbps did you get..

more information = review,
you did a very nice explanation of the manual and a first impression tough.. but this is a preview judged by the actual content of the story



It pretty much handled everything that we tried.. that's why we didn't go into any specific details... fps stutter was only noticeable if you try to stream a high quality HD video over WiFi.. otherwise it works like a charm... even when streamed from another computer via wired LAN.

Subtitles are pretty standard and include support for SRT, SMI, SSA, IDX/SUB, SUB and we didn't have any problems with those .. that's why we kinda overlooked it...
 
 
+1 #7 bobo 2010-11-15 23:34
@Wolfdale "some vendors in europe sell the mini for even cheaper than u said.."

I know that it can be found for even less but I was looking for Playon! HD prices not Playon! HD Mini :) You can even find Playon! HD for less but once again I was checking well known e-tail/retails shops and those that actually have it in stock ....
 
 
0 #8 Wolfdale 2010-11-15 23:49
@bobo
thanks for the update 8)

i know wich subtitles it supported, but ive had nasty experiences with some of those mediacenters etc, and until now, every time i had some problems, either its certain files are supported and some not, like i got 2 movies.. both are avi extensions, one plays like a charm, the other "is not supported"
or in some iso's it just wont recognize the subs etc,

thats why i was really hoping for a more detailed report, as i am still on the lookout for a player that actually does what it promises
glad to hear tough that streaming from wired lan didnt have the stuttering, one small issue tough is that the lan port is only 100mb, so in theory, you'd be better off with the usb wlan dongle as it goes up to 300
 
 
0 #9 Wolfdale 2010-11-15 23:55
@bobo

one other question btw,

a lot of mediaplayers and such have the annoying habit of a fixed menu

like when i want to play a movie file..
i have to click movies -> nas -> media -> movies folder -> actual movie..

the first step makes sense... but i really want to skip the next 2 steps..
i have my stuff organized on my nas, under a media folder due to more functions i use the nas for, so i want my media stuff in a seperate folder..
but every mediaplayer i found so far, you have to click 3 or 4 times before im actually in the movies folder.. how does the playon HD menu works with this?

the path to my media is \\nas\volume_1\media\movies
 
 
0 #10 Wolfdale 2010-11-15 23:59
@bobo

with my nas, i have an temp controlled fan, i assume this is the same in the playon hd?

if so, would it make a difference if you replace the fan with a deadly silent one, and apply additional heatsinks internally? (and ofc replacing the cooling paste on the stock one)

in case of my nas, it really made a world of difference just putting some extra cooling on the hdd cases right in between (2 hdd's in vertical position with the fan blowing in between and the pcb below them)
with some extra heatsinks there i dropped the pcb temp enough to keep the fan silent :P
 

To be able to post comments please log-in with Disqus

 

Facebook activity

Latest Commented Articles

Recent Comments