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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Watching MythTV content - this box is defintely one to watch...
# First impressions:

Nicely packaged and on opening the box the O!Play looks like a neat little box as well. Not disimilar to a WD worldbook or similar external hard drive, but there's no spinning disk in this box of tricks.

Connectivity-wise there are composite video and analogue audio output phonos/RCAs, an HDMI, S/PDIF optical audio out, a USB...
Published on 21 Dec. 2009 by The Fat Monk

versus
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware this doesn't play .WTV files :(
Out of the box I loved this unit and couldn't wait to get it plugged in!! Usually I kill about three weeks in researching devices before telling the wife I am wasting more cash on my gadget infused affair! However I was blinded by such rave reviews on this unit that I went and ordered within a day!

This unit is really amazing, connects to network effortlessly...
Published on 13 April 2010 by Super Tel


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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Watching MythTV content - this box is defintely one to watch..., 21 Dec. 2009
By 
The Fat Monk (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Asus O!Play HD 1080P HDP-R1 Live Internet Media Streamer (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
# First impressions:

Nicely packaged and on opening the box the O!Play looks like a neat little box as well. Not disimilar to a WD worldbook or similar external hard drive, but there's no spinning disk in this box of tricks.

Connectivity-wise there are composite video and analogue audio output phonos/RCAs, an HDMI, S/PDIF optical audio out, a USB socket and an RJ45 type for wired network (no WiFi, but for streaming video I prefer wired anyway).

The power supply is an external affair and comes with reasonable length connecting cables.

On the subject of cables, a composite and analogue audio cable is supplied, but no HDMI or network cable.

# First use:

The box takes a little while to power up, and in fact the blue light on the front that shows the box is powered even takes a good 5-10 seconds to come on after pushing the power button. That's a little disconcerting, but maybe something that can be improved in a furture firmware release.

My box arrived with firmware version 1.07 installed.

This allowed me to play back content off a USB stick and to connect to network shared folders on my MythTV system. Using DHCP the box connected to my network with no fuss whatsoever. Finding material was limited to directory browsing though, which was not ideal.

The box played back MythTV recordings over the wired network no problem (SD) and made an attempt to play back DVD iso files, though they were stuttery and menus were corrupted.

Photo slideshows were pretty reasonable as well.

# Upgrade to firmware 1.11

When I received my box, firmware v1.11 was already available (realesed in mid-October 09) so I upgrdaded as soon as possible.

This version added thumbnails for picture browsing, file sorting, better HDMI support and a couple of other minor bits and bobs. The major addition in this version - not actually listed on the Asus website! - is uPnP support for your remote storage browsing.

MythTV has a uPnP server built in so I was disappointed to find that on selecting UPnP the O!PLay woudl reset itself.

Other than the addition of the uPnP menu option I didn't really notice much difference between the versions, though that was largely as I only briefly played with v1.07.

# Upgrade to firmware 1.17

On December 7th '09 Asus released another firmware version with various enhancements - BD iso file support, more HDMI improvements, 'Ken-Burns effect pan-zooms for slideshows and a few other bits and pieces including stability improvements.

On this version uPnP works!

The uPnP implementation could do with some refinements, but I expect these will be forthcoming in a future firmware update. If you uPnP browse by date you get a list of programmes recorded on that date, but no other information - this is almost workable though. However if you browse by recording title you are presented with a list of titles as you would expect. If you then select a title you are presented with a list of episodes but the list is just the titles again - there is no other information to help you identify the particular episode, not even the date it was recorded on! You do get the small video preview, but its not an ideal way of finding a recording.

The music implementation isn't ideal either. It seems to list multiple entries for any album titles. This may be something to do with the way MythTV serves up its uPnP data, but it seems pretty random and Myth itself manages to avoid this.

# No longer playing DVD iso files!!!

This firmware update (v1.17) does seem to have disabled some functionality though. I can no longer even attempt to play DVD iso files - I get an 'unsupported file format' message on screen now where before the 'DVD' would at least attempt to play although with a lot of blocking and corrupt menus as mentioned above.

# Some general info:

Most people report that the box would play anything they threw at it. I wasn't that lucky. My avi download of a 1080p HD version of Elephant's Dream (the 'open source' film project - you can try this file for yourslef by downloading from the elephants dream website.) wouldn't play at all on either v1.10 or v1.17. My MythTV box itself plays these files without any problems (and they weren't encoded on the Myth box) so this doesn;t seem to be a file corruption issue.

Also some of my HD trailer downloads failed to play I haven't got to the bottom of which particular format files failed. Some image files don't render properly either resulting in very pixelated image display - the message on screen when this happens is smething to do with the box having no progressive image decoder so I image (thugh have not yet confirmed) that these could be progressive (as opposed to inetrlaced) JPEG images. The box seems happy playing back progressive video files though (in the shape of 1080p mov files).

There are still some general stability issues at v1.17 as well. Playback restarting for no apparent reason in the middle of a programme. Listings of content disappearing requiring you to g back to the 'home' page and reselect throug the menu structure.

The interface is very simple, but can be a bit slow at times. As previously mentioned, startup of the box is rather slow, but so is playing back content. After clicking play you can wait 15-20 seconds before you see a picture on screen - there is no 'buffering' message or anthying either which would help give confidence that the box hadn't just crashed.

I also agree with the comments regarding the name of the device elsewhere here. Calling this an 'internet' media streamer at the moment is a little misleading. Technically I suppose it is an internet media streamer as it will stream media from other networks if you have connectivity to them and visibilty of them, but the general understanding of internet these days means The Internet. Currently this box does not allow you to stream content off The Internet in that there is no browser or other interface to allow you to find that content. That said, here's hoping that by giving the device that name Asus are hinting that that functionality will appear in a firmware revision. **See update at bottom of review - internet functionality has just been added**

I'm really pleased I have the box, and I'm looking forward to the firmware updates that will shopefully solve some of the issues I'm having. Asus seem to be chucking out firmware revisions reasonably frequently, and v1.17 is certainly usable, though possibly still in a 'tech-savvy-user' rather than 'general-user' kind of way.

Oh, and I can't seem to switch subtitles off!

Firmware updates are pretty simple requiring you to sump an image file on a USB stick, plug it into the O!Play then select the optio to reload firmware in the system menu.

[ And now the really techy bit. I've had a bit of a dig around the box via telnet. The box is running a flavour of vmlinux - uname -r reports it as 2.6.12.6-VENUS. There is also a web server running on the box, but all it seems to have at the moment is a simple number addition demo page. A sign of things to come maybe? ]

# Would I recommend an O!Play?

Yes, I would. It does work with MythTV as a watch only device, though there may even be the possibility of installing a MythTV frontend on the box in the future as it is essentially a linux box. That's something to investigate down the line though. For now I'll certainly keep using the box and look out keenly for the next firmware revision.

Only four stars as the firmware does need some work, if its shipped with perfect firmware that matched the apparent quality of the hardware then this would be a definite five stars.

## UPDATE FEBRUARY 2010 ##
It seems that recent firmware versions have some network issues. A number of users of the O!Play have been reporting wired network connections problems in the O!Play forums and I have found my box seems to suffer from slow and intermittent connectivity. I'm hoping this is resolved in a future firmware release and will update this review as appropriate.

### ANOTHER FEBRUARY 2010 UPDATE ###
New firmware released with 'Internet' functions added as follows - I haven't tested yet, but will asap:
Internet service:
1. Over 20,000 internet radio stations
2. Over 100 internet TV channels
3. Flickr
4. Picasa
5. Weather
New functions:
1. Add BD iso navigation and subtitle identification
2. Add BD/DVD direct play by folder
3. Add hue and saturation tuning in video setup menu
4. Add Brazil language support
5. Add power saving function in system setup menu
6. Add WiFi manual configuration
7. Add My shortcut edit function
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best value Media Player out there..., 14 Dec. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Asus O!Play HD 1080P HDP-R1 Live Internet Media Streamer (Electronics)
Having been using media players for years, from Freecom to Tvix last year I decided to get the WD TV for my bedroom. Although the player itself was good there was many things I didn't like, such as the TINY remote, sluggish menus, glossy surface that scratched easily, no network etc... I still have my WD but now that I have this it's been relegated to the spare room for guests.

So the Asus, again I am not all that impressed with the remote, it's a lot better than the WD but still along way off the feel and useability of things like the TVix and Popcorn hour. However that's where my problems stop, everything is great about this, it has a very modern looking GUI (Black and Blue neon) which all moves about very slick, ie if your going from the main home page to the set up it glides over all smooth like and looks very impressive. Everything was very easy to set up including networking to my PC. It plays everything I've thrown at it with ease including MKV, H.264, VC1.. It's handled DTS and SRT too... Things I've not liked anout my TVix in the past are things liked stuttering when forwarding fast however this is very smooth, even better than my PS3 so impressed me a lot. I also like the preview of the program when in the menu, I had a 'Kiss' player once that did this and was very slow but this handles it well...

I'd have preffered the USB port and Esata to be on the right or rear instead of the left but then others will have different set up so will work for them (you can't win em all)...

I haven't tried the Internet, youtube etc side of things as that doesn't interest me but playing movies, listening to Music, viewing Pictures etc are all great... Oh to the reviewer that said it handles images badly I am not sure why you say this? I have a Sony Alpha 14.2MP camera which produces very larger image files and it plays them very fast and smoothly, I'd imagine you've either got a slow network or old flash drive. I am currently using a gigabit network and Sandisk cruzer 16gb flash drive and is fast as I'll ever need. I have also had this connected to my Sony KDL-52W5500 downstairs and the picture is amazing (again better than my PS3 and as good as my TVix). Not blotchy as another reviewer said... Please remember this is HD and so playing a badly encoded AVI file on a Tesco's own LCD is gonna look crap... You need a decent file and a decent TV.

4.8 out of 5... would get 5 out of 5 with a better remote.... Beats the hell out of the WD TV Live and it's cheaper !!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Asus O!Play Media Streamer - Highly recommended..., 15 Dec. 2009
By 
Mr. J. Ward (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Asus O!Play HD 1080P HDP-R1 Live Internet Media Streamer (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I had always thought that a media streamer would be an excellent idea because I store all of my media on a NAS drive, and I thought it was a shame that I could only access it via a computer. So when I saw one (and found out that such a thing existed) I leaped at the chance of trying it. Needless to say that the Asus O!Play lived up to my expectations, it has an easy to use interface with a seemingly robust controller!
The installation of the O!Play was very simple and it only needed to be told the date and time, everything else was automatically detected - which was a good start! It also connected to my router instantly, and picked up my NAS drive as well as all of the computers connected via wi-fi.
Accessing the NAS drive through the file browsing menus is fairly quick with only small delays between folder displays, although navigating folders on a USB device is much slower, and you can expect (from my experience) about a 1 second delay.
As mentioned earlier in the review, it has a simple to use menu system, which easily guides you to the function you want from it.
Once the O!Play was ready to use, I firstly the tried video playback - which was where I hit the first problem. It didn't support some of the videos I had copied to my NAS drive in a .wmv format. However since only a small number of my files are windows media video encoded it was not a huge issue, and all of my .avi files worked perfectly; the video playback was smooth and winding forwards and backwards was flawless as well as the selected file starting immediately after selection.
Secondly I tested the audio playback feature, which was also very good. However, I would have liked to be able to create a shortcut to the music folder on my network drive to stop me from having to navigate through the many folders to get to it! Although ignoring this, the playback was excellent and shudder free (even when rewinding and skipping).
I then tried the Photo option, which is in my opinion, absolutely useless. It takes a good few seconds to rotate a picture and skip to the next in the album. This occurs when accessing from a network drive and through a USB device. This truly is the major weakness of the O!Play. It really is such a shame that a good product is spoilt by something so simple!

In conclusion, I would highly recommend buying the Asus O!Play Media Streamer. It is well designed and is excellent at playing videos and music. If you want the device to primarily display pictures, then look for an alternative product!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Media player on market, 22 Feb. 2010
By 
Mr. P. J. Kennedy "P J Kennedy" (Bham, WM, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Asus O!Play HD 1080P HDP-R1 Live Internet Media Streamer (Electronics)
This media player plays every file in can think of. Supports esata, usb and Lan connection. The firmware updates have increase file support, asus are produced several firmwares adding file support, thumbnail view, slideshow effects etc...

The source code is open source from asus website which will defiantly be modded soon to add further features. The Remote has large button for speed and a ergonomic shape which looks really nice. I have mine connected to my LCD via HDMI 1.3b lead with a great 1080P picture. surround sound support through optical SPDIF cable to amplifier or whatever.

Only problem is the audio through to TV work best a HDMI RAW on my TV. To change the audio output through setting take to long a button or quciker method is need in a new firmware.

Overall: this is by far the best media player on the market currently its a shame it doesn't have a internet (youtube) ability like some dvd players this would be a great feature

UPDATE 2011

With the addition of some new features in the new firmware the AUSU O play has now got internet streams of many shoutcast and other radio stations. There has been some other unofficial modification of the firmware to add support for a portable DVD player connection via USB and weather news etc...

Still waiting on the addition of keyboard support and a internet browser this would be a great feature.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product, well recommended., 12 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Asus O!Play HD 1080P HDP-R1 Live Internet Media Streamer (Electronics)
I wasn't sure what to buy when faced with getting a media server in my bedroom - it was either this or the WD Live (I have a PS3 downstairs connected to my main TV). From reviews online the WD is not so good looking on the outside but the onscreen menus are gorgeous, whereas it the Asus has it the other way around. From my research I found that the Asus plays almost anything you throw it whereas the WD Live had problems with certain file formats (this could change of course with firmware updates). I took a deep breath and went with the Asus and it's fantastic.
Pros
+ Shiny black with a blue light (red when off) to match the rest of my devices
+ HDMI output and composite/phono output at the same time (great when plugging into my TV AND Hifi at the same time)
+ 24fps cinema frame rate support
+ Ken Burns effects for photos
+ Plays everything I have thrown at it: avi, divx, mpeg, realplayer files, vob, iso, etc
+ Latest firmware allows UPNP although the device browses your network directly so can rip your 15/18 rated films to your computer and your kids can't access them without a password.
+ A little preview in the top right of the video highlighted
+ USB supported devices (HD/Flash drive)

Cons
- Remote is crappy but you get used to it and to be fair buttons are placed well
- The menu system is UGLY! I'm into looks and the menu really lets the side down (I really hope they sort that out in future firmware) BUT again to be fair it is functional and things are easy to get to.

But at the end of the day it's low cost, plays everything you'd want and does the job well.

If I could choose new features for it, I'd ask for iTunes library & playlist detection over network and maybe an auto-update feature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars (Almost) the only box you need on your TV, 23 Jan. 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Asus O!Play HD 1080P HDP-R1 Live Internet Media Streamer (Electronics)
Why 'almost'? Well, the O!Play is only a player, so you will need a separate recorder if you want to record shows off the TV. Once you've connected this little beauty to your computer and put all your media into shared folders, however, it will play the lot. avi, mpg, mkv, m2ts, iso, all ready to go. With a HDMI connection the picture quality is really superb: hi def is as good as a blu-ray player, and the O!Play has menu options to configure the brightness, contrast etc without having to reconfigure your TV settings for this device. Sound output on movies is really nice too. I've not used this as a music streamer but then, I suspect most people who buy this will be more interested in using it to play video anyway. Before using this I was streaming movies with an XBox 360. The advantages of the O!Play are numerous: it supports 6-channel sound and many more picture formats, and bigger files.

The picture (photo) browsing features are pretty good, but I've found that it hangs, requiring a cold reset (disconnect the power) if I attempt to play a 'broken' jpg file. Also, no support for dng or RAW picture formats unfortunately, but maybe Asus will come up with a patch.

I have the O!Play connected to an XP PC by a wire. Some people have reported problems with Windows 7 so check the forums, but I think the last firmware update in December corrected this. There is no wireless support out of the box, so if you have a wireless router it will still need to connect to the O!Play via a wire.

I also have an external HD connected to the O!Play, which means that I can play stuff without needing to have the computer switched on. If anything, it runs even smoother and quicker (for example, when doing fast-forwarding) with the HD than when it's on the network. But it works really well either way. The only time I've had issues like picture stutter when watching movies is when the PC is doing something with the disk drive in which the movie files are stored, like doing a backup or virus scan. The O!Play works better when the computer is not busy. I suppose this is a disk-reading issue and would affect any streaming tasks. By the way, I don't have a particularly fast computer by modern standards, and the O!Play can still play enormous media files at lightning speed.

All in all, a great device and fantastic VFM. Highly recommeneded.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, but weak in some areas, 29 April 2011
This review is from: Asus O!Play HD 1080P HDP-R1 Live Internet Media Streamer (Electronics)
I just wanted to add some of the issues that I have found since buying this player. Firstly I would agree with other reviews which say that it is easy to set up and very fast when playing videos. This was the primary reason that I bought it and that's why I'm giving it 4 stars rather than a lower score. Where it falls down is in some fairly simple areas. It advertises support for UPnP media servers, but when I use it with Twonkymedia (which seems to be one of the most widely used) it seems unable to read MP3 tags correctly (and so plays tracks in albums out of order). It also fails to rescale photos correctly and these appear horribly pixellated. You can work around these by browsing to the files of interest directly via the network and then they appear okay, but it does defeat the purpose of having media server support. Additionally, even when playing MP3s directly from the network folder, the player doesn't support gapless playback - causing grating pauses between tracks on albums where tracks run seamlessly together.

Overall then - it is a good player and I'm fairly happy with it, but there are several annoying issues which seem to have been around for a long time without being addressed by Asus.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars better than the WD HD media player, iso support, 27 Nov. 2009
By 
N. Smith - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Asus O!Play HD 1080P HDP-R1 Live Internet Media Streamer (Electronics)
This machine can do everything the WD HD tv media player can do.
but the killer app is that it supports iso's with chapter and menu selection.
there both around the same price, imo.
This is the better media player, it should be marketed more!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great gadget, shame about the remote., 25 Nov. 2009
By 
Mike J (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Asus O!Play HD 1080P HDP-R1 Live Internet Media Streamer (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Nice little bit of kit, very useful. In simple terms it allows you to connect a network, removable drive or USB Memory stick to your TV via. HDMI or Composite with RCA's. This in turn allows you to view photo's, video or play mp3's through your TV in the same way you would with a computer monitor.

I think the Internet reference is a bit misleading as I'm not aware it can link to the Internet and stream audio or video. Think of it more in terms of; it will play media that can be downloaded via. the Internet.

It connected to a 320GB Western Digital My Passport Drive and a 16Gb SanDisk Cruzer USB Memory stick straight away with no fuss. Access to the 320Gb drive had a few seconds delay each time you changed folder, but no big deal.

Small and nice looking, small power supply and minimal connections mean it won't look to out of place next to your TV.

The only bad thing I have to say about the unit regards the remote control, which is a short fat ugly `Fisher Price My First Remote' type affair. Also, there is no HDMI cable included. These two points aside, it's a good buy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great media player.... almost perfect., 19 Nov. 2009
By 
Romek (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Asus O!Play HD 1080P HDP-R1 Live Internet Media Streamer (Electronics)
The player is great, it is fast and picture quality is excellent. So far it's been able to handle all video I've thrown at it... including HD content. No issues at all... smooth and fast streaming over the LAN.
The only thing I would add to this is component out. It is the only feature that it should have I think... for all who feel it's missing Wireless, I would say it's a nice to have but if you really need wireless you can always just get a wireless bridge which takes any Ethernet device. If you are okay with HDMI as your interface... this is the media player for you!
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