back to article Crystal Acoustics PicoHD5.1

Most TVs now have memory card slots and USB ports for showing digital photos or playing music and video from your own collection. The Crystal Acoustics PicoHD5.1 media player provides the same features for just about any TV, especially HD-ready ones. If your set lacks the sockets, or doesn’t play the formats you want, you can …

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Anonymous Coward

Sumvision??

Isn't this just an overpriced rebranded Sumvision Cyclone Micro 2? (£10 cheaper than the Pico)

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Pint

yep

looks exactly the same to me...

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Anonymous Coward

Cheap switch mode sync horror

Perhaps unlike the Sumvision Cyclone Micro 2 it comes with a power supply that doesn't completely obliterate an ADSL connection on a < 1000m line whilst it's drawing current.

Cue good quality replacement 2.0A 5V supply from Maplin = £20

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Looks great

Looks a potentially fabulous bit of kit at a very tempting price, now you've done their usability testing for them. Any likely scope/mechanism for firmware updates to fix the really rather minor shortcomings?

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Anonymous Coward

One notable omission

they haven't quite managed to fill every available surface with huge ugly text.

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Silver badge

Network

Interesting and cheap. Shame it doesn't have a network interface.

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Different?

Is this any different to the myriad of other players with the same form factor? Like the Cyclones that places like Misco and Memorybits sell for under half the price of this? Whats the remote like? Is it cheap flimsy rubbish?

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Pirate

Cheap 1080 player for your gran

Wouldn't use it personally but if you want to share a video with a non techie, you can't beat the price on: http://bit.ly/kEm4ft (play.com). Google shopping lists it between £15 and £25. Cor.

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Anonymous Coward

connection to a NAS?

Is there a version of this or similar, that has a network attachment or can handle a wireless usb dongle. Or is there a usb dongle that presents itself as a USB drive but actually uses smb to attach to a NAS?

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Anonymous Coward

My suggestion

Would be to get an Apple Tv 2, jailbreak it and whack XBMC on it. It's a nice ui, plays pretty much anything, has plug ins (like scrobbling support), and more importantly supports cifs/samba so you don't have to arse about with crappy dnla services.

Only downside is that it will only output 720p (it will decode and playback 1080p however).

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=XBMC_for_iOS_specific_FAQ#Can_I_hook_up_my_external_harddrive_or_other_USB_device_to_the_ATV2.3F

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have they

sorted the jailbreak yet? When I was in the process of buying a media streamer, the apple tv2 still needed a tethered boot every time!

Ended up with a boxee box instead, which I'm happy with.

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Boffin

Interesting...

I need to see the insides of this thing!

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Impressive price...

...if they come up with a "deluxe" version which adds Ethernet and UPnP/DLNA capability, I'd look again.

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I'm struggling to see the point of this device...

Or more specifically: I'm struggling to see a reason why it was reviewed: there's dozens of these devices floating around, the majority of which all use the same chipset (and often, the same casing). And without a network connection, it's pretty much useless unless you want to keep plugging and unplugging stuff every time you want to put something new onto your USB stick/external HDD.

I'm still fond of my WD TV Live - it doesn't have the SD card slot (though SDHC readers are available from poundland... for a pound. And I've managed to read data off an SDHC card with one of these readers at 15mb/s!), but it does have an ethernet port (and/or wifi via a USB stick), happily reads stuff from Samba/NFS shares and - surprisingly - is still actively supported by WD; there's been several firmware upgrades over the last few months which both fix problems and add new features (e.g. access to Facebook and various online media-streaming services).

Better yet, since it's based on Linux and WD have released the source, some nice people have been tinkering with it, adding things like the ability to plug in a USB DVD drive or turn it into a full-blown mini-server. A friend of mine bought one and set it up as an SSH server, to give him a way of tunnelling past the Great Firewall of China while he's working over there.

Admittedly, the WD TV Live is nearly triple the price of this little device, but Maplins is currently selling a Viewsonic networkable media-player for £50, which is only a tenner more and pretty much has feature-parity with the stock WD TV Live setup...

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Oh and...

The WD TV Live can play media from ISO images. Now back to your regularly scheduled entertainment...

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Frame rates...

So just setting it to output 60p won't work satisfactorily then?

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Thumb Down

not good enough

Gee another product that doesn't have a analogue RGB outout.

When will we see a product designed for the UK market?

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Alas

Alas as ever we pay the price for just having to be different and/or innovative - e.g. just look at the plethora of DVB-T2 hardware available out there - oh yes, we're one of only about half a dozen countries using it for HD broadcasting, so simply not worth anyone's while as a whole.

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Thumb Up

Ideal holiday player

Fill usb drive with content, plug into hotel TV, dont care so much if it gets lost, especially if you get one of the suggested identical replacements for half the price.

Given the price and its capabilities, is 70% a fair review?

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Thumb Up

Not for sale

Nice box, but sadly I could not buy one. I tried to, but the Check-out box is missing. Oops.

I sent them an Email.

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Paris Hilton

These things

Have been coming out of China by the bucketload for the last 3 years or so, I bought a similar device about 18 months ago, could take USB drives, a 2.5" internal HD and an SD card and play just about any format you chucked at it including RMVBs. $35 including shipping. Lifetime and reliability may be an issue but mine is still running 18 months later.

Paris, well you have to play something on these devices.

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FAIL

Crystal Acounstic discrimatice pricing structure for the EU compared to the UK

The price is 44 euros for the UK version but 65 euros for the EU version. I contacted the company and they said the difference is the PLUG ! UK instead of EU. Thats an extra 21 euros for a plug.

I tried to order a UK version and have it delivered to the Netherlands, but the checkout informed me:

""Attention! You have selected a product which is not available in your Region. Order cannot be created. Please remove this product from your basket."

They charge more for a plug. Postage on the continent is pretty cheap, so this cannot be the reason for the price hike.

I shall buy a competitor's product from elsewhere. Good bye Crystal Acoustics.

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As pointed out

This appears to be a re-branded sumvision cyclone 2 which does the same job for a tenner less in your British pounds :) I've got two of the sumvision cyclones and a Xenta player. These things do what they say on the tin ( but beware some of the older players which only upscale to 720p and in some cases can't handle AC3 audio ) and face it, most people want a convenient, portable device they can stick a flash drive into and watch that downloaded movie wherever it suits them. So the rule of thumb would be : Buy the cheapest.

You don't even need to bother with the more expensive versions able to handle .MKV if you are not regularly obtaining these files because we all know that there is a blu-ray rip around the corner.

I could not recommend this device purely on price. It's already been out there a long time under another brand and for less money.

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ISO Access

This device may not be able to access .iso but it's not because it would have to "extracted into their constituent parts". Most OSs (sometime's with the help of 3rd party sw) are able to read/mount ISOs without extracting them by simply accessing a file as a filesystem image. (OK, I couldn't code it but the theory is simple).

Also, there's so many of these cheapo Mass Storage reader-cum-media-player coming in on the slow boat from Asia. Is the Reg gonna review everyone of them?

In my experience they're all quirky, limited and bug ridden. D-Link had the right idea by supporting an XBMC clone which instantly bought them a mature interface and a codec/format list that can't be rivalled.

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