back to article Hisense 1080p Media Player

The world isn't exactly short of devices designed to get audio-visual content from your Nas box, USB stick or external hard drive and onto your telly. The trouble is, many of them are three-legged nags let down either by grim UIs, lacklustre codec support, cheap and nasty remote controls, a simple lack of expected functionality …

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  1. John Parker
    Paris Hilton

    Ewwww!

    "not a name to automatically moisten our nethers"

    Ewwwww!

    Paris, because she's very au fait with nether regions

  2. Neil Hoskins
    Boffin

    Question

    Let's say I have an old PC that isn't up to playing BBC iPlayer HD content. If I download iPlayer HD files using my PC, could I then use this device to play that content on my HD telly? I guess this is going to come down to DRM issues, which you don't seem to have mentioned.

  3. skell

    Sounds great!

    Can you plug a wireless USB dongle into one of the ports on the side? Or is that asking a bit too much for £60?

  4. Bob H
    Boffin

    Ah but...

    ...does it play H.264 videos in TS format at 1080i/50 of 15Mbit/sec bitrates?

    Most of the media players can't play the standard UK broadcast format because of the high bitrate and Freesat HD PVRs (and likely Freeview HD) becoming more common I would like to see media players keep up.

  5. Ian North

    uPnP

    Does iTunes count as a uPnP server that this thing can use?

  6. Mostlygaijin

    About Hisense

    They may be mostly unknown in Europe but Hisense is the second largest TV manufacturer in China when measured by LCD tellies sold last quarter. They shifted over a million LCD TVs in Q2.

  7. Rob Beard
    Thumb Up

    Finally!

    Finally a nice small low power and quiet (I'm assuming) device that will play back my media.

    This device looks like it would probably do the job with less messing about and much less noise than my XBOX 360 at a nice price too. Might pick one of these up. I don't suppose it runs a Linux OS does it?

    Rob

  8. A Gould

    Delivery cost

    Given that there is only 1 UK distributor, and that they charge an extortionate £7.99 delivery, reporting the price as £60 is a bit misleading.

    It's actually £68.98, which is significantly closer to £70 than £60.

  9. Stuart Wildman

    Not Recommended?

    This seems to be better than the Western Digital TV Live

    http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/10/13/review_media_player_wd_tv_live/

    But whilst that gets the same 85% and is recommended, this isn't....

    Sure this is the best of the devices, so should be recommended as well?

    (that way I can happily buy one knowing it has the RegHardware stamp of approval.. :)

  10. Jim 48
    Thumb Up

    Like it

    Good price & features. Shame no wi-fi, but that can be got around.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what no cup holder?

    sounds like a good bit of kit and a worthy competitor for the WDTV device at last.

    Unfortunately I haven't figured out what it cant do so I can have a moan yet...

  12. Neil Hoskins
    Coat

    Ah... I see it now...

    "Of course, all this assumes your media is DRM free. If it isn't, you're stuffed."

  13. Al Taylor
    Alert

    UPnP etc

    Ian - the Hisense didn't see iTunes as a server on the PC we tested it with just Windows Media Centre.

    Rob - the unit was wholly silent in operation.

    Neil - the unit does not support DRM files in any form so iPlayer downloads won't play.

    A Gould - fair comment but you have pay p&p from most mail order outlets. Thankfully I live 10 mins drive from Expansys!

    skell - good question but sadly that's not something I tested.

  14. Daniel Owen

    DTS? BR ISO?

    Does it decoded DTS to PCM (letting you play a DTS file via your TV, not amp).

    Will it support playback of bluray ISO files?

  15. TheManCalledStan

    VOB support

    Does it have proper VOB support? Play back you backed-up DVD library without having to chop them up?

    Ta,

    Stan

  16. Dale Richards
    Thumb Down

    SCART

    As a CRT devotee (still haven't seen an LCD or plasma that comes close to my big boxy JVC in terms of picture quality), the lack of RGB SCART is a complete deal breaker for me.

    I've been trying to get one of these boxes for a while, but until I can find a decent one with RGB, it'll be a "no deal, Noel".

  17. wonza

    Sounds good

    Can you play music playlists or create on the go playlists?

    How about playing video from a shared folder on my mac?

    Will it play video from my current nas (which i would use as a file server instead)

  18. Tony Barnes

    eGreat M34A myself

    This looks quite nice, but I've got the above. I was very close to starting importing them, but then currencies started going crazy and I lost the urge.

    ~£110 delivered, will play anything you throw at it. I've got mine set up with a jukebox interface that is simply stunning - YAMJ with smoked glass skin (?? can't recall the skins name pefectly).

    Hooked up to a half full 1.5TB SATA drive, I can now watch everything happily on my Tosh upstairs, or stream to my TV bedroom.

    Love it!

  19. Bod

    Performance

    Review says it played all these formats, but how did it perform? i.e. flawlessly with no stuttering or blocking of video and audio, even with 1080p source material output to 1080p? What about upscaling to 1080p? What connection was used to the media when doing this?

    @Neil Hoskins - iPlayer files, no chance. They are DRM protected to ensure they expire after a week or two. They won't play on anything else. This is an annoyance to me as I use CoreAVC codec on my netbook which lets me play HD files flawlessly, but because of the DRM in iPlayer CoreAVC can't be used and iPlayer HD stutters badly as a result. Likewise it is less likely to be accelerated by dedicated video chips.

    @Dale Richards - "still haven't seen an LCD or plasma that comes close to my big boxy JVC in terms of picture quality" - you haven't looked hard enough ;). CRTs are bright and contrasty but they have way too many geometry issues and are just plain out of focus compared to a decent digital display. Move with the times and bin the eye cancer telly and those god awful Eurocrap SCART plugs (worst design *ever*!) :) (plus you'll free up a lot of space in your room).

  20. John 211
    Thumb Up

    Couple of questions and a suggestion

    I'm assuming it can connect to Samba file shares, but can it play DVD ISO files WITH menus?

    Also, have you reviewed the Popcorn Hour C-200 yet (I can't find it if you have) and would love a comparison ('cos this one wins on price but obviously lacks BluRay support).

    PS. Thanks for making my decision that little bit harder!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Did someone say WIFI?

    the only reason I ask is that if my telly and my nas box were side by side i'd plug the telly into the frigging PC!

    TV in living Room...

    PC & Nas Box in Office...

    no I dont want to fork out for extra bits...

    in addition something capable of showing iPlayer would be nice

  22. telboy65
    Thumb Up

    I have one of these...

    Rob : Yes, it does run Linux. You can telnet into it over the network port.

    I've been using one of these for a few weeks and have been very impressed so far. I have it hooked up to my network using a couple of 200MB homeplug adapters. Media is sat on an SMB share on my Mac upstairs.

    It has played everything I have tried including VOB files with DD5.1 soundtracks (the digital audio just works when hooked up to my amp via the optical connector), quicktime, avi etc.

    I only have an SD panel (42" Panasonic) but the 720P Quicktime trailer for 'Up' looks so good that I'll never convince the wife that we need to upgrade to HD.

    The only negatives I have are the remote which is not great, the power connector which is a bit loose and I think it's a shame that there is no way of setting up a 'favourite' location on the network for shared files. None of these are showstoppers for me.

    I'd be interested to know if anyone is streaming off a DNLA enabled NAS device such as the Iomega IX2-200 to one of these.

    T.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @Tony Barnes

    You could of posted that before I ordered the Hisense 1080p earlier this morning on the strength of this review (to replace my aging Xbox1 XBMC).

    How inconsiderate of you :D

  24. Compact

    Reply to Tony

    Tony, what do you have?

    "~£110 delivered, will play anything you throw at it"

    I'm looking to get something and this looks it, unless there is something better (the thumbnail thing is a slight pain, also be nice to have a movie organising type software running on it)

  25. Tony Barnes

    title

    @ AC - lol, sorry about that! I actually grabbed one to replace my XBMC, also got fed up of having to convert files for the 360, right waste of time

    @ compact - eGreat M34A - got it off a lad on ebay. I've got a website set up for selling them that I need to off-load, not going to get round to importing the buggers now!

    It runs SYBAS software, so is in essence a Popcorn Hour device. So you can do all youtube, torrents, usent, etc, on it. However, you can also get great skins for the media players - YAMJ is the one I use. Takes a while to set up at first, but then once you've got it set so that it knows where you put all your media, you set it off on a scan (on a PC on the network) and it finds new media, pulls down information on them, grabs cover art, grabs fan art, and then updates it all. First scan can take hours if you've got lots of files, update scans about 10 minutes.

    Here's a review of the software I'm running at the minute - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PRjJcspgjI - the guy has reviewed other ones as well, but I really like this one.

    The highest bitrate stuff I've watched to date was a 1080p of Crank 2 - video was around 20-25MB/s for most of it, audio 1.5MB/s constantly. Looked fricking great.

    Whilst I was sat watching that, my other half was downstairs streaming Buffy. Think it can cope with another SD stream as well (1xHD + 2xSD) - but I've not got reason to check! lol

    It's basically silent bar odd click from HDD as it grabs info, but compared to a 360 it's a ghost, and even a v1 with XBMC sounds noisy as hell side by side.

  26. michael mackey
    Go

    xtreamer

    What about a review of this ... http://www.xtreamer.net/

    similar price but way more features including wifi !

  27. John Tuffen

    What I'd really like to see...

    ... is a box which *just does audio* - but for about this price. If I want to listen to some music (stored on a NAS with built in UPNP server thingy), I don't really want to turn on my TV, but audio-only solutions tend to be rather expensive I've found :-(

    Or they have virtually illegible screens (like the Philips SLA5500 which I have - and was more expensive!)

  28. Bill Cumming
    Happy

    sounds great bit of kit...

    As for the no ''iPlayer'' problem I suggest you go linux and 'get_iPlayer' ;) problem solved.....

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    But can it do smooth HIGH PROFILE Level4.1 1080P/50

    Great, But can it do smooth -HIGH PROFILE- Level4.1 1080P/50 (with upto 16 reference frames) as per the real full AVC/H.264 profile spec.

    not one single unit sold so far (with the exception of perhaps PH?, but thats way to expensive) is confirmed to be able to do this high profile spec upto 40 Mbit/s , the equiv of max BR rated transport streams spec.

    so can you check and confirm it can play a BR ripped and encoded with x264 to highprofile ref=4 profile4.1 1080P 30Mbit/s encode at least.

    some elephants dream, and big bug bunny encodes can be found close to this spec but we dont really need anything else of lower quality tested unles you also want to try these.

    a confirmation that high profile 1080P ref 16 works is a very good thing, the key poit being it must be a 'high profile' and high bitrate real 1080P to at least 30FPS full of action.

    non of this bull divx AVC subset that been artificially set low so can only do HP@L4.0 at 20Mbit/s max and othe restrictions.

    we need to play x264 HighProfile@L4.1 defaults, Nothing lower will do today, if this can , then lets get them in al the local PC shops and be happy this christmas.

    a nice PS3 media server DLNA or make a freeNAS box and be even happyer...

    http://ps3mediaserver.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2099

    http://www.freenas.org/

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Bill Cumming

    No need to go Linux, there's Windows Apps (and Mac OS apps for that matter) to do the same thing

    http://po-ru.com/projects/iplayer-downloader/

    All you're doing is pretending to be an iPhone to get the MP4 streams.

  31. Tom 7 Silver badge

    So I can pay £20 for a TV card

    to download HD to myPC to store to send to this box. oh hang on my PC monitor can display HD much better than my telly can for 1/.3 the price, and my hi-fi does the sound much better anyway so thats the telly gone. OK the PC's a bit noisy. so we have it in the next room where can still use it as a PC and use extension leads.

    So for £50 quid and a PC monitor which is 1/3 the price of a telly I don't need to pay £60 for this box.

    Excellent. Thanks for the tiip.

  32. Alex 32
    Stop

    @michael mackey

    I have one thing to say:

    "Bloody noisy fan, and no decent replacement!"

    That is all :o)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Support slavery, support fascism

    buy Chinese.

    Because Mandy say's it's good for us.

  34. Jess

    USB DVD drive

    Will the units discussed play DVDs, VCDs, BD5/9 or cd/dvd ROMs containing files?

  35. david gunthorpe

    @Ian North

    twonkymedia $15 IIRC will turn your iTunes into a UPnP media source.

    I think there's a few open source projects that can do this too but twonky is pretty good (lots of NAS devices run an embedded twonky server)

  36. DRendar
    Happy

    @Dale Richards

    Dude, just go and get yourself an old XBOX, chip it and install XBMC. - You could probably buy a chipped one off ebay. Won't set you back more than £40.

    Pretty much every container & codec supported (including ISOs, and even plays video files right out of multipart RARs, with no pre-decompression! No Shit!), from any source (DVD, HDD, SMB, UPnP, Shoutcast, iPlayer, ITVPlayer, TV Catchup, You Tube and a thousand other sources)

    Best SD media Centre on the planet - bar none, no joke - anyone who disagrees has never used it.

    As you're only running CRT, you don't need the HD playback, which is quite literally the only thing XBMC_on_XBOX can't do (well it can - just not smoothly)

    I've been running XBMC for years, except I've now migrated to XBMC Live running on old PC hardware with an NVidia 9400 Gfx Card (Fanless)

    XBMC offloads HD decoding (VDPAU) to the GPU so I can watch 1080P video with DTS sound and my Athlon64 3000+ CPU runs at 5%

    Sweet

  37. Bilgepipe

    No SCART

    Actually, no SCART *IS* a deal breaker for some of us that don't believe in replacing our perfectly good TVs for no obvious reason. Other than that it looks a nice piece of kit.

  38. Jess
    Thumb Up

    No Scart

    If you have an old TV why would you want an HD player?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @DRendar

    XBMC on Xbox1 is great for SD content, but it can no way cope with HD, I get 5 fps at best.

    I've received my Hisense now, and it works great - picked up my network file server no probs and streams HD content great.

    The interface is better on the XBMC, as navigation is folder browsing and takes a couple of secs to refresh, so I'll not be binning the Xbox1 yet, but I'm very pleased with the unit, well worth the £60 to me.

    Not tried it with an external USB DVD drive yet, but I can't see why that wouldn't work, every other USB device I've plugged into has been recognised.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    1080P and no GigE?

    Unit arrived yesterday...very happy with it. However it can't handle 1080P content over UPnP or over direct network access. I blame the 100M ethernet port. You need to transfer the content onto a USB stick to be able to playback hidef. Not a train smash, but how much more expensive is a GigE chipset?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Future Support

    What would this be like compared to the WD TV Live, which is £95 delivered... its nice to see MKV etc, but what bout firmware updates, hackable etc?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Bilgepipe

    Why get a "1080p media player" then, why not just chose the many many cheap SD players out there?

  43. Richard Lloyd
    FAIL

    No N-standard wi-fi = epic fail

    I bet a *lot* of people don't have CAT5 wiring around their house, so any box like this that comes without wi-fi (especially N-standard if you want 1080p) is surely a massive failure? Now if the box had wi-fi and only cost 10-20 quid more, I'd be interested, but otherwise this is impossible to put in the lounge next to the TV and I bet that's the case for almost everyone else too.

    Also, it would be nice if the box could handle a USB tuner stick automatically and include some sort of timer recording facilities (yes, storing back across wi-fi to a central media server) as well, but I guess I'm asking for too much there as well.

  44. Mick Stranahan
    Thumb Up

    @Richard Lloyd

    I've got one of these in my lounge connected to my wi-fi router with an ethernet cable and to my Bravia with an HDMI cable - its a perfect set up for me. OK, you need your router near your TV, but that's a given with a device like this that doesn't have wi-fi. Actually I'm using homeplug to connect the PC in my den to the router rathern than wi-fi but what the heck.

    Super - not sure what your problems is but the first thing I watched via my Hisense was a 1080p H.264 / MKV movie and playback was faultless.

  45. Alex 32
    Thumb Up

    @Super & @Richard L

    @Super - you don't need GbE for 1080p. My systems can cope over homeplug with no issues.. granted, depending on your resolution. (That was my foot I just shot)

    @Richard L - This was designed and set gold prior to the N Standard being (FINALLY!!!!) agreed. But the the reality is that even with the new final standard thoeretically providing 600Mb/s, it actually only comes close to 100Mb/s. Unless of course you have line of site, or it's situated virtually 10 feet away through a wall. It would also depend on your wifi router, as I'm sure someone will pick me up on these (in my real life) figures. But I think you were more pointing to the fact that it lacked wifi purely for connectivity, right? If that's the case, you could always add a Game-Port wifi conenction like Netgear do (Had one for my PS2) - that would work.. but then you have the issue of bandwidth

    Nice little box though, especially for the money and quiet running

  46. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Not so great after all

    I bought one of these on the strength of this review and connected it up to my NAS array across the network - so far so good.

    I generally back up my movies into single file uncompressed .vob files, and it plays these very well - BUT it suffers from inexplicable lock-ups. Haven't tried updating the firmware yet, but as this was out of the box it has to be tested as such.

    I will say that when you have >200 folders to scroll through a 'letter' selector would have been nice - it can take forever to get to the middle of your folder list.

    Once it's playing (and doesn't lock up) it looks better than my xbmc, courtesy of the hdmi connector and my upscaling telly no doubt. FF and RW worked well.

    I tried ripping a movie including the menu's etc. and it didn't work, you can't select the movie options.

    The remote is ok, it hasZX81 style buttons for those of you that remember, and weirdly the FF and RW are above and below the 'ok' button for some reason, the buttons to the left and right are the chapter advance, which doesn't work with single large .vob files so I can't comment on whether it works well or not.

    Basically if I can sort out the lock-ups I will be very happy - otherwise it's unuseable.

  47. DRendar
    WTF?

    @AC (@Drendar) Friday 6th November 2009 19:02 GMT

    AC: "XBMC on Xbox1 is great for SD content, but it can no way cope with HD, I get 5 fps at best."

    Erm. Did you even read my post?

    Drendar: "As you're only running CRT, you don't need the HD playback, which is quite literally the only thing XBMC_on_XBOX can't do (well it can - just not smoothly)"

    LOL

  48. Law
    Paris Hilton

    DTS? BR ISO? +1

    I too would like to know whether this thing can actually decode the DTS stream rather than just pass-through to an amp. The reason is I have a wdtv, and it does everything I need except dvd menu's, and dts decoding. I was planning on just getting the new Live, but I'd rather save a bit of cash, and try this for £60 instead.

    The dvd menus arn't such an issue, but the dts decoding is the only reason I'm upgrading - so if it can't do that it's pointless me buying one.

    If it doesn't do dts decoding then if anybody can recommend another box that does do dts decoding and dvd menu's... doesn't even need to be networked, I just copy video from my macbook to a 2.5 hdd anyway, at a sub-£100 with a half decent interface would be awesome. :)

  49. Fergster

    Remote Accress

    From the review it sounds like it may meet my needs. Essentially I'm looking for a media streaming box that I can connect to my Dad's TV that I can remote copy content to. There's broadband in the house and the router is just by the TV but there's no computer in the place to act as a server (I had broadband put in for my own benefit when I visit).

    The UI needs to be simple enough, just select a file and play (I bring my AppleTV back home when I visit and he can just about handle using it).

    Just a question for those who've already got one of these, is it possible to connect directly to it via an IP address/port? (my Dad's connection has a static IP).

    Thanks,

    Ferg

  50. dovestar

    iPlayer through TVersity

    Has anyone tried streaming iPlayer to this box through TVersity. This software claims to be able to stream iPlayer and other media to any DLNA device. I believe it uses the web flash iPlayer as opposed to iPlayer Desktop. I'd be interested to see someone give it a try, the software is free...

    Also, regarding @michael mackey's post, does anyone else think this has a noisy fan?

  51. workshy

    Terastation Live

    Hi to all who own one of these

    I have a Terastation live running Buffalo PCast (am avoiding Twonky after having to recover this NAS from a bricking) and am looking for a cheap, good quality streamer for the music and vids on the TSLive.

    Has anyone tested something similar with this?

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