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AC Ryan Playon! DVR HD Review

Rating: 9.0.

Dutch based A.C. Ryan have been releasing media players for years now and we recently looked at their Playon! and Mini Media Player, which left us with positive impressions.

Today we look at their latest model the Playon! DVR HD which includes 2 Digital TV (DVB-T) Tuners so you can watch and record different channels at the same time. This unit supports both MPEG2 and newer MPEG4 H.264 DVB-T Broadcast standards, meaning this is a universal system compatible with every country.

The unit we received for review today features a 1TB hard drive although you can buy it with no hard drive. There are options for 500GB and 1.5TB and the unit will also accept a 2TB drive if you already have one.


  • Record, Store & Play
  • Full HD Media player
  • Digital Video Recorder with Dual TV tuner
  • Record to Internal harddisk or external drives
  • Timer Recording
  • Time Shift
  • EPG Program Schedule Recording
  • Web Remote Schedule Recording
  • Web Remote BitTorrent Management
  • Web Remote File Management
  • HDMI 1080p HD Multimedia Interface
  • Audio/Video Streaming
  • Network Drive (NAS)
  • NFS (Network File System)
  • Wired (incl.) & Wireless (optional) Network
  • FTP Server
  • Expand more storage with USB2.0 & eSATA
  • DTS Downmix
  • HD Audio Support
  • UPnP Media Streaming Client
  • Internet Radio (by SHOUTcast)
  • Remote Control


  • Dual Digital DVB-T Tuner

A/V Out:

  • HDMI interface up to 1080p
  • Composite Video
  • Composite Audio
  • Y/Pb/Pr Video
  • SPDIF Coaxial (digital audio)
  • SPDIF Optical TOSLINK (digital audio)
  • Dual Digital DVB-T TV signal

A/V In:

  • Composite Video
  • Composite Audio
  • Dual Digital DVB-T TV signal

Storage supported:

  • Internal Harddisk
  • External USB Harddisks
  • External USB media card readers
  • USB disks / USB sticks
  • Network drives
  • eSATA drives
  • Memory Cards (SD / SDHC / MMC / MS / MSPro)

Built-in Storage supported:

  • 3.5″ SATA/SATA2 Harddisk up to 2TB

More detailed specifications are listed here

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  • Raymond

    What a fantastic product, im really tempted to get this.

  • Samuel

    I bought the mini from the last review here – I might use it in a different room and get this one. I see misco have no stock though? whats up with that?

  • Tim

    That is a really good price with the 1TB unit in it. glad to see they aren’t using crappy drives either. weird point to bring up I know, but samsung are always good to see !

  • Eric K

    Great review again Zardon. I like the front design of this. I always though the playon HD was really quite naked looking but I like the readout. Obviously AC ryan are clearly spending a lot of time on the firmwares/OS which means this is the only one to get. Pricing is very competitive also.

  • Harry

    Fantastic. I dont really need one of these myself, but its a brilliant idea. like the fact you can use it as a NAS also.

  • Brooke

    Brilliant, i have been waiting on a review of this for ages now. Have already mine preordered 🙂

  • Terrance

    Their support is great. I have an older version of this and have been waiting on the new one to be released.

  • Toby

    The firmware updates seem really good on these devices. Asus for instance never update theirs. just buy the hardware fromr realtek, mod it a little, and thats them done forever. AC RYAN seem like a company with their finger on the pulse. I am going to get this as I dont use my cable box much in the UK and only want sky news. glad to see you can get it (great review!)

  • Francois LeBon

    This looks so good powered up. the other ones look a bit ‘bleh’.

  • Roger

    No stock in Misco? maybe best ordering from AC Ryan directly?

  • Dave

    wonder why they dont do a 2TB version? Also bit disappointed they didnt upgrade the LAn to gigabit after the last 2 products. It would be a very slow NAS system. Surely it cant add much to the cost?

  • Intel lover

    Great review, well done on the software side of things, thats incredible functionality.

  • Frank

    Why oh why build this and then hamper such a great product with 100mbit LAN ! wireless is faster and this should never be the case.

  • Tech Head

    a good gigabit lan controller could add 20 quid to the price, but in this case I think its a move they need to make, especially for a NAS option and for moving files to local storage. I wouldnt fancy moving a bunch of 10GB 1080p MKVs to this drive.

  • P1n3apqlExpr3ss

    Wow, around here you have to pay $15 (10 quid) a month for something similar a month. Was amazed when i found these things listed to be honest might suggest these to my parents

  • Jeff

    Very good price point on these units. Might invest in one nearer christmas as a treat for myself.

  • Fadih

    Very good review of what appears to be a brilliant product. Worth buying.

  • Robert

    Another great review Zardon. This looks to be something I would enjoy. Shall probably pick one up soon.

  • Garth

    Looks nice, the glass front is very attractive. good price really when you weigh it all in, seems much better than the asus one you reviewed last month.

  • Rangers Fan

    Hey, long time lurker, first time poster (well under this account anyway)…felt the urge to post today as I wanted to ask how can you guys do so many quality reviews when other sites struggle with one a week? They really are mince, especially the ones who nick your ideas and try and claim them.

    Its really great to see such quality reviews up here amongst ye others !

    Another media player… and a memory cooler… really helps split up the indepth analysis of the other items.

  • Henilth

    I really like this product, looks like a good price too. Shame about lack of gigabit lan support tho.

  • Joe Soap

    Excellent, these really are great.

  • Sour Grapes

    Guys what a brilliant review – really looks like this is a fine piece of hardware with a good interface. I might check it out later in the month if I can wrangle the money together. Keep up the awesome work !

  • Julia

    Very cool idea from AC Ryan, good price point.

  • Hello everyone,

    Glad you seem to like this player of ours as well! 🙂 I just wanted to answer some of the questions that turned up in the comments. If you have other questions after feel free to post here and I’ll try to reply to them,

    The reason we don’t support 1GB Ethernet is due to limitations on our chipset. Our players hardware simply could not handle those networks speeds, in particular if multi tasking, by watching a movie/downloading a torrent etc.

    If we would change the hardware to be able to perform those speeds then the price would go up drastically. If you are in need for a large file transfer you can connect the player either with USB or even eSata for optimal transfer speeds. USB is the ‘slower’ of these two and I’m having around 17-23MB/S in average transfer speeds with it.

    If you are looking for the 2TB version. I see that we are sold out in some of our re-seller in the UK. You can see our re-sellers list here: http://www.playondvr.com/en/#uk

    I know we do have stock if you order the 2TB version directly from our homepage as well.

  • Dave

    mmmm thanks Mikael. I would like this device myself but 100mbit is too slow for a NAS system which is one of the features. Can you not implement a system when you are watching a file that no copying can take place? I cant see how having gigabit lan while watching a movie would make a different for just playback, its still going to stream at the same speed anyway. right?

  • Hello Dave,

    I understand your request. I would also prefer 1GB Ethernet port since that would make it possible to stream highest quality files over network, but most importantly deal with huge transfers much better. However, the reason it’s not currently possible is because the chipset cannot handle those speeds and stream/encode a movie, even if you would disable the copy like you suggested. It would just not be stable to stream and watch a movie at those speeds and that is one of the players main purposes. Still have to try and remember that you pay quite little for these players.

    I’m hopeful that the next generation chipset will handle 1GB Ethernet. We will see!


  • Elasticity

    Wheres the HD recording options?? we use DVb-t2, not available on this model. Its 2010 not 1999. And also recording from svideo sources.. otherwise quite good. GBe not needed as you have USB slave (connect direct to computer via USb) and Esata to transfer stuff. Also DarK Blue is the New black. See to it.

  • Elasticity

    From website “so you can enjoy DVB-T broadcasts in every country regardless of which DVB-T format is broadcasted. ” UK HD freeview mpeg4/aac over DVb-t2, not supported in this unit, sadly.

  • Vincent Tan

    I just bought the device with 1.5 TB Samsung Harddisk and wireless dongle for RM950 (equivalent to euro 226) in Malaysia after reading this raving review. The device is fantastic and the wireless works fine on my PC too. Have hours of fun playing it on TV. Absolutely no regrets. Cheers

  • Girgis

    Mikael, am i correct in saying that the Dual Tuners are Digital only, not HD?

  • Vincent Tan

    Currently I can only access Picasa, News, Flickr & Weather on the internet. Would appreciate if anyone could tell me how to access Youtube, Google Mail, etc.
    Thanks and Regards

  • James K Greenham

    My AC Ryan is hard wired to my computer and this way I have access to my drives both internal and external.Unfortunately when i add a new external drive it prompts me for the user name and password (which I have forgotten!!!!). Is there a way to either bypass the user name password system or if not ,to enter a new username and password?
    Hope you can help me
    Kind regards
    James K Greenham