There are many video options to select from including 1080p 24hz mode for movie purists and a wide array of SD and HD resolutions. Be aware that we haven’t had great success by leaving the unit on ‘auto’, as it would sometimes not detect our TV as a 1080p capable unit. It is always best to initially spend a few minutes configuring this to your specific television set.
If you are connected to the internet then the system time can be configured and maintained via several online time servers. In this menu there is also the option to update the system, simply handled by placing the new firmware on a USB drive and navigating to this location.
Network settings are configured in the ‘network’ menu, which allows for control over both wired and wireless options. You can also turn the HD into a NAS device if you wish which will be a very useful feature for many people.
A feature which might appeal to some users is the option to use the Playon! DVR HD as a Bitorrent downloader. We played around with this a little and it seemed to work fine throughout our testing. The detailed manual explains this if you don’t understand how to set it up.
Among the ever growing list of features there are RSS/News feed capabilities which are really useful if you want to catch up on the latest news online without having to leave the comfort of your armchair. We used this many times and love the ability to bookmark any sites we wanted.
In the comfort of your chair you can also check the weather of any city in the world, with a mapping system alongside it. Again very useful if you are travelling or checking up on the week ahead.
There really are so many features that it would take a small book to detail them all, we can safely say however that this latest firmware update is leading the way with these devices and A.C. Ryan have clearly spent a lot of time putting the device through its paces internally.
For the Internet radio fans among us, there is huge support for online stations, and all the rock stations we tried worked perfectly. Some were a little slow to buffer but with our 50mbit connection we would assume it was the source and not the device.
As before, the browser mode is the setting you will be using if you are watching movies on the device. We have access here to the internal drive, the network, NAS systems, DVD drives, eSATA drives, Flash cards. There are also capabilities to set up locations as ‘shortcuts’ for immediate access without the need to navigate through various layers.
As with the plain Playon! HD unit, the playback is fantastic and the device supports a full list of codecs including: AVI / MKV / TS / TP / TRP / M2TS / MPG / MP4 / MOV / M4V / VOB / ISO / IFO / DAT / WMV / ASF / RM / RMVB / FLV resolution up to 720p / 1080i / 1080p. We were even able to playback Bluray folders stored on a NAS system, although not all the menu options were available! The wealth of support is extremely impressive and we only experienced a single file in our huge collection that would not play correctly (video would drop and sound would play). Bearing in mind we tried well over 1,000 files with the DVR HD this is impressive.