Even though our Panasonic Viera NeoPDP 600hz Plasma is 1080p, the ‘HDMI Auto’ setting did not correctly output our video to 1920×1080, so we manually changed it to 1080p 60hz.
There is an option for 1080P 24hz, which will appease the movie purists among us.
If you want, you can navigate your network and move files between devices. This makes a little more sense if there is an internal hard drive system as items can be moved from a NAS to the hard drive for local viewing, but it is still worth including as eSATA or USB drives can be locally attached.
Finding a movie to watch is straightforward, you can ask the system to check attached devices, such as USB or eSATA drives, flash cards, or network attached storage.
Browsing hard drives works in a similar fashion to Windows Explorer. Simply move the highlighted area up and down with the navigation buttons on the remote, click OK when ready to move down a level, until you locate the file you wish to play.
Shortcuts can be set up for NAS units which require a password. This means the next time you turn on the system, you can navigate into the shortcuts menu and immediately access the location without having to reenter login and password information.
Playback is straightforward and works in a similar fashion to any remote based media system we have used. As with all of these devices there is a slight delay between selecting a file and it playing on screen, its not a massive issue, but we would like to see these slight delays negated with firmware updates.
The system works identically to the A.C. Ryan units we tested weeks ago, in that even if the file isn’t clicked, a small preview window of the contents will start to stream after a short delay. This can be disabled in the preferences section.
While it is difficult to ascertain via photographs within a review, the image quality of the player is excellent and we found no issues of complaint. Sometimes we would have liked more control over noise reduction and sharpening, but this is always going to be a compromise when moving from a full PC based media center with discrete graphics. Colour reproduction is excellent and a fine level of detail is resolved, especially on 1080p native content.
For those of you who need subtitles on a regular basis there is full support for them via the remote and interface. You can also move their position on screen and change their size. It all works exceptionally well and we found no issues during our testing.
File format support is very important when purchasing a media product and we are happy to report that the Asus unit played every file we threw at it. Unfortunately the network support is rather sluggish, limited to 100mbit which makes copying files from a NAS system to an attached drive quite slow.