Is there any tech company not making a media player? This will be the fourth product of this type that I’ve reviewed for The Gadgeteer. The main differentiating property of the devices, besides the price, seems to be the number of file types and codecs supported. The MPLAY-HD has all the types I need and then some.
This unit is a stand-a-lone media player (no net access), so streaming isn’t an option.
– Video Files: MKV, AVI, MP4, MOV, XVID, TS, M2TS, RM, RMVB, DAT, MPG, MPEG, VOB
– Video Codecs: H.264/AVC BP/MP/HiP L4.1,MPEG1/2/4, DivX/Xvid, Real Video
– Audio Files: MP3, WMA, WAV, RM, OGG, AAC, M4A, FLAC, APE
– Audio Codecs: MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, AAC, FLAC, APE, PCM, DTS, AC3, RA, AMR
– Photo Files: JPG, BMP, PNG, GIF, TIFF
– Subtitle: SUB, ASS, SRT, SSA, SMI, IDX+SUB
– Other: DVD VIDEO_TS with menu
– Video: HDMI 1.3, YPbPr/Component, CVBS/Composite
– Resolution: NTSC, PAL, 480i/p, 576i/p, 720p, 1080i/p
– Audio: SPDIF coaxial and optical, analog stereo
– Storage Interface: Dual USB 2.0 Host ports, SD/SDHC/MS flash memory card reader
– File System: FAT32, NTFS
Here’s what’s in the box:
– Micca MPLAY-HD
– IR Remote
– AV and Component cables
– 100-240V AC adapter
My first impression of the player was positive. I especially like the coating on the housing which gives it a rubbery non slip feel.
The front panel is clean and the box sits unobtrusively near the TV.
On the back you’ll find most of the connectors. There is a card slot on the right side. You will have to provide your own HDMI cable though. This isn’t a show stopper because I get mine for 99¢ online. If you don’t want to spend the money, the component cables are more than adequate.
The remote is a small full unit. Just don’t lose it.
Installation was a snap. Plug the MPLAYER into the TV using the supplied cables or your HDMI cable. Connect the power and turn the on/off switch on the back of the unit. Connect your media storage to either the usb connectors and/or the card reader. Assuming you have the TV set to the correct input :-), you’ll get the Home screen above. All functions are activated using the included remote.
At the top right of the screen you will notice 3 small icons. They indicate which devices are plugged into the MPLAYER. The device depicted by a folder icon had me confused for a while. It’s not listed in the user manual and when I selected it, I received a no file found message. After about a week of playing around with the unit, I discovered that this indicates internal memory in the unit. It appears there is about 100MB available which allows one to copy from the other inputs. I don’t know if this is an unsupported feature, because it’s not referenced in the manual or the manufacturer’s web site. The middle icon depicts the 2 usb ports and the last one is for the memory card slot. These will be highlighted if a device is available on the ports.
In the center of the Home screen are icons which filter the media types on the storage devices. These filters can be changed by scrolling using the remote. From left to right they are; Movies, Photos, Music, Text, Flash Videos, and not visible in the photo, Files and Settings. They are mostly self-explanatory. When one of them is highlighted, only those types of files supported by the MPLAYER will be recognized and displayed.
Here’s an example displaying the contents of a portable hard drive connected to the MPLAYER using the Movies filter. Using the remote to select the folder or file will either begin playing the media or if a folder will drill down to the next level.
Once the media is playing, it can be controlled by the remote, or an on-screen bar can be activated using the display button on the remote. It has all the playback functions one would find on a DVD player. Depending upon the media type, background music can be added, sub-titles can be displayed and the image can be adjusted to fit the screen. I particularly liked this last feature because I can fit the image to the different types of TVs I have around the house.
The text file display utility is somewhat unique. I can’t see much use for it, but it does display .txt encoded data.
With the exception of copy protected media, I was able to play a selection of file types using different outputs to both a 720p and 1080p TV. However, comparing this unit to the other 3 I have reviewed does confirm 2 issues apparently inherent in these devices.
The first I define as sluggishness. Selecting an application with the remote takes patience. I found myself stabbing a button several times thinking I didn’t poke it, only to find out my inputs were buffered and when they were actuated I wound up several steps beyond where I wanted to be. I guess this delay it because of the disk access time through the usb ports. Now that I am aware of it, I expect it.
Secondly, the remote on this and other units appears to be extremely directional. Unless I’m pointing it within 20 deg of center, it doesn’t work. Again, I can deal with it now that I know. By the way, this device, as others, is dependent upon the remote. Lose it and you’re out of business. Aside from the power button on the box, there are no function buttons.
In the end, I like the MPLAYER. For less than the price of a DVD player, you have a unit that can play your backed up DVDs , music and photos. I no longer own a DVD player and use media players exclusively. The MPLAYER has been recruited for duty as the grandkids movie player. Because of its intuitive GUI and ease of use, it’s perfect for the younger set.