Great for bedrooms, not so great as a home theater centerpiece,

2 Jun 2012

I purchased this unit to replace my PS3 as the centerpiece of my home theater experience. The description mentions it can playback Bluray in full HD and I wanted to free myself from the clunky PS3 interface.

My setup is pretty standard. All my home computers are in one workgroup and the file/media server shares its files to the workgroup. I map the shared directories to drives on the head units for each TV (3 bedrooms, den and rec room) and play videos using VLC. I may eventually throw XBMC on the boxes but for now, that setup works great.

This unit seemed to work well at first. I spent about an hour removing all the unnecessary cruft and then hooked it up to my wireless. For the first several days I was using it to watch recorded TV shows in 720P, web content and some Flash games. It was a bit laggy in certain situations but other than that, it worked well.

However, I eventually fired up a 1080P mkv and that is when I began to realize that this unit cannot really handle such content. At first I thought it might have been the wireless connection so I ran a cable to it instead. No dice. 1080P content was simply unwatchable, skipping all over the place and eventually causing VLC to crash. Eventually skipping through some 720P videos causes some problems.

I tried several things to rectify the issue but short of resampling all my 1080P content (which isn’t really a reasonable prospect), I wasn’t able to find a way to make high end content playable on this unit. This works great for standard def and most 720P content but I can’t recommend it for anything more than that. I use the units I purchased in the bedrooms now and have built a custom rig for my main HTPC setup.

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