After over a week of playing around with the HDX 1000 Media Player, I am convinced that this is a great device to have especially if you’re mostly watching downloadable shows. It has some quirkiness but let me share why I think this media player is worth considering.
The HDX is made of solid aluminum casing with a black, brushed metal finish. The size is enough to fit a single HDD with capacities of up to 1 Terabyte. The design is simple but elegant, yet does not compromise the construction (you’d get the feeling that it can take some heavy stress test and won’t easily break open or damaged). In contrast, what initially turned me off of the Popcorn Hour was that it seemed shabbily made with thin pieces of metal screwed together.
At the front, you’ll see the LED power indicator that turns blue in active mode and red while asleep or suspended. On the left side is a card reader (to plug in your memory card from your camera). At the back-side, there’s power switch and a plethora of ports — S/PDIF optical and coax audio, stereo analog audio, HDMI, composite video, LAN port, 2 USB ports (one being used/connected to the SD card in front) and a USB slave. The outputs are also gold plated for better signal quality/performance.
The USB port accepts external drives, thumb drives while the USB slave can be used to hook it up to your PC so it can read off all the media stored in it.
From the last time I tried the platform, the menu/navigation system was a bit awkward and sluggish. I believe that part was fixed and the system is now very responsive and the movies loads fast. The menu is simple and intuitive — select an attached device (media source), pick the media type you want to view, select the file and then hit play.
I’ve tried hooking up the HDX on a 32″ 720p Samsung HDTV and a 42″ 1080i Toshiba LCD TV with great results. Video output quality is top notch and there are no noticeable MPEG artifacts when playing the MKV movies that came with the 1TB hard drive. And while I used the HDMI port for best output quality, I wasn’t able to run it with a Blu-ray player (for comparison) so I settled with Xvid andÂ Matroska movies (the HDX supports a lot of media types, codecs and video containers, half of them I’m not even familiar with).Â
While movie load quit fast (3-4 seconds), viewing photos can be a little frustrating. Loading a 500KB photo averages around 7 to 8 seconds while playing an mp3 song takes about 4-5 seconds. The system is obviously not optimized for photo-viewing (I love the way Apple TV does photo slideshows).
The best feature IMO is the Torrent client which allows you to download movies directly into the player. That saves you in electric bills compared to running the torrent downloads from your PC. That doesn’t count the various web services that it supports – YouTube, Veoh, Metacafe, Flickr, Picasa, Shoutcast, CNN News, BBC podcasts among others. Internet connection is drawn from a LAN cable or a WiFi 802.11n USB dongle (a TP-Link Wireless USB, sold separately).
Here’s the clincher though — the HDX 1000 and the Popcorn Hour A-100 has the same hardware platform and firmware Â (full specs here). Both are powered by a Sigma Designs SMP8635 processor designed and manufactured by Syabas. According to the tech specs though, the HDX has 512MB 64-bit internal DDR RAM while the PCH A100 only has 256MB. They even have the same wireless remote controls.
That being said, it all boils down to the minor differences in the details and the design implementation as well as the pricing. Personally, I liked the make and construction of the HDX.
Price – HDX 1000 Networked Media Tank
- without hard disk drive: Php15,900
- with 640 GB Western Digital Caviar Green: Php20,200
- with 1 TB Western Digital Caviar Green: Php22,600
Check out http://www.hdx1080.com.ph for availability.