27 November 2008

myiHome is too basic server

Firs I tested today myiHome UPnP server ver 3.5.1, downloaded it from Syabase homepage as last version. I was greatly disappointed with this server. Didn't recognize and show some of my HD content (Bourne Ultimatum MKV-s for one example), didn't play MOST of my HD content
Only later I found out that there is alsi much newe version on Networked Media Tank homepage -- ver 5.1.3 (sic!).

Sure, I'm spoiled by functionality and speed of TwonkyMedia, but still -- myiHome is far too basic UPnP server tested so far. I really lihe Syabas hardware, using myself Popcorn Hour A-110 Networked Media Tank. But for some reason, their server software is not up to the level. 

Cons music:
  • Not user friendly, if You got 600 artists like me,
    took ages to find Robbie Williams album Intensive Care (my fav usability test)
    no artist or album index
  • Doesn't show title, elapsed time, track info etc..
  • No album art
Cons general:
  • Takes 50 MB-s of HDD, Twonky only <3>
  • Ver 5.1.3 plays most of 1080 HD stuff I had on my server, including:
    IMAX Blue Planet MPEG2 .TS
    1000 Places to See Gambodia .MKV
    Bourne Ultimatum .MKV
    Hancoc .MKV
    Victoria Secrets 2007 .TS
Making long story short -- I removed myiHome from my server after 1 hour of testing. Not recommended. Alternative: TwonkyMedia server. 

New product category - HD streaming Blu-Ray players

Samsung BD-P2550

First we got Xbox 360 streaming HD Netflix online DVD rental with more than 100 000 titles. Then We heard about Samsung's BD-P2500 and BD-P2550 Blu-ray decks. Now LG BD300 has also capable of streaming HD from Netflix.

Its easy way to tranform users through technology they are familiar with. Imagine, Blu-Ray is playing virtual HD disks on service basis.

26 November 2008

Popcorn Hour, son of Syabas Technology

Syabas Technology is the company, having many media technologies, including network media tank (NMT) and media streamer. Popcorn Hour and few other NMT-s like HDX 1080 are based on Syabas NMT platform. Today I downloaded their UPnP streamer MyiHome 3.5.1 Win version and installed to my 2,5 TB media server. 

What is the difference between DMP (digital media player, streamer) and NMT (networked media tank):
  • DMP: streaming client
  • NMT: streaming client, HDD, UPnP server
Test results and personal preferences compared against TwonkyMedia 4.4.9 tomorrow...

Tomacro -- another HD streamer from Shenzhen

This is Tomacro's new LIM 320s. In Tomacro company media streamers called DMA - Digital Media Access devices. Their latest model seems quite capable, covering all HD container formats and video codexes used in HD:
  • MPEG2-HD; .mpg, .tp, .ts, .avi, .mkv
  • WMV-HD/VC-1: .wmv, .evo, ts, .avi, .mkv
  • H.264(Mpeg4-AVC): .mov, .m2ts, .mp4, .ts, .avi, .mkv
  • Mpeg4(DivX-HD, Xvid-HD): .avi, .mkv
All main SD videos are also covered, also music and photo streaming.

Player is based on  Sigma Design ® SMP 8635 (exactly the same model what is used in my favourite Popcorn Hour A-110), offering HDMI 1.3 functionality, including embedded audio.

25 November 2008

Interesting non-streaming HD media player


Western Digital (WD) has quite interesting, though not UPnP streaming product WD TV HD media player. It plays from USB HDD movies and photos in 1080p HD through HDMI. It also plays music files. In short, copy all Your media to portable USB drive and show it everythere.

I personally see this product as additional media interface to WD Passport USB HDD's although it supports other USB drives also.

24 November 2008

Must watch: Top Gear Polar Special

Indeed, in 1080 HD format. Available in MiniNova, just search Polar Special 1080.
Excellent image and sound quality and quite a project! Be aware, that it's 7 Gbytes .MKV or so in HD.

21 November 2008

Excellent TV show torrent site

We know, that its quite a headacke to find quality c0ntent from torrents. Some have spanish audio, some really bad quality, etc...Lately I started to use really exellent site to download new TV Shows. There are currently 2, what I'm following:

So, just find Your fav from EZTV and enjoy...

19 November 2008

HD bandwidth compared to SD

Left HD 1080    standard SD 352 lines on the right

I did some research today, looked few titels in HD and SD, comparing bitrates, both video and audio. Its really good to see, that better-quality matherial has more bandwitht for sound (up to 1,5 Mbts) than usually watched crappy XviD movies (sound and video combined less than 1 Mbps).

My content:
  1. Top Gear MKV 1080p H.264
  2. Hancock MKV 1080p H.264
  3. Bourne MKV 1080p VC1
  4. Mariposa ASF 1080p WMV
  5. 1000 Places Cambodia MKV 1080p MPEG4
  6. Californiavation MKV 720p H.264
  7. SI Swimsuite 2008 AVI 720p XviD
  8. Average SD AVI 352i XviD
So, video bandwith was generally 10-16 Mbps for HD and ca 1 Mbps for SD XviD. Sound took about 350 Kbps, in DTS 1500 Kbps, in crappy XviD DVD rip about 127 Kbps.

Popcorn Hour is for HD content!

So, today had some spare time and upgraded Twonky Media server to ver 4.4.9 -- version supporting .MKV containers. 

Some days earlier I hooked up my new Popcorn Hour A-110. Now I'm confident and assured, that its next level vompared with D-link DSM-520

Few things to mention:
  • HDMI 1.3, audio support, one cable for all
  • .MKV and H.264 support
  • fast forward forks well with HD, also jump to 10%-20%-30%...
  • I don't like form factor, doesn't nicely fit in into my home theatre rack
  • plasma screen is flickering between menu -> play and other functions
  • No album art, playing MP3-s
Tested HD content
  1. The Bourne Ultimatum 2007 1080p (HD-DVD rip)
  2. Hancock 1080 (Blu-Ray rip)
  3. Top Gear Polar Special 2007 1080p (BBC-HD H.264)
More detailed report will follow, but as far I can only recommend Popcorn Hour A-110 and Twonky Media 4.4.9.

12 November 2008

Mysterious ways of UPS (Popcorn Hour)

As You know, I ordered Popcorn Hour S-110 lately. Quite interesting reading is UPS report. My packet has been in quite many countries:

TALLINN,EE 11/12/2008 9:54 A.M.  
VANTAA, FI          11/12/2008 7:38 A.M.  
MALMO STURUP,SE 11/12/2008 5:14 A.M.  
KOELN ,DE 11/11/2008 9:46 P.M.
DUBAI,AE 11/11/2008 6:50 P.M.  
CHEK LAP KOK,HK 11/11/2008 11:03 A.M.  
PAMPANGA,PH 11/11/2008 3:48 A.M.
SHENZHEN, CN 11/10/2008 6:55 P.M.

So, it has been in 8 countries all together. 

11 November 2008

Popcorn Hour Media Tank S-110 soon to be reviewed

Your order has shipped!
Nov 11
Full shipment -  Popcorn Hour has shipped your order.
Track UPS package #UPS-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
Nov 11
Tracking data added -  Popcorn Hour has added new tracking data to your order. 
Track UPS package #UPS-xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Oct 24
$264.00 charge -  Your credit card (MASTERCARD xxx-yyyy) was charged for $264.00. "GOOGLE *Popcorn Hour" will appear on your credit card statement.
Oct 17
Order received - Popcorn Hour received your order.
Oct 17
Order placed - Your order was placed with Popcorn Hour. A confirmation email was sent to you by Google.

Onkyo Blu-ray -- not streaming, but HD

Onkyo DV-BD606P Blu-ray player

My digital home employs Onkyo steel. I had postponed the blu-ray player purchase, cause Onkyo stepped on HD DVD path and first DV-BD606P Blu-ray was just launced. It supports Dolby® TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio™ surround sound and minimizes the number of cables to one -- HDMI (plus power cable indeed..). Put my order in few days ago, hope to receive it in the end of the year -- Europe is so far from USA and Japan...

08 November 2008

Digital signal path in AV streaming

Watching cable SD by Internet provider (IPTV)

  • IPTV Provider, ADSL IP data
  • Thomson SpeedTouch 780 IPTV boadband router
    Twisted Pair ADSL IP data -> HTTP Ethernet 10/100 Mbps 
  • Amino Aminet A110
    Video: HTTP protocol Ethernet 10-baseT -> 576i component (Mpeg2) 
    Audio: Coax S/P-DIF PCM
  • Onkyo TX-SR706 FLI-2310  
    Video: Component 576i/50 -> HDMI 1080i
  • Hitachi 42" HD plasma
    HDMI 1080i -> image
As You see, there is still one stage in analog. Hope to het new Aminet A130 or A530 box with HDMI to het over it.

07 November 2008

Changed Onkyo TX-SR706 under warranty

Due to HDMI blankout problems I changed my head unit under the warranty. New one functions perfectly.
Hooking up the modern 7,1 receiver takes at least an hour, inluding Audyssey automatic speaker level adjusting etc. Huge number of different inputs causes mistakes and adds some thrill...

01 November 2008

Onkyo TX-SR706 Faroudja DCDi is overheating

I have used it only 2 days, but I'm quite sure, that Faroudja DCDi Cinema scaler is overheating, if natural cooling not well provided. Plasma is losing signal in conjunctiton with fast screen transitions. In my case cable set to box and DVD component signals are up-converted to 1080p by Faroudja DCDi Cinema scaler.

All the other user csenarios work well. Signal from Dlink DSM-520 HDMI is also up-converted to 1080i HDMI output. Today I watched 3 consequent Fifth Gear series from my Media Server / DSM-520 but no siglal losses occured. Then I swiched over to cable and signal started to disappear in every minuta or so. In my case I up-converted component signal to HDMI 1080i. I swiched my receiver off for an hour, it cooled down and problems disappeared. 

I'm planning to modify my TX-SR706, installing fan and heat-sink to FLI2310 DCDi chip.

I'll report more later...

Waiting for my Popcorn Hour A-110 to arrive

Your order is in progress. Oct 24

  • $264.00 charge -  Your credit card (MASTERCARD xxx-yyyy) was charged for $264.00. "GOOGLE *Popcorn Hour" will appear on your credit card statement
  • Oct 17 Order received - Popcorn Hour received your order
  • Oct 17 Order placed - Your order was placed with Popcorn Hour. A confirmation email was sent to you by Google.