"Great product, great deal"4.0 starson by BekBob
Pros: Internal Dolby and DTS decoding.
Built in dock.
Automatic firmware upgrades via ethernet / internet.
Plays Mac formatted (HFS) drives.
Internet services (YouTube, Flickr, etc)
Cons: No numeric keypad on remote, no go-to function.
Summary: I've been buying media players for several years and suffered through some bad ones.
Prior to this the best player I found and had settled on was the TVIX 6500. But that cost me almost $500.
Tried the Western Digital WDTV, great price but no ethernet, no wireless and no DTS decoding. What's the use of a tiny player if you need an A/V receiver to decode the audio. Most blu-ray rips have a DTS audio track. It's a great player for travel though.
Then this player popped up. It has built in decoding for DTS, ethernet and a built in dock for seagate free agent drives.
Picked one up for $150 plus I bought a drive for another $150.
Also this player will read Mac formatted drives, the first that I know to do so, which is great for me.
Includes sync software for the drives if you dock them on your PC or Mac. Seems to work well.
I've had the device about two weeks and it's working great. Does a fine job with 720p and 1080p mkv files, either from the docked hard drive or over my home network. Browses and finds the shares fine. I've set it to decode the audio and also stream the audio to a receiver, both work great.
The free agent plays embedded subtitle files in mkv just fine.
Had no problems playing flac or mp3 audio files.
The embedded internet applications and video services are fun.
When I first bought the player, I only had a few services, but in two weeks the player has informed me of available updates and has updated itself twice over my internet connection. A very simple and worthwhile process. Now I have a screen full of services and video feeds .
The menu system is very nice, well laid out and well featured. Files auto-resume play from the last point.
This brings me to my two main complaints of the free agent. The remote has no numeric keypad and as such there is no option to jump to a specific time in an mkv file, this was a great feature of the TVIX.
Also, this unit doesn't have built in wireless. I use a cable anyway as this is the best for streaming, but it would have been nice.
The newer chipset in this device does a great job in playing back 1080p mkv files. You can tell the chip is powerful enough to handle the HD files. I've never experienced a skip or dropped file or out of sync audio.
Also had no problem playing back a DVD converted to an ISO file across my home network.
Really the only thing stopping me from giving this unit 5 stars is no numeric keypad on the remote and no jump to.
If they updated the firmware to connect to shared itunes and iphoto libraries that would be fantastic also. I'm fine without built-in wireless if it keeps the price down. I can buy a key if need be.