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Introduction to buying Media Players

Posted 12 June 2008 19:38 CET by Hi-Jack

 


  
A thought crosses his mind as he stares in front of the blank electronic page, "Mmm, what was I thinking when I accepted this odious task?" Perplexed by this new thought he glares deeper into the ever familiar tinged whiteness of the blank electronic page. The ghostly apparition of the words which started it all trail slowly across his thought set, "would you be willing to write an article which goes more in-depth about the differences in media players?" was the bait thrown to him.

 

He leans back in his chair and covers his mouth with the full of his hand, the now overgrown stubble bristles his inner palm offering some form of reality, "What the hell was I thinking when I accepted the challenge?" He breaks from his melancholy and paces towards the steps that will take him down to his trusted coffee maker. The drone of the Jura soon hums in the background as it busily sets about its task of preparing a double shot espresso. He sips the dark liquid; the bitter taste brings a grimace to his face, and a reality check to his mood. He returns to his task in hand, settles into his chair and begins to write......

Let me first say, I‟m a critic, a reviewer, a support engineer and a media fanatic all together, what do I know about media players? A lot I hope, but explaining some things about media players require the explanation of others and before you know, I‟m writing a book and you‟ll be sitting there for days in front of your computer reading small text with a drip feed of coffee and a pack of aspirin for the migraine. If you are reading this article and not the book, I did it, I managed to summarise part of my understanding of a media player. Now, firstly, don‟t go expecting me to give you a „ready to use‟ answer to the question of which player to buy as I can‟t decide that for you.

It would be little pretentious of me to claim I can make the right decision for you so what my remit is, is to make it easier for you to make that choice and understand the „hidden catches‟ behind the marketing and product specifications, which is often displayed and used in press articles. I will also try to inform you on some of the differences with the current available media players by separating them out into categories.

If anything is unclear or you wish more information at the end of the article, post a little comment and I‟ll try to explain in more detail on whatever your question might be. Off course, everything is based on my opinion of which you may agree or disagree as not everyone will have the same vision as me. I tend to always say to people: "The longer it takes for you to agree with me, the longer I will remain ahead of you". Now if that does not have a pretentious ring to it...what does?

Almost daily, within the MPC community and other forums I visit, I support people with their media player troubles. I converse with consumers that are perfectly happy and with those feeling tricked after purchasing a device or get stuck using it properly because of misunderstanding / misinterpretation of limits that apply. The reason for this is the marketing hype surrounding these players; they profess to be able to do „verything‟for a few bucks. On the other hand, I meet a lot of people that stall at the starting line, finding they are unable to make a decision about which player to buy, player A or player B. There‟ little I can do for people who have already purchased a media player besides offer some form of support, but I can do something for those interested in acquiring one in the future.

So grab that double shot of espresso like I did and have another on brew (depends on how long this article will become), and enjoy the read…

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guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 13 Jun 08 11:12
What a load of long winded twaddle ! :r The fact remains all of the MPC devices are buggy as hell and can't beat having a good HTPC..
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 13 Jun 08 13:02
HTPC falls under MPC (Media Player Centers) so do your homework before replying nonsense friend. Media players fall under DMA (Digital Media Adapters) and not MPC's. Further, a HTPC is not for the average PC user (more for the geeks that keep tweaking and updating all the time) and can't tip at the convenience / Quality of a media player / NAS combination, not to mention the infrastructure not always is ideal or the consumption / noise of running a PC all the time. There's a lot of pros and cons from both sides... Some like to fly with Boeing, others prefer helicopters... Both can fly but are pretty different, same with HTPC and DMA comparissons. They are two total different things. Anyway, any discussion with you is too much for me. It took only few words of yours to see how short sided you are and incapable of making a point rather than do some cheap response like this, making any discussion with you uninteresting for me. PS: Don't blame CDFreaks for this reaction. I am not attached to this site... Enjoy
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 15 Jun 08 19:32
There is so much to read on the web that most times I tend to lose patience. I would love to see diagrams of generic objects showing connectivity options, actual photos of players, flow charts showing decision making, maybe even wizards for customized decision making, URLs for further reference and so on. Earlier when there were fewer articles being read by more people, this sort of hard work could be justified but now when there are more articles being read by fewer people, I can understand the reasons for a text only format.
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 16 Jun 08 06:20
I have to agree with that. Another propblem is that most of the products sold today are a work in progress. We no longer get finished products as it used to be but serve as beta testers paying the full price while the brands created a habit of delivering upon everything later on with firmware upgrades. How long would such articles be valid...? The article made now targeted 3 key points: - Players are not that different as many would expect - Players don't live up to their hype and usage of "labels" - Players are not completed products and work in progress As far as people can make the link with HTPC (meaning some don;t understand the purpose of the article) and make claims how unstable these are (even when the article already stated that), i would mainly ask to remove the illegal content making the HTPC work (off the shelf comparison) and off course ask since when they have a stable windows that not needs patching every week either with anti virus soft, Spyware, Spam or Windows patches... (unless using linux but that is a very limited amount of people) Another problem, I wouldn't even know where to start making such solutions available. I can write about opinions and what i see but i'm not as good a reporter to make such articles which indeed would be better. Remains time available as well... Sites often are communities so spending days on articles for sitres with no income is impossible. I would expect such articles from sites like ZDNet and PCMagazine... (but they spend even less time on tests than us community freaks...) Enjoy
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 16 Jun 08 11:43
Yeah ... overall its a very good article/guide or whatever you wanna call it. The point is that anyone that wants to buy a MPC should be informed but ultimately should decide for him or herself. The article provides good, clean and simple information and thats what is important. I have a TVIX and i am very happy with my choice. Its a bit expensive but it does everything i want. Thanx for the article.
0 Agree

Faiakes
New on Forum
Posted on: 19 Jun 08 22:30
Great article! I particularly liked the info on the chips. I had no idea. Very useful. What I would like to have seen more of would have been splitting the players by usage: the ones where you stick a usb flasf drive and press play, the ones that have an HDD networked etc. Note that you didn't have the info, it was just spread too much. Also, i would have liked if you had included peculiarities of the players (not being able to handle types of xvid, etc.)
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 13 Jul 08 17:19
In fact, that was another part of the story. They all pretty much handle the same things and updates cause further updates catching up with each other or break things that used to work. The only differences really are in hardware. The players with USB slave have benefits (when shopping for one you can check if they have one) as you can connect these to PC and trasnfer data. This is important as transferring data over the network is killingly slow due to the limitd I/O abilities of the chips. Players with HDMI 1.3 will be able to handle HD Audio (TViX already does in the M-6500A now in a recent update) but there are other players with HDMI 1.3 that will play catch up now. This with HDMI 1.3 will never be able to support these... Anyway... Everyone is welcome to post questions. We prefer giving up to data information at the right time instead of maybe leaving an outdated schematics online we might not be able to keep up to date...
0 Agree

Hi-Jack
New on Forum
Posted on: 18 Jul 08 14:20
Correction, type error... HDMI 1.1 will never be able to handle HD Audio.
0 Agree

gritty412
New on Forum
Posted on: 11 Sep 08 00:04
This message was edited at: 11-09-2008 02:59
0 Agree

guest
No longer with us
Posted on: 18 Sep 08 14:48
Did the first commenter say everything is buggy except htPC!!!!!
0 Agree

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