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And the Extra Bonus Features

Asus O! Play HDP-R1 HD Media Player Review

As I mentioned earlier in this review, I really like the improved file format support with the Asus O!Play. The great support of RMVB and MKV files is of particular note, but what if you don’t want to bother saving these videos onto an external hard drive or USB flash drive? That’s where the LAN port comes into play.

It’s unfortunate that there is no wireless streaming possibility with Wi-Fi, but the LAN port means that you can latch onto your home network and “see” your computer (or NAS) right from the O!Play. When you hop into any of the different modes, the first thing that it will ask is whether you want to access the network or the attached storage. From there, it’s completely seamless and the speed appears to be quite good.

Asus O! Play HDP-R1 HD Media Player Review

Just like how you could with a regular DVD movie playing on a regular DVD player, you have the ability to select different audio tracks and subtitle tracks if your selected files support this functionality. I don’t know how useful this would be, but you can also zoom in on any scene that you’d like. The multi-stage zoom is standard with a lot of DVD players, but it is interesting how the O!Play can do this both with paused stills and with the video while it is still playing.

Final Thoughts

Taking on similar dimensions as compact 3.5″ portable hard drive enclosures, the Asus O!Play HDP-R1 HD Media Player is truly the best of its kind. It may not have any internal storage of its own, but most people are more than happy to provide their own flash drives for that purpose.

Asus O! Play HDP-R1 HD Media Player Review

Even if they don’t want to take the USB route, the O!Play will also take on eSATA drives and even connect to your home network with its RJ-45 LAN port. That network connectivity is great, but it is a shame that you don’t get to this through a wireless Wi-Fi connection instead.

I said it earlier, but this is worth reiterating. The file format support in this product is very good. It’s better than the Seagate FreeAgent Theater, Western Digital WDTV, and the Xbox 360. This is the reason why you’d want something like this anyway. The quick access to a shuffled music player is a nice touch too.

Unless you want to take the route of a home theatre PC, the Asus O!Play HDP-R1 is probably your best option for bringing digitally downloaded HD content to your living room. If this is representative of how Asus plans on expanding its business into the consumer accessory market, we could be looking at an Eee PC-like revolution.

Pros

  • Utterly stellar video format support
  • Inclusion of LAN and eSATA ports
  • Full 1080p HD output via HDMI
  • Dedicated music player for quick song shuffle
  • Built-in volume control

Cons

  • No included storage
  • Cannot stream content from Internet
  • HDMI is only HD output option
  • No integrated Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity

Overall Rating: 9.0 / 10.0

Asus O! Play HDP-R1 HD Media Player Review

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