A.C.Ryan ACR-PV72100 Playon! Network DVR - A.C.Ryan Playon! DVR

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Overall, in terms of looks and design, the Playon! DVR is pretty much in a league of its own for a product for around £150. Thankfully, its rear-mounted connections are no less impressive. At the top is a mini-USB port for hooking it up to your PC. Below this are proper, separated component inputs (not like the cheap and nasty component-from-a-single-socket cables many rival products sport), and two sets of composite connections (in and out). Then there's HDMI for the highest possible quality link between the unit and your PC monitor or television. For audio, there are no less than two high quality digital outputs, namely optical and coaxial.

What sets the Playon! DVR apart from others of that ilk is its added flexibility and upgradeability, provided by the network jack and two USB 2.0 ports. Admittedly, one of the latter is taken up by an included gadget: a 54Mbps wireless adapter, but the other could quite easily be used for adding a memory card reader or external hard drive. It's a rare feature to get wireless at all for this kind of money, and the other advantage to having an external wireless adapter is that you can use it with other devices, or not use it all, thereby freeing up the USB port.

Speaking of the two USB ports, it's also worth noting that the wireless dongle is rather chunky and, if plugged in directly, leaves little room to add another USB device or cable in the other port. It's therefore a little disappointing that a third USB port or even an extension cable is not included to solve this.

So mostly great news up to here, and it isn't finished yet. Apart from the two usual composite cables, there is the rarity of a component cable. In addition, you get a separately boxed, full retail version of A.C.Ryan's premium HiFX Evolution one-metre HDMI cable, with triple shielded, braided cabling and a 24K gold-plated connector, plus a lifetime warranty. The cheapest I was able to find this cable online was £28, so kudos to A.C.Ryan for the nice addition.

To round things off, we've got a decent remote, rather than a reject from the land of cheap. It might not be an all-in-one like the Neuros' model, but it's so much easier on the eyes and fingers. The only niggle is that the layout is not the most logical - the volume and playback controls, for instance, aren't exactly where you'd expect them to be – so you might have some trouble using it in the dark.

Ash

August 21, 2008, 10:56 pm

Very geeky UI :(

HL Tan

August 31, 2008, 7:17 am

It will be a better if it can support video formats that PC uses, such as mkv, rm, rmvb and those supported by video cameras. Work done on PCs can play on HDTV seamlessly over the wireless connection.

pitis

October 2, 2008, 11:17 pm

Is there support for AC3 codec? Thnx for reaction.

willgar

December 30, 2008, 5:09 am

According to the AC Ryan site, it also supports MPEG-1 / MPEG-2 / MPEG-4 ASP : XviD / DivX /DAT / VOB / IFO / ISO / MPG / AVI / TS

TechVegan

May 14, 2009, 4:08 pm

@Ash:


Geeky's a bad thing? :) Seriously though, this is an area most units could use some work in, with the nicest implementation I've seen being that on the http://www.trustedreviews.com/....





@HL Tan:


If it did that it would have been the best unit ever; not even the award-winning Western Digital WD-TV supports RMVB as far as I know.





@Pitis:


Apologies for the late reply. I'd imagine so, otherwise what would be the point of the IFO format support/digital audio outputs?





@willgar:


Yes, the same formats listed in the review :S

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