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A.C. Ryan Playon!HD Mini - A.C. Ryan Playon!HD Mini

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



  • Recommended by TR
A.C. Ryan Playon!HD Mini front


Our Score:


Other highly welcome features of the Playon!HD Mini include UPnP Media Server and NAS functionality. Though it's not yet implemented as on the larger A.C. Ryan player and Eminent’s EM7075, btpd BitTorrent downloading is also promised in a future firmware update. But the goodness doesn’t end here, as the Playon!HD Mini also supports more file formats than most other players in its price class - including RMVB video playback, a feature that only the Asus O!Play and expensive Popcorn Hour 110 share.

A.C. Ryan Playon!HD Mini top

The Playon!HD Mini supports JPEG HD, BMP, GIF, TIFF and PNG picture formats, while audio support covers MP2/3, OGG, WMA, WAV, AAC, COOK and FLAC, Dolby Digital or DTS passthrough and stereo down-mixing - even DTS-HD is supported, which is yet another rarity. Video support includes HD MPEG 2/4, H.264, WMV9/VC-1 and RM/RMVB (up to 720p) codecs in AVI, ASF, DAT, FLV, MKV, M2TS, MP4, MOV, M4V, RM, TS, TP, TRP, VOB/ISO/IFO, WMV, and xVid/DivX containers with SRT, SMI, SSA, IDX and SUB subtitles and full menu video previews. There’s even support for 1080p 24. That’s pretty much as comprehensive as anyone could want, and we can’t think of a single important format or file system that’s left out. As with its larger brother, playback of all these various formats was very reliable.

Aside from slightly slow menu operation and a few minor glitches with some of its internet features, the Playon!HD Mini is a pleasure to use. Thanks to its passive cooling it is silent in operation without getting more than warm to the touch, which is impressive considering the Realtek chip that powers it is known for getting rather hot. Best of all, with an MSRP of £87, the Mini is A.C. Ryan’s most affordable media player yet and offers truly excellent value compared to the competition. After all, this is already less than the retail price of other media players offering similar features. A.C. Ryan also backs it with a better-than-average two-year warranty, though in this regard Eminent’s five year one takes the biscuit.

A.C. Ryan Playon!HD Mini box


Successfully addressing most of the reservations we expressed about A.C. Ryan’s original Playon!HD, the company’s new Playon!HD Mini is the best and most versatile media player we’ve yet seen for its bargain price. If you’re willing to forgive an interface that isn’t quite as smooth as the best of the competition and a slightly awkward remote, this is definitely the media player to go for as its format and feature support are simply unrivalled.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 9
  • Features 9
  • Design 8


March 1, 2010, 1:56 pm

Now all is required is the capability to plug in a freeview dongle for PVR functionality,

I don't really understand why media player manufacturers don't do this - it would allow to dispose of an extra box!


March 1, 2010, 2:44 pm

How is the picture quality?


March 1, 2010, 3:06 pm

Does this come with an internal Hard dive? Or are you supposed to hook one up via USB? thanks.


March 1, 2010, 3:08 pm

Great review :) The original unit passed me by so I'm happy to see this.

A bit OT, but what would you recommend for wirelessly streaming only music from my PC to my HiFi in the same room? Would prefer to continue to use Winamp on the PC to control my playlists and don't want to rely on the existing wireless newtork as signal strength is weak. Something very simple and preferably cheap would be ideal. Just using a 3.5mm to phono lead isn't an option unfortunately.


March 1, 2010, 3:09 pm

No internal HDD, the full sized Playon does though, I believe.

I think it'd work better the other way round w/r to PVR functionality - Virgin, Sky etc integrate media streaming into their PVR boxes.


March 1, 2010, 5:06 pm

I agree with Misha - add PVR and iplayer and then you have the perfect box.


March 1, 2010, 6:54 pm


go for a squeezebox for streaming music. can' do better than that. you could probably pick up a squeezebox v3 on ebay for relatively cheap. i got mine a year ago for a hundred quid. excellent device


March 1, 2010, 7:12 pm

As timple says - you really want iplayer as well. This is why I hunted in the loft for an old Shuttle unit, clean installed XP SP3, added a quiet fan and wireless keyboard/track pad (£29 for both) and was sorted with a cheap media PC that will stream, play from cards/USB and do iplayer etc. VGA connection from integrated graphics to TV.

You get so much more flexibility from a PC, even an all in one unit like the Acer Aspire Revo R3610 - I was going to buy one of these till I found the Shuttle fulfilled our modest needs.

Not to mention that it is available for couch browsing ;)


March 2, 2010, 1:23 am

"we can’t think of a single important format or file system that’s left out"

I know it's not terribly fashionable to like MS stuff, but the lack of .dvr-ms or .wtv support on these boxes kill them for me. These would be a secondary box for me in the kitchen, and in the kitchen I want to be able to watch tv that was recorded on the HTPC in the living room.

Windows Media center is almost Apple-like in the way it just works (for me at least) when it comes to recording tv. & of course it's an absolute doddle to set up, which is more than can be said for yet another failed attempt of mine to set up MediaPortal over the weekend - this time it was an SQL problem that put paid to that little foray away from WMC.

Getting back on topic, without pvr functionality, or support for .wtv or dvr-ms, then these boxes have limited appeal for me. I know I could use DVRMS Tool box to auto convert to something this can support, but that means having two lots of recordings, one for the lounge and one for the kitchen. Not great for the WAF....

Having said all that, the price is tempting!


March 2, 2010, 3:02 am

QED's Live uPlay Receiver is finally out and is £65 at audiovisualonline.co.uk

Looks like that is my ticket :)


March 2, 2010, 2:31 pm

@Alan Clinch:

Picture quality is pretty much as good as your source file, though obviously the player will scale material of resolutions lower than your monitor/TV.


As Wildkard said, it doesn't have an internal drive nor room for one. You can tell by its size. You can use any form of USB or networked storage.


Daniel's recommendation is pretty good :)

As for iPlayer functionality, we can but hope it will be added at some stage, though I wouldn't hold my breath.


A PC is always going to be more flexible and offer more features, but even without extras like the remote thrown in is bound to be more expensive - unless you dig up an old/preowned model like you did; always a good option to keep in mind.

And... your Shuttle is connected over - shudder - VGA? ;)


You like MS stuff?! Admittedly we kinda liked Windows 7...

Some of these boxes do support PVR. In fact, A.C.Ryan offers some, though none as far as I'm aware with HD support...


March 2, 2010, 7:14 pm

LaCies's LaCinema Black MAX includes a TV tuner for those that are after PVR functionality too. However it's a lot more expensive aswell.


March 5, 2010, 12:52 pm

So is this the best bang for buck media Player?

G Hell

March 5, 2010, 7:16 pm

The fact that this unit doesn't come with Freeview is a plus point for me. I got rid of the telly a year ago. Now I don't have to pay for a TV licence and I like having that choice. I'm really annoyed at the way monitors and televisions are merging. I'd like a reasonably priced no-freeview monitor to plug my HDMI DVD player in to.


March 14, 2010, 7:35 pm

G Hell - i see where your going with that. Just be carefull you dont watch anything live on iplayer/itvplayer/tvcatchup etc, as that WOULD be breaking the law without a current TV licence. Stuff thats not live seems to be fair game with the usual caveats of personal home use etc, but i wouldnt like to fight any of these minor points in court...

from here:


"The law states that you need to be covered by a TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes, on any device, as they're being shown on TV. This includes TVs, computers, mobile phones, games consoles, digital boxes and DVD/VHS recorders.

You don't need a licence if you don't use any of these devices to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV {snip}"


March 15, 2010, 4:24 pm

Dealbreaker: How well does it work, streaming from a computer with Windows 7?


March 17, 2010, 12:48 am

Same question as nMeden. carnt get my hyundai HDR-350q to connect to w7 for love nor money. can connect to my vista laptop but only get public and user folders, which are on "C" drive. Will this stream from my w7 desktop and access all my shared folders which are spread over several drives ?

Stuart 11

March 17, 2010, 8:16 pm

Similar question to nMeden & djzigy – What about streaming from a Mac?


November 15, 2010, 6:25 pm


I'm not looking for a lot, just a simple media player for playing .avi with subtitles, but one that really plays every .avi.

Before I had a LaCinema and it wouldn't play half of the .avi's or sometimes it wouldn't play the subtitles.

Which one would you recommend?


May 4, 2015, 8:30 am


I have one and have issues with;
1) USB support - will not recognize some drives
2) the media manager does not work
3) it does not play all formats

but the main reason you should not buy one, it is still for sale on there site and they have stopped support for it. so when you try to engage with them to fix the issues, or see when it is fixed, they give you the finger

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