We've generally been impressed by Asus' previous O!play HD media players, the HDP-R1 and HDP-R3 so the arrival of a new version certainly tickles our fancy. This latest addition, the HDP-HD2, adds support for an internal hard drive and USB 3.0.
Thanks to that internal hard drive and its Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections, the HDP-HD2 can be used as a NAS box with support for iTunes server and FTP. The best bit is that you can actually control it through a web browser and Asus has even made an iPhone app for it.
Aside from these extras, the HD2 is much the same as the HDP-R3 so you get Compact Flash, SD, MMC, and MS/MS Pro memory card slots, an eSATA port, and a couple of standard USB ports. Meanwhile outputs consist of HDMI, component, and composite for video and both digital and stereo analogue audio. It uses the same Realtek RTD-1073 chip as most of these media players so has support for pretty much every media format including mkv and mov and it can playback the lot at resolutions up to 1080p.
Asus has tweaked the UI a bit but it generally still has the fairly drab look and feel of previous units. With an expected price of just £100, though, we can happily take a hit when it comes to aesthetics. You can expect to see them in the shops towards the end of this month.