Like the Neuros OSD, the Playon! DVR has upgradeable firmware, but it’s not open source, so while updates are not ruled out, they are unlikely. On the other hand, present functionality is already impressive, and unlike the Neuros OSD, the A.C.Ryan unit can already act as a NAS box. This in itself will be a handy feature for many.
You can also stream media from any other device hooked up to your network or sharing the same wireless network – again, the inclusion of wireless functionality out of the box is an added bonus.
Music can be organised into five local playlists, with – as far as I could tell – unlimited entries. Format support is reasonable, including OGG, non-DRM WMA, and of course MP3. Photos, meanwhile, can be in JPEG or BMP, feature large previews along the side and can be set up as a slideshow.
So overall we have a well specified multimedia box with HD support and a large range of options – which makes the low quality recording input, the audible noise level and a few niggles with the initial physical setup even more of a shame. That said, with a reasonable MSRP of around £150 – and with actual retail prices likely to be even lower – the A.C.Ryan ACR-PV72100 Playon! Network Digital Video Recorder is probably one of the best devices of its type.
A.C.Ryan has created a multimedia station that looks good, has the highest quality outputs you could wish for – including HDMI and digital audio – and an excellent array of options. Combined with wireless LAN and NAS functionality, the Playon! DVR’s support for High Definition Xvid/DivX up to 1080i makes it an intriguing option.