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.
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.
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.
Score in detail