Asus O!Play HDP-R1 Digital Media Player

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Viewing and Listening to Media Files

Regardless of whether you are playing files stored on a direct-connected USB drive or via a network connection, the playback experience is the same--assuming, of course, that you can find the files you are looking for.

As to video files types, the O!Play supports video files with these extensions: ASF, AVI, DAT, DIVX, FLV, M2TS, MKV, MP4, MPG, MPV, RM, RMVB, TS, VOB, WMV, and XVID. It is important to keep in mind that these file types represent only the “container” within which a video is stored. Many of these file types support videos encoded with a variety of different codecs. The video codecs that the O!Play supports are H.264, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, RM, and RMVB. We successfully played video files using all of these files types and codecs. Additionally, we also were able to play M4V video files as well as ISO files of DVD and BD movies--even the navigation on the DVD and BD movie menus remained intact. Some additional unsupported video file types that we tried, but the O!Play could not play, were 3PG, FLC, M1V, M2T, M2V, SWF, and VC1; unsupported and unplayable codecs included CVID, DV, SVQ3, and VC1. The O!Play also supports SMI, SRT, SSA, and SUB subtitle formats--all of which we got to successfully work with the O!Play.


Left: A preview of the selected video appears on the preview window.
Right: The O!Play supports multiple audio tracks, such as language tracks on a DVD ISO.

Playback quality was entirely dependent on how the video file was originally encoded. For instance, while a highly-compressed FLV video appeared blocky and blurry, an uncompressed M2TS looked relatively close the quality of the original file. We encountered two issues with video playback, however. The first is that sometimes the video and audio were out of sync--sometimes we were able to recover from this by exiting playback, going back to the Home menu, and then going back to view the file, resuming where we left off. The 01.16N firmware is supposed to resolve this issue. The second problem we encountered was that the O!Play would often play a video using the incorrect aspect ratio. We would have to go into the Setup menu and manually change the aspect ratio in order to get the video to display correctly.

The remote does a capable job of handling typical video playback functions, including play/pause, fast-forward/rewind, and next track/previous track. Supported fast-forward and rewind speeds are 1.5x, 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, and 32x; audio still plays when fast-forwarding at 1.5x and 2x speeds. The Zoom button allows you to zoom into the playing video at 0.9x, 1x, 2x, 4x, and 8x; when zoomed in, you can use the remote’s navigation buttons to scroll around the image. If the video contains audio and subtitle tracks (as you would expect to find on a DVD ISO), you can select which tracks to play through the remote as well.


Left: The O!Play also supports subtitles.
Right: In the Photos module, a Preview of the selected image appears in the preview window.

The list of supported image file formats is much smaller than the supported video files: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF. We tried a number of unsupported image files as well--PCX, PDF, and RAW--but these files wouldn’t even appear in the file navigation list. When you scroll through the contents of a folder, a preview of the selected image appears in the preview window, below which appears the name and size of the file. Clicking on the remote’s right arrow causes the display to switch to thumbnail view; depending on the size and number of the files in the folder, it can take a while for the thumbnails to populate--we found the thumbnails sometimes never appeared when viewing images from network folders. Clicking the Display button once on the remote shows the file name. Clicking the Display button a second time shows some additional information, such as the file size and dimensions; if EXIF data is present, items such as focal length, exposure, and ISO data are also displayed.


When viewing photos from a network connection, the incorrect image file size and dimensions
are displayed (left), and often thumbnail images won't display (right).

When viewing an image, pressing the remote’s right arrow or next chapter buttons, advances the view to the next image in the folder; pressing play puts the O!Play into Slide Show mode, sequentially displaying the images in the current folder. Slide Shows do not automatically include a music soundtrack; but you could first start playing a song in the Music module and then come back to the Photo module to start a Slide Show while the music continues to play. You can also zoom into images at 2x, 4x, 8x, and 16x, and scroll through the zoomed images using the arrow keys on the remote--response time was slow with large image files.

We encountered one significant problem when viewing photos--as we encountered with videos, the photos would often appear in the wrong aspect ratio. It’s easy enough to reset the aspect ratio, but we wish that the device could auto-detect the image’s proper aspect ratio and adjust on the fly. We also discovered that when you press the Display button when viewing network-based images, incorrect file size and dimensions are displayed and all EXIF data is missing.


 Left: Playing an audio file. Right: The File Copy module.

Supported music files include AAC, AIFF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, and WAV. In addition to playing these file types, we were also able to play M4A and WMA files. While the O!Play can play AAC files, they must be unprotected AAC files--protected AAC files are not playable. We also unsuccessfully tried to play these unsupported audio file types: 3G2, 3GP, AA, AC3, AMR, APE, AU, M2A, M4B, M4R, and MP2. One feature we really like is the dedicated Music Shuffle button on the remote--pressing the button plays random music files from direct-attached USB drives without changing what is currently displayed on the screen.

When you select an audio file and press either the Play button or the OK button, the O!Play starts playing that file, and sequentially plays each audio file in that folder--unfortunately, the O!Play does not support playlists. You can fast forward and rewind through songs (at 1.5x, 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, or 32x), skip forward to the next audio track or backward to the previous one, and you can set the repeat function to repeat the file presently playing or all audio files in the current folder.

The File Copy module in action.

One last option available from the Home menu is the File Copy module. This allows you to copy or move files between direct-connected USB drives and networked systems. You cannot copy files from or to UPnP devices, such as NAS devices (unless you were to perform the Linux hack we previously discussed, which would make a NAS device media folder appear to the O!Play as a direct-connected drive).

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