Asus O!Play Air HDP-R3

Introduction

Many of us have extensive collections of photos, DVDs, music and home videos, but viewing these on what's most likely the biggest screen in your house - the TV - is more than problematic. HDMI has fixed some of these woes, but bringing your PC downstairs or wiring up your laptop every time is far from an ideal solution. A few manufacturers have noticed this problem, with two main solutions currently available. The first is to buy (or build) a home theatre PC, or HTPC, which is essentially a PC that permanently nestles beneath your TV. The second option is to get a dedicated media bridge, which acts as an interface between your PC and TV, which is what Asus have done with the O!Play.

Many drives come with built in hard drives, which enable you to save your media directly to the box itself. Asus have gone for a different approach, keeping the O!Play completely hard disk free. Instead the O!Play streams your media directly from it's source, through a number of different connection methods. Here's the full specification for the O!Play:

  • Input:
    • DC Power In
    • 1xUSB 2.0 Port
    • 1xUSB 2.0 / eSATA Combo Port
    • RJ-45 LAN Port  
    • CompactFlash, SD, MMC and Memory Stick Memory Card Reader

    Output:
    • Composite Video
    • Composite Audio L/R
    • S/PDIF Out
    • HDMI 1.3 

    Network
    LAN: TCP/IP (DHCP or Static IP Address) 10/100Mbps Wired LAN
    WLAN: 802.11n Wireless Networking

    Accessories
    • AC Adapter
    • Power Cord
    • Remote Control
    • Composite A/V Cable
    • Quick Start Guide
    • CD (User Manual)

    Dimensions
    181.0x125.3x47.7mm(W x D x H) 

    It's also worth checking that the O!Play supports your filetype of choice, otherwise you could be left shelling out for a device that is useless to you. Here is a full list of supported filetypes:

    Supported Video Formats
    • Video: MPEG1/2/4,RM/RMVB,VC-1,H.264
    • Video File Extension:.mp4, .mov, .xvid., .avi., .dvix., .asf, .wmv, .mkv, .rm, .rmvb, .flv, .ts, .m2ts, .dat, .mpg, .vob, .mts, .tp, .trp,.iso
    • Audio: MP3,WAV,AAC,OGG,FLAC,AIFF
    • Image: JPEG,BMP,PNG,GIF,TIFF
    • Subtitle: SRT,SUB,SMI,SSA

    Supported Audio formats
    MP3, WAV, AAC, OGG, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, LPCM, WMA, Dolby Digital AC3, Dolby Digital Plus, 
    DTS - Dolby Digital & DTS Supports Downsample and pass through

    Supported Image formats
    JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF, TIFF

    Supported sub-title formats
    SRT, SUB, SMI, SSA

I think you'll agree that the O!Play covers pretty much all the important bases. The built in Wireless N capability's have got to be the headline feature, and something that I've not seen on any other device of this nature before. The higher speeds of Wireless N networking should ensure your files play smoothly, even when pushing then right up to 1080p HD. The ability to play media stored on flash cards, USB or even e-Sata devices will be very handy for those with pocket camera's or external flash drives. This also means that you could in theory store all your media on an external hard drive and save having the PC on when playing back. The O!Play is also compatible with a mind bogglingly large amount of file types, so kudos to Asus for that.  I think that's enough on the specs, time to get the O!Play under the microscope...

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Most Recent Comments

25-01-2010, 06:09:04

tinytomlogan
Luigi takes a look at the new Asus O!Play Air HDP-R3 media player.

Continue Reading

26-01-2010, 06:57:00

Yakumo
I've been waiting for something like this from a respectable company. Many thanks Tom Koflach for this great review May slide towards buying the set

27-01-2010, 22:20:39

josh3d2004
'dvix' ? ;-)

07-02-2010, 17:56:51

skyman
As several local storage devices can be connected to the O!Play, "File Copy" is useful to transfer from files (or whole directories) from drive to drive without needing any other computer!

"Preview" can be turned off in the main menu.

Thanks for the review

08-02-2010, 07:06:12

LaMpiR
Is there any chance to make some comparison with WD Live?

06-12-2010, 03:11:37

forrykook
I have been hunting for a media player that will cope with my 135GB, 16000 song, music collection. Media Monkey on the computer does it nicely but I really wanted easier communication with my hi-fi system and to be able to play music when the laptop is in use doing graphics or not on at all. Enter the Asus O!Play Air HDP-R3 with a 1TB External HDD......... or so I thought.

Everything that the review writer says is true and it is a good media player, but still not perfect. It has a Music Shuffle button on the remote which is supposed to play your music on random, (or shuffle for the Americans). Problem is that when you press the Music Shuffle, sometimes it takes so long to process the tracklist that it just fails and restarts or simply just doesnt do it.

When it does do the shuffle play list it selects 4000 songs from the library of artists in alphabetical order. So Im hearing lots of Devo, ELO, Bondi Cigars, ACDC and ABBA but none of Pink Floyd, Xavier Rudd or ZZTop. Bugger!

The other little annoyance is that on the currently playing display, there is no artist title. So when a song comes on that I dont recognise I cant check who it is. The song name is there but not the artist. Bugger!

So its a good media player but still not exactly what Im looking for.
Reply
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