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Asus O!Play HD2 review

The popular media streamer gets updated with USB 3.0 compatibility

Our Verdict

For

  • Good hardware features
  • NAS, BitTorrent and iTunes server
  • USB 3.0

Against

  • Lacking in content channels

There's been no shortage of competent media streamers hitting our test benches over the last year or so. Asus' original O!Play HD1 was little different, offering myriad format compatibility and fairly basic functionality for a decent price.

The Asus O!Play HD2, though, has a trick up its sleeve: USB 3.0 compatibility. Elsewhere it's still the same Realtek powered device, with NAS, BitTorrent and iTunes server options to boot.

It happily copes with practically any file format you throw at it and manages local HD video content without problems.

But times are tough for the standard media streamer and I don't think the addition of a still under-subscribed interface will make much difference. The difficulty is in the availability of cheaper and increasingly more powerful net-tops, and the spectre of Google TV and other TVs with internet and PC connectivity.

The O!Play does come with some internet-ready apps, such as Picasa and Flickr, plus a weather and stock reporter, but these do precious little to elevate it. There is the promise of an Opera browser in the next firmware update and Asus claims it will continue to add apps in, but at the time of writing those are still a little way away.

Still, the O!Play is a functional little device and this time around there's the addition of an internal HDD slot that I'd wager will get more use in the short term than the USB 3.0 port.

Unfortunately, the tightly closed Realtek platform offers little room for manoeuvre for the manufacturers, and with others like the fully internet-savvy, open-sourced Boxee Box from D-Link just landing, it's a tough market for this capable little box.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNetwork Audio/Video Player
EthernetYes
HDMIYes
Internet StreamingYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
Brand NameAsus
Audio FormatsMP3, WAV, AAC, FLAC, AIFF, AC3
Video FormatsMPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, TRP, MOV, XviD, AVI, WMV, RM, RMVB, FLV, TS, MTS, M2TS, MPEG, VOB, IFO, M1V, M2V, M4V
Scan Format720p
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
USBYes
HDMI Version1.3
Component VideoYes
Height178 mm
Width230 mm
Depth60.5 mm
Sound SystemDolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD
Image FormatsJPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF, TIFF
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelOPLAYHD21A
Product NameO!Play HD2 Network Media Player
Product LineO!Play
Manufacturer Part NumberOPLAYHD21A
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

3.5" HDD Storage Capacity With Networking-Attached Storage (NAS) Support
O!Play HD2 offers extensive media center features with server functionality for iTunes, Samba and more for fast local network file access and management.

Use your iPhone as a remote control
The user-friendly interface offers the convenience of remote control, adding to the comfy living room experience - digital media becomes as natural as can be. Now, you can even control O!Play HD2 via your iPhone!

ProtocolsDLNA
Package Contents
  • O!Play HD2 Network Media Player
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord
  • Remote Control
  • Composite A/V Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • CD-ROM (User Manual)
Scanning ModesProgressive Scan
Weight (Approximate)730 g