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Standalone hardware media players have been around for around 5 years (and some of you know that I’ve been putting them through rigorous tests right from the beginning) but they really started to make DVD and Blu-Ray players obsolete roughly a couple of years ago when people started to realize that they can have the basic functionality of an dedicated HTPC system (mainly media file playback, file sharing and web surfing) at just a fraction of the cost and in many cases with superior image quality. Now looking back a few months i really can't remember when was the last time we had a hardware/network media player on our test bench so when a courier arrived at our door just over a week ago holding the latest TV-303D Universal FullHD Network Media Player by Dune HD i felt somewhat relieved to be on the receiving end of a newly released device which is not directly related to PC and smartphones.
Dune HD is recognized as a global leader in high-performance digital media players. Over the last five years Dune HD has received more awards than any other company in the category for delivering the very best in networked digital media devices. Dune HD products support the widest number of digital formats in use today, from Internet-based digital streaming and downloadable content, to disc based formats such as Blu-ray, DVD and CD. The Dune HD line of media players offers superior quality HD video and audio with support for IPTV, VOD, OTT, networked digital files and interactive services. Dune HD offers an array of high-quality digital media players for both consumer and commercial markets. The product line ranges from low-cost, compact set-top box (STB) designs to professional-grade universal media players with internal hard drive bays, optical drives and full internet and content connectivity. All products in the Dune HD line feature the powerful Sigma Designs chipset for extreme speed and performance. The Dune HD line allows for consumers or content operators to choose or customize a solution to best suit their unique requirements. Dune HD devices offer superior quality HD video and audio with support for IPTV, VOD, OTT, network files and interactive content services. This unique combination of home media player combined with an IPTV HD STB in a single unit allows operators to offer their customers the exact content, services and performance that will set them apart. Dune HD is headquartered in Taiwan, with engineering teams in Moscow, Russia, and Kiev, Ukraine. The company also has offices in the United States, and a distribution network that covers more 60 countries. With well over half a million units sold to date, Dune HD is set for significant growth in 2013 and beyond.
Much like the previously released TV-301 and TV-101/102 network media players the TV-303D is based on a Sigma Designs solution (8672/8673) and belongs to the Compact product line designed manufactured by Dune HD so don't expect the extra bells and whistles we find in their Smart and Premium series. Once again Dune HD has used the same type of enclosure as with the rest of the compact like which is made by hard plastic and thanks to its small (compact as the name reveals) size and low height it allows for the player to fit pretty much everywhere. The only downside i personally find with that particular type of enclosure is how it looks and feels when you hold it and the reason i say that is because on one hand the rest of the device (interior) is top notch and on the other we are talking about a network media player manufactured by the leading company in the field so i would like to see at least something better to reflect those things. Of course Dune HD does have the Smart and Premium lines which are excellent across the board so i think we can accept the enclosure quality of the compact line especially since it also comes with a very appealing price tag. So let's see what Dune HD has to offer with the latest TV-303D Universal FullHD Network Media Player.