Published on Thursday, 17 November 2016 01:20
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If you're into electronics and you enjoy watching movies on your large TV screen then in all likelihood to date you've owned at least one standalone hardware media player. Standalone hardware media players were extremely popular just 5 years ago and although right now most "smart" TV screens feature built-in hardware media players for the really demanding users out there standalone models are still the way to go. We've covered the various reasons standalone media players (certainly not every single model out there) are better at what they do compared to built-in models but the ones at the top are video and audio quality, available settings and compatibility with media files. Now I’m not about to claim I’ve used every single smart TV out there cause i honestly haven't. Still i have used several Samsung, LG, SONY and Toshiba models with prices ranging from 300Euros and all the way up to 4000Euros with less than satisfactory results when trying to playback heavy bitrate FullHD media files. Dune HD released their brand new Solo 4k compatible standalone media player back in February (announced in December last year) and today after roughly 3 months of testing both at the lab and office we can finally release our review.
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.
The Solo 4k is housed inside a compact plastic and metal enclosure but don't let that fool you since it's got plenty of power under the hood. This time over Dune HD has paired the latest SMP8758 SoC media processor by Sigma Designs which features an ARM A9 dual-core (@1.2GHz) processor that sports performance of up to 6000 DMIPS (Million Instructions per Second) with their ZM5304 Z-Wave smart home antenna module, 1GB RAM and 4GB of flash memory. The Sigma Designs SMP8758 media processor fully supports playback of FullHD 1080p60 and UHD 4kp30 content (HEVC 4Kp30 VOD, 3D and 10-bit video included) and is compatible with a wide range of media codecs (HEVC, VP9, H.264, MPEG-4.2-ASP, SMPTE 421M, AVS, H.261, DV AAC, HE-AAC, Dolby MS-12, DTS and WMA9) and audio formats up to 24-bit/192 KHz. In terms of connectivity the small size of the enclosure doesn't keep the Solo 4k from carrying an internal 2.5" rack, 2 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI 1.4b port, composite video and analog stereo audio output, coaxial S/PDIF, IR extender port, Gigabit Ethernet port, two external Wi-Fi antennas (802.11b/g/n/ac 2.4/5GHz client) and a DVB-T/T2 RF input (also features a built-in digital TV tuner by Silicon Labs). So although compact the Solo 4k packs more features than even the Dune HD Max which I’ve been using for many years now so let's see just how good it is.