17 - 02 - 2018
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Dune HD Duo 4k UHD 4K & HEVC Enabled Media Player Review

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dune hd duo 4ka

   Christmas is right around the corner and so people are already gearing up for black Friday since that's the best time of the year to spend money on anything electronic. However what do you do when your brand new (and probably quite expensive) 4k LCD TV with all its smart features is simply put unable to reproduce/playback your 4k media collection? Not many people are aware of this but last year converted two 4k Blu-ray titles to the H.265 HEVC MKV format (over 80GB in size each mounted on the Samsung T3 Portable SSD) in order to test a total of 12 UHD compatible screens (all of them were over 40 inches in size) located in a local electronics superstore (for obvious reasons we can't publish the name of that store) and not even one passed through our playback test without issue. This of course is nothing new since it has been happening like forever and even now there are Full HD TVs out there that can't handle 1080p material so it's not an issue exclusive only to 4k/UHD ones. This is where companies like Dune HD and their latest flagship media player the Duo 4k come in.

   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.

   Just like the now "old" Max 4k Media Player (which i had the chance to review back in 2010 in a previous publication) the Duo 4k is Dune HD's newest flagship media player model and it's also based on a Sigma Designs media processor chip paired with 2GB DDR3 RAM and 8GB flash memory. This time over the chip used is Sigma Designs top-end SMP8758 model (ARM A9 dual-core SoC clocked at 1.2GHz with a quad-core GPU) which features support for HEVC’s Main-10 profile (allows processing of up to 10 bit color samples), HDCP2.2 (ensures secure copy protection of high value 4K content), VXP™ display processing, Open GLES 2.0, HTML-5, JavaScript, OTT streaming and a wide range of codecs (HEVC H.265/ VP9/ H.264/ MPEG-4.2-ASP/ SMPTE 421M/ AVS/ H.261/ DV AAC/ HE-AAC/ Dolby MS-12/ DTS/ WMA9). The Duo 4k also features two 3.5" drive bays/racks (for use with HDDs up to 12TB in capacity - this should be updated as new higher capacity models are made available), DVB-T/T2/C digital tuner, 802.11b/g/n/ac Dual Band WiFi module and the ESS SABRE 32 Reference DAC (ES9018K2M) which can be used to output audiophile grade analog sound. In terms of available connections the Duo 4k sports an HDMI v1.4 port, three USB 2.0 ports, USB host port, SD card slot, optical and coaxial S/PDIF audio outputs, coaxial S/PDIF audio input, composite video output, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port, RCA stereo output, balanced stereo XLR connectors and two external removable WiFi Antennas. It took Dune HD almost 6 full years to launch a replacement for their old Max model so let's see why that is.