HDI Dune Announces New Line of Media Players

by Damian on August 17, 2010 · 79 comments

in News

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of reviewing the Dune BD Prime. It was the first player that I ever tested that worked right out of the box, and worked well for that matter. My biggest concern is that the two Dune models (Dune BD Prime and Dune Base) where missing out on a large potential customer base due to the price, and felt that a “Dune Lite” was needed to balance out their lineup. Well, not even an hour ago Dune just announced a new line of media players that may bring about a more well rounded lineup. Looking at the new players they all appear to be running the same Sigma Chip (8642/8643) as the Dune BD Prime/Base. The only changes appear to be in the hardware and thus price. Let’s take a look at the new players.

Dune HD Smart D1:

  • USA: 255 USD
  • EU, with VAT: 265 EUR

Dune HD Smart H1:

  • USA: 239 USD
  • EU, with VAT: 249 EUR

Dune HD Smart B1:

  • USA: 299 USD
  • EU, with VAT: 309 EUR

Dune HD Max:

  • USA: 499 USD
  • EU, with VAT: 499 EUR

Dune HD Smart Modular System:

This is a real interesting and “outside the box” concept. With the Dune HD Smart players, you can purchase later modules that can be added on. There are two modules that will be available:

  • Dune HD Smart HE (adds the option for easy installation of SATA 3.5″ HDD with hot swap feature). This will retail for USA: 89 USD / EU, with VAT: 85 EUR
  • Dune HD Smart BE (This module contains a special Blu-ray drive for players of premium class, which incorporates low-noise mechanics and optics manufactured by Sony.). This will retail for USA: 159 USD / EU, with VAT: 149 EUR
  • Dune HD Smart ME (adds the option for installing different additional modules, in particular, for reception of satellite, cable or digital terrestrial TV). This will retail for USA: 79 USD / EU, with VAT: 75 EUR

Key Features

  • The newest Sigma Designs 8642/8643 media processor: enjoy excellent playback and performance of interactive features.
  • Blu-ray and DVD player: play Blu-rays and DVDs (plus Audio CD and data discs with video/music/photo files).
  • HDD player: connect an HDD to the player and play content directly from the HDD.
  • Network player: connect the player to a local network and play content directly from PC or NAS (UPnP, SMB, NFS).
  • MKV player: play HD and SD video in a popular MKV format and other modern video file formats, including top quality HD video with very high bitrate.
  • RealD: watch 3D video in this ultra modern format used in cinema for the latest movies.
  • HD audio: enjoy top-quality audio tracks (Dolby True HD, DTS HD Master Audio, LPCM, FLAC).
  • 3 USB ports: conveniently connect HDDs, USB flash drives, USB card readers and other USB storage devices.
  • HDD rack with hot swap function: easily and quickly insert and exchange internal 3.5″ SATA HDD.
  • SD card slot: easily play media files on SD memory cards from your camera or other devices, or use an SD memory card as a local or system storage (required for BD Live function).
  • HDMI 1.3: ensure the best possible quality of HD video and HD audio.
  • A rich set of standard A/V connectors: use S/PDIF optical audio, stereo audio, component video, composite video outputs to easily connect any A/V equipment.
  • Extended support for Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio: output bitstream (up to 7.1 channels) or decode (up to 7.1 channels) for maximum flexibility when connecting audio equipment, and for extended support of advanced playback features (such as Picture-in-Picture).
  • Video output flexibility: output video in any resolution and format (from SD to 1080p, 24p/PAL/NTSC).
  • Upscaling: high quality upscaling of DVD and any other SD video content to Full HD (1080p) or other HD resolution.
  • File browser: convenient file browser with powerful file management (copy, move, delete, rename, organize, sort).

One of the main features that distinguishes this media player from its direct competitors is its special compartment for extension boards. The compartment is located behind a panel at the rear of the media player. Up to 2 boards can be installed simultaneously. Extension boards for DVB-T/T2, DVB-S/S2, and DVB-C (terrestrial, satellite and cable TV) will be available shortly. Some of them will also include a slot for CAM cards which will allow to watch encrypted TV channels.

You can get more information on the new lineup of players at the HDI Dune website.

UPDATE – some people have commented that they were disappointed that the new Dune models will be using the current Sigma 8642/8643 chip and not the upcoming Sigma 8646 chip. In an interesting move HDI Dune announced that consumers who purchase any of the new models will be eligible for an upgrade to the new chip once it is available (expected Q1 2011).  I doubt this will apply to  the current Dune BD Prime/Base models. You can get full details here.

UPDATE 2 – you can place your preorder for the new Dune players at DunePlayer.com.

Final Thoughts:

I must say that I am very impressed with the new lineup. These players are meant to compliment the Dune BD Prime and Base, not replace. I do wish that there was a sub USD 200 player with the cheapest player being USD 239. However (and this is very interesting) the Dune HD Smart B1 comes with a Blu Ray player, which is quite a knock to the Popcorn Hour C-200 which retails for the same price sans a Blu Ray drive. The new lineup should be available around September 2010, with preorders begin soon I would assume. Thanks for jmpage2 for catching this announcement while I was waiting on line at KFC!

Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


Alex Kuretz August 17, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Those look really nice, and good to see a diverse range of features at different price points. As you say I’d love to see one sub-$200 but $239 comes pretty close. The form factors look a little weird, fairly skinny, will they fit on our component racks reasonably well? I didn’t see any size specs on their site.

Damian August 18, 2010 at 6:19 am

Hard to say, I checked out HDI’s website and I can’t find any dimensions listed. I assume the Max is similar to the BD Prime with possibly just more height. It is hard to get a read on the dimensions for the Smart players (which is probably where most of the interest will go towards). I am actually wondering if the Smart players will have similar dimensions to the Mini-ITX HTPC I built.

I think all the players will come with full BR menus which from what I have heard can add a decent chunk to the cost. Remove full BR menus for an additional model and I think that gets you the sub 200 player ( I don’t care for BR Menus since I never store the full BR disc)

Damian August 18, 2010 at 9:03 am

Just added an UPDATE post to the end of this post. HDI Dune has announced that anyone who purchased the new Dune models will be eligible for an upgrade to the new Sigma chip once available.

AWT August 18, 2010 at 11:42 am

Where does it say it will be a free upgrade?
All I saw was “… And of course such upgrade for any of the models will be significantly cheaper than buying a new player..”

I only saw where they said it could be a direct swap, “..For Dune HD Smart players in good conditions it will be just substituting H1 / B1 / D1 module to H2 / B2 / D2 one (on 8646 chip) respectively (no upgrading work needed)…”

But I did not see anything referencing a free upgrade.

Damian August 18, 2010 at 11:50 am


I didn’t even realize I was writing free… thanks for pointing out as you are correct that nowhere did it state that. I removed the “free” from my comment

Brajesh August 18, 2010 at 9:42 am

Finally ordered a Dune: the D1 :). Will need to figure out what to do with my recent C-200 purchase. Re: the D1, I wonder what the ‘Eject’ button on the front will do? There is no optical drive present.

Damian August 18, 2010 at 10:29 am

If you look at the Blu Ray Module (http://dune-hd.com/hd_players/current/137-dune-hd-smart-be-extension-module.html) there is no eject button, so my guess the D1 eject button will control

I will probably preorder one of the models

Brajesh August 18, 2010 at 10:53 am

Yup, you’re right. Found the D1′s quick start guide and it says “For controlling an external optical drive (when connected)”.

Jmpage2 August 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Also in for one HDI D1. I’ve had it with Syabas and their continued mismanagement of the PCH line.

Hopefully these new lower prices will mean more Dune users, more Dune developers (for jukebox front ends and flash lite apps) and basically a better all around product for all of us!

And Damian, scooping you was fun but be careful at KFC my friend that stuff will kill you, Steve Jobs liver told me so!

DJ August 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Hey, I’m with the other posters. I am getting tired of the C-200s issues and am considering moving on to something else.

Damian August 21, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Here is something most people can’t say, I Started watching a movie tonight on the Dune Prime and finished on the PCH C-200!!! The Dune is in my bedroom but the wife wanted to go to bed since she works tomorrow. The C-200 is in my sons playroom so I had to head down there.

don August 22, 2010 at 7:22 am

I was wondering, will the Dune HD Smart ME let you use the dune as a media extender that will work with my Ceton card and Media center.


Damian August 23, 2010 at 8:44 am


As of now I highly doubt the Dune HD Smart could be used that way, since the only extender that can take advantage of the Ceton Card/WMC would be an extender running WMC (such as an Xbox360)

dolivas August 24, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Hi Damian thanks for all the great info you provide on this site. I thought I would pass on the size of the D1 unit this is the information I receive from Author at Dune 5.6″ (width) x 11″ (depth) x 2.6″ (height) so for me the size it sweet I am now going to pre order one.


Tim August 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Hi Damian, thanks for the great articles. I am an avid user of WHS and love having both my DVD and Blu-ray movies playable from my server. Presently, I have Playstation3′s as my movie/media players. While I am generally pleased with how the PS3 streams from my server for DVDs and photos, I am not pleased with Blu-rays. I presently use DVDFab to rip my movies and store them on the server. The mkv format is not reliable on the PS3. So, I am looking to change to a better media (movie) streaming platform. My question is, if you were to pick hardware and software to stream from your WHS, what would you select?


1. What media player would you pick (Dune, Popcorn Hour, or other)?
2. For the new media player, What software would you use for ripping both DVDs and Blu-rays?
3. For the new media player, what format would you rip your DVDs and your Blu-rays in?

I am somewhat cost-conscious, as I will have at least 3 devices that I will need to purchase. But, I really want to be able to stream with little “strain” on the WHS with encoding, etc. if at all possible.

Thanks for any feedback!

Damian August 26, 2010 at 1:29 pm


Crap, the old “What player do you recommend” question :-)

I have a PS3 as well and would never recommend it a a media streamer, so cannot blame you for looking elsewhere. Let’s see if I can tackle your questions:

1. Out of all the players I have tested I have found the Dune to be the most reliable/stable/ready to go out of the box out of all of them. However, they are the most expensive so I understand that factors in to the equation. The new line announced does bring the prices more in line. The comparable to the lower end Dune above would be the PCH A-200 which is about $50 cheaper (you can see my review here – http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/02/04/review-popcorn-hour-a-200/). The big issue with the A-200 is there are still some annoying bugs (possibly fixed in the next few weeks when the new FW gets released), it has a cheap plastic case (if you care about that) and it has a fan which some people complain are loud. You can go even cheaper with some of the Realtek players but from the few I have tested they have been hit or miss (potentially getting better though with the new SDK fw being released). Ideally you want to have the same family of players in your house to keep everything consistent and flowing. What do you have in mind?

2/3. Right now I like to rip to mkv. I only rip the main movie, main hd audio track, and forced subtitles if present. MakeMKV is a great tool which handles both DVDs and BluRays, and is very easy to use. There are also various other methods (you can see what I have documented so far here – http://www.mediasmartserver.net/tag/mkv/). If you want the full movie with Menus then ripping to folder structure is the way to go. You can use either DVDFab or AnyDVD. Really it comes down to personal preference. For the PCH and Dune probably ripping to Folder Structure is the safest bet, but you can test out a few methods and see what works best for you.

Note these players will put very little pressure on your WHS as the players themselves are capable of decoding and don’t rely on any sort of live transcoding

Let me know if I can expand on anything, or help out further.

Tim August 26, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Thanks Damian. I plan on buying one of the Dune players. I just need to decide which one to go with. If I’m happy, I may pick up a couple more.

Thanks again!

goondog August 26, 2010 at 3:23 pm


thanks for all the info once again.
excuse the ignorance but what does the Dune HD D1 offer over the WDliveTV line of products?
Is it the bitstreaming or expandability/input options?

Damian August 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Bitstreaming (I think the WD may be able to bitstream TrueHD) and full BR menus are two off the top of my head. I have never used a WD before but a couple other differences I am either guessing or from what I have read:

- WD has no support for 3rd party jukeboxes?
- I have read some people have issues with WD playing back high bitrate content
- I think WD uses the realtek chip, which supposedly the PQ is not quite as good as the Sigma chip

Jason August 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm

The WD TV Live is based on the same Sigma processor found in the Dune and PCH players but it is the 500mhz version of this chip and might lack the raw muscle needed to power through the really high bitrate stuff.

The WD TV firmware also leaves a bit to be desired and as already pointed out it has issues with BD ISO support.

Damian August 26, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Thanks Jason. As I mentioned I have never messed around with a WD so was trying to do my best guess job from what I have read. To an extent you could argue that you get what you pay for with some of the cheaper players, but there is definitely a player for every budget out there

David August 27, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Hello Damien,

Nice review. I have pre-ordered the D1. The plan is to load up the Linux fileserver on the home LAN with:

CD Collection -> FLAC (via dBpoweramp)
DVD Collection -> Video_TS folders (via AnyDVD)
blu-ray Collection -> BDMV folders (via AnyDVD HD)

I prefer to stick closer to native format than to fiddle with transcoding or re-packaging the content–just too many discs to process. The hope is that I’ll be able to play all of these using the D1.


– David

Damian August 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm


You should have no problems whatsoever with Video_TS and BDMV folders. I didn’t test any FLAC audio tracks but per the specs you shouldn’t have a problem. Audio with this and just about every other media player on the market is definitely a laggard versus video where much of the attention is directed to

Jerry Curtis August 29, 2010 at 8:55 am

I am interested the the B1 model, as I do not own a Blu-ray player. I also have a older HK AVR-630 receiver, that doesn’t decode the newer audio formats (Dolby TrueHD, etc). So the feature of decoding to LPCM up to 7.1 channels grabbed my attention. However, when looking at the features on the Dune Website, only the D1 has this listed. The H1 & the B1 say they will decode to LPCM Stereo Downmix (2 channels). Is this true? Did they make these models different in that respect? I emailed them with this question, and am awaiting a response. Wouldn’t you think that the internal hardware would be basically the same on these models since they’re modular?

Damian August 29, 2010 at 9:00 am


I have seen this questioned asked by other members. I will try to get some clarity from my contact at Dune. I assumed all models would have the same core functionality as well. I will try and post back if I can find an answer.

David August 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I didn’t think t hat any of the Dune HD Smart models had 7.1 analog outputs. Just checked the “back view” photos on the HDI Dune website, and that seems to be the case. If you have an older receiver/processor that does not do DTS-HD/Dolby TrueHD, etc. over HDMI, you going to need to buy the Dune HD Max (or buy a new receiver/processor). Hope this helps.

Damian August 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Correct. You don’t need to buy the Max though, just buy the current Dune Base or BD Prime, both of which have 7.1 analog

Jerry Curtis August 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Here is the reply I got from Dune’s Website:
Maybe it decodes and uses the Digital Coax to send it out?

All smart models will decode LPCM up to 7.1 channels. All functions are
the same between models. This was simply a typo.


Jerry Curtis wrote:
> Dune Player Sales:
> Email Address: –
> Name: – Jerry Curtis
> Phone: –
> Comments: – I am interested in this player: Dune HD Smart B1 Media player with Blu-Ray Disk as I do not own a Blue Ray player yet. However, my AVR receiver does not decode the newer Dolby TrueHD, etc. It seems that this player will only decode those sound formats to LPCM Stereo Downmix (2 channels)? Your D1 player says it will decode LPCM up to 7.1 channels. Is this correct? Would it be better to buy the D1 and add the Blue ray module to it, so I don’t have to purchase a new AVR Receiver?
> Thanks for your time.

Damian August 30, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Thanks Jerry. I actually just confirmed as well a few minutes ago exactly what you just posted.

David August 30, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Right…that’s kind-of what I was getting at. I’m not an expert on S/PDIF, but I don’t think that it supports 7.1 channels of LPCM over either COAX or TOSLINK. If your receiver/processor does not process audio signals over HDMI, you’re probably looking at an upgrade anyway. Some please correct me if I’m wrong!

– David

Damian August 30, 2010 at 1:13 pm


Yeah, I think to get 7.1. LPCM you need HDMI and not COAX or TOSLINK, or get one of the models that has 7.1. analog (Base, BD Prime, or Max). To be honest though I have been using HDMI solely for a while now, so for all I know I am farting into the wind :-)

Jerry Curtis August 30, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Well I was still confused about that too..so I wrote them back again, and here is what Arthur said:

Yes, it uses the digital optical or coax to output the 7.1 to your receiver.


580driver@gmail.com wrote:
> Thank you for your reply. I am a still puzzled. There are no 7.1
> analog outputs on the back of these players. Does it use the Digital
> Coax to output the decoded sound?
> Thanks again for your time.

I didn’t know this was possible. It must convert the decoded sound to something (like AC3 or DTS) that old receivers can handle?

Jerry Curtis August 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Here is an interesting link I found accidentally:


Has some more info on features, etc.

Jerry Curtis August 31, 2010 at 7:19 am

Ok. Final answer and I’m done:

True HD formats are down sampled out the digital coax (so it’s no longer true HD). To maintain the audio quality of True HD and still make use of your current receiver, I would suggest buying a Base 3.0 with 7.1 analog outputs.


Damian September 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Dune just announced the Dune Pro, a serious machine for someone with a serious wallet (rumored to go for around $1,900)


David September 2, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Hi Damian,

I saw that this evening too. Looks very nice, but I plan to use an outboard DAC anyway, so I don’t need that fancy analog circuitry. An ultra stable clock would be nice, but for music I suspect that I’ll eventually go with a DAC that buffers and re-clocks anyway (like the Benchmark DAC1), so even that may not be super critical.

I’m really looking forward to the D1′s arrival. Any word from HDI Dune or duneplayer.com on a ship date? I thought I saw a September 10th date on the ‘net somewhere…

– David

Damian September 3, 2010 at 7:30 am

Yeah, the Duneplayer.com website lists 9/10 for the HD Max and HD Smart players

Phil September 3, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I was just wondering these do support HD audio (TrueHD & DTS-HD MA) in mkv?
Also would u mind checking if multichannel flac works in mkv?

DamianP September 3, 2010 at 7:54 pm


Yes dtsma and truehd are supported as well as multi channel flac. These players will be running the same firmware as te current dune players

Jason September 12, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Hi guys, forum member and sometime contributor here.

I would strongly advise that those interested in the new Dune Players do NOT do their pre-order business with duneplayer.com.

After commenting on their pre-order process (after having already placed a pre-order and giving them my money a month ago) my order was summarily cancelled and my money refunded with an explanation only offered AFTER the fact.

I won’t go into details on why, but what I can say is that I was one of the very first pre-orders and due to some flak the vendor took on another forum my order was cancelled in retaliation.

And that’s about all I will say. However, keep in mind how vendors behave when giving them your hard earned buckaroos campers. I have literally spent tens of thousands on gear ordered online over the past 10 years and have never had such a negative experience with ANY vendor.

Alex Kuretz September 13, 2010 at 8:10 am

That’s unfortunate to hear you’ve had a negative experience with them, however without the full picture and both sides of the story I personally feel I would need to reserve judgment.

Damian September 13, 2010 at 8:44 am

Just to give some color on Jason’s comments, when preorders were placed for the newly announced HDI Dune models with duneplayer.com charges were also incurred (instead of being incurred when the player is actually in stock and shipped). This was brought to the attention of DunePlayer on AVSForum. They addressed this issue with customers, offered a full refund to anyone who had concerns about this, and explained they would speak with the Website Software developers regarding (you can see their comment here – http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=19087507#post19087507). I would argue that they were very standup about the issue, addressed it immediately, and offered customers a solution if they were not happy.

Tim September 13, 2010 at 8:59 am

Hi, when I called duneplayer.com, I spoke to Mike. I had lots of questions and he answered all of them. He did tell me that if I did place an order that I would be charged immediately. It was something that he was trying to resolve, but that it would happen. Certainly, I wish that weren’t the case, but he did tell me that without me asking.

Jason September 13, 2010 at 9:04 am

I didn’t want to get into this, but now it looks like I need to defend myself and explain what actually occurred.

I did bring up the issue of the duneplayer.com pre-order process being a potential violation of the terms of service for Paypal. It is also worth noting that they are violating the merchant agreement with most credit card companies by charging your card immediately when the item will not ship out within 30 days.

I did not at any time ask for a refund or a cancellation of my order. In fact, on several occasions I said that the duneplayer.com folks were very helpful and I hoped they would sort it out but that I DID NOT WANT MY ORDER cancelled because I did not want to lose my place in the queue.

Mike, from Duneplayer then proceeds to discover my duneplayer.com order number from my AVS forum handle and proceeds to cancel my order with no input from me. After the fact he says he ‘tried to get in touch with me’ prior to canceling the order… which is pretty weak sauce considering that he obviously knew how to PM me, send me an email, etc. Both of which he did AFTER the fact.

All I’m saying is that it is really bad form to cancel someone’s order without discussing with them first, even if that discussion is via email.

The worst part? Although I might still get one of these players, I have been banned from the very thread I originally created to discuss them. Meanwhile other forum members making cracks about how I was obviously upset over the ‘high price’ of the Dune player (I believe one commented it must be my rent payment for the month) and effectively conducting character assassination are free to continue participating in the thread. Real nice and even keeled moderating over there.

The bottom line is that a merchant should NEVER cancel a pre-order without direct consent from a customer. Regardless of what is said in passing in an internet forum. The fact that they took the time to match up my forum handle to my real name and then summarily cancel my order is even worse form.

In any event people are free to do what they want, I am just relaying my experiences about the matter.

Damian September 13, 2010 at 9:12 am


There is no need to defend yourself. I only felt it was necessary to point out that the preorder issue was identified and addressed by DunePlayer, something your initial comment neglected to mention and I felt important to point out for other readers. As you know I am well aware of everything with AVSForum but no sense in dragging that topic over here.

Peter November 1, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Hi Damian, I’ve just noticed that the Dune Max does not accommodate E-sata, will this be an option at all in later models or HDI forgot to include this? Regards

Damian November 5, 2010 at 6:49 am

Hi Peter,

Good question, I would assume that if it is not included it will not be included as an option down the road.

David November 7, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Status Update from duneplayer.com today:

“The first order of Smart D1 and Smart B1 units will ship to the USA on Friday Nov 5th. Shipping to customers should begin Nov 8th. The first batch of D1 and B1 players is sold out.”

I hope to receive my D1 next week. I assume that I made the first shipment since my unit has been on backorder since August 25th, but we’ll see. Hopefully it will be worth the wait…

– David

John Pombrio November 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm


Looks like we will have to be careful of WHAT HDD is put into the box. I was trying to see if my Samsung 2TB drive would work but the Dune folks are recommending small, slow, low heat drives. That means either adding a cooling fan or leaving the top open for higher capacity drives. There is no spec for how large a drive the Dune Smart boxes will support (even before cooling issues). They do mention that someone’s 1.5 TB drive is too big (at least for cooling purposes). ESATA? Dang, I am looking for a box supporting 2TB internally.

Damian November 16, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I know many people who are using the 2TB drives with the Dunes, just using the Green drives (Seagate LP, Western Digital Green, Samsung Spinpoint). I have used non green drives in other players (such as PCH) without issue, but there is no reason you cannot use a 2TB drive. The mention they had about the 1.5TB drive was a 7200RPM drive, not the green drives

John Pombrio November 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Dang, “low power consumption” is also a prerequisite!

HDD models to be used as an internal HDD.

For player models supporting an internal HDD (such as Dune HD Mini, Dune HD Center, Dune HD Base, Dune HD Base 2.0, Dune HD Base 3.0, Dune HD Max, Dune HD Smart H1, Dune HD Smart D1), please consider the following recommendations:

Use HDD with a suitable heat emission level. The exact suitable HDD models may depend on various factors, such as the ambient temperature and player cooling and airflow conditions. Generally, it is recommended to use HDD models with the smallest possible RPM value (e.g. 5400 RPM), smallest possible number of platters (e.g. 1 or 2 platters), and specially optimized for reduced power consumption and heat production and for use inside A/V equipment (e.g. Western Digital Green Power series).
For example, HDD models such as Western Digital WD5000AACS (500 GB, 5400 RPM, 2 platters) and Seagate ST31000528AS (1000GB, 7200 RPM, 2 platters) are typicaly suitable.
HDD models with high heat production, such as Seagate ST31500341AS (1500 GB, 7200 RPM, 4 platters) are not suitable and must not be used.

John Pombrio November 16, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Geez Damian, You are too quick! LOL. OK then but I cannot pull back my two concerns even though they have been answered!

Damian November 16, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Haha, no prob. The H1 looks the easiest for using an internal drive since it has a pull out bay to load the drive. They also just announced the HDI Dune Duo, which offers two 3.5″ internal drives, so you could get up to 4TB worth of space. It is a little pricey at $349 but comes with the goods:


David November 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm


I’ve had my D1 for a couple of weeks now, and so far, so good. It didn’t take much time to setup, although I did have to tweak my SAMBA configuration slightly (added “unix extensions = no” so that symbolic links would be treated like regular directories). Performance with BDMV playback is almost flawless, but I typically loose audio and drop some video frames two or three times during a 90-120 minute movie. I may try replacing the CAT-5 cable with CAT-5E to see if that cuts down on re-transmits at bit rates above 60 Mbps.

However, functionality of the user interface is shockingly basic for a product that was introduced (at least the “Smart” series) in late 2010! For example, it makes no attempt to display embedded album art during audio (FLAC & MP3) playback. There’s no way to associate custom album art with media folders (eg, BDMV or VIDEO_TS). There’s no web based remote control for playback functions or media/playlist navigation (eg., from an iPod Touch or netbook). It can’t play music and a photo slideshow at the same time. There’s no metadata management or search functionality for managing/navigating large media collections.

What it does do, it seems to do well, and that’s play just about any audio or video file that I throw at it (no support for WMA lossless), but I was hoping for a few more of the nice navigation features in the Popcorn Hour C200 without all of the “hackery.” We’ll see what capability future firmware levels provide, but overall, I’m pretty happy with the D1. Cheers.

– David

John Pombrio November 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Thanks for the review. You are going to get LOTS of questions! I will start. With dropped frames while doing the BDMV playback, where is the actual media? Is it on the network or do you have a hard drive on the D1 itself?
My real need is for a stand alone media box for my sisters that I load up with movies on an embedded hard drive. Is the D1 capable of that and how well does the playback work for regular ripped DVDs or ripped Blu-Ray?
I can pretty much tell you that upgrading the wiring in the house will NOT help much or at all with frame issues. You could prove that very quickly by moving the server next to the D1 and use a Cat 6 patch cable. I have done that in my house and found out that there was zero difference in speed between computers or the home server. What DID make a large difference was having Win7 64bit installed and 6 GB of memory enabled. I am upgrading ALL the computers in the house to i7/1366 mobos/6 GB just for that reason (including the HTPC and the new build HTPC). 12 gigs of memory did not change the speed at all but going from 3.3Gb on Win7 32bit to the full 6GB on Win7 64bit was substantial, the ONLY time I have seen real changes in network speeds.

David November 29, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Hello John,

I’ll do my best to answer. My occasional dropped frames and lost audio (usually lasts less than ten seconds) happens during BDMV folder playback from a CIFS share from my Linux based fileserver. Although the D1 has lots of local media attachment options (SD slot, three USB ports, and eSATA) plus internal space for a 3.5″ hard drive, I have not taken advantage of any of these. I’m accessing all of my media over a 1Gb/s LAN. My SAMBA server is a 2.8 GHz CentOS 5.5 box with ten 2TB SATA drives (and space for another ten). The drives are attached as JBOD (RAID can create more problems than it solves in a home environment). Here’s some sample ‘df’ output:

Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1 24G 5G 18G 22% /
/dev/sda3 903G 57G 802G 7% /data/00
/dev/sdc1 1.9T 388G 1.4T 22% /data/01
/dev/sdd1 1.9T 337G 1.4T 19% /data/02
/dev/sde1 1.9T 359G 1.4T 21% /data/03
/dev/sdf1 1.9T 363G 1.4T 21% /data/04
/dev/sdg1 1.9T 337G 1.4T 20% /data/05
/dev/sdb1 931G 48G 837G 6% /backup/00
/dev/sdh1 1.9T 388G 1.4T 22% /backup/01
/dev/sdi1 1.9T 338G 1.4T 20% /backup/02
/dev/sdj1 1.9T 360G 1.4T 21% /backup/03
/dev/sdk1 1.9T 363G 1.4T 21% /backup/04
/dev/sdl1 1.9T 337G 1.4T 20% /backup/05

The media files are distributed across the /data/?? mounts and through some simple Unix symlink “magic”, appear to CIFS clients as a single storage namespace. I’m seeing sustained local read+write performance of just under 100 MB/s (700+ Mb/s), so there’s plenty of capacity within the storage system to satisfy client demand. There may be some sysctl or TCP options tuning that I could do to improve things a little (my current switch does not support jumbo frames, so I’m not going to bother with big MTUs). There may be some tuning that I can explore on the Dune side as well (“Dune Network Playback Accelerator”)?

I have had no dropped frames or lost audio during VIDEO_TS folder playback. I did see the D1 freeze up for 30s or so after hitting the rewind button on the remote. To get things playing again, I actually had to completely re-start playback, which was kind-of annoying. I’ve only seen this once with rewind…chapter skip backwards and forwards works fine, so if I see this again, I’ll just skip back a chapter and then fast-forward to the location that I’m looking for.

Upscaling 480p content to 1080p looks pretty good, but perhaps not as crisp as what I’m getting from my old Denon DVD-2930CI which is a real champ at making standard-def content look as good as it can on our 100″ screen. From memory, I have noticed no difference in sound or video quality between the D1 and our Panasonic DMP-BD80 blu-ray player (besides the occasional lost sync), but I should probably do some quick A/B tests and report back on both. All audio/video connections are via HDMI (identical cables).

Let me know if you have any other questions about the D1.

– David

Damian November 30, 2010 at 6:02 am


Thanks for the comments. I cannot comment specifically on the Smart series as I don’t own one, but it should in theory be identical to the BD Prime that I have. The only time I have ever had stuttering issues (which is infrequent) I was able to trace back to my WHS. All my wiring in my house is gigE (cat5e or cat6). Have to tested the “fast smb” setting? I have been meaning to test out since I think folks who have used the setting have had no issues. I think I read that fast smb doesn’t work great with realtek nics though (my WHS I use an intel NIC).

As far as the UI, definitely agree with you there as very little effort has been made. The only thing I can guess is all the attention has been put to video playback, so things like UI, music, photos, etc… gets pushed to the side. I don’t care too much about the crap UI for Videos because there are plenty of 3rd party alternatives to use (such as Zappiti and MyMovies). However, it would be nice at a minimum if there was some sort of music jukebox or other. I have also read that IP control is in the works, so we may see that feature in the near future.

David November 30, 2010 at 6:55 am

Hello Damian,

I actually did give the “Fast SMB” setting a try last night. On the plus side, I have not seen any of the problems that the warnings suggested. It’s too early to tell if it has solved my occasional BDMV stuttering problem. I may try disabling deinterlacing as well (seems to be on “motion adaptive” by default) since that should not be necessary with 720p/1080p content, right?

I did have some time to do A/B comparisons between my Denon DVD-2930CI and the D1 last night. The color balance is slightly warmer on the Denon, and a couple of times I thought that I saw a tiny bit more local contrast on the Denon. Otherwise, they were identical! No difference in sharpness, smothness of panning/motion, etc. At this point, I’m quite content to retire the Denon to SACD-only duty and use the D1 for “Standard Definition” media playback from here on out.

If the Dune players can’t support media management and searchable metadata internally (alpha entry with the provided remote is not very fun anyway), they could be driven by an external app that indexes the media library and enables playlist construction based on artist, producer, director, keywords, ratings, etc. Hopefully the Dune folks are creating this interface to conform to whatever the standard of the day is for this sort of thing (I have not bothered to research) or at least are using something semi-modern and easy to code against like JSON-RPC. :-)

– David

Damian November 30, 2010 at 7:14 am

Hey David,

Yeah, there is no need for deinterlacing 720p/1080p content as it is not interlaced.

Regarding the UI, there has been talk of more tightly integrating MyMovies into the Dune, so instead of HDI Dune reworking the stock UI this may be their solution. Of course this only covers the video side. Syabas just came with their own stock jukebox for media (music, photos, and videos) for the PCHs, and although buggy, I am hoping this plus Boxee/NeoTV/etc… will pressure HDI Dune to put more resources into the stock UI

David December 31, 2010 at 1:34 am


Although the documentation of the web API that enables iPhone/iPad control of Dune devices is a little sparse, this looks pretty cool:


In particular, have a look at this draft document, which provides some sample HTTP requests:


With just these commands, it should be fairly easy to enhance just about any open source media management application with the ability to shell out (via curl, etc.) to the Dune HD Smart device to trigger playback and to perform transport operations. Time to get hacking…

– David

Damian December 31, 2010 at 2:48 am

Hi David,

I am actually running the latest IP Firmware. However, the Dune Remote App right now does not work on the iPod Touch (get a black screen). It does work on the iPad/iPhone though, so I hope to test out with those tonight.

David January 3, 2011 at 8:29 am


On a slightly different note, if you are running one of the Dune products (including the Smart/Max series) and you do not already have the Zappiti GUI setup to manage your video collection, I highly recommend it!



– David

Damian January 3, 2011 at 8:32 am

Agreed. Definitely a big fan of Zappiti, especially when you have multiple Dunes. I also plan on doing a writeup on the new yaDIS 2.0 (similar to my Zappiti guide writeup that you linked to).

Eugene January 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm


Anyone here is playing the Dune over a projector? Heard that the video quality is not as good as the PCH200 over bigger screens. Any advise?


David January 28, 2011 at 7:06 am

I’m using our Dune D1 with a Sanyo PLV-Z700 projector and 100″ 16×9 Carada fixed screen. As I commented earlier in this thread, the picture quality is extremely close to my Denon DVD-2930CI which has received great reviews for picture quality. For example:


Unfortunately, my D1 and my Emotiva UMC-1 don’t seem to get along very well in 24P mode. Hopefully there will be a firmware update for one or both that helps with this. I can usually get things to sync up, but it can take a few power cycles of one or both devices. I don’t know if the C200 would be any better in this regard.

Hope this helps…

– David

Eugene January 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Hi David, thank you for the reply. I will go get myself a unit and post a feedback later.

Schatzman February 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm

So … Anyone heard any updates on the Sigma 8646 chip? I’ve been waiting to order till that’s included :(

DamianP February 10, 2011 at 6:44 am

To my knowledge all they said is they would begin production with the new chip during Q1, so you probably won’t see until some point at Q2. The only real benefit with the new chip will be gigE (which is irrelevant unless you plan on transferring files back and forth from your Dune over the network) and a slightly snappier chip.

Schatzman February 10, 2011 at 8:29 am

I guess I’m curious about that. I have a somewhat standard setup now (HP Media server to HTPC). Although I know it “shouldn’t” be the case when I was using standard 10/100 my blu-ray MKV rips just couldn’t stream as smoothly as when I upped to GigE… where I would use this is a longer run as well. It could be that my problems are not network related, but related to my HTPC … I’m not really sure.

I’m not really desperate for any Extender at this point, so I figure I’ll out wait it out. But who knows what will happen.

Schatzman February 10, 2011 at 8:54 am


Probably not the best place to post this question… but have you heard much about TVIX? http://www.tvix.co.kr/ENG/ . I’m not sure how it compares to the Dune/PCH products, but it looked interesting.

Damian February 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

I have heard of TVIX but honestly know very little of, I don’t know if they are not an available brand in the US? Best bet if you look at MPCClub.com there seems to be a lot of talk about TVIX (although Dune/PCH seems to rank higher)

David March 4, 2011 at 6:13 am


Well, there’s new firmware out for the “Smart” Dunes (at least). My auto-update went without a hitch. I have not played with the new features (including IP control) yet, but I did notice that when I put the unit into standby mode, the display shows a 24-hour clock rather than going dark. Not sure if I like this or not, but there’s probably a menu option to control this behavior.

If you have not powered up your Dune in a while, today might be a good day to do it so that you can load up 110225_1222.

– David

Klaus September 24, 2011 at 11:01 am

Are the blueray players able to play both ntsc and PAL ?
Where is ithis company from?
Thank you

AppAdonet January 3, 2012 at 7:06 am

Have they fixed MKV with chapters support yet? Any one?

Damian January 3, 2012 at 7:09 am

Yes, been working for a while actually

bob laird January 2, 2013 at 10:09 am

could you please help i have just purchased a dune smart d1 media player, just fitted hard drive and formatted it, but i must be a little thick, in the manual it does not tell you how to download files onto the haed drive, i did do it once but could not remember how to do it again ,can you please help. many thanks if you can. bob laird (boobby).

Damian January 2, 2013 at 10:11 am

Are you t alking about transferring files to the hard drive over the network? If so you need to enable SMB server in the settings to be able to see the drive on your network.

bob laird January 2, 2013 at 11:06 am

Thank you i have not explained it properly i mean video”s music downloads from a freeview recorder to a usb drive to the hard drive, as i have said i did it once but could not do it again. thanks bob

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