Review: Dune HD Smart D1 Media Player

by Damian on January 19, 2011 · 315 comments

in Reviews

About six months ago I had the pleasure of reviewing the Dune BD Prime 3.0 BluRay Media Player. The player has been rock solid in my setup, and with the addition of third party jukeboxes such as Zappiti it has provided an experience in certain respects equal to an HTPC. Shortly after reviewing the Dune BD Prime HDI announced a new lineup of Dune’s called the Smart series. Thanks to Mike @ Duneplayer.com I just received a review unit of the new Dune HD Smart D1 Media Player which I will be taking a look at today. Since the hardware/firmware on the new Smart models is nearly identical to the BD Prime I would expect the same experience. As such this will be a slightly shortened version of my usual review.

Main features:

  • Price: USD 255.95
  • The newest Sigma Designs 8642/8643 media processor: enjoy excellent playback and performance of interactive features.
  • 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.
  • eSATA port: connect an HDD via the most efficient eSATA interface.
  • Internal HDD option: use an optional 3.5″ SATA HDD installed directly inside the player.
  • USB slave port: easily and quickly transfer files between the HDD in the player (when installed) and a PC.
  • 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.
  • Flexible support for Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio: output as bitstream or decode to LPCM for flexibility when connecting audio equipment.
  • 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).
  • The best basis for multi-component Dune HD Smart system: built-in VFD display helps to build the most feature-rich solution.

Specification:

  • Processor: Sigma Designs 8642/8643
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Flash memory: 128 MB, expandable with a HDD partition, USB flash drive, or SD card (2GB recommended)
  • Media sources: internal HDD (SATA 3.5”), external HDD (USB, eSATA), external optical drive (USB, eSATA), USB devices (USB flash drive, USB card reader, etc), built-in SD card reader (SD/SDHC), PC and NAS in local network (SMB, NFS, UPnP, HTTP), other Internet and local network media sources (HTTP, multicast UDP/RTP)
  • Video codecs: MPEG2, MPEG4, XVID, WMV9, VC1, H.264; support for very high bitrate video (up to 50 MBit/s and higher)
  • Video file formats: MKV, MPEG-TS, MPEG-PS, M2TS, VOB, AVI, MOV, MP4, QT, ASF, WMV, Blu-ray-ISO, BDMV, DVD-ISO, VIDEO_TS
  • Optical disc formats: data discs (CD/DVD/BD) (MP3, JPEG, etc), Audio CD (PCM/DTS), DVD-Video (retail and user-authored discs), Blu-ray (retail and user-authored discs) *
  • Blu-ray playback: Blu-ray menu, BD-J, BonusView, BD-Live – for both Blu-ray discs (retail and user-authored) (*) and full Blu-ray structures (Blu-ray-ISO, BDMV) played from HDD and network
  • Video output modes: wide range of supported output resolutions (up to 1080p) and framerates (including 23.976p, 24p, PAL, NTSC)
  • Video output framerate: automatic (according to the played content) and manual
  • Audio codecs: AC3 (Dolby Digital), DTS, MPEG, AAC, LPCM, WMA, WMAPro, EAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), Dolby True HD, DTS HD High Resolution Audio, DTS HD Master Audio, FLAC, multichannel FLAC, Ogg/Vorbis; support for very high quality audio (up to 192 kHz / 24-bit)
  • Audio file formats: MP3, MPA, M4A, WMA, FLAC, APE (Monkey’s Audio), Ogg/Vorbis, WAV, DTS-WAV, DTS, AC3, AAC
  • HD audio support: pass-through (up to 7.1 channels) and decoding (up to 7.1 channels) of Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD MA audiotracks (Blu-ray, TS, MKV), pass-through (up to 7.1 channels) of multichannel LPCM audiotracks (Blu-ray, TS, MKV), decoding (up to 7.1 channels) of FLAC audiotracks (MKV, external)
  • Subtitle formats: SRT (external), SUB (MicroDVD) (external), text (MKV), SSA/ASS (MKV, external), VobSub (MP4, MKV, external SUB/IDX), PGS (Blu-ray, TS, MKV)
  • Picture file formats: JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF
  • Playlist file formats: M3U, PLS
  • Photo viewer functions: slideshow, transition effects, picture rotation, zoom, browse playlist, repeat, shuffle
  • Audio playback functions: browse playlist, repeat, shuffle, ID3 tags, plasma TV burn-in prevention
  • Filesystems: FAT16/FAT32 (read-write), EXT2/EXT3 (read-write), NTFS (read-write)
  • Ethernet: 10/100 Mbit
  • WiFi: optional 802.11n WiFi (via an external USB WiFi stick, not included, D-Link DWA-140 recommended)
  • Dune Network Playback Accelerator: special optimizations ensuring best-in-class network playback performance for the Sigma Designs 864x platform and enabling smooth playback of any supported kind of media content via any network protocol (including NFS and SMB) even in 100 Mbit/s Ethernet networks.

Other features:

  • High-quality music playback: play very high-quality (up to 192 Khz / 24-bit) music files in various formats (FLAC, Monkey’s Audio APE, WAV/PCM, DTS, etc).
  • Playlists: build playlists from your folders, use your own playlists, use repeat and shuffle functions.
  • NAS function: access files on storage devices (HDD, optical drive, etc) attached to the player from the local network (using SMB or FTP).
  • BitTorrent: use built-in BitTorrent client to download files from P2P networks.
  • Customizable user interface: work with media collections using cover art and icon browsing (with Full HD graphics).
  • Flash applications: extend the player functionality with FlashLite applications.
  • Internet radio: playback and record various Internet radio stations (HTTP/MP3).
  • IPTV: playback and record IPTV streams (multicast UDP/RTP) from your Internet provider (check availability of multicast UDP/RTP streams with your Internet provider).
  • Digital TV option: playback and record Digital TV channels using an optional Digital TV USB dongle (Digital TV USB dongle is not included; this option can be purchased separately).
  • Internet browsing: view Internet Web sites on your TV using the built-in Web browser (built-in Web browser has limitations and may not allow to view some Internet Web sites).
  • Modular System Support: Dune HD Smart players allow to create custom configurations based on the primary (head) unit like Dune HD Smart B1/H1/D1 and several optional extension modules of choice, which can be combined to form an integrated player.

Hardware:

The Dune HD Smart D1 came with the D1  (obviously), HDMI cable, IR Remote w/ 2 batteries, and composite cables.

Looking at the front of the D1 much of the area is taken up by an LCD screen. Below the LCD screen is the power button, IR receiver, SD slot, USB input, and eject button (for use with the option BluRay Drive module)

From the back you can see the LAN port (10/100/1000), 2 USB 2.0 ports, Composite/Component outputs, HMDI out, Optical, eSATA, USB Slave, and the power input.

The Smart D1 is about 2.5 inches tall, 5.5 inches wide and 11 inches deep (the depth is in part to allow for an internal hard drive if desired)

With the case removed you can see the tray for an internal drive as well as the Sata connector. Also, you can see that there is no case fan, so the D1 will operate silent.

If you remove the HDD tray you can get a better view of the board. In the center of the board is a USB input. If you plan on using system storage (which I highly recommend, it is needed to add shortcuts to the Main menu as well as BD Live) this is a convenient area to attach a USB thumb drive. A simple set it and forget it.

A 4GB USB thumb drive installed. As long as the thumb drive does not have any excess bulk it should fit without issue.

Overall the Dune Smart D1 is a solidly built machine. It may be a little deeper then some would like but otherwise has a very small footprint. At no point did I notice any sort of heating issues.

UI Appearance:

The UI on the Smart D1 is identical to the BD Prime (for more in depth analysis of the UI head over to the BR Prime review). Although not horrible the UI is still very basic, with a windows explorer type experience while navigating through your media. This is hopefully an area that HDI addresses as more and more media players in the market are getting away from the boring stock UI that we have become accustomed to. Simply allowing the Dune to boot directly into a 3rd party jukebox would at least provide a quick and effective solution.

Responsiveness:

Navigating around the UI on the Smart D1 was the same as with the Dune BD Prime. One thing I noticed is that on a few occasions the D1 became unresponsive for a short period of time. I don’t know if the unit itself became unresponsive or if the issue was possibly with the IR receiver. I used the D1 yesterday to watch a movie as well as test some files and not once did I encounter any issues, so I will have to keep a close eye on to see if it was possibly a one off experience.

Network Performance:

The Dune HD Smart D1 is listed as Gigabyte but it is not recommended to use this. This  is the same issue that plagues the PCH C-200, however unless you are transferring files to/from the Dune over the network 10/100 is plenty fine for streaming media. As with the BD Prime testing out network performance over smb  (you can see how I set up here), I did not have any issues playing back all my high bitrate content on the Smart D1. I did have Fast SMB enabled and I believe it is recommended that all users who play content over the network enable this feature in the settings.

Audio/Video Playback:

I decided to test playback using the latest Dune IP beta firmware 101029 2349, which can be found here. Here is a description of what I tested and the results:

  • mkv w/ chapters – supported (PASS)
  • mkv w/ 480p internal IDX/SUB subtitles  (PASS)
  • mkv w/ 1080p internal IDX/SUB subtitles(FAIL)
  • mkv w/ internal PGS subtitles (PASS)
  • HD Audio downmix to stereo (PASS)
  • mkv w/ forced subtitles – the Smart D1 does not respect the forced subtitle flag (FAIL)
  • mkv/(m2)ts with DTS(MA) – bitstreamed without issue (PASS)
  • mkv/(m2)ts with TrueHD Audio Track – bitstreamed without issue (PASS)
  • mkv w/ VC-1 encoded video – played without issue (PASS)
  • Forced Subtitles in a BluRay Structure – played without issue (PASS)
  • BluRay ISO (main movie only) – played without issue (PASS)
  • BluRay Folder (entire disc) – played movie with full menu support (PASS)
  • DVD ISO and/or Folder Structure – played with full menus (PASS, also appears an issue with audio stuttering has been corrected)
  • 1080p quicktime (.mov) trailer – played without issue (PASS)
  • avi/mpeg/m4v clips – played without issue (PASS)
  • mkv w/ FLACplayed w/ multi channel PCM (PASS)
  • mkv w/ header compression – played without issue (PASS)

I must admit I am disappointed that mkv chapter support has still not been addressed, as this should be a very basic feature to implement and one that many other players on the market supports. That combined with support for forced subtitles in mkvs (which slowly players are starting to support) would provide a complete solution for the many mkv users out their.  Overall  once again the Smart D1 hit a home run playing back my various test files.

Online Content:

When it comes to online content there is currently very little offered. I noticed a new icon showed up recently on the Main Menu called Kartina.tv which I had never heard of (from reading around it appears to be a site for accessing Russian TV, the last Russian show I watched was Rocky IV!). I am not a big online content person but as more and more players add support for online content I believe this is something HDI will need to address to make the Dune players a more complete player. I did test PlayON streaming from my Windows Home Server to the Smart D1 and had no issues with playback (although PlayOn is a bit of a hack solution versus native integration).

3rd Party Jukeboxes:

This is the area for me that is real important as the stock UI of the Dune is lacking in so many areas. I have been using Zappiti with the Dune BD Prime, so it was nice that once the Smart D1 was set up I was up and running with Zappiti on the D1 in no time. One thing I like about a 3rd party jukebox is the ability to centrally manage the jukebox. Some players such as the Boxee Box you would manage the jukebox from the player itself. When having multiple players this could add extra work as you need too manage each player individually. With Zappiti or the other 3rd party jukeboxes I can simply manage the jukebox from my PC and know that both the BD Prime and Smart D1 will be updated and in sync (this also comes in handy since a majority of the time I am updating Zappiti remotely). For more information on Zappiti see my guide here. I also hope to take a closer look at yaDIS 2.0 and MyMovies (for this one I am waiting for individual TV episode support before digging in to).

Zappiti Screenshot:

MyMovies Screenshot:

Final Thoughts:

Just as with the Dune BD Prime the Smart D1 lived up to expectations. From a hardware standpoint it is very well constructed, fanless, and quiet. Undoubtedly when it comes to local video playback, the Smart D1 not only does it but it does it well, and I would argue for local video content the Dune is amongst the best out there. Like many of the other media players out there music and photos is a weak spot, and if that is an important area then I would recommend looking elsewhere. With the expanded lineup across a variety of price ranges this should as well open up the Dune to a wider consumer base. The challenge that will present the Dune players is how they evolve in the coming year(s). Online content (such as Netflix) is becoming more important (emphasis on the U.S market), and if more media players continue to add online content Dune runs the risk of being left behind. There is also Cinavia looming and the question of how it will impact the current and future Dune players (more on Cinavia and the potential impact shortly). A simple solution for the bland stock UI would be to more tightly integrate the 3rd party jukeboxes into the UI (the easiest way would be to allow the user to have the Dune load directly into the jukebox of their choice).

Overall I feel that HDI has another winner with the Smart D1 and others in the Smart series. Continued work should be focused on forging online content partnerships, enhancing the stock UI, and bringing new features to their players (such as source direct, mkv chapter support, and mkv forced subtitle support to name a few). For my setup my top priority is flawless playback of my local content (in particular HD content) with an emphasis on Audio and Picture Quality, and the Smart D1 does not disappoint.

I should also mention that for owners of the Smart series there will be an option to upgrade to the next Sigma chip once available. It is unclear though exactly what the cost will be associated with the upgrade, so for now we will just have to sit tight and await further details.





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


{ 312 comments }

Jason January 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

I could never bring myself to buy a product without MKV Chap support. Sad really. Seems a small fix to me, but then again. What do I know.

Damian January 19, 2011 at 11:09 am

As I mentioned I am really surprised this has not been addressed as mkv chapters file is nothing more then a simple txt file. Navigating around mkvs with the directional keys is actually very easy to do but having proper mkv chapter support should be a given.

mgannon January 19, 2011 at 11:05 am

Nice writeup, Damien. I have the same two boxes at home, the BD Prime and the D1. No problems with either of them, other than an occasional audio dropout (momentary). With regard to the USB drive, do you know if I can move my USB drive from the back panel connector to the internal connector without having to reinitialize, or would I have to run through the setup again?

Damian January 19, 2011 at 11:07 am

You can move without issue. I did this with the BD Prime (I originally had the USB drive thumb drive in the front corner USB slot, but afterwards moved it to the inside of the case)

Dave January 19, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Thanks for the great review Damian! I opened my B1 case the other day intending to put the USB drive in the open slot inside the case, but I got scared away by the “warranty void if sticker removed/damaged” sticker that was on the bluray drive. The sticker on the case wasn’t really stuck down, but the one inside the case was. I’ve only had the unit for about a week so I was afraid to void my warranty.

Damian January 20, 2011 at 7:50 am

You may want to contact who you purchased your B1 from and ask them about this. IMO the user should have full access to the USB slot inside the case. If not then HDI should preinstall a thumb drive in

goondog January 19, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Damian.
thanks again for great insight!!
what group are these dune players marketed at?
i love the performance but without netflix, tunes, and good pics GUI i feel like these are delegated to just people with alot of high quality BD rips.
do you see the company doing anything to change that?
Products like the WD live plus may be easier to live with and have better WAF or dare i say it a boxee?!

Damian January 20, 2011 at 7:48 am

The Dune players are undoubtedly focused towards people with large local video content. For me that is all I care about, I want whatever media player I use to support flawless playback of my video content and give me the best PQ, and that is where the Dunes excel (including full support for HD Audio and stereo downmix). If you look at the Boxee Box there are still reported audio drop out issues with DTS(MA) and it cannot bitstream TrueHD. With the WD live I think it doesn’t bitstream DTS(MA). So really based on your requirements would help determine what the best player is. For someone who wants a more well rounded player (better support for music/photos, online content, etc…) then the Dune is definitely not the player for you (but this is nothing new).

Undoubtedly though this will be the biggest challenge in the future for Dune, bringing to the market a more well rounded player as the other competitors in the marketplace move in that direction.

Since for my wife as well the only time she uses a media player is to play back our local content (i.e. movies and recorded TV shows) the Dune has a very high WAF (using Zappiti as the UI). For music we use Sonos so that is a non issue. I still have the Boxee Box but currently I would not have my wife use it.

goondog January 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I guess im just trying to find “the one” perfect streamer for a living room environment and may have to look closely at the dunes.
we use sonos as well, so its really just a good photo browser and a rock solid streamer like this that would make the fam happy.
i tried putting a dell zino in there, but nobody wanted to mess with it except me. I actually still have a first gen appleTV streaming photos because she says “the pictures just looks nicer” (ugh!), netflix via a bluray player but no real easy solution for streaming as of now.
the search continues…thats why its a hobby.
thx again!

Damian January 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I agree, we are all looking for the perfect streamer. Although the HTPC does it all, it is by far not the most family friendly (as you noted as well). I think we may get there sooner then later. Boxee Box is definitely a step in the right direction, and as long as they stay committed (and have the capital) I expect the platform to only grow and mature. Also, don’t forget that Sigma has announced they will be porting XBMC over to their chips, so we may see PCH or Dunes running XBMC.

For now unfortunately we still have to be patient and let things play out.

Verdi January 24, 2011 at 7:26 pm

hi all,

just got my D1, and i have only 1 word to describe it… AWESOME!
i have a question if anyone could answer, i appreciate it.

does it matter what type of thumb drive is used?

i was looking at getting the 4GB SanDisk’s Cruzer Contour because it has 25MB/s as Read transfer speed and 18MB/s as Write transfer speed. BUT… it also comes with the U3 Software which is for security.

will this thumb drive work?

Damian January 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm

To be honest I am not sure. The Dune will need to format the Thumb drive so I don’t know if that means the security software would be erased off the drive. If you are just looking to use a thumb drive for system storage you don’t need to worry about getting a high performance drive, just your average thumb drive should do the trick

Verdi January 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm

thanks damian. appreciate your quick reply.

Damian January 24, 2011 at 7:38 pm

No problem, any other questions you know where to find me :-)

Maarten February 24, 2011 at 1:01 am

Hi Damian,

My D1 is currently ‘on route’… Because this is my first media player I’m still trying to get an overview of what I ‘need’.

I have also ordered a SSD (80gb) and a USB stick (64 gb) with it. My thoughts were to use the usb for system storage and (as far as i undertstand) zappiti storage. (so i have to ‘dual format’ the USB right?). And use the SSD for some locally stored content. I also have a Sygnology running for the majority of my content.

But, reading some more about the USB part… do you know if it can (and needs to) handle more than 4gb?

In other words; Am I making the right choices?

Damian February 24, 2011 at 6:26 am

Hi Maarten,

You are correct that the USB drive will need to have two partitions, one for system storage and one for your data storage (i.e. Zappiti). I can’t see why a 64GB USB thumb drive wouldn’t work, but to be honest I have never had a thumb drive bigger then 4GB so I have no way to confirm this.

Nick January 27, 2011 at 1:05 am

Hi Damian,
I was wondering whether you plan to do a review of Netgear’s NeoTV 550; I’d surely be interested to see how it compares to streamers considered to be leading the market currently, such as the C200. I find it strange that NeoTV has been released for quite some months now and while (at least on paper) it seems to be an amazing product, I’ve seen very few reviews about it; it seems to have gone unnoticed! Bad marketing on Netgear’s part maybe?

Damian January 27, 2011 at 5:38 am

Hi Nick,

I actually had preordered the NeoTV 550 via amazon but actually just canceled a few days ago. I have read mixed reactions so far. The handful of people I know who got the NeoTV actually returned as they were unhappy with. Also, from what I am hearing any bad talk about the NeoTV on the Netgear forums gets blasted by members there… The biggest concern right now with the NeoTV is supposedly Netgear plans on implementing Cinavia on the device (i.e. you will lose the ability to play any of your BluRay rips…)

Nick January 28, 2011 at 12:45 am

Thanks Damian, I guess this pretty much explains the limited interest in the product. Although for the life of me I can’t understand why would a company make such a decision, effectively killing their own product! MS killing Drive Extender anyone? :)

nestico January 30, 2011 at 3:36 am

Hi damian.
Thanks for all the effort and the reviews, you helped me pick my player a smart D1, one question:Do you know of otther differences between the ipcontrol fw 101029 2349, and the current official beta fw 100916_2027?

Do you know of a problem/bug with the 101029 2349 fw? Thanks

Damian January 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I think the beta fw had a bug where if you played back DVDs (ripped or disc) the audio would stutter. This issue was fixed with the IP firmware. It appears there is one bug with the IP firmware where if you have PGS subtitles in mkvs it craps out (it is a little confusing though as the IP fw I have does not have this bug but the newer IP fw does). None of these issues may affect you though.

chris January 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Hi all,
do you know how can we play MP3 music through LCD display (browsing folders) when TV is off ?
Thanks

Damian January 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I don’t think so. From when I looked at the LCD screen it basically just shows a runtime, not a navigating lcd screen

Runner February 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

Hey Damian – first time post here. Great write ups! I’ve been out of this loop for a little while, but trying to reconnect. I have a WHS, PS3, Sonos and an old school ReplayTV. I boycott cable and get tv OTA. I’m looking for a good way to fruther leverage the WHS and PS3 to stream/save TV. I’m also interested in good software for upconverting standard DVD’s to save the WHS and stream to the PS3. You can just copy the video.vob and change the filename to .mpg, but at PQ expense. Can zappiti run as an add-in on WHS and interface on the PS3? That’d be cool… I’m just a fan of trying to get everything in one spot and the PS3 does quite a bit

Damian February 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Zappiti is meant for the Dune and the Dune alone. If you plan on using the PS3 as your media player you are stuck with the PS3 UI. I understand why people want to make the PS3 work if you already own one (I own one), but honestly I find it is just not worth the trouble, and the limitations greatly outweigh the benefits.

Erik February 10, 2011 at 8:29 am

I’d like to highlight something that HDI Dune’s web site doesn’t make clear, and none of the reviews I’ve read anywhere have touch upon, and that’s the fact that this player (and likely all similar machines) will not play back a Blu-Ray ISO that has the AACS/BD+ protection left un-touched. I now understand why this is the case (impossible to get an official AACS device key for a virtual drive), but as a consumer I’m annoyed that this isn’t obvious from the product web site.

Why would you create a protected ISO, you might ask? Well, first off it’s the recommendation of the fine people at Slysoft that this is the correct way to go if you don’t intend on stripping out (extras, audio tracks, menus…). The reason for this recommendation is the fact that BD+ has had to be reverse engineered with no specs, and as such is very liable to errors in the removal. If I rip a disc today and remove the protection, I run the risk of a bug in AnyDVD’s BD+ removal causing my ISO to be corrupted (and not obviously corrupted, i.e. it may not start until well into the movie). If I ripped with the protection intact, all I have to do is report the bug to Slysoft and a few days later I can watch my movie, without having to re-rip.

Maybe it’s obvious to everyone else that a commercial media player will likely never be able to play a protected BluRay ISO, but to me it wasn’t. I’m disappointed both in the Dune’s product pages and in the various reviews I read before purchasing that this deficiency wasn’t mentioned.

Damian February 10, 2011 at 8:41 am

I know for certain discs the Dune, PCH, and others have had issues with playback (such as Avatar) but this also affected commercial players as well, and this of course only applies to physical discs. As far as a BD Iso, I don’t think it is fair to say that reviewers missed this as regardless of what is posted on Slysoft’s forum a very large majority of people at a minimum remove the protection (whether keeping the full disc or stripping down), and although considered “best practice” by Slysoft I don’t necessarily agree it is needed. I would be more curious to see some stats to back up Slysoft’s recommendation (i.e. on average we found that x% of rips did not work properly when BD Live/protection was removed). To me removing the protection makes the most sense as it frees up the movie to be played on any platform, and for the discs I have ripped as full I have not had one issue with playback. Once again though, it would be curious to see what Slysoft considered the likelihood of a bad rip happening due to this.

Erik February 10, 2011 at 11:46 am

I went through a bunch of reviews and not one mentioned that a protected ISO could not be played. That’s a valid format and should be mentioned on a product page or in a review, regardless of whether the majority of people use it or not.

I suspect that issues with BD+ are less common now, but in the early days of breaking BD+ (really, not that long ago!), Slysoft was coming out with BD+ fixes almost every other day. The thing about BD+ is that it can be extended and used in different ways on different discs, so it’s still possible to run into problems.

There are other reason to keep the ISOs protected. For example, AnyDVD-HD has a feature to disable adverts and trailers. Nice feature, but it doesn’t work on every disc. AnyDVD-HD can’t be run on a disc that has already had its protection removed, and you can’t use the trailer removal feature to rip because it may result in an unplayable disc. Same thing with BD-Live (though that’s safer) and the PowerDVD workaround feature.

Anyway, it does seem I’m in the minority so I’m going to simply have to deal with the situation. I figured at the very least, if someone else is debating purchasing a Dune and uses protected BR ISOs, they might find this post and be better educated.

Cheers,
Erik

Damian February 10, 2011 at 11:58 am

Well, since a large majority of people don’t use protected discs it is most likely an afterthought and I am not surprised that it is not tested in reviews (i.e. you will never see a review that tests every possible format, the point is to try and capture as many as possible, and at a minimum capture the formats that are commonly used). Also, your example requires using an HTPC for playback (i.e. having AnyDVD running in the background), so this is something that would not carry over to a dedicated media player such as a Dune, PCH, Boxee Box, etc…

Not trying to argue the point here, but I do understand why this is something that would not be commonly tested as part of a review. I do appreciate you bringing the issue to my attention as whether in the minority or not it will affect some users.

Damian February 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I will also ask around a few people who I know maintain the full disc to see what they are doing with the protection and if keeping if they are running into issues.

Lenny March 3, 2011 at 11:36 am

Thanks for this review, glad I found it. I’m planning my purchase of a smart D-1. What I’d like to know if you can tell me is: I plan on installing an internal 1TB HDD for internal storage of movies and music. Would this then be also utilized for system storage or do I still also need to install the USB stick?
If yes, would 2GB be enough [i have a couple lying around] or does it need to be 4GB or larger?

Damian March 3, 2011 at 11:45 am

Yes, you can use an internal drive for both system storage and internal storage. You would need to partition the drive though, so set aside something like 2-4GB for system space and the rest for internal storage. If you have a 2GB USB stick lying around that is more then adequate

Tony March 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Hi,
Thanks for the excellent review. I am now purchasing the Smart D1. In the specification there is no mention of the maximum size HDD supported by the internal hdd bay. Can you advise what this is?

Damian March 8, 2011 at 6:42 am

I know support is there for up to 2TB. Here is a list of the FW Updates (http://dune-hd.com/firmware/hdsmart_d1/), I haven’t seen anything specifically mentioned about adding support for drives larger then 2TB

Jim March 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

Damian,

Just ordered an H1 based on your recommendation for my upstairs LCD. So, if it doesn’t work…

This is after you and I discussed not seeing the value in a streamer (Boxee specifically) in relation to an ordinary HTPC. Only after dozens of hours struggling with my i3 did I come to appreciate the hope of a simple drop-in-place solution – or at least one that doesn’t take a massive amount of time to perfect like my Clarkdale did.

BTW, my i3 problems were not entirely related to the video codec, but were mostly audio issues with optical SPif (Realtek, oh how I hate thee) on my Gigabyte Mini-ITX. The most recent (2.56 I think) driver has cleared up all of my issues and I just need to completely remove all administrative access so that I just quite tinkering with it.

Thanks for all of your work!

Do you have some type of fund or pay-pal account set up for folks to show some love for all your hardware purchases?

Damian March 8, 2011 at 10:51 am

Jim,

If the H1 doesn’t work for you then I will say one of the other editors here Alex recommended it to you ;-)

So far I have been very happy with the D1. It is in my bedroom and this is pretty much the only place my wife and I watch movies/tv recordings (during the day the kids dominate the family room where the BD Prime is!). I actually asked my wife two nights ago which she preferred using, the Dune or the HTPCs, and she said the Dune. Simply enough, the Dune powered on/off when expected, played back everything without errors, etc.. With the HTPC although I would say I got things to a “relatively” stable state, that is not obviously good enough when it comes to WAF. I will always have some sort of HTPC for geeky/tinkering around, but long term when I am not the only one using it I am not sure it is the best solution.

No pay pal, I enjoy writing about this stuff and just glad it gives me the opportunity to have some good dialogue with the community such as yourself and others.

Jim March 8, 2011 at 11:51 am

I feel your pain with the HTPC WAF (except for my 12 y-o son who struggles with deep smugness issues with all things electronic). Somehow the HTPC wireless keyboard becomes more complex than the controls of a nuclear sub – even though my wife is an engineer and spends a great deal of time running complex software every day.

With the help of your guides, I’m hopeful that I will be able to set the H1 up over a weekend and then leave it alone. It’s a super simple set up over HDMI to a Toshiba LCD with on board audio. I’m SO close to my goal of ditching DirecTV when my contract expires.

Damian March 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Setting up the H1 should be easy. You are just going to want to set up system storage, and then decide if you are going to use a jukebox. I will be here to help with any questions (or if easier post on the forums here and I should pick up)

Jim March 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Well, simple ain’t easy.

Quick rundown on the install:

WTF with the lit red light meaning off (standby maybe?) and an unlit red light meaning both off and on? Really. This is a major design flaw because the most frustrating part of the install was turning on the unit. My Toshiba LCD would display the Dune splash screen, but would go blank (as described in the manual) but I gather that I was shutting the unit down (or standby?) b/c the red light was lit. On my unit, the red light must be OFF and then the mode selected. Another complication was that selecting 1080i mode triggered a signal received on the Toshiba, but would not display anything. I eventually settled on Mode 4 (720p) and then selected 1080p/23.976/10bit from the settings menu.

After the initial config, I attempted to connect via SMB to a Win7 box. I had a feeling I would have to hack it after the individual shares did not show up. The SMB settings I used are detailed here:

http://www.networkedmediatank.com/wiki/index.php/Windows7

All the shares work as expected after a reboot.

The last piece was figuring out where Zappiti put its config when you have multiple shares. I incorrectly assumed that it was where it stores its own software configuration. A quick search for _zappiti led me to the correct dir and then I could add it to the start up screen.

Once these annoyances were straightened out, I have to say it was well worth the effort. I really hate to say it, but this unit performs nearly as good or slightly better (depending on codec) than my i3 in terms of PQ. I run almost exclusively MKVs from MakeMKV (HD-DVDs, BDs, and DVDs). I have yet to see a single stutter or sound drop after sampling the most demanding bitrates including the famous bird scenes.

Dune is so very close with this unit and overall I’m very satisfied with my purchase. The addition of a green power led and a menu at first boot to select a video resolution would go a long way in making the install less frustrating. But in fairness, I have spent dozens of hours with MPC-hc and Graphedit in order to get PQ that is this good.

The native GUI is also a drawback. There is no way this is ready for WAF time prior to some serious hacking with Zappiti.

I also really wish Netflix was available, but that’s not the main reason I purchased the unit so it’s a minor issue.

Overall – 9/10.

Damian, thanks again for your guides. Without your help and pointers, I would have spent at least several hours more getting this up and running.

Damian March 13, 2011 at 5:36 am

Jim,

Great to hear you got everything set up. I ran into the same issues when I first powered on the unit, I would see the splash screen and would then get a blank screen, but did the same steps as you. I know a lot of people who have problems setting up W7 for smb sharing on various devices so glad you got that sorted out.

I completely agree, I have been using the D1 and BD Prime for some time now and it makes it hard to want to use my HTPCs, especially since all I use my HTPCs for is video playback (which the Dunes have done flawless for me).

The stock UI is definitely nothing to write home about. I am hopeful at a minimum Dune will add support to automatically boot up into a jukebox at start. Supposedly in the next fw update they will be adding chapter support for mkvs as well as a new stock UI(no clue what this will look like).

Great to hear though everything is up and running, and you know where to find me with any questions. Also, I started a thread on the forums here (although not that active):

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8767

Christopher April 1, 2011 at 10:12 am

Hello Damian, thanks for the great review.

I’ve been wanting to change my set-up for a while now and have read so many pages about different media players I think I am close to insanity !

The players I have been ‘circling’ around the most are the NeoTV550, the Dune HDI Max/D1 and the forthcoming ACRyan Fluxx.

My current set-up is a PS3, a Humax HDR-T2, a Qnap Nas TS-109, an external 2TB HD and a Logitech Squeezebox Classic. I play audio (Flac) via the Squeezebox and videos (mostly VOB files) either via the Humax or the PS3. I have tried ripping blu rays but they simply wont play with my set-up. I believe the Twonky software can’t handle the Blu Ray rips ?

Anyway, do you think the Dune HD D1 will be a good replacement ? I mean with all my VOBs on the Nas and auido files does it simply ‘by-pass’ twonky and play them…how does it work ? Also, I wondered whether I will be able to get the artwork for all my videos/audios – how does it do it and what do I need to show them – I mean I just have VOBs, how does the artwork get picked up ?

Sorry for my ramblings and ignorance.

Finally, can you fast forward and rewind a ripped video….unlike the PS3 which can do it but is a major pain !

Thanks for reading.

Damian April 1, 2011 at 10:36 am

Hi Chris,

You are correct, Twonky cannot handle BluRay rips.

As far as the players you mentioned I wouldn’t even consider the Fluxx right now since it isn’t out and we have no way of knowing if it will be stable/buggy at release. The NeoTV doesn’t seem like a bad player but from speaking with a few people it has its own share of bugs/issues.

As far as the Dune D1 I have been consistently for a while now and have yet to run into one issue, so I am definitely a fan.

Your question regarding bypassing Twonky, basically Twony is just one method of sharing media via UPnP. However, most people will using use other protocols such as SMB (samba). SMB doesn’t have the restrictions of Twonky. Basically smb will show all files on your NAS and then it is just up to your media player what it can/cannot play. Twonky will only show what it supports (which is usually very limited and why many people don’t use).

The D1 will have zero issues playing back your ripped DVDs or BluRays just as if the physical disc was installed (so with full RR and FF capabilities)

As far as artwork, you will need to use a 3rd party jukebox such as Zappiti, MyMovies, yaDIS, etc… These programs you run on a PC to gather all the metadata/artwork, and then it will export the jukebox to your NAS for the Dune to view (so y our PC doesn’t need to be on to use the Dune, just to create/maintain the jukebox).

Hope this helps. Don’t hesitate to ask further questions here or if easier you can post in this Dune thread (http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8767)

Cheers
Damian

Christopher April 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Hello Damian,

I’ve never used Samba before, is it only for Mac computers as I have windows 7 ? Can I install something else on my Nas other than Twonky ? I don’t want to leave my laptop on when viewing my DVDs or listening to my audio files. This is where it becomes even more confusing :).

Damian April 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Why would you think SMB has anything to do with macs??? I never use macs nor will I ever, so it is always safe to assume I am not talking about macs :-)

What NAS do you have? I assume you have it connected to your network and you are streaming your media directly from there, correct? Most likely smb is already built in to your NAS, there is nothing to install, and it has nothing to do with your W7 PC (so no need to keep that turned on)

Christopher April 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm

‘Why would you think SMB has anything to do with macs???’.

Because when I went to the Samba website it said “Samba is the standard Windows interoperability suite of programs for Linux and Unix”. I assumed that Linux was for Macs….oh well, sorry, I’ll go away now :(.

BTW, I listed my NAS above :).

I found this regarding Samba in th PDF file for my NAS;

“You can upload your HTML files to the folder Qweb by the following methods:
a. By using samba: You can open a web browser and type \\[TS-109
IP]\Qweb or \\[TS-109 name]\Qweb. Login the folder and upload
your HTML files.”

Damian April 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Ah, I see the QNAP. As I mentioned, there is nothing you need to set up, the QNAP already has built in support for SMB. So let’s say your QNAP server name is “ChrisRocks” and you have a shared Videos folder. Your smb path would simply be:

\\ChrisRocks\Videos

I know it can be a little confusing. Linux is actually a different type of O/S, just like Apple O/S and Windows. Definitely dont hesitate to ask any other questions, always here to help.

Vidkun August 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I know this is a bit old, but I didn’t see anyone else reply/clarify and wanted to make sure it was clear for anyone coming along and reading through the entire comment thread like my crazy self.

SMB (Server Message Block) is a network protocol implemented mostly by Windows through its modified implementation CIFS (Common Internet File System) for sharing files, etc.

Samba is a free (and I believe open source) implementation of an SMB client and server that is compatible with the Windows implementation. Samba is most commonly used in Linux/Unix based systems for communicating via SMB/CIFS with Windows machines.

Apple previously used Samba for its SMB/CIFS support, but has moved to a new proprietary implementation.

So SMB is not just a Windows thing and does not necessarily exclude the other kids at the table. And for all intents and purposes, the normal user (especially most of this audience) can safely consider them all the same thing (although technically different).

On a side note, these Dunes are looking mighty tempting. If they could just get Netflix and Hulu/Hulu Plus (to make the Mrs. happy) I could easily snag one! Might have to anyway ;)

Christopher April 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm
Damian April 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm

That is a good guide video, You really only need to worry about smb and not nfs

Christopher April 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Excellent , thanks Damian :). It can be very confusing at times. I was kind of an ‘early adopter’ and when I bought my Qnap NAS it had everything pre-installed…..actually that made it a bit of a nightmare to upgrade software such as Twonky and Slimserver :). When I did my first ever rips I just did one big rip of the whole DVD – so not very user friendly and impossible to navigate. Now things have really moved on which is why I want to buy a new media player.

I had to buy an external Blu Ray drive a few weeks ago(I only have a ‘not very good’ laptop) but was left disappointed when I made my first hi-def rip and it wouldn’t play. The Dune looks perfect for me.

Yes, that YouTube video was a lucky find….also the video after it is about the Dune !

Ronan April 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Hi Damian I’ve really enjoy reading your articles i recently bought a Dune D1 myself and was wondering what wireless usb adapter do you use or what one would you suggest. Thanks

Damian April 21, 2011 at 6:11 am

Hi Ronan,

Glad you enjoy my articles, I try to make up only 65% of what I write :-)

As far as a wireless USB adapter honestly I am not sure since I never used. I would check with the company you purchased the D1 from to make sure you get one that is compatible.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Cheers
Damian

Washington Meneses April 30, 2011 at 1:17 am

Dear,
where I can buy DUNE in the U.S.
Thanks

Damian April 30, 2011 at 5:02 am

DunePlayer.com

Washington Meneses April 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Damian
Thanks for the reply.
The problem is that this site only accepts U.S. credit card, and I have only international credit card, because I’m from Brazil and I’m on vacation in California.
Had another site that sells DUNE?
Thank you.

Jason April 30, 2011 at 10:38 am

I’m a total newbie but I recently purchased a QNAP TS-419P+ Turbo NAS to store all of my media, mainly movies (both DVD & Blu-ray) and music and have it connected to a Cisco-Linksys WRT610N Wireless Router. I would like to be able to stream that video-music content via wifi and the Dune HD Smart D1 seems like an awesome media player. I’m wondering if they are compatible. I read some not so good things about QNAP’s NMP-1000 media players so I’ll stay away. What I’d like to accomplish sounds fairly simple but to a newbie like myself I don’t know where to begin. I’m sure the setup can’t be that difficult and I’m probably making it more of a project in my mind than it really is. Any input is greatly appreciated and many thanks in advance.

Damian April 30, 2011 at 10:45 am

Jason – what you have in mind should work. However, I would have a lot of concern trying to do this over wireless. You may be able to get away with it for DVD but most likely you will not have much luck with Blu-ray. Is there any possibility that you could go wired instead of wireless

Jason April 30, 2011 at 10:53 am

I was afraid of that. Is that because it may lag?

Damian April 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

You will probably get severe dropouts trying to stream Blu-ray over wireless (basically unwatchable). Wireless can handle the high bitrate required for BluRay playback. However, the issue is maintaining this as a steady stream, which is most likely where it will fail.

Jason April 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

I was really hoping to just having to add a Wifi USB to the Dune Smart with it wired to my television of course and connect it to the NAS over the network. The NAS fan is disruptive while watching movies and that’s why I prefer the wifi route. Wireless is ultimately ideal. I suppose wired may be my only option. Any other recommendations though to help in my achievement for a wireless utopia? LOL!

Damian April 30, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Unfortunately I don’t think I can make any sort of recommendation that would get you what you want wirelessly. if you don’t want to run wires you could possible try powerline or MoCA (never had great results with powerline and I have never tried MoCA)

Roel June 26, 2011 at 4:10 am

Hi,

Two weeks ago I bought a D1, and had to send it back, because it could not play discs. Now I received the second player. Discs play well, but when playing a DVD from a Western & Digital portable USB drive, it has blackouts! My TV also displays the connection method (HDMI), so I think there is a connection drop between the D1 and the TV. Is that a kwown error, or should I return this one too?

gR.oetjeS. / gR.eetingS.
roel

Damian June 26, 2011 at 6:21 am

Honestly I have never attached a drive to my D1 to play discs. So the Dune works fine streaming from a hard drive, just not when trying to play a physical disk? I would ask on the MPCClub forums to see if others have experienced this issue as well. Sorry I cant give a better answer.

Roel June 26, 2011 at 7:39 am

Ah… I ment ‘I bought a B1′… But typing on an IPad is an experience of its own. I’ll search a little bit more. Do you know of issues with the settings for video on 1080P and having an HDready television?

Damian June 26, 2011 at 8:33 am

Ah, that makes more sense. Sounds like you may have an HDMI handshake issue. Can you try connecting the B1 to your TV via component and see if you get the same issue.

I have no issues with 1080p (both my TVs are 1080p and I have the Dunes switch between 59 and 23.976 based on content)

Peter June 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Hi Damian
Thanks for this review it has help me make my mind up to purchase a Dune HD Smart D1. I have read the review and all the comments a few times, but I am unclear as to which way to go, Internal HDD or external HDD,, Like u my main concern is the play back of my video library to a high standard. I keep reading elsewhere that there might be an over heating problem with internal HHD I was looking to add a Western Digital 2TB EARS Caviar Green Hard Drive. I would much appreciate your comments.
Regards
Peter

Damian June 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Hi Peter,

I don’t use an internal drive with my Dunes. I do know several other folks who do without issue. If you use definitely make sure you use a Green drive such as the WD EARS or Seagate LP.

It may be worth asking in this thread as well if you want to get feedback from other lucky Dune owners:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=20629676#post20629676

Tom December 29, 2011 at 6:53 am

Hello Damian

I have a Western Digital WD3200AAJS drive (320GB) will this one work with the H1 too?

Thanks

Damian December 29, 2011 at 9:04 am

That would work, although it might run very hot in the H1 since it is a 7200RPM drive.

Jonathan July 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

Hi Damian (and other posters),

I have been reading the discussions with great interest. You guys really seem to know what you are talking about. I pretty new to the world of mediaplayers. I bought a PS3 a few months ago without reading up sufficiently and found out afterwards that it will only play files from an external hdd that are max 4 Gb. It’s on e-bay now!

I’m looking for a new player now (live in the Netherlands) and was wondering if you could advise me on which of the following three players I should purchase if best picture and sound quality and playback of all formats are the most important drivers:

- Dune HD D1;
- PCH A-210; and
- Mede8er MED500X2.

Much appreciated!!!
Jonathan

Damian July 2, 2011 at 9:45 am

Hi Jonathan,

I have never used the Mede8er although I have heard very good things about. The PCH and Dune as solid players (I own both). To be honest though I have had the best and most reliable results with the Dunes, so right now they are my player of choice. Feel free to ask me any questions and I will do my best to answer.

Cheers
Damian

Steve July 3, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Great review!

I’ve got a Mediagate MG-35 that I use to play iso files. With the iPad, I’m converting to m4v. Now I want to be able to play them on the TV too.

When you say it can’t play mkv with chapters; is that a full fail, or fail to make use of chapters?

90% of the time I want local playback from an internal drive. The rest would be streaming (electricity is too expensive in CA to leave the NAS on all the time). The Dune looks like it may do what I want; internal drive, mkv/m4v, streaming option, wife/kids friendly and an option for blueray.

Can you clarify the chapters “fail”?

Damian July 4, 2011 at 4:17 am

Steve,

Actually a firmware update a month ago added mkv chapter support! Previously the mkv would work but chapter skip would not. I will update my review to reflect that this has been fixed.

Cheers
Damian

Peter July 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Hi Damian
I have placed my order for a Dune HD smart D1 and Western Digital 2TB EARS internal drive. As a newbie Mac user I intend to reformat the HDD with Mac OS Extended (no journaling). Just want to check that this is compatible with Dune.

Many Thanks
Peter

Damian July 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Hi Peter,

Unfortunately I have zero experience with Mac so I can’t even give you a credible guess. I would recommend asking on the Dune Smart thread on AVS Forum (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1270503)

Cheers
Damian

don July 5, 2011 at 11:14 am

Damian,

I am looking to replace my older PCH A-110 and put it in a bedroom.
Iam considering a Dune HD smart D1 or A PCH A_210, if I understand it correctly the PCH UI has cover art built in, where the Dune does not. All of my movies are streamd from a quadcore Whs and I use no internal drive
in the PCH. What would like is your oppinion if you could only purchase 1
which one would you choose.

Regards,
Don

Damian July 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Don,

Correct, the PCH has an internal jukebox called NMJ (not really good but it is there). It appears though that with the PCH most people still use YAMJ. For Dune you need to use a 3rd party jukebox.

As far as my opinion, I own a PCH A200 and a Dune Smart D1. They are both great machines, but from my personal experience I prefer the Dune Smart. The main reason is that simply put it has played back everything from my Windows Home Server without a hiccup. I don’t think you can go wrong either way though.

Jonathan July 6, 2011 at 4:11 am

Damian,

Thanks again for your input. I think I have been won over to the Dune club. If you would have to choose between the Dune D1 and a separate B1 or the HD Max, what would your choice be? I understand that Dune will be providing upgrades of the sigma chips at the end of this year. According to their own press release the upgrade will be made available for the max owners first (as this is ‘only’ a change to the main board) and the smart owners will be able to exchange their units against payment of an additional fee as soon as the new players have been manufactured. From this point of view the Max may be the way to go. However, are there any differences between the blu ray players of the max and the B1 (loading speeds, functionality etc.)? If not, the max it will be for me!

Cheers!

Damian July 6, 2011 at 4:33 am

Jonathan,

My understanding there isn’t a difference between the B1 and the Max from a BluRay player standpoint. The B1 is more compact and cheaper whereas the Max has more of an A/V rack feel.

As far as the upgrade, I believe there will be some cost associated with it, and to be honest I don’t believe the upgrade is worth is (there is very little improvement with the latest sigma chip, the big upgrade we are all waiting for will be the SMP8910 which won’t be out until 2012 and I would assume is not part of the upgrade plan)

Cheers
Damian

Jonathan July 6, 2011 at 6:58 am

Ok, thanks for the insights. One last question. I have been looking at forum discussions on the best internal hard drive for the max. The most common conclusion was that it should be an eco/green drive with 5400 RPM (not a higher RPM). Do you have any other tips or a specific recommendation for a 2 or 3 TB drive (price/quality, speed and temperature)?

Damian July 6, 2011 at 7:02 am

Based on Price/TB ratio I would recommend the 2TB drives. There are a lot of good deals to find (I have purchased 2TB drives for under USD 70). I have had the best luck with the WD Green Drives (EARS), but Seagate LP and Samsung Spinpoint are also good options

Jeff July 8, 2011 at 6:08 am

I have read all the specs and I can see it connect to nas servers, but does the dune d1 have a nas server, that is, can it serve content (over smb) to another streamer on the same network. I have a network pvr that can play quite a lot of video and wish to drop in a hdd into the dune and have it be the nas server

Damian July 8, 2011 at 7:35 am

Yes, it can act as an smb server if you have local content connected to it. I have never tested specifically on the Dune to see that playback was adequate on other devices when connecting

Quaz July 8, 2011 at 10:37 am

Hi,

Is it possible to stream sopcast to VLC and then to tversity/wild media server on TV? On both players PCH and Dune?

Greetings,

Peter July 8, 2011 at 11:26 am

Hi Damian
Thanks for recommending AVS Forum. Help me resolve my HDD formatting problem re Dune HD Smart D1 internal HDD computability for Mac OS X. For your info all I needed was to install Paragon NTFS or similar on the Mac, now I can read/write to NTFS from the Mac.
Thanks for the guidance.
http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/

Rene July 12, 2011 at 8:58 am

Hey Damian,

my Popcorn Hour C200 just died and now ive got my eyes on the Dune HD D1 instead BUT….as you probably know the Popcorn Hour streamers have a problem when it comes to multiple network shares – as in, it can only mount one share at a time. This is a huge problem in 3rd party jukeboxes like YAMJ if you wanna have only 1 movie jukebox consisting of movies placed in many network shares.

Does the Dune streamers (and Zappiti, yaDis etc.) have the same limitation?

Damian July 12, 2011 at 9:16 am

Hey Rene,

The issue you are talking about I believe is a limitation of the Sigma chips that both the Dune and PCH use. Although I don’t have multiple shares for my videos I know that the Dune cannot mount multiple shares at once.

Rene July 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

Just as the C200 then. Sigh. I read that with some 3rd party (CSI?) software on the Popcorn Hour, it was possible to edit the startup-file of the C200 and some people succesfully added some network share mount commands. I dont suppose you happen to know if this can also be done on the Dune?

Damian July 12, 2011 at 9:30 am

Unfortunately don’t know. Since I don’t manage multiple shares I honestly haven’t spent any time looking in to. You could try asking on the Dune AVS thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=20684761#post20684761

Rene July 23, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I just asked some danish dudes the same question on another forum and one of them swears that the Dune HD D1 doesnt have the same problem as he is using Zappiti with more than one network share and his movies play fine from Zappiti. I hope this is true :)

Jerry July 16, 2011 at 4:44 am

Hi Damian
First time to post here, hope you can help me out. I just finished setting up my home theater and considering Dune D1, Popcorn Hour A210 or Xtreamer Ultra as a network media player. Even though there are several media player in the market there are just a few that has 10/100/1000 connection. Plan to stream my HD videos around 20gb and above sizes per movie. What brand can you recommend? Thanks for a very informative site.

Damian July 16, 2011 at 5:11 am

Hi Jerry,

First off, you don’t need gigE to stream HD Videos. The only reason y ou would need gigE is if you plan on copying around large files across your network, but for streaming 10/100 is fine. The reason I mention this is because even though the PCH and Dune list gigE they have a lot of issues with this (it is an issue with the Sigma chip).

Now as far as the players you just mentioned:

Ultra – this is an HTPC, not a media player and many of the features advertised you are required to purchase/install Windows 7. Also, no hd audio bitstreaming

Dune/PCH – both fine machines. I personally have found the Dune to be the most reliable out of all the players I have as far as video playback (I play a combination of Blu-ray mkvs, Blu-ray folder rips, DVDs, avi, m4vs, etc…). The PCH is slightly cheaper, and as I mentioned I don’t think you can go wrong either way. For both the Dune and PCH you are going to want to use a 3rd party jukebox for your videos (the PCH does have an internal jukebox called NMJ but I wouldn’t bother with). Also, the PCH does have a lot more online content (no big boys like Netflix, Vudu, Amazon, Hulu, etc…) if that matters to you. Let me know if you have any other questions:

Cheers
Damian

Jerry July 21, 2011 at 7:00 am

Thanks Damian appreciate the inputs. Though I am still torn between getting the D1, B1 and the HD Max. My main purpose for is just to stream video over the network so I’m not sure if there is a real need for the internal Hard Disk. Also for the B1 I’m wondering if the Blu Ray drive is good rather than buying something from Panasonic. Or should i simply shell out a big amount of money and just get the HD Max, but same issue do I really need an internal Hard Drive? Isnt this the same as putting an external drive? Is there an advantage between making you HD internal vs external?

Damian July 21, 2011 at 7:05 am

Internal vs External hard drive is usually just a matter of convenience. As far as playback there will be no difference.

As far as a Blu-ray player the Dunes are slower to load then the commercial Blu-ray players. I have only used the Blu-ray rom drive in my Dune BD Prime and for the most part no issues. It is a nice option to have just a fallback in case you want to play a random disc here and there.

mark July 22, 2011 at 5:19 am

Hi Damian,

First time here. Must say your review was well written. I just can’t decide which to go for between PCH a210 and D1. My main need is to play local content stored in hard drives (no streaming). I’m more concerned about downmixing and power consumption. Not so sure if PCH can downmix. And I can’t get any info on the power consumption of dune. PCH is said to be Typical 8W, maximum 36W (source:www.iboum.com). Hope you have some info to share.

Damian July 22, 2011 at 5:29 am

Hi Mark,

There is a bug with the PCH where it cannot downmix TrueHd. I have never tested power consumption but I would assume they are nearly identical.

mark July 22, 2011 at 6:52 am

Thanks for the quick response. The bug with Dolby TrueHD downmix I suspect can be fixed with a firmware upgrade. Except if its a hardware problem. Can I have your opinion on this: The max internal HDD support for the Dune is said to be 2TB. I have a 3TB sata that I plan to partition into 2 of 1.5TB (or 2TB + 1TB). Do you know if this will be recognised by the Dune?

Damian July 22, 2011 at 7:04 am

It isn’t a hardware problem as it used to work. However, this bug has been around for nearly a year, so if TrueHD downmix is a priority I would not pin my hopes on am immediate fix.

I believe 3TB drives work with the Dune but honestly I have never used. You can try asking over the AVSForum Dune thread I have linked to in the comments here

mark July 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Thanks,
This is July, and sigma is supposed to release 8646 chips around Sept/Oct. Do you have an idea of the possible added features to the upgrade when sigma releases these chips. I mean what noticeable differences apart from faster 800Mhz processors will the user (non technical wife) see in terms of PQ; AQ. Will it be worth it to wait a few more months?

Damian July 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

NOt much of an upgrade, Except from the slightly faster processor supposedly the 8646 will have true gigE (which only matters if you are using the Dune for storage via transferring over the network). I don’t see much reason to hold off for the 8646 (no difference in PQ or AQ). I am actually waiting on the 8910 which I believe is supposed to be out in 2012. Aside from a faster processor it will be hdmi 1.4 (i.e. Blu-ray 3D), VXP video processing, etc…

http://www.sigmadesigns.com/products.php?id=131

Bryan July 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Thank you so much for the review! With respect to:

-compatibility with many video codecs/containers
-reliability
-build quality
-firmware updates
-communication/support

Would you recommend the eGreat S2 or the Dune HD Smart D1?

~Bryan

Damian July 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm

From what I have heard eGreat is known for copying firmware from other copies (latest being Dune). I personally wouldn’t trust them.

Torben Rick July 23, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Hi Damian,

THX for a great review.

I have just bought a Cambridge Azur 751BD Blu-Ray player that support DNLA.

I am using MakeMKV to rip to .mkv – it is working just fine.

The only problem that I have is that the subtitles will not show up when playing on the Cambridge Azur 751BD. When playing it on my PC (VLC media player) the subtitles are there.

I think the player is the “problem”?

Will I have the same problems with Dune HD Smart D1 Media Player?

Thanks
Torben

Damian July 24, 2011 at 4:26 am

Hi Torben

Correct, your Blu-ray player is the problem. The Dunes hav no issues displaying subtitles in mkvs (using MakeMKV they would be in the PGS format)

Cheers
Damian

Bryan August 3, 2011 at 7:58 am

Hi, Damian. Could you update the body of your review to reflect the fact MKV chapter support has been fixed?

:-)

~Bryan

Damian August 3, 2011 at 8:10 am

Hi Brian,

I actually had updated it a while (changed from FAIL to PASS) but forgot to also remove the “not” from not supported. I have fixed this, thanks for bringing to my attention.

Cheers
Damian

Peter August 3, 2011 at 10:27 am

Hi Damian
You may or you may not remember me, I ask several questions about HDD formats for Dune HD Smart DI internal drive for Mac users. I Just thought I would get back to you with a little info:
It was all a lot simpler than I thought. First the Dune formats the internal HDD to EXT2 and there appears to be no other options, this of course works fine with Mac as its Unix based. Second the Mac OS on my computer (Mac OS X 10.6.8) is compatible with Windows smb. I now have Dune HD Smart DI, IMac & PC (Windows XP) all on my network communicating fine. I have all so added an external HDD on the network formatted NTFS, but I had to install Paragon NTFS for Mac® OS X 9.0 so that the Mac could read & write to it. http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/ The Dune is compatible with Macs so don’t be put off. Last but not lease, I am really pleased with the Dune HD Smart D1, Thanks for all your comments.
Regards
Mezfing

Damian August 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for sharing. Great to hear everything is working :D

siddhartha August 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm

many thanks for your reviews. they are very informative. i have both wd tv live hub & xtreamer pro. but they do not have good music support. wd tv l hub does have something but it is very cumbersome to find a song or an album or making a playlist. it is good for watching movies. xtr pro does not have any UI for music at all!!

can you please recommend me some hdd based media player like above gadgets which i can hook up to my stereo receiver just for listening pleasure. it should have optical s/pdif out, Composite Audio L/R etc. again many thanks

Damian August 8, 2011 at 7:14 am

When it comes to music I honestly prefer either Sonos or Logitech Squeezebox

siddhartha August 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm

many many thanks. can you please give me any idea regarding Logitech Transporter® SE – Network Music Player. does it contain any hdd?my idea is that it fetches music from elsewhere then processes it and streams them to any media player or i can hook it up with my existing stereo system with cables. couldn’t get any clear idea.

basically i am looking for a hard drive based music player with usual music capabilities of apple ipod classic ( so that i can easily browse my library, make playlist) and with output options like analogue rt & lt, optical s/pdif.
i want to connect it to my HK3490 stereo receiver. it will sit nicely in my drawing room. many many thanks in advance

Ben Bryden August 8, 2011 at 5:26 am

Hi Damian,

have found your webiste today and truly impressed with all your reviews and how-tos. Am having my Smart D1 delivered tomorrow and I have a couple of queries I hoped you might be able to answer.

Firstly, which media jukebox would you recommend for both movies and tv show functionality that would work well with both NAS (QNAP) and USB drives?

Secondly (and this sounds pretty trivial), with Zappiti, yaDIS and mymovies, which catalogue the files, does the relevant PC or Mac need to be continuously running to access the files by the Dune (i.e. in the same way that myihome or twonky does?)

Thanks in advance.

Ben

Damian August 8, 2011 at 7:17 am

Hi Ben,

(1) As far as jukeboxes they are all pretty similar. My Movies support for TV Shows is a bit shaky. I personally use Zappiti and yaDIS is a solid alternative. You need to set up the jukebox on a PC, but your PC only needs to be on to create the jukebox. What happens next is that you export the jukebox, so where you export your jukebox is what needs to be on. For example, I manage Zappiti on my PC. When done I then export my jukebox to my Windows Home Server. From that point my PC is no longer needed, only my Windows Home Server. So if you used your QNAP to store your jukebox that is what needs to be on in order to view the jukebox.

Hope this helps, don’t hesitate to ask any other questions.

Cheers
Damian

Ben August 9, 2011 at 9:43 am

Thanks Damian,

one last decision to make my movies and TV shows are stored over 3 hard drives (due to space restraints!!!) would either Zappiti or yaDIS allow me to map movies and TV shows from multiple locations onto 1 interface?

This is my final question……..

Thanks
Ben

Damian August 9, 2011 at 9:58 am

Ben,

Yes, you can map to multiple locations. The only potential issue is that the Dune cannot mount multiple shares at once (which you could potentially have). The best way around this would be t o your have your jukebox exported to something like a Thumb drive attached to your Dune. So you are using your QNAP but already ran out of space?

Cheers
Damian

Ben Bryden August 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Not yet a few hundred GB to go until it is completely gone. I find it kind of easier to archive the watched stuff on USB drives that i can then connect via USB into the QNAP. I know i am gonna have to upgrade myself to a bigger NAS sooner or later, but will have to get all of my filing system in order first! Didnt realise how much work this was gonna be.

Thanks as always for your help Damian, will keep you posted on my progress.

Ben

Ben August 19, 2011 at 1:55 am

Hi Damian,

have decided to try both and am facing problems with all, despite following them steps in your fantastic guides. I am sure i must be doing something wrong, so i turn to you for help again.

my set-up is as follows:
-TV Samsung smart 3d
-Dune HD Smart D1
-QNAP TS-219P Nas
-Lacie 2TB usb drive connected to NAS USBdisk 1 (TV Shows)
-Seagate Goflex 3 TB usb Drive connected to NAS USBdisk 2 (Movies)

The NAS and Dune are connected through ethernet cable. The movie files are in a single directory named ‘movies’ while the TV Shows are in seperate folders per show then a folder series and then named as per your guide.

yaDIS interface on the PC works perfectly and relatively quickly find all the information. When i export the collection, I find the UI on the Dune and it displays all the artwork. I click on a movie or TV show and it takes me to the next screen that shows me the synopsis and fanart, etc. My problem comes when i click play and/or enter to watch the movie or tv show, and the dune just freezes and i have to restart it after 10 mins of waiting.

My dune doesnt have an internal hard drive, so i have set up a 4gb usb stick with system storage, i have tried setting the export destination on the NAS, a seperate dune memory stick. I am sharing using SMB. I can play everything via the standard dune network explorer and everything plays fine.

I havent got this far with Zappiti yet, as it doesnt download any artwork automatically and i have to change each of the 700 movies i have manually!!

Please help, as this is driving me crazy.

Ben

Damian August 19, 2011 at 2:51 am

Ben,

I just gotta get a few things done at work and then I will look at the rest of your comments.

However, quickly regarding Zappiti, you need to go into the Program Files folder where Zappiti is installed (I think it is C:Program Files/HDI Dune), locate the lanuages.xml file (the one with your language, mine is “languages (en).xml”, look for the line where it references IMDB and change this to TMDB. Once done you will get fanart/covers.

Cheers
Damian

Damian August 19, 2011 at 5:09 am

Ben,

Also, to confirm, you have tried storing your jukebox on an internal drive/stick and you still get the issue? One issue if you store your jukebox on your NAS is the Dune cannot mount multiple smb shares (your library is spread out across multiple shares). In this case you definitely want to stick to exporting your jukebox to an internal drive/usb stick.

Also, try setting up yaDIS or Zappiti just using the media stored on your QNAP (i.e. not ant attached drives) and see if playback works. This will help to start narrow down what the issue could be.

Ben August 20, 2011 at 6:03 am

Hi Damian,

right have tried what you told me. Mounted the yadis and zappiti folders on the usb stick (not the system storage one) didnt work. Then tried clearing the collection from the USB disks and only working with the movies on the nas. Nothing Nada Zip!

So far no progress.

:(

Damian August 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Ben,

I forget if you tested this, if you try to play a movie from your network via the dune file browser (not Zappiti or yaDIS) do you get the same issue? If so then we know if isn’t yaDIS/Dune related. Also, are you running the latest firmware? What resolution do you have the Dune outputting?

Ben Bryden August 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

i can play all files on the network via the dune file browser. Have also now tried setting up with nfs, but i must be entering the paths incorrectly

Alex August 8, 2011 at 8:06 am

Hi Damian,

thanx for the excellent information that you provide us. I have a question for you since I am new to media players. Can I use a single Dune to stream via network to 6-7 rooms? What if simultaneously 7 users stream HD movies. Will the quality be good? Is it up to the hard disk to manage?
Should I wait for the 8646 as you said above (true gigE)?

thank you very much.

Damian August 8, 2011 at 8:40 am

Hi Alex,

You will struggle to maintain more then 2-3 simultaneous streams. I have had no issues doing 2 at the same time, never tried doing more. Honestly if you are looking to stream to multiple rooms I would recommend getting a dedicated NAS Solution (WHS, unRAID, Synology, etc…) as that is not really what the Dune is meant. Keep in mind that even with a dedicated NAS solution if you had to do 6-7 streams simultaneously you will most likely have issues.

Cheers
Damian

Alex August 12, 2011 at 6:25 am

thank you for your answer……..

lets assume I buy a dedicated NAS……don’t I need some sort of hardware(clients) like dune to browse the nas drives and select movies via a software like zappiti?
Or I connect from NAS directly to the TVs via the wired lan network ?

thank you….

Damian August 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Correct. NAS are really meant from streaming content to dedicated players (such as a Dune, HTPC, etc…) and not for being connected directly to a display for playback.

Mark Oliver August 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Hi Damian

I wonder if you can help me out. My boss came onboard his yacht (that I work on) the other day with a DUNE HD Smart D1 and asked me to set it up for him in his main living area. I got it working with all his movies he had pre-loaded onto “HD1″ internally and his IPTV connected with a WIFI usb stick. However tonight when he wanted to watch his movies the internal HDD had disappeared from the Sources menu? Thought just to ask you as this seems like a problem some other people have had. Is there a way to “reconnect” his existing HDD so that he can still see these movies?
THanks for the help guys……as i’m swimming in the deep end.
M

Damian August 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Mark,

Honestly not sure what the issue could be. I would open up the case, disconnect the internal hard drive, and then reconnect. Hopefully that will fix the issue. Let me know how it goes

Cheers
Damian

Bob August 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Hello!

I have 2 questions. First, is duneplayer.com a good place to order these from? I just ordered mine there as it was about the only place I could find that had them. Secondly, what is the flash drive for internally?

Damian August 12, 2011 at 4:34 am

Bob,

I have talked quite a few times with the owner of DunePlayer (Mike). Highly recommend.

Internal flash drive can be used as system storage (for BD Live and if you want to add shortcuts to the main menu)

Cheers
Damian

hellerbrewing August 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm

As always, excellent writeup Damian.

Maybe the answer to this question is obvious, but if I want to use a dune player directly connected to a TV to play BD rips from my server, what happens to the HD audio. If I am connected via analog or HDMI, will there be an audio stream that the TV can handle? I am looking for a way to rip my Blu Rays so that they will play on the HTPC as well as on other TVs throughout the house without having to have 2 copies of each movie.

Damian August 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm

You bet, it will get downmixed to 2 ch stereo. This will be done for both DTS(MA) and TrueHD so you are covered on both fronts. This is something that is important for me to test since you never know where a player will end up. Others players have issues with this, which then limits how you can use the player.

salmiya1982 August 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Hi Damian

I hope the answer I want to buy dune hd smart d1 But I have questions
1- Can Buy dune hd smart d1 or dune BD Prime 3
2- What is the best in terms of quality dune or popcorn hour
3- Do you want full BluRay menus (dune hd smart d1)
4- Do you support the Arabic subtitle (srt)

I am very sorry for these questions I hope to answer quickly

Damian August 18, 2011 at 6:29 am

1. Either Smart D1 or BD Prime 3 are fine, I actually buy both. The smarts are at a better price point
2. I have found the Dune to be slightly better quality, but you can’t go wrong with either
3. Smart D1 supports full Blu-ray menus
4. Don’t know. I think I have seen mention of support but best bet would be to confirm on the forums (MPCClub for Dune)

Cheers
Damian

salmiya1982 August 18, 2011 at 9:31 am

Two questions is better please popcorn hour c200 or dune hd smart d1
I hope to get me to answer certain about the support the Arabic subtitle

salmiya1982 August 18, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Two questions is better please popcorn hour c200 or dune hd smart d1
I hope to get me to answer certain about the support the Arabic subtitle

Peter August 21, 2011 at 8:30 am

Hi Damian

Do you have any suggestions for the following problem.
On some of my films and TV shows, the video and audio are out of sync when played through Dune HD Smart D1, but are in sync when played on the computer using VLC or other players. I have the latest firmware installed.

Regards
Peter

Damian August 25, 2011 at 11:46 am

Hi Peter,

Does this happen for a specific file format, or anything that the a/v sync files have in common. Typically A/V sync is due to a bad encode, and some players have built in processes to try and adjust for this (such as VLC or other)

Thomas August 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Hi Damian,

I also have a few questions.

Are there any news regarding the new Dune HD Smart B2/D2/H2 units?

According to this information http://dune-hd.com/news/144-future-upgrades.html

the 8646 chips should be available from the manufacturer around late Q3 2011 (closer to September-October 2011).

I want to buy a new media player preferable a Dune HD Smart D1.

(I have a few serious problems with my TviX M6500A and want to get rid of it. No more firmware updates for months, sporadically black screen during movie playback…)

Now the question is buy an Dune HD Smart D1 now and upgrade the board later when available or wait for Dune HD Smart D2?

Is the CPU performance of the Sigma Designs 8642/8643 media processor sufficient in the D1 unit? I have heard the new 8646 chips have more CPU power. Is it really needed for simple movie playback? Also the 3d features of the chip are unimportant for me because of a problem with stereoscopic vision so I can’t make use of the 3D view.

Are 3TB hard drives supported in the dune HD Smart D1?
Or should I better use a 2TB Disk? Which hard drive could you recommend ?
Is a 4GB USB stick ok to expand internal system storage?

What do you think? Should I wait for the new unit or go and buy a D1 Smart now?

I would be happy if you could answer some of my questions.

Thank you.

regards
Thomas

Damian August 25, 2011 at 11:51 am

Thomas,

Regarding the upgraded chip, I would not even consider the board upgrade option. The reason is I believe the cost will not be justified versus the minimal upgrade you will get. In particular I think the new chip will have true gigE but unless you are transferring a lot of files back and forth with the Dune this is a non event. The chip should be slightly faster but I have heard performance gains aren’t dramatic.

As far as 3TB tbh I am not sure as I have never used. I know several players currently where 3TB works, but can’t recall off the top of my head if it applies to the Dunes as well.

Really, the next chip I am waiting for is the Sigma SMP8910, but that isn’t even rumored to come out until some time in 2012 (Blu-ray 3D support, HDMI 1.4a, VXP Video Processing, gigE, etc…).

I would say if you are looking for a player now there is no reason to wait until the SMP8646 comes out, it will add zero to movie playback.

Hope that at least gives you an idea, but don’t hesitate to ask any other questions.

Cheers
Damian

janeff August 25, 2011 at 11:28 am

Hi Damian,
Is it really not possible to load/force external subtitles (SRT in my case) into a video file (tried with MKV, AVI and MP4 – without success).
ANY PC base player (KMPlayer for example) can do that flawlessly. Do they expect that one knows ALL the languages in the world or what? Other than that, the machine HD Smart D1 is not bad at all, but the sub bug is HUGE! Even for the PS3 there is a solution (AVIAddXSubs) but nothing for the Dune?

Thank you in advance.

Damian August 25, 2011 at 11:41 am

I don’t use external subs but I thought there was a setting in the Dune to give preference to external subs over internal, which I would think would load them automatically?

janeff August 26, 2011 at 4:51 am

Thanks Damian, have seen those settings but they do NOT work. Anyways, I found a way to “build/merge” MVK files with external subs. A bit slow process (15 -20 min. pr. file) but at least now I can see French (Italian….) films with subs!
Carpe diem! :)

Dave August 29, 2011 at 12:58 am

Janeff,
What program are you using to merge the subs into the MKV files?
Cheers
Dave

Damian August 29, 2011 at 7:23 am

Use mkvmerge

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/03/31/mkv-mania-clown_bd-mkvmerge/

You can skip the Clown_BD part and just go to the mkvmerge section. mkvmerge is the go to software for mkvs imo.

Dave August 31, 2011 at 12:41 am

Thanx Damian for the answer….
Received the D1 yesterday and what a difference compared to the crap that AC Ryan delivers… One thing that I can not find (also not in the online manual), how can I reach the torrent client from my pc….

http://192.168.1.x:port number (but what is the port number?)

Oh and one more thing; Is there a way to change the sharename? Now it is Dune43246871310 (something similair to this)

Thanx and cheers!

Damian September 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm

TBH not sure, I have never tried using as a torrent client. You many want to ask on the Dune Smart AVS Thread or MPCClub.

Same goes with changing the sharename. I haven’t seen any options to do this but I also don’t use an internal drive with mine

Dave August 31, 2011 at 12:13 pm

To be exact, the name of the share that I see under Windows is:

DuneHDD_a5ad7862_bafc_48c8_b016_e6f7e10f8256 (\\DUNE)

Adi September 2, 2011 at 1:50 am

Hi Guys,

I have recentlry purchased a Dune HD Smart D1 Media Player. i fit a 1 TB HDD in and also got the Linksys WUSB600N Wifi USB adapter.

http://dune-hd.com/firmware/hw_compat/wifi.html

I cannot make it work at all. I firstly installed on my PC with the CD that came with. It work fine and fast. But no matter what USB port i connect it to Dune is not recognized at all. Any advice please?

Thanks,
Adi

Gin77 September 2, 2011 at 11:00 am

Hi Damien,
is it possible to access the internal HDD trough the usb slave port when the D1 is in stand-by mode?

Damian September 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

I don’t use an internal drive so I can’t confirm. If by slave you mean connected to your PC, the issue you may have is if the hard drive is formatted by ext3 your PC will not be able to see (unless you have some special software I believe). If the internal drive is formatted as NTSC I would think your PC should be able to see, even in standby mode (but as I said, I don’t use Internal Drives so unfortunately I cannot confirm)

Bryan September 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Hi, Damian. Thank you again for your great review, which largely led to my purchasing the D1. I have three questions:

1) Is there any way to add a codec? I just got back from a trip, and I have a lot of videos in plain .avi format from my Canon S400 digital camera. However, the Dune won’t play any of them.

2) The Dune will not see my Windows network shares. On two separate computers, I have various folders with media content I want to see on the Dune, but it will not show up. The computers themselves show up, but the folders on each machine will not.

3) I have a TV show I want to play. It stretches to fill the whole screen, which makes things look grainy. Is there a way to change the resolution? On my Geexbox Media Player, I could change the dimensions.

Do you have any suggestions for these issues?

Thank you!

:-)

~Bryan

Damian September 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Hi Bryan,

1) Unfortunately you cannot add codecs. You either need HDI to add it to the player via a firmware update or you would need to encode the file into another supported format. Digital cameras always cause issues since it seems there is no one standard format to use

2) Try adding the shared folders directly to your Dune menu and navigating from there. I assume you are trying to see them via the Dune network browser which for whatever reason always has issues. I have a shortcut to my Videos shared on my Dune menu (I think if you hit the popup button you will see an option to add a network folder)

3) I think there are a few pan/scan options on the remote that you can cycle through while watching. I am not home right now so I don’t have the remote in front of me.

Hope that helps, feel free to ask any other questions.

Cheers
Damian

Tim September 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Ok, I’m seriously looking into picking up a Dune player but I have some questions. First up, using MakeMKV and including the PCM,TrueHD or DTS-MA tracks in my Blu rips will the Dune bitstream it without any other steps being involved?
2nd big question is will it recognize SRT subtitle inclusions or “forced” subtitles?

Damian September 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Hi Tim,
The Dune will bitstream without any issue or need for any extra steps. As far as subtitles the dune will recognize srt but it does not respect the forced subtitle flag in mkvs, so you will need to keep subtitles turned on to cycle through.

Tim September 12, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Thanks, & PCM audio plays without a hitch as well?

Damian September 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Yes. I only have a 5.1 setup, but any pcm tracks play as expected

Tim September 12, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Wow, sounds like it does pretty much everything but recognizing forced subtitles. May I ask what type of external HDD you are using? I was using a Western Digital My Book 2 TB playing ripped ISO files through my Oppo BDP-93 but it failed after only 4 days use.

Damian September 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm

All my media is stored on my windows home server and streamed to my dunes over the network. Currently my server has 16 hard drives i think around 26tb.

Adi September 13, 2011 at 1:50 am

I have a Linksys WUSB600N model which is not compatible with my Dune HD Smart D1. Quick question: Does the Adapter wireless N D-Link DWA-160 works with this system?

Thanks,
Adi

Damian October 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I don’t believe, I would probably recommend sticking with a Dune approved adapter

Roman September 15, 2011 at 9:01 am

Hi Domenic, I’ve read thru the comments and noted your remark that front panel display on Dune D1 is not really suitable for browsing for files. I have a Ziova CS615 player where the panel VFD can be used for browsing for music files and playing them but it doesn’t support Hi-res flac files playback. So I’m looking for a replacement player. I only want it to play music without having a TV connected to it. Could you please confirm that the front panel LCD in Dune D1 is completely useless for this function? Thanks you

Damian October 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Yes, useless

Verdi September 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I was thinking of getting an external RAID enclosure (http://www.hotway.com.tw/products/h8r2-su3s2.htm) and using the RAID1+0 option, with 2TB HDDs.

Anyone have any idea if it would work with the Dune Smart D1? Do share :)

Harald September 22, 2011 at 8:14 am

Hi Damian
Thank you for sharing your expertise! I wonder if you could advise me on the following:
My PC is in an upstairs room and my TV is on the first floor. I would like to record 720p and 1080i TV programs over an attic antenna and record streaming videos (typically Adobe Flash format) on the web

What hardware do I need to make this work? Is there a PVR (that would sit next to the TV) that would allow me to record both types of video? I have an Ethernet connection near the TV that connects it to my home network and also a coax cable that runs from my PC to my TV.

I am interested in a PWR with the following features:
*single or dual tuner (I am only interested is a select few programs and do not watch TV a lot)
* a web browser with text entry via a wireless USB keyboard and mouse (eg Lenovo N5902)
* media player with good a/v format and codec support
* HDMI and component input

This player seems to fit my needs: http://www.eminent-online.com/en/product/863/em7195-hdmedia-dvb-t-hd-media-player—for-internal-harddisk.html

From your description the Dune D1 would also work if I use it with the Hauppage HD PVR, but you indicated that its web browser is limited. Limited in what way?

As an alternative I could get the Iomega ScreenPlay DX http://go.iomega.com/en-us/products/multimedia-drive/screenplay-multimedia-drives/screenplay-dx/?partner=4760 as a media player with HDMI and component and web browser, the ATSC tuner of my TV and the Haupauge HD PVR to record OTA TV programs or streaming videos over the Internet. They would be set up near my TV. Since my PC is not near my TV I would have to connect the Hauppage via a new USB cable (15 meter?) or could I use my existing Ethernet cable or coaxial cables via a USB adapter?

These two have no component input:
Web:tv from Blu:sens http://blusens.com/en/products/digital-home/WEB:TV/
DX-300 from DExtreme http://www.dxtreme.com.au/DX300/dx300spec.html

Also does the D1 not support DivX?
Thanks
Harald

Damian October 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Harald,

Sorry, your comment got thrown into Spam, just caught it now. As far as recording OTA I currently use an HDHomerun Networked tuner, recording on my HTPC (check out they guides here for more details). I don’t believe there is a media player available that can record the feeds, you will need to use a PC as your DVR. As far as recording flash video from the web, honestly I have never done so I don’t want to comment on how effective it would be.

The D1 does support DIVX, at least in an AVI which I have played back without issue. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Cheers
Damian

Harald October 30, 2011 at 10:31 am

Hi Damian
Could you say more about what limitations the web browser has? I would like to use it to type URLs via a wireless keyboard (Lenovo N5902) and then save the URLs as favorites and access the sites (BBC, PBS ect) to record their streams.

The Eminem Media Player http://www.eminent-online.com/en/product/863/em7195-hdmedia-dvb-t-hd-media-player—for-internal-harddisk.html records live TV but does not have a web browser.

Damian October 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

I don’t really use the web browsers but they are somewhat limited in how they function and plugin support. For example, I don’t think you can pull up hulu and watch videos, and I don’t believe there is an option to actually record live tv feeds directly to the Dune. I do have very little experience in this area though (I use my PC for any sort of recordings)

Scott October 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Im most likely interested in a dune smart series device

In the basic file browser not the movie jukebox or whatever you use on the dune can you sort files by date or size?

Also in the file browser can you search for a file within a drive

and can someone confirm you can use a powered usb hub on this with as many drives as your hub can take

Damian October 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Scott,

I rarely ever use the file browser. If I get a chance I will look at if any sort of sorting options are available.

I also don’t believe there is a search function

I believe quite a few people are using powered USB hubs without issue.

You could also ask here as there are a lot of Dune users who use USB hubs:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1270503&page=192

Steve October 12, 2011 at 7:08 am

Hi Damian

You have a nice site and quite informative one at that. Actually I have been trying to read about the Media Players and your reviews and your comments here and elsewhere have been quite useful. I have been sitting up reading about buying a media player from between WD Live Hub, PCH A-210, Boxee Box and Dune HD Smart D1. I have a PS3, but needed something something that less fussy than for Blurays and MKVs off the hard disk, especially with the ability to play/bitstream to HD Audio to my AVR. Reading your recommendations, I am almost decided on the Dune D1. Is this the correct decision?

The Dune D1 will connect to the AVR by HDMI and will get a wired connection to the Internet Gateway/Router. If I want to use Zappiti, can this be installed over Win 7 64bit Home Edition PC which is connecting to the router wirelessly? Is WHS manadatory? I prefer not to keep the PC on while using Zappiti. Is this possible with this setup?

Thanks for the great work and advises once again.

Damian October 13, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Hi Steve,

Dune D1 the correct decision for local file playback (including Blu-rays and mkvs) with full HD Audio support, yes!

WHS is not mandatory. I actually run Zappiti on my W7 x64 PC and simply export the jukebox to my WHS, but you can export to wherever you like as long as your Dune can access. There is no need to keep a PC on for Zappiti unless you store your jukebox on that PC.

Hope that helps, but don’t hesitate to ask any other questions

Cheers
Damian

Steve October 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Thanks Damian for taking to time to educate newbies like me.

Yes, I went and bought the Dune HD Smart D1. I will be attaching a 2 TB Internal drive as well as a 8 Gb USB drive partitioned (2 Gb for system + 6 Gb for data) on the Dune. I am assuming that it will be better to prepare the 2TB drive by attaching it to the PC and have Zappiti do the work from the PC and then remove it off the PC and attach to the Dune. Hope this is the fastest way. Or can I see the 2TB drive from the PC over wireless network and having the Zappiti or work on it?

I intend to export the Jukebox or Movie wall or whatever it is called to the 6 Gb USB partition. Ayway let me get started and I will update here.

Thanks once again Damian.

BTW, this thread is good start for newbies like me for setting up Zappiti:

http://www.mpcclub.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26089

Steve October 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Ha the pain of learning!

Is there a way I can partition a USB flash drive to 2+6 TB? AVS forum is full of stories how Dune D1 do not recognize the second partition. I have not finished reading the long AVS forum thread (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1270503&page=87) , but apparently Damian you are the only one who has managed to do it and lived to tell the story. So can you please tell me how did you do it? :D

Christian October 26, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Hi

I just Got the Samsung led 8005 with 3D. I know have Tvix 4100 mediaplayer. Im looking for a mediaplayer that can play 3D movies. Can Dune HD Smart B1 play 3D.??

Damian October 26, 2011 at 5:23 pm

The Dune Smart B1 will play back Side By Side or Top Bottom 3D, but it will not play back Blu-ray 3D (if that is what you are asking about). Right now only the Realtek 1186 players can play back Blu-ray 3D (I have one coming in which I will review in the coming weeks). The Sigma players (Dune and PCH) we won’t see Blu-ray 3D support until at some point in 2012 when the SMP8910 chip comes out.

Christian October 27, 2011 at 6:51 am

Hi Damian

Thanks for the quick reply.! That is was i was thinking about.
I will look forward to se your review of the Realtek 1186.!

I am a newbie and do not fully understand the 3D world yet.
Does it meen, when it does support Blue-Ray 3D support “Full” 3D.?
When do you think it´s possible to watch 3D with the 3D glases you get from the cinema on your tv.?
Does it meen to get a new tv that mabye havent been made yet.?

3D “Full” (HDMI 1.4):
two full 1920×1080 stereoscopic images are encoded in a single 1920 x 2160 frame. This is the “full 3D”, it does require HDMI 1.4 (new frame resolution, higher video bandwidth) and this is the 3D method being used to encode 3D BluRay discs

3D “Side by Side”: two anamorphic 960×1080 stereoscopic images are encoded inside a full HD frame (1920x1080p). This works with HDMI 1.3.

3D “Over/Under”: two anamorphic 1920×540 images are encoded inside a full HD frame (1920x1080p). This works with HDMI 1.3.

3D “Interlaced”: two interlaced 1920×540 stereoscopic “fields” are encoded as regular fields in a full HD interlaced field (1920x1080i). This works with HDMI 1.3.

Damian October 27, 2011 at 7:01 am

Yes, Full and Blu-ray 3D are considered one in the same.

As far as tvs, there are some already that work similar to the movie theaters. You would need to look for TVs that use passive 3D technology and not active 3D technology.

Mathelo October 30, 2011 at 10:55 am

Thank you Damian for your very helpful reviews.

I have been using a SageTV HD200 for a couple of years now and I’m generally satisfied but I want to upgrade to something that handles BD better, faster and better user interface, and does not lockup the way the HD200 does. The lockup isn’t frequent but it is terribly annoying when it happens. My primary use is for streaming ripped BD/DVDs from my HP server.

The Dune HD Smart D1 looks like a very nice upgrade from my HD200 but I see there is the B1 with a build-in BD player. I don’t generally need this but there are times when it is nice to have and I don’t currently have a BD player. And the upcharge is reasonable.

Are there any reasons why I shouldn’t consider the B1 instead of the D1? Functionally they seem the same except for the BD player.

Thanks!

Louis

Damian October 30, 2011 at 11:03 am

Louis,

If you want to have a BD Player the B1 is a very nice option. I have the D1 but I also have the Dune BD Prime, and even though I rarely play physical discs it does come in handy every once in a while

Mathelo October 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

Damian,

Is there any reason to consider the Prime or is that an obsoleted model?

Louis

Damian October 30, 2011 at 11:07 am

Louis,

That is just the older model. No need to consider. For a Blu Ray drive look at either the B1 or the Dune HD Max (much higher price tag)

Cheers
Damian

Charmwah November 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Damian

After having just read your thorough review on this product i’m unsure as to whether or not it’ll be any good for me? You’ll have to forgive my relative Noobness to media players. At first it appeared it would do the trick, but you mention that its not really suitable for a mainly music use…

What i’m ultimately trying to achieve is a piece of hardware that stores all my media, is networked so that I can point & save torrents to it, and to have its own display. Because i’ll use it mostly for music playback (via my old school NAD amp) I want it to have its own display, and not to have to switch on my TV/monitor/laptop everytime I fancy playing some music. I’ll use it for occasional film playback too.

I’ve looked at Popcorn Hours, Cocktail Audio, Boxee’s, Sumvision Cyclone and the rest, and yet I havent got a clue which to go for.

I realise to some extent i’m hijacking this review thread, but you (and by extension the forum users) are the most knowledgable & honest people i’ve found to ask (and i’ve posted on plenty of forums!). If you’d prefer I can direct my enquiry to a different address or forum?

Thanks in advance!

Damian November 8, 2011 at 11:44 am

Because music seems to be an important component for what you are looking for I am not sure I would recommend any of these players as music always takes a back seat. I actually use a Sonos system at home purely for music (an alternative would be logitech). As far as these players, the LCD screen is not useful. You will either need to turn on your tv/monitor or some of them have phone Apps that you might be able to control your music library. Sorry, I wish I could say one of these media players would meet your needs, but I think you would just end up sorely disappointed.

Charmwah November 9, 2011 at 1:19 am

Is it that bad?! I emailed Sonos and was told i’d be looking at a cost of £600 to get a system to do what i want it to do, that seems crazy to me, I’m amazed there isnt a piece of kit out there that does what i want it to do. It seems to me the cheapest way to go about it all is to buy a cheap laptop with a decent sound card & 1tb hard drive to throw all my music on and forego the odd movie here and there…

Nestico November 9, 2011 at 2:12 am

Charmwah, as Damian said, I would suggest you take a look at Logitech SqueezeBox Touch. My setup is Qnap TS-119 (£210) for storage, download, backups + Touch (£220) for music + Dune D1 (£205) for video. It is a complete fanless setup, and works like a charm.

Dune D1 plays anything you would want in the video area.

The Logitech SqueezeBox Touch is an excellent player with great audio quality (use the analog outputs unless you have a great DAC) it would be hard to beat with a “cheap laptop with decent sound card”

You can install the SqueezeBox server on the Qnap for optimal results.

The drawbacks are that you must configure a few things which could be a little bit cumbersome if one is not a techy guy, but it looks like you could find your way around it.

*prices from amazon.co.uk

Charmwah November 10, 2011 at 1:28 am

Nestico, thanks for the input :)

Your setup would still set me back over £600 though. In an ideal world i’d fork out that much and more to have my home set up perfected, as I understand cait I couyld have a squeezebox in virtually every room, each playing a different song simultaneously.

However as it stands, that isnt really an option. And i’m sure the audio quality will be sacrificed the less i spend. But, at my previous home I had my old PC connected to my amp & TV, which essentially did everything i’m now asking for. I’d still have that setup, were it not for the fact my daughter now uses my old PC… The audio quality on that (to my ear at least) was superb, even at high volumes.

I thought the popcorn hour c-200 would foot the bill originally. Then I saw this Dune D-1 and thought that was perfect…

*Holds head in hands*

Damian November 10, 2011 at 5:58 am

With the Dune or PCH you can play back music. You will however be required to have a monitor on (or see if there is possibly an App which I believe there are for the PCH) if you want to try and bypass a monitor. When all is said and done, if you are primarily looking for music playback and video playback is secondary then any of these media players really don’t make sense for you tbh.

Hamed November 10, 2011 at 2:32 am

Hi Damian,

thanks for this magnificent review; I only have 2 questions:

1- The REALD feature says that we can watch 3d movies via this player, yet there is no confirmation

2- Is there a problem with 1080p video playback?
mkv w/ 1080p internal IDX/SUB subtitles(FAIL)

that’s it.
thanks

Damian November 10, 2011 at 5:53 am

1) The whole 3D thing is confusing. You can watch Side By Side 3D on the Dunes. However, this is not the same thing as Blu-ray 3D, which is not possible on the Dunes.

2) This is not related to 1080p videos. Instead this is related to using 1080p IDX/SUB subtitles. Blu-rays use 1080p PGS subtitles which work fine. IDX/SUB subtitles are actually the standard subtitle format for DVDs. In their standard format (480p) they play fine. If the user has them in 1080p IDX/SUB format the subtitles will not appear

Hamed November 10, 2011 at 7:29 am

Hi again,

Thanks for the reply. I got the 2nd one, but the first one is still confusing me. Would you explain the difference between side by side and none- side by side 3ds? If it is too long to explain, then direct me to a reference or something.

thanks

Damian November 10, 2011 at 7:33 am

The easiest way to explain is sbs (side by side) 3D is typically half resolution (although you could have full sbs). Here is a good article:

http://hd.engadget.com/2010/01/12/hd-101-the-difference-between-sequential-and-side-by-side-3d/

Phil December 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Hey Damian,

thanks for the great engagement. There is one point I just do not get: Everybody talks about Dune being a great mediacenter. So I buyed my one a few month ago. Today I guess I am the most frustrated user with this device, because everything which is developed (from third parties –> Zappiti or MyMovies or whatever) cares about MOVIES. Hell, I just want to use it as a music-jukebox. And the GUI used for music is the biggest mis-developed ever seen in something called “mediacenter” and I did not even think about playlists or something. Do I am the only person on this planet who wants to just play music with the Dune, allowing to see Cover-Art and creating playlists? Is there ANY clever way to find a solution for using it as a music-jukebox? I would really appreciate your feedback.

Cheers,

Phil

Damian December 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Hey Phil,

I personally would never recommend the Dune if music playback is a priority. That is definitely not its strong point (as you have found out). I have never tried Musicnizer but have heard mixed reviews. I know the yaDIS developer just hinted that he is working on a music version of yaDIS, so that sounds like it could have potential. Unfortunately for now I don’t think you have many options. Ideally Dune HD would come out with a firmware update that integrates a dynamic music jukebox into the Dune UI, but I don’t know if that is even on their radar

Cheers
Damiain

Phil December 15, 2011 at 8:18 am

Understand. But thanks you anyway for your quick reply and the hint. I will just put my dune in a corner and will check the dune homepage and yadis devs from time to time. Thanks once again, and have a merry christmas!

Hanus December 18, 2011 at 11:03 am

Could you please test this video sample (AVI – DIVX+MP3) whether DUNE HD Smart can play it back? Thanks a lot.

EDITOR UPDATE: Links to copyright material have been removed

Hanus December 18, 2011 at 11:54 am

Sorry about wrong sample (copyright issue). Here is another sample (same format, 21 sec, 11 MB) but my video: http://test.e-hanus.cz/my_sample.avi
Thanks for test.

Damian December 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Hanus,

Tested file, it played fine on the Dune.

Cheers
Damian

Hanus December 24, 2011 at 5:59 am

Great, thank you. Now I can buy DUNE HD Smart with no doubts :-)
Mary Christmas.

Bill Appleby December 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Anyone know how to make a playlist from an external hard drive connected to the Dune HD1? The Dune will not access Windows Media Player Playlists.

John December 22, 2011 at 6:31 am

Does anyone know, if the Dune can playback a folder with mixed media-content as a slideshow? e.g. it should present images as a slideshow, playback the video then show the following images …

Damian December 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Hmmmm…. not sure. I know for example when I click on a TV show folder with multiple episodes (and there are images in that folder as well) to initiate a playlist only the videos play

John January 5, 2012 at 5:22 am

Thanks for the reply … support from Dune confirmed this. Unfortunately it’s either images or videos.

Antonio December 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Hi Damian

Awesome review and I just placed an order for the Dune D1 from scan.

Here is my Setup.
1. QNAP TS-119P II NAS with 1TB HDD connected to my Virgin Router
2. Dune D1 connected to my router
3. Dune connected to my Sony AVR via HDMI

I simply want to be able to turn on the Dune, the AVR and my TV, browse AVI or MKV files on the QNAP via the Dune remote control and play it.

Will that work?

Also I use a lot of external subtiles (srt and sub files) with my AVI and MKV files, will the Dune allow me to load these files and allow me to edit the sync of the subtitles? For example I can edit the timing on a sub file in GOM Player on my PC by seconds so it syncs with the video.

Can’t wait to receive the QNAP and the DUNE.

Cheers

Damian December 31, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Hi Antonio,

Yes that will work. You can use the file browser of the Dune to simply navigate to your library and play back, or you can use a 3rd party jukebox to manage.

TBH I only use forced subs if they are present so I can’t really give you a definitive answer about subtitles. The folks on AVS in the Dune Smart thread could probably give you a better answer:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1270503&page=214

Cheers
Damian

Antonio January 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Thanks for getting back to me Damian, I’ve got it all setup and it seems to be working ok except one little problem.

I bought a Sandisk 4GB USB stick and attached it to the slot inside the Dune but when I go to Setup>Miscellaneous>System Storage>Initialize System Storage. It says “Please ensure that an empty storage is attached to the player. At least 2GB storage is recommended”.

So I select OK but then get the error “No Suitable empty storage found”

I can see “USB Storage” in the home page (Sources) and can access it, it contains system files such as RunClubSandisk.exe etc which I supposed is the built in encryption software of the USB stick.

Do I need to format the stick first and if so can I do it on the Dune whilst its connected?

Thanks once again.

Damian January 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I would format the drive and remove all excess stuff off of it. Someone else I was corresponding with was having a similar problem setting up a USB drive as system storage, and he said removing the included software that came on the USB drive fixed his problem.

PJ December 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Excellent Review. I have one question about the D1. If I have movie files on an external hard drive, and movie files on another external hard drive, do I have the option to have all movie files from both hard drives show up in the same location / folder within the D1?

Thank you!

Damian December 31, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Yes, but you will need to use a jukebox like Zappiti, yaDIS, or My Movies. With the stock Dune UI it will show as separate libraries.

Cheers
Damian

PJ December 31, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Awesome Thank You! I will refer to your “Guide: Setting Up Zappiti For the Dune” you have on this site.

Also, one last question. With full BD Rips with full menu support (Folders and ISOs) can those be 3D movies? Or when it comes to 3D movies should I just stick to 1080p SBS 3D MKV files?

Damian December 31, 2011 at 2:20 pm

The Dune doesn’t support Blu-ray 3D (limitation of the Sigma chip). We probably won’t see Dune players that support (via the Sigma 8910) until the second half of 2012, so for now your SBS mkvs would be your choice to use.

Jason January 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

Damain,

Trying to decide between getting the Dune D1 or B1. DunePlayer.com lists the D1 has Sigma Designs 8642/8643 and B1 has Sigma Designs 8642. Any idea what they meant for D1 Sigma Designs 8642/8643? Does it mean there are 2 versions of D1?

Thanks

Damian January 11, 2012 at 7:08 am

Hi Jason,

Never understood the 8642/8643 designation. It is just one player, there aren’t two models.

Antonio January 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Damian, it seems quite slow rewinding etc during playback when the Dune D1 is accessing files from the NAS so I was thinking of connecting a USB powered hard drive to the Dune D1 (internal HDD’s get boiling scary hot so thats a no go), and then I would like to be able to transfer files from my PC/Laptop to this USB HDD connected to the Dune but how do I go about setting that up?

What should I do on the Dune so that I can see the HDD on my PC/Laptop?

By the way I’ve got a shared folder on my NAS called “Vidoes” which I have setup the Dune to access via NFS but as already mentioned this isn’t what I would call fast access!

Many thanks mate for all your help.

Damian January 11, 2012 at 7:10 am

Antonio,

If you turn on the Samba/NFS servers in the settings of the Dune your drives should be accessible via your network.

Mathelo January 11, 2012 at 8:44 am

Is there a way to install an NFS on the Dune?

Damian January 11, 2012 at 8:45 am

I believe the Dune has NFS built in. If you want to use NFS to stream to your Dune it would have to be installed on your PC/NAS that you are streaming from.

Mathelo January 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

Built-in or already on? I’ve seen where this application is available for Samba but not for NFS. I already have NFS running on my WHS to stream to my Dune.

Damian January 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm

So are you trying to use your Dune as a NAS and stream via NFS from the Dune to other players?

Mathelo January 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm

No. I’ve got the My Movies index on a thumb drive on the Dune and thought it might update faster if NFS was available.

Damian January 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm

So sorry about this, had a complete brain fart. I kept thinking about the NFS server options in the service menu of the PCH. The Dune does not have this (nor to my knowledge can you install on the Dune). Apologies for the mixup

Mathelo January 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm

No problem. Thanks just for considering my question.

alex January 15, 2012 at 12:51 am

thanks a great deal for your wonderful resource. a question, please. I have had the pch-a110 for a number years for general streaming of kids recordings mp4s), rips and occasional photo slideshow and have been happy with it for the fact that it reads everything. But it is time for an upgrade for a more responsive UI and I am looking at both the a-300 and one of the Dunes. I have similar streaming needs to your and I have read both of your thoughtful reviews of the a300 and the D1. Your final review of the a-300 mentioned of a dune for stability and responsiveness; which of the dunes (under $300) would you recommend, please?

Damian January 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm

For under $300 really it would be either the D1 or H1. The D1 has a little more of a professional look with the LCD screen (although tbh the LCD screen is a bit useless). The H1 is a better fit if you plan on constantly swapping out an internal hard drive.

I wish I could give a better recommendation of the A-300 right now but I need to see a few bugs fixed first

Nik January 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Hi there.I need help.I need to know little detail about Dune Smart.

I need to know is it possible for me to play video content over network (not local) which is located in Dune internal hard disk? I’m working at advertising company. The projector installed at shopping mall which is 15km distance from office. Both are connected with internet. It would be excellent if the solution comes with schedule playback, or it will auto start & play the media at the time we set and turn to standby after playback ends. We really have no idea on how to play,manage,stop video content from our office’s desktop. I hope you understand wht i’m searching for..sorry my english is really bad.

please..really tired of finding solution.end up here.hoping to get solution very soon from you guys.

Damian January 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Hi,

I think you are looking for a digital signage solution, something like this:

http://dune-hd.com/presenters/

Antonio January 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Hello again Damian and sorry to trouble you again with this but I just can’t seem to get it to work.

I’m in Setup>Applications>SMB Server on the Dune player and have the following options set by default:
Enabled: Yes
Server Name: Dune
Server Description: Dune SMB Server
Workgroup: dune

On my Windows 7 laptop I’m trying to access it via mapping it as a network drive but not not getting anywhere.

I’ve tried setting the folder path as \\Dune and also the IP address of the Dune such as \\192.168.0.2 but nothing works!

Am I trying to access this the wrong way?

Hope you can help out. Thanks again.

Damian January 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm

You need to turn on SMB server on the Dune itself if you want to access the Dune internal drive from a PC (just dig through the dune settings and you will find). I don’t use an internal drive so I can’t give you the specific setting off the t op of my head

antonio sergio January 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Hi Damian, is it possible to record from cable tv with Dune D1 Media Player? Thank you and congratulations.

Damian January 18, 2012 at 4:44 am

In the U.S, no. Outside of the U.S I know there are some tuner options but honestly I have no experience with so I couldn’t even give you a decent answer.

I currently use my HTPC to record cable TV, and from there I can then encode for playback on my Dunes.

Nik January 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Hi Damian. Thanks in advance for your fast reply.Ok..so i need to know more info about Dune Presenter. Is it hardware or software? how about networking performance?do i still need to buy Dune D1?How to buy Dune Presenter, can i buy it from internet?

Some advice please.
Thanks

Damian January 18, 2012 at 4:42 am

Honestly I don’t know anything about the Presenter since that is not something I would need. Best bet would be to contact Dune directly and I am sure they could help you since your needs focus specifically on the marketing/advertising aspect.

Nik January 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I will contact them.anyway..thanks dude.nice stuff you got here.c ya.

Memoria SD January 25, 2012 at 3:08 am

Hi,
I would like to connect my blu-ray using HDMI to Dune HD and connect Dune HD to my TV using component output. On your experience will it work at 1080p?
Thanks,
Carlo

Damian January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I don’t believe that will work, you cannot connect a Blu-ray to your Dune via HDMI (the HDMI port on the Dune is meant to output a signal, not receive a signal)

Jason January 25, 2012 at 8:43 am

Any tools out there like Clown-BD or Blurip that able to create a smaller BD ISO (with full menu preserved) from the original ISO?

I want to remove all non-English audio tracks and non-English subtitles from the original BD but still able to have a full menu, smaller BD ISO to be viewed with the Dune D1.

Menu are gone after I tried with Clown_BD.

Damian January 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm
Jason January 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Is BDRebuilder an encoder? I simply want to preserve the main video and audio 100%. Only want to get rid of extra non-English audio tracks and subs to bring down the ISO size a bit with full menu still intact.

Thanks Damian.

Damian January 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Yes, that one does encode. I believe Clown_BD BD Copier does not encode:

http://www.videohelp.com/tools/Clown-BD-BD-Copier

Jason January 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Any of you folks know why the Dune D1 has been in pre-order status everywhere for almost a month now? I bought the B1 from DunePlayer.com and wanting to pickup the D1 for the bedroom but it is not available anywhere. The Dune is great but this is getting ridiculous :)

Mezfing January 28, 2012 at 6:14 am

Hi just checked Amazon and there in stock. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dune-HD-DUNE-SMART-D1/dp/B004CS4A3O

Phillip January 29, 2012 at 10:57 am

I recently got the D1, thanks to your review of the box that made my decision an easy one. My main usage is BD ISO over wired network and it works perfectly fine with HD audio. I have couple questions regarding photo/musis and web browser that hopefully you’ve tried or have answer:
- Can I play photo slide and stream music same time ? Both of photo and music (mp3) are in NAS server accessed via wire network.
- You know if DUNE will support playing flash in web browser ? If not, is there any hack to install third party browser like firefox that supports flash. I’d love to watch ESPN3 on D1 since I have it hook up to my main TV in living room.
I guess I’m trying to see if D1 can be the only device for all of my needs (BD ISO, photo/music, and playing web browser flash).
Thanks Damian.

Damian January 29, 2012 at 11:08 am

1) I don’t believe you can play a photo and have music play in the background

2) Same with flash in the web browser, don’t believe it will work and I haven’t seen any hacks to install 3rd party browsers. Don’t forget, regardless of browser you would still need to install the flash plugin which I don’t think is possible.

Mathelo January 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

Damian,

This is similar to a feature from the Sage HD200 in client/server mode that I do miss in the DUNE. When pausing a movie, at some point it would go into screen saver mode and start cycling through the photos on my server. This was a really cool function and the rendering was of a very high quality. I don’t see this cabability in the DUNE.

Louis

Phillip January 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Thanks for quick reply. Looks like I have to hook up HTPC just to get those features working. You know any internet streaming box that supports ESPN3 ?

Damian February 21, 2012 at 8:52 am

Possibly Boxee Box? I don’t have ESPN3

Josh February 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Damian,
Stumbled across alot of your stuff in the past few days researching media players. My goal is simple and why I’ve ended up here. I have a pretty mediocre setup so there are some things I’m not truly concerned with for now i.e truehd downmix. But one thing that is a must is local playback ability. I want every file to play without issue. And again being somewhat new to the scene we are talking about really the most common files. avi. mkv. blah blah. I did not notice on here however, as with your popbox v8 review, that you tested 3d SBS.MKV. Is that a playable file on here? I am joining the ranks of 3D ownership so it is also somewhat important. And also if you could. I Can’t decide Popbox V8 or Dune HD Smart D1 for an entry level Media Player. Network abilities and Internet abilities are non-issue. Thank you In Advance

Damian February 15, 2012 at 11:58 am

3D SBS mkvs play back on most players, really nothing special here. The difference though is that with the V8 it sends a signal to your TV to auto switch it into 3D mode. With the Dune (and most other players) you need to manually switch your TV into 3D mode when playing.

As far as Dune HD Smart vs v8, the Dunes have been the most reliable players that I have used to date. Even the v8 now has some audio issues that appear from time to time that can be a bit annoying.

Josh February 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm

And also Great work on the reviews.. Very helpful and informative!

Nikos February 14, 2012 at 9:45 am

hallo Damian,

congratulations for the very helpful and detailed review. I am a very satisfied Dune Smart B1 owner. I was wondering if the media player could reproduce video streaming over internet (not over local network). When i try to do that i receive the message that adobe flash player should be installed. But when i am forwarded to adobe flash player site, i get a failure notice. Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance
Nikos

Damian February 15, 2012 at 11:59 am

Nikos,

Unfortunately you cannot install flash on the Dune. The ability to play internet streams is very limited at best on the Dunes.

Christopher February 25, 2012 at 11:18 am

Hello Damian,

How hot does this thing get ! Wow, mine seems extraordinarily hot – too hot to touch is that normal ?

Damian March 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Hi Christopher,

I have noticed mine gets warm but not hot. I don’t have an internal drive in it though, I would assume if you did that would bump the temp up quickly.

Nick March 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Hi Damian, great review. I currently run Boxee on my laptop but I am getting fed up with hooking it up and it has zero WAF! I was considering getting the Boxee Box, as Boxee seems to play everything I throw at it. However, the Boxee forums and user reviews aren’t that reassuring. All I want is something that plays the majority of video formats via wired ethernet from my NAS; I don’t need streaming service, etc. I am tempted by the Dune but have read that source direct/native output mode is not automatic and can take some configuring.
For my needs and WAF considerations, do you think the Boxee would be sufficient, or should I spend the extra 90USD on the Dune?
Thanks in advance and apologies for the long question!

Nick March 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Sorry, 55USD more, not 90.

Damian March 10, 2012 at 4:59 am

Nick,

The Dune has been he most reliable when it has coming to playing all my local content without issue.

As far as source direct, do you have a video processor that you want to use to handle the scaling? The Dune does not support video source direct (there is no configuring since it can’t be done). I believe the only people who care about this are those who have additional video processors in between that they want to handle the scaling. Since I don’t have this type of setup it has no impact on me.

I had the Boxee Box and eventually sold it. Issues with audio dropouts, buffering seems to come and go, and I am still not convinced Boxee Box is a viable business.

If getting a combination of a large source of online content and local content support is important then the Boxee Box is not a bad idea. If playback of local content is all you care about then I would look towards the Dune (although unfortunately prices did just increase :( )

Christopher March 9, 2012 at 3:17 am

Hello Damian,

Thanks for the reply. Embarrassingly I have to admit an error on my behalf and have now rectified the problem. Actually, as of yesterday, I have also installed a Samsung internal HDD and it works perfectly. Thanks again.

Christopher.

Nick March 10, 2012 at 9:44 am

Damian, thanks for the additional information.

Ed April 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Aloha Damian! It’s great that you are taking the time to help so many with this information! We all thank you very much!

The following references to dvd applies to ‘regular’ dvds and not bluray (BD), which we’ve yet to own even one. ;)

Presently looking to get a media player – been testing one based upon Realtek 1185 chip but it can’t even play ripped DVD, either via folder structure (VIDEO_TS\VOBs) or ISO. They are claiming this is limitation with chip so no FW will fix? It is a fantastic player in most every other way but it would take us over a year to have to encode all these ripped dvds to files. :( Eventually we are doing this but not being able to play a ripped dvd is bad imho. Lost all our media in Katrina so we’re now backing everything up on HDD or disc. We learned the hard way.

Looking at either PCH A-300 or the Dune. Now this little RT 1185 player does something that PCH people claim A-300 will also do. That is ability to play DVD via external usb DVD player with full menus (as long as it isn’t protected — no CSS). Wondering if the Dune is capable of that? Don’t care about BD [yet]. Need ability to use as a stand alone player similar to set top DVD player (in case our DVD player dies) – we have a lot of dvd disc backups after Katrina taught us we needed them – using an external usb optical DVD player\drive. Also need only the ability to play ripped [regular] DVDs from video_ts and\or ISO via network and usb storage. So far this 1185 player only plays dvd from external usb dvd player\recorder drive!

We really only just browse local network or use external usb drives to access our files or ripped dvds. Don’t much care about Internet apps etc.
Care a lot about music playback, and mkv\mp4 ’cause that is what we’re starting to encode our dvd rips with. Also, this little 1185 player allows us to play music while slide showing our photos… Very cool. Would like that also. If it were not for the problems playing simple ripped dvd iso or dvd folder structure, we would not be looking further.

Can you help us decide on PCH A300 or this Dune that you reviewed here?

Thank you very very much for your help!

Kunal June 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Hi Damian,

I’am looking at buying the D1, has the new sigma chip been released yet on the player ?
Or was it only talks fro Dune ?

Damian June 24, 2012 at 3:31 am

No new chip has been released, and it is not clear when/if (i.e. even the 8910 which was announced in the Dune Pro may never actually happen)

Kunal June 24, 2012 at 12:03 am

Also is it possible to directly boot into Zappiti

Damian June 24, 2012 at 3:33 am

No. What I do is on the main homepage I simply have various shortcuts to Zappiti. Although you aren’t directly booting in when you turn on the Dune you are taken right to the favorites page where you can click on the shortcuts you want.

Kunal June 24, 2012 at 4:05 am

Thanks Damian for your prompt response, In your guide for Zappiti you have mentioned that we need to rename the movie files, any specific program you’ve used as you probably know there are over 100 movies and would be a humongous task to do them manually.

Damian June 24, 2012 at 4:14 am
Paul June 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Hi Damian,
What are differences between Dune Smart models D1 and H1?

Damian June 27, 2012 at 3:12 am

D1 has an lcd screen, the h1 has a hot swap tray. Otherwise they are identical

TR August 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm

The dune D1 does NOT support 3D playback. It even makes a mess of quasi 3D in SBS, subtitles go all over the place. I think dune wants to cash out its newest mediaplayers by keeping all other (very expensive but older) players out-of-date!!

Damian August 27, 2012 at 7:12 am

It does support 3D playback (just not Blu-ray 3D which is known). Now whether or not it is a mess is debatable, but that is pretty standard among many of the current players.

Can you clarify your comment about keeping their players out of date? Only recently has a newer Sigma chip come out (which is in the PCH 300 series), and with this are various bugs. Also, it looks like a new Sigma chip is coming out that supports full Blu-ray 3D which Dune and PCH will be using.

TR August 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I do not agree with your reply! 3D support for me means recognizing SBS as a format (which the builtin player of my TV can!) and put the subtitles below both of the separate screens. The Dune player does the dummest thing, putting the subtitle below both of the screens. For me this means that it does NOT recognize 3D generated as the two separate screens but just another type of wider screen. This is NOT a hardware-issue, but can easily be done in the software!! So yet again this means: NO 3D support!! Interested to now about developments of the Sigma chip, but last uear Ive paid more than 260 Euros for a mediaplayer that is NOT up-tp-date.

Damian August 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Subtitles is an aspect that not even the current 1186 media players that support full BR 3D can handle properly.

As far as recognizing the SBS format, that is because the hardware needs to send a signal to your TV/AVR. Since the TV player you have is already built in obviously this is not an issue ;). The only player I know of that sends this signal as is HDMI 1.3a or lower is PCH, which they had to implement on the hardware side along with special naming conventions. I would not say that this is easily done, or everyone would be doing…

TR August 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Thank you for your quick response!! Firstly, realD 3D is, what I now understand, a format that cannot be encoded in a video-file and is not available in BluRay 3d even. So that is a bit of a cat in the bag, so to speak.. Furthermore, putting a subtitle below both of the seperate left-right screens is. as I see it, a matter of software. The TV will just shift both screens together in one 3D screen. Windows mediaplayer on my PC, for example is easily capable of doing this! When I connect my PC to the TV it works like a breeze!!
The real problem is that the Dune mediaplayer does not interprate a bigger resolution (like in the SBS format) as a 3D format but just passes it through as a wider/higher screen. For me this means, no intelligence in handling of a specific format!! Why not make an option like: project a subtitle below left-right/up-down screen??

I do not want to zoom into details like subtitling or specific formats, but at least I want to conclude:
- realD is not a usable format for somebody who want to play a blu-ray ISO and the playyer cannot even convert SBS format to realD
- the messed up subtitle shows that the Dune D1 has no builtin intelligence recognizing SBS movies as a specific format

Damian August 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Agreed. In general advertising the RealD/3D than many of these players do is obviously a bit of a marketing gimmick, no denying that.

Regarding the Dune, that is my point as well, it does nothing to recognize/interpret the 3D format, it just simply passes as is. Most of the other players I have tested handle this way. In general subtitles can be a hot mess for many players, so I am not surprised that 3D subtitles would be handled even more poorly.

So in theory, the Dune and others handle 3D (sbs). Now whether of not it actually handles well is another issue altogether (subtitles are not a big issue for me unless we are talking forced subs, but I completely understand that for others proper subtitle support is critical)

Defunkt September 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Even my gen2 WDTV live POS recognises SBS and OU outputs
You’re telling me these Dune players can’t even do something that simple? I’m a bit shocked about that. Considering the price differences. Although in reality isn’t the difference just a matter of manually changing your TV’s output signal over to SBS/OU in such cases?

TR September 13, 2012 at 7:59 am

Dear Defunkt,
The TV has not so much to do with this. The problem is in the Dune player, that has to put a subtitle below seach part of the SBS OU screen. The TV mixes these to screens to a 3D output. Im also very astonished about this shortcoming in such an expensive mediaplayer!

Dave September 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Hello Damian, great review — I contacted Dune with some questions about this item and they ignored all my emails (which doesn’t really dispose me toward buying their kit), but you’re thoroughly engaged with the product (and responsive!) so would you mind answering them for me if you can please?

I’m after something rather simple really — a flawless playback device for DVD ISOs (or VOBs, if they present as a single file in the GUI) for std definition (i.e., 576i and 480i) playback on a component-equipped CRT. I have lots of Japanese films, so fuss-free subtitle compatibility is essential, and I don’t want any interpolative upscaling — just the native signal passed to my telly.

Will this box do the job?

cheers,
Dave

Damian September 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Hi Dave,

The Dune excels in playback. However, there are a couple of items that could be problematic:

1) The Dune (and PCH) does not send the video signal untouched, it processes it internally. There is no way around this unfortunately, and it seems like most players now don’t support direct pass thru of video

2) Are your Japanese films in DVD format or mkv? I only mention because for mkvs the Dune does not support forced subtitles (not sure if this is important to you), but does support in DVD structures.

Let me know if you have any other questions

Cheers
Damian

Dave September 28, 2012 at 2:05 am

Thanks for your reply Damien, my films are normal DVD format (rather than mkvs), so subtitles shouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, it look like I’ll have to stick with a DVD player if these media players cannot pass a 576i or 480i signal (i.e., PAL and NTSC standard) to a television without interpolated scaling. Given my limited requirements, can you think of ANY media player that will do this simplest of things, cheap or otherwise?

I have been looking for one of these for years and am constantly amazed at how botched this whole media-tank business is. A DVD player can be bought for $40 that will play and standards-convert discs from anywhere in the world and display them on a display of any TV standard. Try and find a media tank that will do this at any price though, and you’re out of luck. Where’s the ease of use in that? If only there were devices that substituted the optical drive in a DVD player for a HDD (with the same limited, bullet-proof, playback logic) and we wouldn’t have any problems.

if there’s no media player for std-def PAL video, then I might have to get a DVD recorder with built-in HDD (assuming that there is some way to get ripped content into it).

Thanks again Damien, your experience here much appreciated.

D

Damian September 28, 2012 at 8:38 am

I think what you are looking for is source direct (i.e. where the player sends the video signal directly t o the TV/AVR/etc.. instead of processing itself). . I have never had a need for this feature but I know others that have asked for. At a minimum I know you cant get this with Dune or PCH, not sure about other media players out there tbh.

Cheers
Damian

Dave September 28, 2012 at 10:26 am

Ok, thanks Damian; I think I might have found what I’m looking for — the WD TV mini, which outputs 576i over composite (although it’s an interpolated 1080i over the higher-quality component out, unfortunately). Whether this standard-resolution output over composite is uniform in media players or not, I don’t know.

Thanks again for the advice,
cheers,
D

network.nature.com October 20, 2012 at 9:14 am

I want to get one of these, but my husband won’t allow me!
, annoying

snoopy November 3, 2012 at 5:39 am

MKV 3D with sub. Only way it works for me. Dvdfab blu-ray ripper_
to MKV_use settings: mkv.h264.audiocopy.3DTV.Active Shutter, with only one subpicture active, edit settings and set subpicture: Direct render to video. I Have a samsung 3D plasma and no problem

snoopy November 3, 2012 at 11:00 am

I forgot dvdfab 3D blu-ray ripper, not blu-ray ripper

Victor January 4, 2013 at 5:17 am

Hi Damian,

My compliments for your reviews. I have a question. You say that when it comes to music you prefer either Sonos or Logitech Squeezebox above the Dune HD Smart. Is that because of better sound quality?

Thanks for your reply.

Best regards,
Victor

Damian January 4, 2013 at 6:29 am

Hi Victor,

The reason has nothing to do with sound quality, I just find Sonos to be more feature rich (i.e. ton of music apps that I use,) and more functional (i.e. I don’t need to turn on a TV or have an AVR involved) then using any one of these media players (where music playback is usually at the bottom of the list)

Cheers
Damian

Sir Aaron January 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm

The Dune does have some good internet radio features, which I use. I just wouldn’t buy a Dune for music. I’d buy it for video and use it for music in the same room.

The other point is that virtually everything plays music. Your TV, your AVR, and everything in between probably will play your music files. Many AVRs, especially high end, connect with Itunes as well.

I have one room where I just plan to put in ceiling speakers and pipe in music. The sonos looks like a good option for that considering it’s size.

Victor January 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Dune HD has had an app for remote control of their players for some time now. It enables you to use your iPad as a remote control. Nice, but not spectacular. But now there is a plugin available that makes it possible to see the content of the HDD in the player or a external storage device plugged into the player. You can select folders and files, so you can for example play music without the TV screen on. You can select on your iPad what you want to play.

Read more via the following link: http://www.mpcclub.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30024

Just wanted to share this with you all.

Best regards,
Victor

Vin January 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Hi Damian,

I’ve learned so much from your posts, so that you for that.
regarding the Dune D1, do you happen to know if it will decode DTS HDMA and Dolby TrueHD to multichannel PCM? I have an older yamaha, RX-V4600, very good build but HMDI 1.1 support. I also have two other lower end players, WD HD live, and Micca EP600 G2. Both work with quirks,dropouts,stutters, and pass the core ac3/dts for my receiver to decode. Would like to hear the HD audio for once ;)

thank you for your time,
oh, one more thing, is it suggested to not use the GE port? I have all GE switches in the house now,
thanks,

Damian January 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Hi Vin,

It used to decode to multi ch but a fw moved it to only 2ch stereo. However, there is a patch that you can install to fix this:

http://dune.do.am/dune_service_enable_multichannel_decoding.dsf

I only have gigE switches in my house, no issues.

Vin January 24, 2013 at 8:25 am

Hi Damian,
Dune also has a B1 series that includes a bluray disk? Any experience with that one? Safe to say similar features to D1?

Thanks,

Damian January 24, 2013 at 8:29 am

I just picked up a B1 a few weeks ago. Same exact features as the D1 except with the BR Rom drive.

Matthew January 30, 2013 at 6:43 am

Hi Damian

I’ve just tried to download the latest firmware (121018_0846) from the Dune website and it gave an error message? It says…
“ERROR
Failed to contact the origin.
Generated Wed, 30 Jan 2013 13:41:42 GMT ”

Any ideas?
Thanks

James firth February 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Hi

I have had my smart d1 for about a year and quite simply I love it! Does everything I need and more!

The question I have is, is there a limit to the internal storage you can add, I’ve just a 3TB drive and it works great but as I increase my media catalogue will I hit a limit? Struggling to find the answer anywhere!

Thanks for your time!

Gerry March 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm

James,

It works! Just installed my 3TB HDD.

ensaburnur March 6, 2013 at 10:09 am

Damien, will the Dune Smart B1 have to be updated with Cinavia or are you just not going to do anymore updates on it?

Damian March 6, 2013 at 10:13 am

There is no expectation that any of the current Smart players will ever have Cinavia enabled. If by worse case they did you simply wouldn’t update your firmware (and can always revert back to older fw). Cinavia would only be a concern for any new models that come out (if they have full BD playback capabilities)

ensaburnur March 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Ok. I did not know that. I thought it was like when I had the original PS3:
1. You tried to play a new blu ray movie.
2. You needed a firmware update to play the movie
3. You download the update.
4. You now have Cinavia in your blu ray player.
I thought all bluray players did this. If the Dunes are the exception, I’ll pick up more players (including Dune Smart B1′s).

Damian March 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm

FW updates to play back a movie are different from updates for Cinavia. Players before a certain year ( I forget which) only had to voluntarily support Cinavia (which Sony decided to do). All new players need to have Cinavia implemented as part of getting a BD License. This is why you see all the new media players without full BD support but the older media players (such as the Smart series) still offering full BD support.

seturn51 March 17, 2013 at 8:48 am

I have a new Zappiti Player. I now have my complete movie collection on my Zappiti wall on my laptop. I have partitioned and formatted an SD card using NTFS where I want to export the info to. I can see the storage on my Zappiti player as well as over my network. I have set the path in the configuration settings to export to the SD card storage. I entered the path by using the browse function and found the card storage in that manner. I have also entered the unlock code in the market tab and it says my pc is linked successfully.

My problem is that when I click on export, I immediately see a message that says “Complete – Your entire collection is exported”, but the card is still blank, nothing was exported. I get this same “Complete” message whether I try to export with the card in the Zappiti or attached directly to my computer. I have also tried to export to a usb flash drive (fat32) both in the Zappiti player and directly in my laptop with the same results. As per a suggestion in one of the forums, I have tried creating a folder on my laptop and “exported” directly to that folder. However, I still always get the same results, ie, an immediate message that tells me the export is complete, but with no folder created and no data exported to the drive even though the export tells me it was successful.

Obviously, I am anxious to use my Zappiti Player with the interface, but something is wrong.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Chris 73 April 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Has anyone been able to get a gigabit ethernet usb adapter to work with the Dune D1? I know there are wifi adapter options but I want it to be faster than that.

The extremely slow wired network speeds (~8mb/s) are driving me crazy. Is there another solution for this? The internal drive hook up did not work so I have a HD connected to the esata on the back. Moving files to that drive takes forever through the network. I finally got YaDis working solidly. If I didn’t have to update the HD with a thumb drive it would be much easier. Thanks so much for your guides and reviews. They have been very helpful.

Damian April 2, 2013 at 7:32 am

Honestly not sure if that would make a difference as you are going to run into limitation with the chipset/hardware that a USB adapter won’t around (although I never used)

Chris 73 April 2, 2013 at 8:59 am

I was just thinking since there are wifi dongles that work.. why not a wired dongle?

Damian April 2, 2013 at 9:02 am

The wifi itself is actually built into the board (with the appropriate drivers), you are just simply connecting an antenna. Witha USB adapter you actually require drivers (which the Dune does not have and you can’t just simply load like with a PC)

Nick April 2, 2013 at 2:31 am

Chris 73
This frustrates me too. I didn’t realise how much of an issues this would be. I run a gigabit network at home, and even with that I sometimes get stuttering and freezes on HD content.
The Dune-HD website still only mentions the 8242 chip and even their premium players only have 10/100 cards.
One thing that can help with streaming problems is to use NFS instead of SMB.

Chris 73 April 2, 2013 at 6:03 am

I have gigabit too. I got an external hard drive to avoid streaming all together. It is just getting files there that is the big pain in the butt. Does anyone have a USB ethernet dongle they could try using on the Dune? It just struck me the other day as this could solve a lot of problems if it worked.

Damian April 2, 2013 at 7:35 am

In general it is hard to troubleshoot because everyone’s network is unique. So just saying you have a gigE network doesn’t really mean much without looking at the entire layout (i.e. switches/routers, server, wiring, etc…).

I rarely ever have issues streaming HD content (I use smb), and typically on the few occasions I run into issues it is usually unrelated to the Dune (Hard drive issues, server is running some other processes, etc…)

Did you enable FastSMB?

Chris 73 April 2, 2013 at 9:00 am

I have FastSMB enabled. Is ~8 MB/s normal for file transfers?
Thanks so much for the fast responses.

Damian April 2, 2013 at 9:03 am

I think I got 8-11 MB/s when I tested. However, that was just a test since I don’t use storage connected to the Dune

Mr Eric April 4, 2013 at 6:04 am

That’s the average I’ve got too. From time to time i can reach +9MB/s but not really often.

Chris 73 April 4, 2013 at 6:35 am

So it turns out that I did not have Fast SMB enabled. After giving up on Zappiti because I could not get it to work reliably, and switching to YaDis, it took an entire wipe of the system storage and my attached flash drive to get things back to normal. Normal meaning no weird ghost files in the movie listings. I guess after updating the firmware and the reset I forgot to re-enable Fast SMB. Now the file transfers still say a pretty solid 8.0 mb/s and the average DVD.iso takes about 13 minutes to transfer to the hard drive attached to the Dune. Weirdness is that the speed is allegedly the same but it takes significantly less time, it was taking 45 minutes to several hours before for the same sizeish files.

I do have a Netgear Router WNDR4500. Getting a new router seems a bit silly although I have read other places that there are some Netgear incompatibilities. I am not very confident in my linksys switch that the Dune is attached to. I have seen some better ones that support jumbo frames for about $30 from Asus that look interesting.

I have about 140 DVDs in my collection on the drive attached to the Dune. Once that is full I guess I will have to look at another option like NAS but it will be a while and an adventure down the road. Hopefully I could connect that via USB to get around the 8Mb/s mess. Thanks everyone for all the fast responses here, I didn’t think that I would get any. I have been using these pages and whatever I can look at cached from MPCClub to figure things out, since my login stopped working.

Mr Eric April 2, 2013 at 7:46 am

disable/enable fast SMB can change many things…For example, on my network I’ve got to have it enabled. Disabled = not working. So test both settings to see if it solves the problem.

Also known bug : if you have a netgear router/switch, try to change it for another brand. Netgear are known to have serious incompatibility problems with Dune players (but we don’t know why and it’s not ALL netgear products).

Mr Eric April 2, 2013 at 7:49 am

regarding using a USB to ethernet adapter, i’m pretty sure it won’t work (a dune is not a PC and there won’t be any driver inside to make it work…).

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