There have been a lot of questions of late regarding the Dune HD line of media players. In particular announcement of the Dune HD Pro and the Dune HD TV 101/301 have left many of drooling (the Dune HD Pro) and also scratching our heads (the 101/301). I have been trying to dig around some of the forums and some other sources for info, and here is what I have come up with so far (PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT MUCH OF THIS INFORMATION IS NOT OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED BUT JUST GATHERED FROM DIGGING AROUND, I WILL UPDATE THIS POST AS MORE OFFICIAL INFORMATION BECOMES KNOWN)
Dune HD TV 101/301:
These players generated a lot of interest because the expected price point (between USD 130 – USD 159). However, they will be running on the Sigma 8670 and not the Sigma 8642 that the current crop of Dune media players utilize. It appears that with this there will be several drawbacks with the 101/301. There will be no BD Iso or folder support and as well no DTS(MA) / TrueHD support. For many current/prospective Dune owners this will be enough of a reason to not even consider the 101/301. From what I can see the 101/301 is targeted more towards people who want to take advantage of IP TV capabilities with basic H.264 support, it is not meant to be a replacement for the current Dune Smart series. The 101 is due out around November and the 301 tentatively in Q1 2012.
Dune Pricing On Current Players:
I was just made aware that in the near future there will be a price increase on all Dune products. I don’t know exact amounts, but if you are seriously considering a Dune player now might be the time to act.
Dune Players Sold On eBay:
Dune players sold by vendors on eBay are not sold via authorization of Dune HD. As such, they are not supported and the warranty is invalidated. Please keep this in mind when you are shopping around.
Next Batch Of Dune Players:
If you recall, when the Smart series was announced an upgrade path to the Sigma 8646 was also mentioned. Dune HD will not be going through with this, as it really makes no sense with the next gen Sigma 8910 on the horizon. I will try to get confirmation about whether there will be an upgrade path to the 8910 (although even if available I am not sure how financially feasible that would be). There is still no definite timeline on when the 8910 players will get released, but a safe assumption would be Q4 2011 or Q1 2012.
THX Media Director:
Here is an interesting tidbit, Dune HD is the first device to be certified by THX to use the newest technology offered called “THX Media Director”. THX Media Director™ simplifies this home entertainment experience, allowing your TV and home theater system to automatically select the appropriate playback settings and modes specific to each piece of content. With THX Media Director, the entertainment experience is finally delivered to your home in a way that faithfully represents the artist’s intent – all without navigating through any menus or pushing any buttons – except “play.”
Of course the ugly step mother who is looking to ruin everyone’s party is Cinavia. There is still no indication if/how Cinavia will be implemented into the next crop of media players. I really have no clue where this is headed. My personal opinion is that it is in the best interest of these media player companies to find a way around it (if Slysoft or others don’t) simply because Cinavia would effectively kill off their business. Right now it is just wait and see