Update On The Dune HD Pro

by Damian on January 11, 2012 · 13 comments

in News

In September, Dune HD, manufacturer of the popular Dune Series of media players, announced the Dune HD Pro. The HD Pro was meant to be a high end media player, revolving around the Sigma SMP8910 chip. With CES 2012 going on, Dune HD has once again spotlighted the HD Pro, albeit with some changes. Here is what I can gather from the press releases and pictures.

LAS VEGAS, NV — (MARKET WIRE) — 01/10/12 — CES Exhibitor Booth: South 1 – 21445 — Dune HD, GmbH today unveiled at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, the Dune HD Pro, the ultimate HD entertainment center and the latest in the company’s line of highly rated and award-winning universal digital media players. The Dune HD Pro was named an International CES Innovations 2012 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for superior video and audio performance resulting in the ability to enjoy music or movies at home with quality that matches an original live performance or cinema screening. Dune HD also introduces a new relationship with VUDU to deliver its streaming service across the Dune HD product line, and new technologies from THX� and Sigma Designs.

Previewed at CES this week and available in Q2 2012, the Dune HD Pro is offered in a modular approach, with the highest quality internal components for superior A/V performance. The system includes three modular components: 1) Universal Media Player, 2) Blu-ray loader and HDD hot swappable expansion drive bay chassis, and 3) Media Server Gateway with full color 7 inch touch-screen display and four HDD hot swappable expansion drive bays. The Dune HD Pro media system comes equipped with HDMI 1.4, VXP advanced video processor, Blu-ray and RealD 3D support, Ethernet and WiFi networking capability, support for IPTV, VOD and OTT streaming services, THX Media Director”, high-quality playback of every possible file format including high bit rate 1080p video including 192kHz 24bit audio, and the most advanced Sigma Designs 8910 media processor.

“The Dune HD Pro raises the standard in home media player technology, as modules allow for a customized system to suit the most enthusiastic audio and videophile,” says Dune HD CEO Konstantin Dyshlevoy. “The player features technical elements never found in a digital media player until now, such as VXP video processing, Blu-ray 3D and the absolute highest quality internal components. We designed the Dune HD Pro for the discerning customer who expects the very best.”

Dune HD Line Features the Most Advanced Technology Recognized globally as one of the best in universal digital media players, the Dune HD line provides audio and videophiles with superior system quality and performance. Dune HD works with partners across the globe to deliver the best technology available — with broad IPTV, VOD and OTT support to the latest chips from Sigma Designs and integrated support of THX Media Director.

As a testament to the advanced capabilities of the Dune HD product line, THX selected the Dune HD Max and Dune HD Smart B1 as the world’s first Blu-ray enabled media players to support the new THX Media Director technology. THX Media Director transforms movies, music and other digital media into smart content. The result is a simplified and enhanced home entertainment experience whereby Dune HD players automatically select the appropriate playback settings and modes specific to each piece of content to preserve the content creator’s artistic intent.

As content distribution for movies shifts from optical formats to streaming over the Internet, Dune HD is poised to capitalize on this trend by bringing the VUDU streaming service to its full line of media players in 2012. Details on the relationship and product roll-out are forthcoming. …


CES 2012: Dune HD Receives CES 2012 award in the category High Performance Home Audio. Compared to the version presented at the IFA 2011, the Dune HD Pro is segmented into several modules like the Dune HD Smart. The main module embeds the motherboard equipped with the new chip Sigma Designs SMP8910 video processor and the famous VXP. Connectivity, ultra provided offers everything one can imagine a better namely two HDMI, XLR balanced outputs for analog and digital AES / EBU audio output RCA unbalanced analog 2.1 (stereo + subwoofer) S / PDIF coaxial and optical, USB and eSATA ports, IR input, etc..

Two additional modules will be offered. The first will offer a Blu-Ray 3D and a removable hard drive rack to warm. The second will also offer a Blu-Ray 3D, but along with four drive bays configurable as RAID 0, 1, or 5. The block will be connected in eSATA for Blu-ray and ethernet for hard drives. The network protocol will not be the SMB or NFS, but a proprietary protocol developed specifically for Dune HD.

The main module can stand alone even in the case of use in existing network with a NAS or external hard drives. Add-ons will be powered by the main module (no additional external transformer modules as the Dune HD Smart).
The Dune HD Pro is certified THX Media Director. The price is not yet final but should be up to the ambitions that drive ultra high end. The release is scheduled for this year without elaborating at this time. Everything will depend on SIGMA DESIGNS.

Below is a picture of the HD Pro shown in September 2011.

Here is a picture of the current HD Pro which is broken up into three modules.  The top module has a Blu-ray ROM drive and a removable hard drive tray. The middle module I am assuming is the main HD Pro where the actual motherboard/SMP8910 will be housed. The bottom module comes with a 7 inch LCD screen, Blu-ray ROM drive, and a four drive bay.

From what I can gather, only the middle module will be necessary.  In the case where you wanted to add on a Blu-ray rom drive as well as room for an additional hard drive, you would then add the top module. If you were looking for a more robust storage solution you would add the bottom module. No price has been mentioned, but I would definitely expect premium pricing.

One thing I found interesting is that if you are using the 4 bay module, a proprietary network protocol (not SMB or NFS) developed by Dune HD will be used. I am not sure what this means, if only other Dune media players will be able to connect to this module for streaming or it will be a protocol that other non Dune media players will be able to access. It is definitely an interesting concept, although only allowing for 4 hard drives seems a bit limited.

There has been no announcement on a release date (I expect we won’t see until at some point the second half of 2012) nor has there been an announcement on new Smart Series players (i.e. B1, D1, H1).

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


Brajesh January 11, 2012 at 7:26 am

Can’t wait for full 3D-capable (and affordable) players from Dune and Syabas using Sigma SMP8910′s chip. Hoping players using this chip will overcome some of the 3D playback issues we’re seeing with current players like HiMedia’s HD900B and Xtreamer’s Prodigy using Realtek 1186 chip.

Damian January 11, 2012 at 7:43 am

I do wonder though if full 3D-capable and affordable can go in the same sentence. Right now I think until we can get a ripper that allows you to rip Blu-ray 3D main movie only, the only way you will get proper Blu-ray 3D playback will be with a device that has full 3D support and not some sort of BD Lite variant (such as with the 1186 players)

Brajesh January 11, 2012 at 9:06 am

True. If Dune or PCH can out something at even $400, I’d consider it (as the only other choice is Oppo BDP-93 at $500)… as long as 3D playback was solid over SMB (no stuttering, forced subs, no right-eye first synch issues like with HD900B, etc.). Of course, I’d also expect Dune and PCH’s existing jukebox support.

Damian January 11, 2012 at 11:48 am

I have to think the issue with the 1186 players is that they don’t have full 3D BR support, so it is a bit of a hack to get 3D playback working. Since we would expect the Dunes (and the C series PCH) to have proper full 3D Blu-ray support hopefully stuff like this won’t be an issue. I haven’t figured out yet how I will integrate my Blu-ray3D collection into any jukebox, since I keep those rips separate from the rest of my videos….

harvey January 11, 2012 at 11:13 am

Hi Damian,
I’ve been following your reviews for quite some time now and I consider them to be the ultimate source of information on media players.
I was wondering if you can give me your recommendations on to which player/streamer I would go with.
I’m only interested in watching my ripped movie collection. I rip all my dvds and blurays into mkv files complete with chapters, subtitles, HD audio tracks. I need something that can easily bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA over my wired GB network. something < $200 with a decent/3rd party UI would be great.

Damian January 11, 2012 at 11:56 am

Hi Harvey,

Something sub $200 may be hard to come by. The Popbox v8 isn’t a bad option (only $129 plus access to YAMJ/Eversion jukebox). Especially if you are only looking to play back your ripped collection in mkv format this may not be a bad option. You get full HD Audio support, support for forced subtitles in mkvs, etc… There are some limitations when it comes to playing back some more advanced encodes but this wouldn’t apply to your DVD/Blu-ray rips.

harvey January 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Thanks for the advise. Do you think it’s worth waiting for a player with the SMP8910 chip. I heard that xbmc could run on it and it’s by far my favourite jukebox UI.

Damian January 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm


Well, the SMP8910 players won’t even be out until t he second half 2012 that we know of, and it could easily be later. If you are in the market for a player now I see no reason to wait, especially since stuff like XBMC we have no clue whether or not it will actually happen

PC January 12, 2012 at 8:40 am

Did you hear that Cinavia will be supported? It’s based on the sigma chip. The article from Anandtech goes through it in more detail http://www.anandtech.com/show/5399/dune-hd-pro-a-premium-entertainment-system-using-the-sigma-designs-smp8910

Although it’s says infancy…this would be a deal killer for me and I’ve been waiting over a year for the 8910s.

Damian January 12, 2012 at 8:59 am

Yes, it has been rumored that CInavia would be implemented on all new Sigma chips going forward. However, I wouldn’t read too much into this as of yet for the following reasons:

1) Just because it is part of the 8910 doesn’t mean it has to be implemented. For example, my understanding is that Cinavia only applies for commercial Blu-ray players. So it could be possible that if you got an 8910 player that did not act as a commercial Blu-ray player (i.e. BR ROM drive) then Cinavia would not be active

2) Dune and Syabas are well aware of the implications that Cinavia would have on their business model, so don’t expect that they would just blindly implement. For example, let’s look at the HD Pro. If you assume that the main model does not have Cinavia since it cannot act as a commercial BR player, then you could assume that the two modules would in fact kick in Cinavia. If that is the case, there there would be no reason to even consider either of the two modules (especially the bottom module which allows for 4 drives of storage of content that you may not be able to play).

For me the whole Cinavia thing is an unknown. Syabas, Dune, etc… know that implementation would kill their business model, so I expect there will be workarounds. Granted this is just me speculating :p Of course the easiest solution would be SLysoft and others figuring out a way to crack Cinavia, then this all becomes a moot point!

aaronwt January 20, 2012 at 9:16 am

What kind of pricing is this?

Damian January 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

Around $1999 for the main HD Pro. The bottom module which can act as a ripper, my understanding most likely won’t be sold in the states (for obvious reasons). I think the total for all three modules would be around $4,500.

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