Dune HD Smart D1 Player

Dune HD Smart D1 Media Player

The Dune-HD just stands out. Not only does it outperform any other media player out there, it adds new features regularly with frequent firmware updates.

The Dune HD Smart D1 is feature rich and is capable of playing back just about any video or audio format available today.

Main features:

  • Price: Around B 10,000
  • 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 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)

Dune HD D1 Media Player

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

Dune HD D1 Media Player

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Dune HD D1 Media Player

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 we 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.

Dune HD D1 Media Player

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Dune HD D1 Media Player

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 we notice any sort of over heating issues.

UI Appearance:

The UI on the Smart D1 is identical to the BD Prime . 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.

Dune HD D1 Media Player

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Responsiveness:

Navigating around the UI on the Smart D1 was the same as with the Dune BD Prime. One thing we noticed is that on a few occasions the D1 became unresponsive for a short period of time. we don’t know if the unit itself became unresponsive or if the issue was possibly with the IR receiver.

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  , we did not have any issues playing back all our high bitrate content on the Smart D1. We 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:

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

  • mkv w/ chapters – not 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)

We were 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. We noticed a new icon showed up recently on the Main Menu called Kartina.tv which we had never heard of (from reading around it appears to be a site for accessing Russian TV.

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 we would say that 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 at the Apple TV 2 . 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. 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 they have a 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).

Overall the Smart D1 does not disappoint.

 

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