Startups in the US media streamer market are not very common. There are a number of small companies (like Micca and Brite-View) active in this space, but media streamers are not their sole products. Nixeus, a Los Angeles based company, was founded in 2010 with the intention of making inroads into the competitive media streamer market.

Their first product, the Nixeus Fusion HD, was introduced towards the middle of 2010. The fulsome praise devoted to it by many AVSForum members encouraged us to obtain a review sample. We have had the unit in our labs for the last 3 months, and we are now finally in a position to write a review after Nixeus fixed many of the bug reports that we filed.

Officially priced at $219.99, the unit can be purchased for as low as $179.99 if you shop around. For this price, you get a media streamer with the following features:

  • Sigma Designs SMP 8655 (Same as WDTV Live with respect to base features such as 1080p and so on -- Frankly, if a device doesn't do 1080p, we do not want to cover it in the media streamer space here)
  • Slot for internal 3.5" hard drive
  • Bundled support for both wired and wireless network connectivity
  • Usage of unit as an eSATA / USB external hard drive (provided internal hard disk is installed)

There are a number of companies making SMP 865x based products. How do they differentiate themselves? As the experienced media streamer consumers know, it is not the base platform, but the firmware which counts. The amount of development that is done on the base SDK provided by Sigma Designs, and the attentiveness of the manufacturer to the issues of the existing customers decide the quality of the media streamer. Before we get into those details, let us take a look at the package contents and what is inside the Fusion HD.

Unboxing Impressions
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  • SlyNine - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    Thanks.

    I've read that Ciniava is part of the Sigma chips features. What I wasn't aware of is if it's something the OEM can turn on or off. I'm also worried that some firmware update could activate it. You know how the MPAA and RIAA types are with pushing there DRM on people.

    Also correct me if I'm wrong please, but AACS is the protection of the content on the disk and it's unlocked/decrypted before it ever gets encrypted in HDCP, so I guess there is no risk of it being implemented on the HDCP/HDMI end (TV's AVR's) Does this sound correct?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    Currently, Cinavia can be implemented on some of the Sigma processors, but not on the 865x ones because they are not meant for Blu-Ray playback.
    There will be no firmware update for this or the WDTV Live whch can enable Cinavia. On this one, I am pretty confident.

    Currently, only BDA (Blu Ray alliance) requires Cinavia, and the player detects the watermark, checks if the file being played back is protected by AACS, i.e, it is from a protected disc, not a bootleg copy or a copy made after removing the AACS using AnyDVD or other similar software, and then allows the media to be played back. Cinavia doesn't extend beyond the actual Blu-Ray / media player.

    However, this doesn't discount the fact that in the future there might be AV receivers which, when being used for HD audio bitstreaming, might implement a similar sort of muting or stopping of HD audio decode if the audio is not coming over HDCP. Currently, this is NOT happening, and this is admittedly a far-fetched scenario, but it is not implausible.
    Reply
  • Chillin1248 - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Can you review the Argosy HV335T 2TB in the near future?

    I have purchased four such units (actually 3, and one wireless version), and they function amazingly well for their price point, $170. Has a 1073DD chipset and a Samsung 2TB 2040UI HDD.

    ====
    http://www.argosyusa.com/hv335t.shtml?DefaultTab=0

    "A perfect companion in your home theater setup, HV335T can play contents from internal HDD (optional), USB HDD/flash drive, or stream contents from another server in your home network. The player also supports uPNP and can work seamless with DMS (Digital Media Server). With DMS software running on a PC, such as PlayOn, HV335T can display internet video/audio supported by DMS directly on the TV. Selected internet services (Picasa, Flickr, Weather, Youtube, Last.FM, MediaFly, Internet TV, Internet Radio, etc) are also available directly.

    Audio video output include Composite A/Vand Component output, HDMI output, and Optical digital output. HDMI output support up to 1080p resolution. HV335T supports Dolby Digital and DTS downmixing as well as digital pass through.

    Managing the contents on the inernal HDD can be done either with direct USB connection to a PC or over the SAMBA networking connection. The UI also allow copying from USB drives and SAMBA servers to internal HDD or deletion from internal HDD."

    ====

    The reason I bring it up is since they are very supportive of the product (constant firmware updates with new features) and are very responsive to support emails; I wish to see such a company succeed.
    Reply
  • Discombobulated28 - Monday, March 28, 2011 - link

    Ganesh recently reviewed a RealTek 1283 based media player here:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4212/tvix-slim-s1-bi...

    Which performs similar to the RealTek 1073DD chipset, but the RealTek 1283 has a bit more features... from my experience with RealTek media players they almost have similar GUI and similar features or shortcomings due to RealTek's SDKs... with the exceptions of good known brands such as AC Ryan whom are known for better support/quality...
    Reply
  • Schugy - Sunday, March 06, 2011 - link

    Would also have wiped out most limitations. Reply
  • hohowan - Monday, March 07, 2011 - link

    Bug # 11 on the list is and continues to be, the deal breaker for me for any streamer on the market.
    (ASS subs (stylized and karaoke effects) are not supported properly.)

    It is frustrating that no one seems to be able to do these subtitles as well as a standalone PC.

    I've pretty up given up hope for a streaming device that works correctly with these kind of subtitles.

    I guess I'm going to continue with a spare PC hooked up to the TV for *proper* playback.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, March 07, 2011 - link

    Have you tried Boxee Box? With the latest firmware, all the ASS samples I have seem to play OK (with karaoke effects) Reply
  • CrapONez - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    I own the Viewsonic NexTV VMP75. It has the same interface and remote as this, without the built-in USB dongle, HD bay, or bittorrent, but it does have Netflix. I've got an external HD hooked up to it with eSata for local playback. Do me a favor and get your hands on one so that Viewsonic addresses some of your bug reports and gives me a firmware update?!? Reply
  • ganeshts - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - link

    Would definitely like that, but the problem is that the big companies don't pay attention to our bug reports, while the startups like Nixeus pay more attention.

    If you take a look at TViX Slim S1, we reported a big set of bugs, but not all of them were resolved.
    Reply
  • Destiny - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    We finally have a test suite/bench mark/ something concrete to compare media players...

    HQV 2.0 serves what testing purposes for SoCs and Media Players?
    Reply

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