Diamond Multimedia Launches AMP1000 Android Media Playerby Ganesh T S on August 21, 2012 9:00 AM EST
Diamond Multimedia is well known for its AMD graphics cards and USB capture devices. The Android Media Player, AMP1000, being launched today is the latest addition to their TV connectivity product line. The unit is being positioned by Diamond Multimedia as a standalone external Android-based media player, game box and Internet device for the big screen home entertainment center.
The recent slowdown in the local media player market has been accompanied by the supposed rise of the cord-cutting phenomenon, particularly in the US market. This has led media player manufacturers to shift focus from local media (i.e, Blu-ray and MKV backups) to online services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon VoD. Instead of developing a IPTV STB platform from the ground up (similar to what Western Digital, Roku and Boxee have done), many vendors have shifted to using Android as the platform. This is a welcome move, as it enables developers to concentrate on one platform and reach out to a large installed base. Google realized that the IPTV STB is not going to go away any time soon. The Google TV initiative is supposed to address this, but hasn't met its goals yet. Users looking to cut the cord have no need for Google TV's features such as HDMI-In which are meant to support the legacy STB infrastructure. Doing away with those unnecessary distractions has enabled vendors to provide more of a vanilla Android experience. The differentiation lies in the ability to access the Google Play store, app compatibility, upgradability, industrial design and last, but not the least, the remote control itself.
The AMP1000 sports Android 2.3 at launch, but they do promise upgradability. The device also has the Chrome browser with Adobe Flash in-built. With the ability to install apps from the Google Play store, the user has the ability to customize the unit to his liking. I have played with a number of Android-based media players over the last 6 months, including the TViX Xroid A1 and the Nixeus Fusion XS. I believe that such players have the ability to shine in the IPTV STB as well as local media streamer market if they come with a judicious choice of apps on the main screen as well as flawless multimedia playback for different codecs and containers. Manufacturers need to understand that users are primarily purchasing the unit for their media streaming capabilities, as Android by itself has little to offer in terms of a big screen experience. The reason the AMP1000 excites us enough to write about the launch is the bundled keyboard / remote. Diamond provides a 3-in-1 remote that features a keyboard, mouse and motion control. This allows the consumer to use the TV like a computer or a game console powered by Android.
The AMP1000 is priced at $119.99, but Diamond is aware of the competition posed by contenders like the Vizio Co-Star. There is a mail-in rebate available on Facebook at launch time, which brings down the price to $99.99. The unit will be sold at major retailers such as Microcenter and Fry's, as well as e-tailers including Amazon, Newegg and Tigerdirect.
We have seen countless cheap media players running Android. Almost all of them have been based on anemic chipsets with no way to hold up to the demands of even casual web browsing. Combined with sub-par hardware decode acceleration support, the experience has usually not been uplifting for users. We don't have an idea of the internal chipset in the AMP1000 yet, but we do have a unit coming in for review soon. We hope the unit manages to surpass the already low bar set by the competition in this space.
AMP1000 Hardware Features:
- Built in wired Ethernet (100 Mbps) support
- Built in 802.11 WiFi support
- On board HDMI video and audio
- On board Component video
- Built in storage (3.5 GB)
- USB and SD card interface
- 3 in 1 Motion Remote control included
AMP1000 Firmware Features:
- Support 1080P video playback
- Support for the Google Chrome browser
- App Installer for application installation from USB/SD card
Video format support:
- DAT / MPEG / MPE / MPG / M2V / ISO / TS / VOB / AVI / MKV / MP4 / MOV / 3GP / 3GPP / FLC / AVI / WMV / TS / M2TS / M3TS / M4TS / M5TS / MTS / M4V / FLV / 3G2
Audio format support:
- MP3 / WMA / WAV / OGG / OGA / FLAC / ALAC / APE / AAC / M4A / AC-3 / DTS / RM