H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-1/2/4 are the most commonly supported codecs in today's media streamers. Realtek media streamers also have RMVB enabled. But, even within these supported codecs, there are certain encoding tweaks (with H.264, in particular) that are not supported in all media streamers. In this section, we will address these factors.

Video Compatibility Details
A.C.Ryan PlayOn!HD2
Firmware Version v9.5.3.r5440
Codec Notes
H.264 Improper Support for 1080p60 Level 4.2 Camcorder Streams / Level 5.1 User Encodes(Drops Frames)
Maximum Frame Size of 1920x1080 (Full SBS / Full TAB 3D Streams Not Supported)
Maximum of 5 Reference Frames Supported
Improper Support for 10 bit H.264 Encodes (Blocking Artifacts)
Erroneous Bitstream Recovery OK
Upto 60 Mbps H.264 Streams Play OK (from internal SATA drive)
VC-1 Supported
720p60 / 1080i60 (Interlaced Streams - Advanced Profile) Also Supported
MPEG-2 Supported
MPEG-4 (DivX / XviD) Supported (upto 1080p24)
Global Motion Compensation with More Than 2 Warp Points Not Supported
Real Media Video Supported upto 1080p24
Miscellaneous Codecs WMV8 Not Supported
VP6 Not Supported
VP8 Not Supported
Theora Not Supported
MPEG-1 Supported

 

Video Compatibility Details
Netgear NTV550
Firmware Version 3.2.16NA
Codec Notes
H.264 1080p60 Level 4.2 Camcorder Streams / Level 5.1 User Encodes Partially Supported1
Maximum of 16 Reference Frames Supported
Maximum Frame Size of 1920x1080 (Full SBS / Full TAB 3D Streams Not Supported)
10 bit H.264 Decoding Not Supported (Blank Video Screen)
Erroneous Bitstream Recovery OK
Upto 70 Mbps H.264 Streams Play OK (over eSATA)
VC-1 Supported
720p60 / 1080i60 (Interlaced Streams - Advanced Profile) Also Supported
MPEG-2 Supported
MPEG-4 (DivX / XviD) Supported (upto 1080p24)
Global Motion Compensation with More Than 2 Warp Points Not Supported
Real Media Video Not Supported
Miscellaneous Codecs WMV8 Not Supported
VP6 Not Supported
VP8 Not Supported
Theora Not Supported
MPEG-1 Supported
1The 1080p60 camcorder clip in MP4 played back with artifacts and had stuttering issues

 

Video Compatibility Details
D-Link Boxee Box
Firmware Version v1.2.2.20482
Codec Notes
H.264 Improper Support for 1080p60 Level 4.2 Camcorder Streams / Level 5.1 User Encode (Drops Frames)
Maximum Frame Size of 1920x1080 (Full SBS / Full TAB 3D Streams Not Supported)
Maximum of 16 Reference Frames Supported
10 bit H.264 Decoding Not Supported (Blank Screen)
Erroneous Bitstream Recovery OK
Upto 70 Mbps H.264 Streams Play OK (over USB)
VC-1 Supported
720p60 / 1080i60 (Interlaced Streams - Advanced Profile) Also Supported
MPEG-2 Supported
MPEG-4 (DivX / XviD) Supported (upto 1080p24)
Global Motion Compensation Supported
Multiple Warp Points Supported
Real Media Video Supported upto SD Resolution
Miscellaneous Codecs WMV8 Supported
VP6 Supported
VP8 Supported Upto SD Resolutions
Theora Not Supported
MPEG-1 Supported
Container Compatibility Audio Codec Support
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  • Methusela - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    What is a media streamer roundup without the latest WDTV? Just because you had another Sigma-based design from a different company? WD is the market leader in sales for network media tanks/streamers. Reply
  • loox - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    Surprised here, as well. I honestly believe that there is no way the WDTV has been tested extensively by Anandtech (or else it'd be here).

    Like the folks at Anandtech, I too have spent YEARS finding a decent solution to playing multiple media formats on my HDTV, beginning with Lacie's Silverstream device.
    Ultimately, I settled on the WDTV (gen 1), then the Plus, and sticking with the WDTV Live.

    It just works. It works with my TV, my HDTV, hotel room TV's, My friends TV, My Parents TV (its very portable), HDMI, HDMI w/ Optical audio out, 7 ch. PCM, Bitstream Passthrough, Component HD, Composite SD, my Sony Amplifier/Receiver, DTS, DD, can stream DNLA content, as well as the iTunes server content on my WD My Book World Edition. Blu-ray ISO's, DVD ISO's, WMV, AVI, MP4, MKV, and the list goes on.

    It also supports Windows 7's PlayTo functionality and streams Netflix and other online content in HD with considerable less buffering/lag than any other solution.

    My conclusion is that at this moment, for watching (or listening to) media on a Television set (not so much internet browsing) the only superior solution to a WDTV Live is a good HTPC or quite laptop with recent hardware.
    Reply
  • Souka - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    I have a networked Brite-View unit....great product except for the interface....kinda basic.

    but that being said, I've been able to play pretty much any video file I've tossed at it.
    Friends with WD units have compatibility issues with various files, but I don't.

    I'm not a huge video watcher....except when I'm bettween jobs..heh

    my $.02
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    This review is primarily meant to finish up coverage of the review units we have had for a long time. The WDTV Live Hub has been extensively tested and reviewed here:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3990/western-digital...

    In addition, the WD TV Live Streaming Media Player has been with us for the last 1 month or so. Still some pending issues to fix up in that player, and I am waiting for a stable firmware from WD before reviewing it.
    Reply
  • jonyah - Monday, November 28, 2011 - link

    Funny, I think the same thing, but replace WDTV with PopcornHour. There is no match for the latest PCH (now the A-300). WDTV just seems like a little plastic toy box in comparison. Yes it's twice as expensive, but with that you get something that supports everything, integrates with IMDB, has apps addons, etc. Reply
  • pseudo7 - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    Nice round up, though it would be nice to XBMC in the review round up (especially after next release).
    There are number a commercially available boxes:
    http://www.pulse-eight.com/store/

    Plus shed light on a nice opensource project
    Reply
  • kolepard - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    Agree. XBMC is a fantastic piece of work, and I'd love to see it compared in the roundup. The Boxee software is based on XBMC, and one of the reasons I purchased a Boxee was that they support the XBMC project. Reply
  • Rainman200 - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    Well those are PC's not really off the shelf boxes, XBMC is getting there though to a point were a set top box running XBMC is viable.

    The Arm linux port of XBMC is making progress and Sigma Designs are porting XBMC too so in the future you might see XBMC powered players like a WDTV Live that use it for GUI rendering and jukebox creation.

    Hopefully the Pulse Eight guys can cook up an low cost Arm set top box that runs XBMC.
    Reply
  • pseudo7 - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    Hmm The pulse eight box seems "off the shelf" as there is no assemble required.
    Also you can get the xtreamer ultra with openelec preinstalled (and hense XBMC)
    Reply
  • Boopop - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    I concur, I've been a fan of XBMC since the early days when it was only available on the original Xbox. It would be nice to see how the people here think it compares! Reply

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