The PlayOn!HD2 comes with a remote, 24W power adapter, USB 3.0 slave cable, HDMI, component and composite cables and a quick install guide.

The remote is pretty prosaic, like most other media streamers. I am not sure why companies don't devote much attention to this aspect. The buttons feel very cheap and are too responsive, i.e, a single click of a menu button translates to multiple commands on the unit.

The front of the unit has the power button, while the two sides are taken up by the EZ-Drive hard disk slot and the SD card / dual USB 2.0 host / USB 3.0 slave port respectively.

The rear side of the unit has the component and composite ports, HDMI 1.3 connector, GbE connector, SPDIF (both optical and coaxial) and the power adapter connector. There is also a small 40mm fan to keep the internal hard disk cool. It is not possible to have a media streamer with a 3.5" hard drive to be passively cooled. If you are sensitive to fan noise, you should look for a completely passively cooled solution without an internal hard disk.

In our CES 2011 coverage of A.C.Ryan, I had mentioned that the PlayOn!HD2 had a nifty EZ-Drive dock for the hard disk.

The EZ-Drive dock is one of the easiest ways that I have seen in a media player to slot in an internal hard disk. There are no screws to handle or trays to take out. There is only one way the disk can be put in, and a gentle push makes sure that the SATA pins on the hard disk are locked securely.

The PlayOn!HD2 was very straightforward to disassemble. Once we got the screws out from the rear side, we had to take out the wires connecting the power on switch / IR receiver to the board. The SATA / power connector for the EZ dock frame was next, and in no time, we had the RTD1185 board standalone.

Introduction The PlayOn!HD2 Chipset
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  • probedb - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Excellent, can't wait for a review of this. I'm particularly interested in how good it is at deinterlacing DVD content. I rip mine and stream to my PlayON!HD mini but I would upgrade to this if it's better.
  • Bartjes - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    I'm very very interested in the real speed of the USB3 and Gbit network. And if supplied the WiFi speed with a USB dongle.
    Having Gbit and USB3 doesn't mean the filling up of the HD goes fast (see previous generation of mediaplayer).
  • SlyNine - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    My WDLive HD does do DTS HD, My reciever sees it as a DTS stream, so unless its encoding a DTS ( Doesn't support DTS MA) stream from a DTS MA stream ( highly unlikely, na impossible) It does support DTS MA It just sends the core audio(DTS.

    In fact its the Dolby True that I cannot play back. My Receiver only supports Dolby Digital and DTS, Its a harman Kardon from about 2004.

    My Files are MKV remuxes of full Bluray ( no re-encoding) movies. I use DVDFab, ClownBD,MKVMerge, and ANYDVD HD.

    Software I use Twonky Media center in Virtualbox ( It didn't play nice with my Windows 7).

    The WDLive is connected though component to the TV and through Fiber for Audio.
  • ganeshts - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    I am sorry if my comment about the WDTV Live series wasn't clear.

    I meant to convey the fact that the WDTV Live series can't decode to full LPCM / bitstream the full DTS-HD MA soundtrack. Yes, core DTS is taken advantage of.. but that is hardly what the people with the latest AV receivers want.

    Btw, over fiber, you will get only DTS or Dolby and not any of the HD audio bistreamed.
  • SlyNine - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Yea I understand that you need HDMI for any of the HD Audio formats.

    What leads to my confusion is the fact that I have yet to get Dolby TrueHD's core audio to stream through my WDlive HD. Right now I have to demux the core Dolby Digital sound track and if I want to retain the TrueHD I have to have that as a separate audio track. Not a big deal but it is one extra step I'd love to remove.

    Any Ideas? Does the WD Live simply not support this?
  • SlyNine - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the preview, I love these.

    If you guys could tell us how the Media streamer handles/ Builds the libraryies i'd appreciate that. Expecially the libraries located on a network drive.

    This is important for us who want to set it up for people less tech savy. The most important thing is how clean the selection is, How many different folders/screens do they have to navigate to find the content.

  • Shadowmaster625 - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    For $300, what can this do that a zacate mini itx cannot do?
  • ganeshts - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    For starters,

    1. Ease of use for the non-DIY crowd

    2. No messing around with codecs

    3. Play 1080p60 H264 videos in a reliable manner

    Don't get me wrong.. I build and use HTPCs too, but there is a market for each of these products :)
  • Trefugl - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    Also, the $290 comes with a 2TB HDD. I for one, would want to just stream all my video from my NAS, so a cheaper version of this w/o HDD would be interesting and less expensive than building something with the same features from scratch.
  • probedb - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Then you want the Mini2 :)

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