Advertisement
Advertisement

Wyplay Wyplayer review

Seth Barton
9 Jul 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
282
inc VAT

This multimedia Swiss army knife is let down by its poor handling of Freeview broadcasts.

Advertisement

The Wyplayer is a set-top box that is both a PVR and a media-streaming device.

You can watch and record Freeview broadcasts, stream media from PCs on your home network and play files stored on its built-in hard disk or from removable USB storage devices. It can also access media from a range of internet content providers. This is an impressive set of features given its reasonable price.

Sensibly, Wyplay offers the Wyplayer both with and without a hard disk. This means you can fit a drive of your own, or just use an old one you happen to have spare. It'll take any 3½in hard disk, so you could fit a whopping 1TB disk for as little as £60. Fitting a disk is easy, with just a couple of screws to undo on the bottom of the unit.

Adding a big hard disk may give you plenty of recording space, but the TV interface doesn't live up to the better PVRs available or Windows Media Center. There are two Freeview tuners, but you can record only one programme at a time, which seriously limits its flexibility. The EPG is also sub-standard; we thought its unusual vertical arrangement was less easy to understand than the usual timeline designs, and there's only space onscreen for three channels' schedules at a time. If there's a series of short-running programmes, it actually displays the programme names one over the next, making them unreadable. Like Media Center there's no support for interactive content via the red button. Finally, and unforgivably, there's no series link function, so you have to schedule every episode of your favourite shows manually.

Despite these issues, the interface is logically arranged and the slick-looking menus are easy on the eye. The remote control, however, is a design disaster. Wyplay has opted to keep the number of buttons to a minimum, but combining multiple controls on each button, together with the lack of onscreen prompts, makes for a confusing mess. The directional pad is precise and has good feedback. It also rotates, for navigating through menus and TV shows, but this feels imprecise. The omission of dedicated play, pause, fast forward and rewind buttons is a serious error.

There are some positives, however. The box itself is understated, stylish, compact and quiet. It has only composite and HDMI outputs, but that won't bother most HD TV owners, although the maximum resolution of 1080i is a little disappointing. Stereo phono and optical S/PDIF outputs are provided for audio purposes. There are three USB ports for attaching USB storage devices, plus a fourth for connecting the Wyplayer to a PC as a storage device itself. Only wired networking is provided, so you'll have to connect via Ethernet to your router or to a wireless bridge.

It's an excellent media player, whether you're streaming from a UPnP media server or reading files directly from a storage device or the internal hard disk, which you can copy files to and from, including TV recordings. There's support for all the video, audio and image file formats you'd expect. It played 1080p 24fps Blu-ray quality video flawlessly, and we saw no image issues from any of our test clips. Being able to access RSS news feeds, photo-sharing sites and video providers such as YouTube is a nice extra. However, the lack of an alphanumeric keypad on the remote means that entering search parameters using the onscreen keyboard is painfully slow.

Given its varied capabilities, the Wyplayer seems reasonably priced at first glance. Unfortunately, as a PVR it simply isn't up to the task, with Sky+, Humax's PVRs and Windows Media Center all streets ahead for usability. If you just want a media-streaming device, Syabas's Popcorn Hour A-110 (below) is just as capable and far cheaper, and you can also fit an internal hard disk if desired. Alternatively, you could buy a nettop media centre, such as Acer's Aspire Revo R3600, together with an inexpensive dual USB TV tuner. Such a combination would be superior to the Wyplayer for media file playback, TV viewing and internet access.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
Media Streamer typestreaming multimedia receiver

Audio Compatibility

Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackNo
Audio AAC playbackYes
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackYes
Audio WAV playbackYes
Audio Audible playbackNo
Other audio formatsDolby Digital, DTS

Video Compatibility

Video MPEG-1 playbackYes
Video MPEG-2 playbackYes
Video MPEG-2 VOB playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 AVI playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD supportYes
Video H.264 supportYes
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio supportYes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio supportYes
Video WMV playbackYes
Video WMV-HD supportYes
Other video formatsAVI, ASF, MKV, ISO
Internet video stream compatibFLV (YouTube)

Image Compatibility

Image BMP supportYes
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportYes

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports10/100
Wireless networking supportNo
128-bit WEPNo
256-bit WEPNo
WPANo
WPA2No

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs0
Minijack headphone outputs0
Stereo phono outputs1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs0
Optical S/PDIF outputs1
Total SCART sockets0
HDMI outputs1
Component outputs0
S-video output0
Composite outputs1
Other connectors3x USB, USB mass storage

Physical

Size46x274x240mm
Antennas0
Internal/external antennasN/A
Upgradeable antennaNo
Power consumption standby15W
Power consumption on19W

Server Compatibility

Software includedN/A
UPnPYes
iTunesNo
SlimServerNo
SMBNo

Buying Information

Price£282
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.wyplayer.com
Detailswww.wyplayer.com

Read more

Reviews