Dune HD

Feb 07 2013

News - Dune HD TV303D Reviewed @ MediaSmartServer.net

Looks like Dune HD hit their delivery target for the TV303D, and Damien has it reviewed. The results were much more mixed than I expected from Dune HD, hopefully just teething issues with a new platform.

Overall I would say I have some mixed thoughts with the TV303D. On a positive note, network performance is excellent which is critical for anyone looking to stream HD content (especially Blu-ray 3D) over a network. However, there are some critical issues that need to be addressed. The most notable one is the DTS(MA) audio drop out issue. This falls squarely on the back of Sigma as they have been releasing chips with this bug for over a year. Hopefully now that Dune has a lot riding on the newer Sigma chips, they can pressure Sigma into providing a fix relatively quick.

MediaSmartServer.net

Jan 13 2013

News - Dune HD @ CES 2013

Dune HDThere's always something cool just around the corner from Dune HD, so it is one of the first companies that makes it on my CES list and this go round was no exception. The two most interesting items have already be covered but there was a more that was worth mentioning too. Click through to get the rundown from our meeting with Dune HD and some picutures of the devices they brought along to the show.

Jan 12 2013

News - Dune HD - Firmware Update Adds "Launch on Power-On" Feature

Dune HD 303

It's hard to argue with the "just works" media playback experience Dune HD players provide, but the lack of a native movie "jukebox" harms the user experience. Third party solutions like My Movies and Zappiti (to name two) work around this issue, but unfortunately there was no way to force them to launch when the player starts up, requiring users to browse through the UI to find and start them - until now. Responding to user feedback Dune HD added the feature to its latest firmware launching soon on new players and coming a little later to the existing user base.

Click through to see more pictures of the upcoming firmware.

Jan 10 2013

News - Dune HD - High-end XMBC streamer on Intel SoC Coming Late Summer

Dune HD XBMC

Details were sparse with Dune HD not willing to let us take pictures of the hardware, but we saw it running on some sort of media player Atom SoC. Availability should be later summer (CEDIA time frame), with a higher-end inital target market.

We were told the new device was running a "Berryville" CE5315, which looks like a competent foundation for media device but interestingly does not include Intel's new "Picture Quality Engine" found on higher end models in the same family.

Oct 19 2012

News - Zappiti Media Center for Dune HD Reviewed

The Dune HD line of media streamers are lauded for their versatility and feature set, but much of that attention tends to fall on the hardware. This is probably because the Dune HD media streamers generally have a somewhat utiltarian UI. It works and it works well, but it might lack the visual pizzazz that many HTPC fans have come to expect from their media center software of choice and it does not offer the same options for automatically collecting metadata for the movies and tv series accessible to the Dune HD. Fortunately, the Dune HD systems are also extensible. Zappiti Media Center is a PC applicaiton and Dune HD plugin that not only breathes new life into the Dune HD UI, but also serves as a metadata scraper. There are some hoops to jump through to secure a free license, and some manual steps that need to be taken to keep the Zappiti library up-to-date, but between the option to use a mobile device app as a remote control and the upgrade in visuals it gives the Dune HD, there is definitely a lot for Dune HD users to like here.

 Zapitti

Once Zappiti has found or scraped your content, it will begin to populate those folders and subsequently your computer screen with metadata that also includes cover art. Ninety-nine percent of the time, Zappiti gets the information right. If it doesn't, it's easily remedied by simply right-clicking on the egregious art or metadata and selecting the appropriate info from a drop-down menu from the top menu bar. 

Home Theater Review

May 21 2012

News - Dune HD TV-301A Universal FullHD Network Media Player

We reviewed one of the higher end Dune HD media players last year and were very impressed with the quality and abilities of the unit. However, the cost of that one was $250, pricing it out of the market for lots of folks. Dune has listened to their consumers and up for review is a more affordable, $169 media player that shares a lot of the benefits we covered. Wifi version is available for $10 more FYI.

Dune HD recently released the TV-301 in two flavors, the TV-301A and the TV-301AW which is basically the same as the first but also features a built-in Wi-Fi adapter coupled with an external antenna. The TV-301 series are also amongst the first to feature the latest HD decoding chipset by Sigma Designs, the SD8671 which may not be their most powerful decoding solution to date but it comes really close. That aside i was somewhat surprised (in a good way) to see that the TV-301 series also feature a nice easy-swap 2.5" HDD bay which is certainly not something we see a lot with media players since most manufacturers prefer 3.5" drives. Of course the TV-301 is as big as an 3.5" hard disk drive so an 2.5" easy-swap bay was a one way for Dune HD and i am honestly glad they decided to take it. But let's take a closer look and she what else you can expect from the latest network/hdd media player to hit the market by Dune HD.

NikkTech

Feb 14 2012

News - SIGMA DESIGNS SMP8910 Not Suspended

SIGMA DESIGNS SMP8910Given the positive conversation I had with SIGMA DESIGNS at CES I was a little surprised to see a rumor floating around that the SMP8910 had been suspended. If true, this would be a major setback for those waiting for Dune HD's Pro media player so I fired off an email to find out.

Fortunately, my contact at SIGMA was able to confirm that the 8910 has no been suspended but said nothing beyond that - so I guess we can safely go back to waiting. Patiently.

Jan 31 2012

News - Dune HD adds Control4 Support to Max, Duo and Smart Series Streamers

Dune + Control4I'll admit that this wasn't what I was hoping for when I saw the message from Dune HD in my inbox this morning (give us the VUDU already Smile), but that doesn't mean I wasn't interested. Home automation is a natural next step for home theater geeks (if you're here, this likely includes you) once the consumption problem has been nailed down. Now I don't have much experience in this area, but I'm hoping to change that in a couple months when we move into our first modern-era home.

PR after the click...

Jan 13 2012

News - Dune HD - CES 2012

Dune HDAnyone who's read our reviews of the Dune HD media streamers, know that they provide an excellent local media playback experience but there are some gaps around 3D Blu-ray and video processing where it would be great to see some improvement. Fortunately both of these will be addressed when the Dune HD Pro (click through for a gallery and further discussion) ships because it is based around Sigma Designs 8910 flagship system on a chip (SOC) which includes HDMI 1.4 and VXP. Unfortunately due to some issues around the availability of the 8910 the actual date for delivering the Pro has slipped from March to June/July (as a best guess). This delay should not impact the release of VUDU for Dune HD players as the port is complete and it is intended for all models.

Jan 12 2012

News - Dune HD Pro Previewed

Dune HD Pro

Dune HD has been quietly making some the best high-end media streamers for years, and this year at CES they are showing off what may well be their crowing achievement, the Dune HD Pro. Like many of their recent systems, the Dune HD Pro will be a modular system, allowing users to purchase the components they are interested in. The main module is the Universal Media Player powered by the Sigma Designs SMP8910. There is also an optional expansion chassis for a Blu-Ray drive and hot swappable hard drive bay, and the Media Server Gateway with four hot swappable hard drive bays and a 7" touch-screen LCD. Get your wallets ready if you're interested in buying into the whole set, though.

The main unit comes in at $1900, and I was told by the Dune rep that the rest of the pricing wasn't fully decided yet. At around $2000, it is difficult to justify the purchase of a media player for a majority of the consumers out there. Hopefully, a lower cost version (with just the SoC, couple of USB ports, wired Ethernet, SPDIF optical out and HDMI 1.4a output) will come out soon.

Anandtech

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