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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 07:29 PM   #1
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Networked Hi-Def Media Player

Just a heads up...

With the latest firmware update 050321 for the I-O Data AVeL LinkPlayer2, you can now play TS files straight from the camera.

In other words, the m2t file goes from the camcorder firewire to the hard drive of the PC or Mac, and from there it plays through the LinkPlayer to your HD monitor in native format. Or you can burn the TS file to a DVD and play it that way.

The LinkPlayer also plays unprotected WMV-HD, Xvid, Divx, m2t, m2p and many others.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 08:38 PM   #2
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Thanks for the info. I wonder why I did not get an email like I did the last time they released a new firmware version.

Oh well, that's what is great about this community.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 09:09 PM   #3
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I'm real tempted to get a Linkplayer to play back transport streams and/or HD-WMV derived from edited Sony HC1 footage.

But there are a few (early) reviews floating around on the web that make me cautious because of statements like this:

"Unfortunately the HD component output of the LinkPlayer can best be described as soft. SD and upconverted material looks great, and while native HD material doesn't look bad by any stretch of the imagination, it just doesn't have that HD "ultra-real" look. .....we did a quick test with a couple of WMVHD files. We would switch between 480p and 720p output on the LinkPlayer with the same file, and then ask people in the room which one looked "better". The result was that nobody could tell the difference (ourselves included). "

Has anyone here also experienced this softness - or not???
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Old February 12th, 2006, 11:09 AM   #4
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I was one of the first Kuro-Obi owners in the US and the only time I have seen soft material was while playing WMVHD, I FREAKED OUT, then I played back the RAW MPEG material and the resolution was there.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 11:50 AM   #5
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I have found that if I shoot a little sharp, then the WMV-HD files look even better. But more and more I just use the M2T files.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 01:15 PM   #6
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There is a sharpness mod for the component YPrPb output of the LinkPlayer2 if you're ventursome, you desolder some components that comprise an L-C filter network on the output to "unsoften" the output.

Below are SMD (surface mount device) components.

Remove these inductors and solder wires across where they were, or leave a large solder blob to short the pads:
L65
L66
L67

Remove these capacitors (no wires or blobs here, just leave off):
C200
C201
C202

The components are all located within an inch of each other, on the circuit board near the YPrPb output terminals. The mod has been widely discussed at AVSForum. I've done it myself. It makes a nice improvement.

...or you just buy the new JVC unit (made by I-O Data) with DVI output.

In general, the I-O Data AVeL LinkPlayer2 is very rewarding, or frustrating depending on your tolerance for tinker. Many people find the installed EPO306D loader (DVD ROM) to be less than satisfactory with burned media. There's lots of discussion on how to replace it with a Lite-On SOHD-167T.

And then there's the matter of firmware updates. The unit will arrive with an old firmware, and an easy method for updating it. But you have to sequentially install all the firmware updates one by one until you get to the most recent. I-O Data has a history of breaking some things that were working when they fix something that was not. So when you arrive at a firmware version that fixes your problem, it's best to stay there and not continue upgrading just for the sport of it. In the case of most of the firmware upgrades, you could roll back 1 version to the previous firmware. But there is a dividing line at the version where they introduced the ability to playback DRM protected WMV-HD content. That was the biggest upgrade, and it broke some things, and you can't roll back to the pre-DRM version once you cross that bridge. They have had several upgrades after that one that re-fixed some of the things, but again once you get it working, it's best to stop upgrading. There have probably been 10 firmware upgrades to the LinkPlayer2.

In the end, it's remains probably the best of the digital streaming content players out there. If you have a PC based solution that works better for streaming content to your HDTV monitor, then count yourself lucky. I have been through several. Though flawed, the LinkPlayer2 has overall been better than any of them for playing m2t files, also WMVHD, Divx and others.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 04:14 PM   #7
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Thanks guys! That was very helpful. I had a year of fun with a Sampo while I was saving up for my first DVD burner... working through firmware updates that enabled stuff like miniDVD while breaking other stuff .... so I know exactly what you mean.

If I could also ask... what's the main differences between a Linkplayer and a Linkplayer2?
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Old February 12th, 2006, 04:26 PM   #8
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Linkplayer and a Linkplayer2?:

Don't know much about this!

LinkPlayer2 and Linkplayer Kuro-Obi:

HDMI out, upconversion, and some more.

Also, in my opinion it is second to the oppo DVD player as far as Upconverting goes.

Go to http://www.iodata.com for more info on this.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 04:57 PM   #9
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A bit off topic, but we are about a month out from the introduction of a HD-DVD player for $499 from Toshiba.

According to the HD spec[from what I've read] it should play both WM9 HD and H.264 HD files right?

One could just burn that type of file [sans menus] onto a regular DVD-R and be able to play it on the new HD players[blu-ray or otherwise]? [And of course, DVD Studio Pro Users can author HD-DVD already with the pre-liminary specs.]

I know space-wise, it isn't much[4.7 g or a dual layer 9.4]--but it seems closer now then ever before.

Any thoughts, information?
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Old February 12th, 2006, 08:17 PM   #10
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The Oppo isn't true HD. It upconverts SD DVDs nicely I'm sure, but it's utility for HDV playback at native resolution is basically of no value.

LinkPlayer1 did not playback HD, LinkPlayer2 was the first to do this.

I'm with John...if the Toshiba HD-DVD player will play WM9 HD and H.264 files from a 4.7gb DVD-R/+R that will be compelling! However, if it doesn't also play straight m2t (mpeg2ts) files then I would likely just stick with the LinkPlayer2 since it does this already.

Hopefully, there are better solutions on the horizon, like HD-DVD. The LinkPlayer2 has at least given me versatile playback of HDV files, if imperfect in its execution, nothing else I've tried seems able to beat it.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 09:37 PM   #11
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Hmmm...it hadn't really occurred to me that the first generation or so of HD-DVD players might be allowed that level of flexiblity - i.e. to willingly play raw wmv or H264 files from a red-lazer disk!

Given the near-obsessive push for DRM-lockdown of all things HD at present, I'll be real surprised if they do! Of course, I'd be very happy to be proven wrong on that....
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Old February 14th, 2006, 05:32 AM   #12
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How well does DivX HD content play on the LinkPlayer2? What are the maximum bitrates for DivX HD and WMV HD content, that the LinkPlayer2 can play directly from DVD?
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Old February 14th, 2006, 07:37 AM   #13
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Exactly the bit rates, I don't know, quite a bit higher than the rated specs, and it depends on the frame size. For WMVHD 720p30 12-18mp/s, but at 1920x1080i60 8-9 mbps.

m2t (mpeg2ts) 1440x1080i60 plays at 25 mbps

I don't know the limits for Divx-HD but it plays.
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Old February 15th, 2006, 10:25 AM   #14
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Thanks Tom. Those are bitrates from playing a disc in the unit itself (rather than from a file over a network), correct?

It's been awhile since I downloaded and read their manual, but as I recall, at least some of the specs written in the manual almost had to be wrong, being off-the-wall to low for HD.
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Old February 15th, 2006, 05:23 PM   #15
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The published specs are wrong. It handles bit rates way in excess of the ratings either from a burned DVD or streamed over the network. The specs also say you cannot upconvert std def DVD to 720p or 1080i....but it does.
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