I'm thinking of upgrading to a better blu-ray player, and I wondered which models will play .flv flash video files?
Would also ideally like it to read all formats of DVD data disc, including DVD-RAM, as half my file archive is stored on this disc format.
The other essential feature is a SCART output that gives 625-line component.
(My current Philips blu-ray only has phono composite out, which most of the time gives only NTSC and cannot be forced to PAL. Very bizarre given that I live in a PAL country!)
Also it's vital that the on-screen icons (for pause, slo-mo frame adavance, etc...) can be switched off!
(My current machine has huge icons in the centre of the screen that disappear after 3 seconds; but cannot be turned off altogether. This is incredibly irritating if you're trying to watch something frame-by-frame.)
Would prefer to have a machine that recognises the widest possible range of audio and video codecs (obviously including HD resolutions). I often find that my current machine is unable to recognise the audio codec: so I have to watch with no sound!
(Matroska format is not very important to me, as I rarely come across files in the Matroska wrapper.)
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Are there ANY BluRay players that support Flash? It's difficult to even find streaming media players that support it and they support almost everything.
Note that BluRay players are no substitute for a good streaming media player so you should expect more playback issues with any BluRay player you buy than if you got a streaming media player.
Your requirements are rather unusual. Perhaps someone in the UK knows if any player sold there can meet your needs.
Apart from wireless streaming of Netflix etc., the Blu-Ray players I've seen are feature-poor and really SUCK, compared to what a lot of the better DVD players gave you. Playing back other file formats falls into this category. This seems to be not simply a cheapjack approach on the part of the Mfr.s, but part of a deliberate dumbing down and DRM lockdown campaign.
The only one I can think of that is not so likely to play ball with all this is Oppo -- one of the best but also most expensive brands on the market.
I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the new Seiki 3D player. I think it's based on the Philips 5000 series line but I don't have one yet. The player spec sheet says it will play RAM discs but I will test that once I get one. The Blu Ray player the OP wants is a tall order. Likely nothing other than the Oppo will do as he wants. Blu Ray players don't like to play ball with the public much for all around playback. You'd probably be better off getting a good media player like the Dlink Boxee Box or WDTV Live Hub (both about $200 CAD). I have the Seiki BD660 Blu Ray player which is a cheap player that plays just about (but not quite) everything I can feed into it but build on those units is poor and it can't do streaming from a home network or from the Internet.
Not interested in MKV playback? You are the first person who has said that in about 2 years...
Thanks very much for all the replies.
Will definitely look into the media player idea.
By the sound of it I might be better off buying a DVD Player, as I can still use my current machine for blu-ray discs. I wonder which model of DVD Player would best suit my needs?
I did notice that the upscaling and deinterlacing on my blu-ray player are both vastly superior to my current DVD player. In fact the upscaling on my DVD Player doesn't seem to make any improvement to the picture quality! So that was the main reason I was favouring a second blu-ray player.
OK, I've ruled out the Oppo, because it doesn't play FLV, plus the price is far too high!
I don't think either of the Seiki machines you mentioned will play FLV, so have ruled those out too.
The Boxee Box and the WDTV Hub might be suitable:
I have a multi-format USB DVD drive plugged into my PC that I rarely use anymore: so I could plug that into the USB input of the WDTV or Boxee Box. However it would need to play the files directly from the DVDs, as I can't be bothered copying all my hundreds of discs over to the media player's hard-drive!
Would this work, and would the seek speeds be acceptable if I wanted to step through the video?
If so, which box plays the widest variety of codecs? Or are they both about the same?
(It looks like the WDTV will only play H.264 in FLV; but some FLVs contain other video codecs, so that could be a problem.)
If I did opt for the media player solution, I'd also need a new DVD player where I can turn off the giant pause icons that are causing me so much grief!
It would need to have upscaling and deinterlacing at least as good as the Philips BDP3000 blu-ray player that I currently use.
Would also need to playback DVD+/-R(W), including recordings made using the Philips DMR-ES15 DVD Recorder.
Can anyone suggest any models?
There are some other media players besides the two that were mentioned, such as the Asus O! Play. I recall coming across a link to a "shootout" review survey of them, and will try to find that again, if you're interested. I think the gist of it was assorted strengths and weaknesses, but with the WD Live series (there have been at least three models) basically edging out the others.
There is probably no one device or solution that will cover everything you wanted. The one possible exception might be a HTPC (Home Theater PC) that you built to your own specifications, because it could have a good optical drive (even a Blu-Ray), a hard drive, various playback software plus all the codecs you might need, etc. I could offer some suggestions there, but this option is not at all easy for most people, and would cost quite a bit more -- in total -- than that Oppo Blu-Ray player. It also has its own set of pros and cons, like having to boot up an operating system in order to use it.
Another way that some have gone is some sort of NAS server, that can pipe your own media library all over the house, most likely via wi-fi -- unless all of your rooms already have CAT-5 ethernet in the walls. Again, not an inexpensive solution, fairly tech-y, and it involves computer intervention. (I don't know much about this, but others here do.)
In regard to a DVD player, I've owned quite a few different makes and models over the years. The best of these by far has been the Oppo 980, which has excellent upscaling and very good convenience features. As with some other players, it has a USB port for a flashdrive, and plays a couple other formats, but not FLV. It was discontinued a year or two ago, but up to 4 more of them turn up each week on eBay, in the U.S. (For other territories, you'd have to check.) They are mostly being sold off by owners who think DVD is over, and that they need to "upgrade" to a Blu-Ray. (Wrong on both counts, I'd say, but this leaves a nice situation for second-hand buyers.) I have picked up a couple more of these for relatives. People know how good they are -- if in good condition -- so you rarely see them sell used for less than $100., and even $200. is not uncommon. That's close to their original selling price when new. If you buy one, avoid any that don't have a working remote: neither the replacement part nor its off-brand clone are available anymore. And the usual eBay cautions re such gear certainly apply. Some of the units being sold will qualify for eBay Buyer Assurance &/or a low cost SquareTrade Warranty. Either of those would be advantageous.
My Oppo plays any discs I've made with Pioneer DVDRs, so I don't think your Phillips would be an exception. Playing RWs ? I think the answer should be 'Yes', so long as the disc was finalized on the recorder. (It's been awhile, but I could test a few.) Unfinalized RWs are only playable on the recorder that made them. If any standalone players could handle them, they must have been very few and far between. And, if you were recording on CRAP media, all bets are OFF.
Thanks for your detailed reply.
Apparently the WDTV Live Hub can be hacked to work with USB optical drives: so that's what I was referring to. Not sure about the Boxee Box?
What I haven't quite understood is whether they will work with a wifi LAN? If so then I would be able to access the optical drives and hard-drives on my PC via the WDTV box, which would obviously be very useful. I suspect the answer is no.
(At the moment I don't have a wifi network anyway: my PC has a hardwired cable modem.)
Last night I tried connecting my redundant USB optical drive to my Philips BDP3000 blu-ray player, and to my surprise it worked! However it would only recognise two of the discs I tried (both DVD-RAM data discs containing avi and mpeg files). With all the others it said: "unrecognised device". This isn't surprising as the BDP3000 is only supposed to work with flash drives, not optical drives. I'm amazed it worked at all!
What you said about unfinalised DVD recordings is not really correct. I've played these back through my PC, through my BDP3000, and through one of my other DVD players.
Does that Oppo DVD player allow me to disable the on-screen icons I mentioned? It's really important that I can watch things frame-by-frame without any icons blocking the view!
Last edited by alexh110; 30th Jul 2011 at 20:26.
Come to think of it, I really do need to be able to playback unfinalised DVD recordings from my Philips DVD Recorder. So I guess the Oppo would be no good for me?
Probably I would have to stick with a Philips machine.
Currently I can playback unfinalised RW's on my DVP3980, and my BDP3000 (both Philips models).
I think those two Phillips units must be distinctly in the minority re the unfinalized playback . . . but someone like Orsetto would know more about that.
Not sure what you meant by "on-screen icons." I can watch frame-by-frame with nothing obscuring the view. The only "icon" I can think of from the Oppo is the moving logo in the screen-saver.
The networking of some WD-Live models is for streaming Netflix and maybe another such service or two. I don't think it is geared towards networking your own stuff, beyond the tv it happens to be connected to. If I'm wrong about that, it would be good to know the answer.
With regards to Seeker47's comments, the newer WDTV models are capable of streaming from network attached PCs or possibly even network attached storage devices.
The "on screen icon" produced by the BDP3000 is a huge pause symbol (like a vertical equals sign).
It obscures the whole centre of the screen for 3 or 4 seconds before it disappears! Possibly the most irritating design feature ever devised!!
The reason I don't finalise discs is because I like to have the flexibility to change the thumbnails from time to time. Plus the unfinalised disc menu is more attractive and easier to navigate than the finalised menu.
I'm also a bit worried that finalising a disc could potentially wreck it's contents. This has happened in the past due to the temperamental nature of my Philips DVD recorder!
As to not being able to play them back in the future, that's not a huge worry for me. I currently have three standalone DVD machines that will play them, plus two different optical drives on my PC: so it would be a simple matter to salvage their contents. Plus of course I could easily replace my DVD recorder with an identical 2nd-hand model from EBay.
Thanks for your comments though.
Then your situation is that exceedingly rare exception: these forums are littered with recurrent questions from people with unfinalized discs who can no longer play them. Usually they are told to either find another of the same recorder second or third hand that still works, or to take their chances extracting the contents with Isobuster.
The WDTV Hub is starting to sound like the best solution for me. If it can access my PC's hard-drives over a LAN, then it would almost certainly be able to access the optical drives as well.
I think I would want to use a hard-wired Ethernet LAN rather than wifi though, to get the best uninterrupted data connection.
So I guess I would need some kind of Ethernet hub device?
I've actually resolved this problem now in a very cheap and simple way!
I used some SVGA extension cable to connect my PC to my TV. So I can now playback all file formats straight to my TV, as well as DVD-RAM discs using my PC's optical drives.
I'd previously ruled out this idea because I wasn't very happy with the picture quality I was getting (the video was breaking up into horizontal slices), plus HD video files would freeze repeatedly. I assumed this was caused by my AGP card, and my CPU speed being too low; but it turns out it was actually the playback software! When I switched from Media Player Classic to KM Player, the problems disappeared.
So all I need now is a replacement for my blu-ray player. I need a model with 625-line SCART output (plus HDMI obviously), flexible zoom control that will allow me to zoom in on any area of the picture, good quality deinterlacing and upscaling, video noise reduction, no on-screen pause icons, and the ability to playback non-finalised discs (so it may need to be another Philips model).
Any suggestions gratefully appreciated.