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New Western Digital HD Media Player - USB-In -> HDMI Out

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AkumaX
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New Western Digital HD Media Player - USB-In -> HDMI Out

Post by AkumaX » Nov 15th, '08, 22:07

Western Digital HD Media Player (Model: WDAVN00BN)

General Link: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp ... 8008588808

This thing has quite a bit packed into it, and is being widely discussed on some AVS forums.

What's special about it is that it takes in a lot of different types of codecs and containers, all through a tidy interface and with HD output

Buy.com and Dell. has it for $99 with freeship
Question/Answer:

* Plays DVD ISO files? Yes.
* Plays BD ISO files? No plays .m2ts.
* Reads NTFS, NTFS compressed, FAT32, and HFS+ drives? Yes
* Outputs 5.1 over S/PDIF? Yes (set digital out)
* Supports external USB DVD-ROM? Unknown
* Supports MKVs with multiple video/audio/subtitle streams? Yes/Yes/SRT only.
* Passes the encoded audio out via HDMI/optical for your receiver to decode? Yes

Any USB storage device will work
Supports USB Hubs with multiple drives hooked up to it

Network Connectivity Workaround:
Use NAS (Network Attached Storage) with USB and Ethernet.

Supported formats:
MPEG 1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG4,Xvid, AVC), H.264, MKV*, MOV (MPEG4, H264), JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, PNG
MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV/PCM/LPCM, AAC, FLAC, Dolby Digital, AIF/AIFF, MKA

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Post by jholic » Nov 16th, '08, 04:08

AkumaX, thanks for sharing this info. you've certainly got me interested. i hope you don't mind, but i also edited your post to include the model number of the player to make it easier to find.

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Post by AznAvenger » Nov 16th, '08, 04:32

I actually got this last week for $99 and it has completely rendered my dvd player obsolete. So far, I've tried about a dozen series I've gotten here and all of them have come out looking great. If you have to stop viewing a video, it even remembers the point you stopped at so you can pick up where you left off. I would recommend this to anyone that wants to view their video collection on a TV instead of their monitors.

This thing caters to a specific audience (basically if you are reading this, you are probably part of that audience).

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Post by groink » Nov 16th, '08, 04:44

Placed my walk-in pickup order just now at Best Buy. Something to play with tonight...

--- groink

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groink
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Post by groink » Nov 16th, '08, 12:22

Bought the box and playing with it right now. Quick review of the Western Digital HD Media Player (Model: WDAVN00BN)

* Plays DVD ISO files? Yes.
Confirmed: It does play DVD ISO files. See my pros/cons for details. Does NOT play VCD/SVCD ISO files.

* Plays BD ISO files? No plays .m2ts.
Could not test (I don't download Blu-ray ISO images.) Makes sense that it would not since it does not support M2TS.

* Reads NTFS, NTFS compressed, FAT32, and HFS+ drives? Yes
Confirmed: It reads NTFS and FAT32. They recommend you use FAT32 as it pauses a lot less than when playing videos off NTFS. This is because of NTFS' nature and not a limitation of the WS unit. However, you must use NTFS if your files are larger than 2GB (many of mine are since I record to MPEG-2.)

* Outputs 5.1 over S/PDIF? Yes (set digital out)
Confirmed: It does work!

* Supports external USB DVD-ROM? Unknown
Confirmed: USB DVD drives do NOT work. Understandable since burned DVDs and CDs are neither of the supported partition formats (NTFS, FAT32, HFS+). In theory, if you're able to format a CD with one of these three formats (wonder if HFS+ will work, as the older Macs format their CDs with HFS+), it should work.

* Supports MKVs with multiple video/audio/subtitle streams? Yes/Yes/SRT only.
Confirmed: Works with MKVs. Still need to test since I do not normally download MKV with soft subs.

* Passes the encoded audio out via HDMI/optical for your receiver to decode? Yes
Confirmed: This does work. Strange why this is even an issue.

* Any USB storage device will work. Supports USB Hubs with multiple drives hooked up to it
Confirmed: I've tested this box with both a WD MyBook drive and SimpleTech USB drive.

* Network Connectivity Workaround: Use NAS (Network Attached Storage) with USB and Ethernet.
Confirmed: In short, this WD box does not see the difference; USB drive is a USB drive.

Supported formats:
MPEG 1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG4,Xvid, AVC), H.264, MKV*, MOV (MPEG4, H264), JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, PNG
MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV/PCM/LPCM, AAC, FLAC, Dolby Digital, AIF/AIFF, MKA
Confirmed so far: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVI w/Xvid/Divx/AVC, H.264, MOV (MPEG4 only, FAILED on MOV Quicktime movies), JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, PNG, SRT soft subs

My list of pros/cons:

Pros: Small box. Uses standard USB "A" plug (vs something else like mini-USB.) Two of these USB ports available and can be used at the same time. Easy to surf interface (very similar to the Sony PS3 or PSP.) Frame zoom feature. Ability to move the video up/down/right/left in case hard subs are covered by the TV set's frame. You CAN play 1280x1024 AVIs (just a few seconds slower to start up from the beginning.) Video quality during pause is sharp.

Cons: The subtitles are thin, and you cannot control the thickness, size or color. Traversing through the menus are somewhat slow. Takes a minute or two for the box to detect the USB devices. Does not play ASS/SSA subs. Does not play WMV videos (strange!) FF and RW does not stop at the exact spot you want when you press play. Although the box does play VIDEO_TS files, it does not play them like a DVD (no menus, which makes sense seeing the remote control lacks most DVD player features like MENU, etc.) Does not play non-ISO images, such as Nero NRG files. No physical switches on the box itself - MUST use the remote to even power ON/OFF.

--- groink
Last edited by groink on Dec 7th, '08, 11:39, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by AkumaX » Nov 17th, '08, 02:09

@jholic, no problem at all! this is the type of thing that would definitely be of interest to the community, especially with the media we're dealing with

@groink, thanks for providing the results of your objective testing, this would help those whom would have questions with playing back videos specifically downloaded (most likely) from d-a
- i think it does play separated .m2ts files, just not when its not contained inside a bd-iso
- kinda sad to hear about .ssa/.ass, but i kinda saw that coming. also, i hope the fixed font/width of its .srt playback isn't too much of an issue while viewing muxed .srt's in a .mkv

I've been looking for a decent "Media" player to recommend for friends/family, and it looks like this might be it (maybe they'll be some future firmware upgrades/updates to sweeten things up). in the past, i'd just recommend a divx dvd player, but then would have to worry about xvid files created with QPel/GMC since a lot of the 1st gen divx players didn't support that.

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Post by mt877 » Nov 22nd, '08, 17:48

Looks like a "little brother" to the Popcorn Hour and about $100 cheaper. Uses the Sigma SMP8635LF processor, Popcorn Hour uses Sigma SMP8635, not sure what the difference is between the Sigma SMP8635LF and Sigma SMP8635. I did a google search and found several sites which indicate that internal hard drive and network is supported with the Sigma SMP8635LF. I guess Western Digital opted to keep cost down with this device.

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Post by katdiva » Nov 22nd, '08, 18:04

I couldn't find the drive capacity anywhere on this post thread or @ on the specs tab at BB. I had to go to the WD site to find out that it is different than what I was expecting.

I have three full Iomega ScreenPlay HD drives that I am very pleased with ... they just don't play .mkv files but they do everything else this WD models does and are 500GB each. They are almost full so it's time for a new one.

Unlike the Iomega drives which connect directly to the HDMI on your TV, this WD model isn't a drive at all; SOUKA! You have to connect the USB2 drive to it. Seems odd to have a 'go between' when there are mediaplayer drives out there that can connect directly to an HDTV and have their own remotes.

For folks that want to see the specs from WD:
http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=572

I will give this a go ... the remote appears to be bulky compared to the ScreenPlay model, but WD is worth a shot!

Thank you.
Last edited by katdiva on Nov 22nd, '08, 18:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by pappi » Nov 22nd, '08, 18:13

There is no drive capacity spec... you must use external usb drive. I think mt877 mention the chip can handle internal drive, just WD did not want internal drive or network in this little player. Maybe to keep the cost down?

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Post by groink » Nov 22nd, '08, 20:06

pappi wrote:Maybe to keep the cost down?
No. It makes logical sense to separate your HD from the player. Western Digital probably tabulated the total number of hard drives they've sold (I'm an owner of 20 500GB MyBooks), and then figure that it would be better to let the user add his own external HD than to, like some of the other models, force the user to keep refreshing the HD with content. With 20+ hard drives at my home, I can attach any of them to this box.

--- groink

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Post by Sakura_Kissu » Dec 2nd, '08, 19:14

Hello everybody

I'm planning on buying one for my parents and one for me fro xmas.

Can someone take pictures of the subtitles please?
Cause I need to see, how it will look like, I mean will I still have to hardsub my own videos or not?

Thanks a lot in advance.

ps: if you don't want to show everybody what you are watching or what you're tv looks like, just send me the pics by PM.

It will really help me.

Thanks a lot in advance

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Post by groink » Dec 7th, '08, 21:46

--- groink
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Post by jholic » Dec 8th, '08, 01:26

that looks much better than the philips dvp.

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Post by hepcat05 » Dec 8th, '08, 01:47

Any USB storage device will work
Supports USB Hubs with multiple drives hooked up to it
Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question or if I missed something obvious, but I'm considering buying this device and I want to be sure before I drop $100.

Does "any USB" storage device mean thumb drives or just external hard drives?

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Post by AkumaX » Dec 8th, '08, 02:29

jholic wrote:that looks much better than the philips dvp.
dude i had to download a custom firmware in order to make the font size/color look acceptable, hahaha

hepcat05 wrote:Sorry if this sounds like a dumb question or if I missed something obvious, but I'm considering buying this device and I want to be sure before I drop $100.

Does "any USB" storage device mean thumb drives or just external hard drives?
"any USB" in this case refers to either USB thumb drives or External USB Hard drives (not USB cd/dvd-roms). Hope that helps!

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Post by Jav_sol » Dec 8th, '08, 02:37

AkumaX wrote:dude i had to download a custom firmware in order to make the font size/color look acceptable, hahaha
So there is a way to change the font size on this. I'm interested in getting this media player but I wear glasses so font appearance is important to me.

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Post by Sakura_Kissu » Dec 8th, '08, 07:53

Thanks a lot for the photo really.

Well I read on a french board (I read board from all around the world about this player), that there will be a firmware upgrade in january and that they're planning to do something about the subtitles embedded in mkv but for now I didn't read anything about the size or font of subtitles even if a lot of people are waiting for it.

Thanks again for the photo.

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Post by InoueOrihime » Dec 8th, '08, 21:23

Wow this looks really interesting! I wish I could buy it for myself! >> Thank you for the picture of the subtitles, I was kinda curious about that too.

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Post by Sakura_Kissu » Dec 28th, '08, 16:44

The new firmware is available and you can choose the size for subtitles.
Also ass; ssa...are now recognized

But the position of the subtitles is a bit too low.

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Post by raul_molino » Apr 22nd, '09, 10:05

Hello, new to the forum....

I got the WD HD player in order to play bluray movies on it.
Now i got the Seagate FreeGo 320GB that uses NTFS format.

My WD player recognize the portable hard drive but it have some serious issues with it, for some strange reason i have like this annoying delay, for example, if i play mp3's it waits like a min before letting me skip a song, same with movies when i try to FF. In movies it also have different problem when it starts the sound of the movie for the first minute and only than the picture comes up. VERY ANNOYING.

I had tried to use my friend's WD Passport 160GB FAT32 portable hard drive, and there it works perfectly- but fat32 does not allow big files of Bluray

Have anyone else seen this problem?? Do any of you have any solution for me?

Appreciate the help.

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Post by groink » Apr 22nd, '09, 10:16

raul_molino wrote:Now i got the Seagate FreeGo 320GB that uses NTFS format.
I can only suspect that the WD box does not like the Seagate unit. Like you, I format my USB drives as NTFS. But, I use WD drives - in particular the MyBox Essential series. So it may very well be that the WD box works best with WD drives.

--- groink

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Post by raul_molino » Apr 22nd, '09, 10:28

well, i just bought it as NTFS, now i am considering to change the format to FAT32, but than i can kiss the Bluray quality video bye bye...

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Post by Sakura_Kissu » Apr 22nd, '09, 11:13

Hello

I use different drives (one for drama, one for animes...) they all are in NTFS and work great.
I don't think you have to change to fat.
Maybe the firmware upgrade will help?

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Post by raul_molino » Apr 22nd, '09, 18:13

can you please expand on the filmware? not fermiliar with that...
i am using like 8 GB files.

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Post by AkumaX » Apr 22nd, '09, 18:52

I was under the impression that the Seagate FreeAgent Go uses a Y USB connector (requires 2 x USB inputs for power). Did they change that?

I know the WD Passport series uses a short (1" USB A->Mini B) Cable that is advertised as 100% compatible with the WD Media Player.

Also, the WD Media Player supports NTFS, so I'm not too sure its the file system format...

P.S. If you've got a beefy computer and a lot of time on your hands, you could compress your Blu-Ray format to something smaller? I compressed Transformers (47gb .m2ts file) to a 6gb 1080p .mp4 :)

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Post by raul_molino » Apr 22nd, '09, 21:15

well on the FreeAgent Go, seagate i use there's only one USB not 2.
You think that if i get like a different cable it might do the trick? I do use a short USB cable...

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Post by groink » Apr 22nd, '09, 21:16

AkumaX wrote:I was under the impression that the Seagate FreeAgent Go uses a Y USB connector (requires 2 x USB inputs for power). Did they change that?
If this is actually the case, then I'm pretty sure that the Seagate drive just doesn't have enough power to run media files. The pauses and the slowness suggests that the drive constantly shuts off/on because of the power situation. I have an Apricorn drive that operates like this. Even if the power is being pulled from USB, the USB power just isn't enough for rugged use like videos.

--- groink

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Post by ImL0st » Apr 22nd, '09, 21:26

The Docking Station for Free Agent comes with "Y" 2 connectors (1 for power) USB cable while the Free Agent itself comes with only 1 connector USB cable, just so you know :)

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Post by raul_molino » Apr 22nd, '09, 21:31

thanks... Not sure what i will do but i will try it....
But it's not the NTSF that is the problem, right? cuz i really dont want to change to FAT32

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Post by groink » Apr 22nd, '09, 21:41

Here's what you really need for the your hard disk drive to work with the WD Player:

You need to draw power from an AC power adapter source. This gives you the maximum power the drive needs. The WD Passport can get away with this because it draws power from the WD Player, as both products are designed by WD.

Also, use quality USB cables! Lately, the cables that come shipped with the drive are very dinky! I'd spend a few bucks to purchase good quality USB high speed cables. This will allow for less resistance and better impedance. The cables I use are much thicker in feel than what came with the devices.

My suggestion: Get the Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp ... 5271084002

I have ten of these! The drive is only $100 at Best Buy.

--- groink

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Post by taro » May 19th, '09, 07:28

There's been problems with playing softsub/external file subtitles & I've experienced it. Good thing is WD is constantly working on the firmware, they have actuall staff that reads and posts in forums and looking at user input, and theres a newer firmware released that I haven't installed yet that is supposed to improve the timing issues of external subs and readability of fonts.
Also, the code is open so people have already hacked it. I've heard of hacks making it a networkable player, hacks to connect a USB DVD drive.

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Post by kahuna808 » Jun 29th, '09, 09:25

I brought this device first time I see it advertised in our local BB circular here in HI. I had a $10 Reward GC and paid $89 + tax for it. Best $89 + tax I ever spent. It has played just about everything I have thrown at it. I have it hooked up through my Panny AV receiver through hdmi and then to a 52" Samsung 1080p LCD.

Plays all the k-drama episodes I d/l from here and other places and the srt subtitles. It really shined when I watched all the Boys Over Flowers Hi-def files. It also plays all the 1080i & 720p K-pop music clips I d/l. No more having to watch Music Bank and SBS Popular Song programs on crappy KBFD station here in HI.

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Post by choco » Jun 30th, '09, 01:43

For anyone interested, here's what .srt subtitles look like with firmware 1.02.07 and subtitle border set to thick.
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Post by kahuna808 » Jun 30th, '09, 03:54

choco wrote:For anyone interested, here's what .srt subtitles look like with firmware 1.02.07 and subtitle border set to thick.
I'm not sure what version firmware I have on mine. I know I updated it once so far but I am not sure if it is 1.02.07 version.

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Post by groink » Jun 30th, '09, 04:02

kahuna808 wrote:
choco wrote:For anyone interested, here's what .srt subtitles look like with firmware 1.02.07 and subtitle border set to thick.
I'm not sure what version firmware I have on mine. I know I updated it once so far but I am not sure if it is 1.02.07 version.
Turn on the WD box.
Go to Settings -> System
Scroll down to "About" and press ENTER

--- groink

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Post by taro » Jul 6th, '09, 19:08

Yup, newer firmware has improved subtitles readability and performance. There are firmware mods also been done that make the WD TV unit networkable, can run as a webserver and it's own torrent machine, read USB optical drives, remote controlable through network! Good stuff.

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Post by fayewolf » Jul 13th, '09, 14:54

Hi guys, I'm considering this. Does this player plays the HD versions we download from here? There are about 20% of jdramas that I downloaded from here that's not readable by my philips dvd player. Usually codec not supported... wondered if this machine can read those files?

Also with my Philips, usually my soft sub are cut off towards the end, does this happen with this player? Thanks!

If it does, then it will be the best buy of the year!! :)

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Post by wobblywalker » Jul 13th, '09, 15:41

Wooo.. thanks for the great info! After reading your reviews I ordered one on Amazon.com, $93 with free Super Saver shipping... can't wait!
:D

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Post by fayewolf » Jul 13th, '09, 15:53

One more quick question, my TV has 2 HDMI slots, one is used by my cable box, another with the philips. I'm very technology not quite savvy here, what other ways can I plug this thing to my TV?

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Post by pn0yb0i » Jul 16th, '09, 09:09

Does the firmware have subtitle stretching issues when played back on a 4:3 analog television?

I bought 3 of these as presents and 1 to keep for the living room.

I'm gonna need to "recall" them and update the firmwares again! :lol

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choco
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Post by choco » Jul 21st, '09, 03:42

You can also use a composite cable to hook it up to the TV.
Long subtitles wrap around to the next line and don't get cut off. I tried some mp4 and x264 encoded files and they seem to play okay.

fayewolf wrote:One more quick question, my TV has 2 HDMI slots, one is used by my cable box, another with the philips. I'm very technology not quite savvy here, what other ways can I plug this thing to my TV?

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Post by itsukiD » Jul 29th, '09, 22:10

since my rear projection tv upstairs doesnt have HDMI, i use a HDMI to DVi cable to hook up my WDTV and the sound connect via the optical cable to a denon receiver. love this little machine. to answer someone's post a while back, yes the WDTV can handle thumbdrives.

has anyone successfully connected a dvd drive to this player yet?

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Post by groink » Jul 29th, '09, 22:13

itsukiD wrote:has anyone successfully connected a dvd drive to this player yet?
It won't work because the WDTV cannot read ISO or UDF partitions.

--- groink

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Post by 3lutz3toe » Sep 8th, '09, 14:03

Does this Player play MP4 files? Is MP4 the same thing as MPEG 4? thanks

(taken below from New Egg)
Support Media Formats
Video:MPEG 1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG4. Xvid. AVC). H.264, MKV. MOV (MPEG4. H.264)

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Post by XrayMind » Sep 9th, '09, 03:11

3lutz3toe wrote:Does this Player play MP4 files? Is MP4 the same thing as MPEG 4? thanks

(taken below from New Egg)
Support Media Formats
Video:MPEG 1/2/4, WMV9, AVI (MPEG4. Xvid. AVC). H.264, MKV. MOV (MPEG4. H.264)
MP4 is a container file that holds MPEG4 AVC also know as H.264 video and AAC audio. So the answer is yes, it will play MP4. Some fansub group use MKV to hold MPEG4 AVC/H.264 and AAC instead.

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Post by ownagepwnage » Sep 24th, '09, 22:51

do you guys know if, they display the font that was already customized in the .ass softsubs. like the code blue drama softsubs for example

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Post by AkumaX » Sep 30th, '09, 02:52

FYI, there's a new WD Media Player, the WDTV 2 (Live) -

Difference is it supports LAN(!) and DTS

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