I-O DATA announces the Link Player (AVLP2/DVDLA)


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"WMV9/DivX® HD Network DVD Player is coming to USA/CANADA" Dramatically improve your home entertainment with I-O DATA's LinkPlayer!

AVLP2/DVDLA I-O DATA is pleased to announce the release of a brand-new LinkPlayer, AVLP2/DVDLA, in the USA and Canada. The first shipment of LinkPlayer will be in the middle of November in the USA, and should be available in Canada shortly after the USA. The MSRP will be USD249.00.

LinkPlayer allows you to playback various formatted files connect from any PCs on the home network to a Big screen TV with a remote control. Moreover digital camera and USB memory can be connected directly through a USB 2.0/1.1 port to display files on a Big screen TV. Need more learning? Click here to go to AVLP2/DVDLA product detail.

Press release
This document adds some more information: pdf catalog (their word).

It looks like this box combines a lot of features that people have been looking for. If it's not too good to be true.

Some random notes:

1) HD - I don't have an HD tv but just about everyone wants this
2) The documentation says it works with NAS. This is one of the pluses for the Turtle Beach Audiotron - you don't need server side software.
3) UPnP - The documentation also refers to working with UPnP, which requires server-side software. I don't know how they manage the relationship between NAS and UPnP but it shouldn't be too difficult. MS seems to be moving toward UPnP servers for managing multimedia on the network.
4) Hardware decoding of MPEG2/4, WMV9, and DivX (on Sigma chip). This is a big plus in my book. It means that you don't need server-side software transcoding the video files. This allows you to use a much lower-end server for your files. Transcoding DivX eats a lot of CPU.
5) In the documentation for the server-side software (I think), it mentions supporting VOB files. This may mean that it has no problem playing ripped DVDs (e.g., straight from DVDDecrypter).
6) It talks about being able to disable internet browsing. May be interesting (access HomeSeer web pages from this box?).
7) It says that mp3s are supported up to 192Kbps. I hope this is wrong (i.e., that it supports higher bit rates). For compatability with many devices, all of my music is in mp3s. This will limit what I can play.

Overall, this looks like a really interesting device (even without needing the HD support). I'll have to add this to my list of things to keep an eye on.
I have been in touch with that company since the press release, trying to get an evaluation model so I can post a review, they are interested, but it's taking some time as they just launched this product. Hopefully I can post a detailed review soon.
If you want to do your review "right", you should also try and get your hands on some other devices for comparison. The GoVideo D2730 comes to mind - it's similar in format (looks like a DVD player). They are cheaper but have limitations compared to the IOData. There are plenty of other networked players worth comparing.

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It looks like nobody has the D2730 for anywhere near as little as I paid for mine. I think I paid around $105. Most places have them for around $250 now. That makes the IOData (<$300 with better specs) even more interesting.