AverMedia AverLife HD Studio media player � For that theater, at home Review

By Vishal Mathur | Updated Mar 31 2011
AverMedia AverLife HD Studio media player � For that theater, at home Review
DIGIT RATING
70 /100
  • design

    80

  • performance

    60

  • value for money

    70

  • features

    80

  • PROS
  • Excellent build quality
  • Superb brushed metal finish
  • Videos upscaled in good quality
  • Intuitive menu
  • LAN capabilities
  • CONS
  • Wireless remote control response is terrible
  • Could not get PS3 Media Server to pair with the media player

Verdict

For a price of Rs 5.5k, this HD media player offers a steady mix of good performance and looks, at a price which is much lesser than the rival, WD Live. The video upscale and playback is very good. However, a bad remote control may spoil the entire user experience.

BUY AverMedia AverLife HD Studio media player � For that theater, at home
Price 5500

AverMedia AverLife HD Studio media player � For that theater, at home detailed review

For someone who prays to the Gods of High Definition, the HD media players have been a Godsend, quite literally. Pair one of these with that High Definition flat screen television you may have at home, and you are all set for an exciting movie viewing experience.


Why the HD media players have become so popular is due to a mixture of a few reasons (and facts). First, the high definition televisions consumers are buying these days do not deserve the old generation (non-upscale or HD capable) DVD players. Secondly, a lot of the movie buffs end up downloading movies from the internet. Burning each one of them on to a DVD is a pain, and most remain on portable hard drives and pen drives. Third, the convenience of keeping the movies in a drive and keeping that plugged in to a device which remains permanently hooked up to the television is beyond words!

The latest in the line of these devices is the AverMedia AverLife HD Studio media player. This one is out there trying to compete with similar devices launched by WD, Seagate, Iomega and Asus. Let us find out of this one can take on the rivals, and possibly even beat them.

 

 

Look and Feel: Very Classy
Straight out of the box, the AverLife HD Studio immediately impresses with the extremely classy looks. The brushed metal finish is welcome, primarily because of two reasons it looks classy and the non-glossy body makes this device less maintenance needy. The front of the device is clean, something which isn’t there in a lot of other media players. This allows the media player to look good in the media console. The right side panel has the MS/SD/MMC card reader. However, the left side panel has the familiar USB input. Turn to the rear panel of the device and this is the business end, as far as all inputs and output ports are concerned. HDMI out, composite and component video out, LAN connectivity, optical audio out and another USB input are available here. The device, throughout, has a silver/gray brushed metal finish. In terms of size, this one is slightly thinner than the WD Live, but pretty much same in the width and depth.

 

Features: Loaded, yet not very expensive
For a price of Rs 5,500, the AverLife HD Studio offers everything that the WD Live HD Media player offers, and still costs about Rs 1k less. And yes, this one also has the LAN connectivity. The addition over the closest rival is the availability of the memory card reader. Essentially, this means that you can connect two USB drives to it simultaneously and slot in a memory card to access content from all.

The interface of HD media players have hovered between excellent and disappointing, usually around the extreme edges of that scale! Western Digital has the best looking and the slickest interfaces on its media players, while some of the rivals have extremely bad ones. The AverLife HD studio, thankfully, ends up on the good side of the interface rating scale. This one isn’t as slick as the ones on the WD media players, but the combination of sufficiently big icons and text works well. The home screen is laid out horizontally, while the rest of the menu is vertical.

 

Read on to know about the performance, our take and the price of the AverLife HD Studio media player...

 

 

Performance: Remote disappointment
The AverLife HD Studio setup is pretty simple. Connect it to the TV via the HDMI cable (to enjoy 1080p Full HD), and plug in a hard drive. The entire list of files shows up in a choice of layouts- either as a plain list, or as a list with a preview window (previewing whichever video you have the selection bar on). From what we noticed, the preview mode does slow down the navigation speed a little bit, with the added lag in scrolling speed.

Select any video and the playback starts up in a couple of seconds. Depending on the resolution you have set the media player to (480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i or 1080p), the video will be upscaled to that resolution, depending on the requirement. What the AverLife HD Studio lacks is the 8bit and 12bit colour depth option which is available in the WD Live. However, even without the option of increasing the depth, the colour reproduction in this one wasn’t in any way inferior to the WD Live. The upscale was very good, with the image quality improving without any extra artifacts making their way on to the image. Sharpness was retained, but a bit of colour gradation was visible in black colour portions, when upscaling a standard definition video file (.AVI movie, about 700MB in size) to full 1080p. However, when upscaling a native HD video (.MKV movie, 720p resolution, about 3GB in size) to full 1080p resolution. The audio reproduction was very crisp, and if you happen to use a home theater, the surround sound effects will be reproduced well. This media player played back all file formats we threw at it- .AVI, .MKV, .M2TS, .RMVB and .WMV. However, it surprisingly refused to play back one standard 720p HD video in .MKV format, while all other HD media players have played it back effortlessly. However, this is a problem which can easily be solved by a future firmware upgrade.

After a couple of hours of continuous use, the AverLife HD did heat up a little bit. Do remember, the device does not have any cooling fan, and has minimum vents, to let out the built-up heat.

In the midst of all the excellent performance on offer, the remote provided with the media player is a huge disappointment. While the extremely slim form factor is a good thing, the button layout is not very good. The fingers somehow never get the feel of the button placement. This sense of being uncomfortable increased manifold when the response was not very good. To get the remote to work, it needs to be aimed directly at the device, and will require a couple of stabs at the buttons to get the desired response.

The built-in LAN capabilities mean that the media player can access online content. This one has a built-in online radio app, Flickr, Picasa and can access and share files over network connected drives. Surprisingly, I could not get this media player to detect the PS3 Media Server running on my laptop, on the same network. All other network capable media players we have tested have been able to detect and access files from the PS3 Media Server.

 

Our Take: Worth the price
At a price of Rs 5.5k, this media player offers everything a movie buff will be looking for. The looks, form factor and performance are very good. The availability of a memory card reader is a huge positive, offering the user another means to accessing the movies. The irritating remote is a huge disappointment, however. But for this price, this may well be the device to check out, because it simply offers a lot more than a lot of the rivals.

 

Specifications
HD Media player
HDMI 1.3
Full HD resolution (1920x1080 pixels)
HDMI video out
Component and Composite out
2 USB inputs
Memory card reader
Built-in LAN capabilities
Picasa and Flickr access
Built-in Online Radio app

 

Ratings
Features: 7.5
Performance: 6.5
Build: 7.5
Value: 7
Overall: 7

 

Brand

AverMedia

Model

Averlife HD Studio

Price (Rs.)
5,500
Features
 
Max resolution supported

1920x1080

Connections
 
USB / ports

2

eSATA / ports

N

Card reader

Y

Ethernet (standard)

Y

Wireless (standard)

Optional

File support
 
Video (MKV / FLV / Real video / MOV / MP4)

Y/Y/Y/Y/Y

Audio (FLAC, WMA / AAC)

Y/Y/Y

Web content support
 
Youtube / Google Videos

N/N

Flickr / Picasaweb

Y/Y

RSS feeds / Weather / News

N/N/N

Network support
 
Windows shares / FTP

Y/Y

Remote access (web)

N

Bittorrent

N

Internal storage

N

Capacity

NA

Drive form factor

NA

NAS support
 
HDMI
 
Component
 
Composite / RCA

Y

Digital audio

Y

Performance (Out of 10)
 
Startup time (sec)
7.9
Movie load time (sec)
4.1
AVI 480p (Performance)
6
AVI 480p Quality
6
MKV (720p) (Performance)
7.5
MKV (720p) Quality
7.5
MKV (1080p) (Performance)
7
MKV (1080p) Quality
7
Video skipping
NA
Interface
6.5
Build Quality

7.5

Buttons

6

Stand

NA

Body

7.5

Remote Control

4

Noise
7
Heat
5.5
 
 

 

Contact: Aditya Infotech Pvt. Ltd
Phone: 0120-4555666
Website: www.avermedia.com

 

Price: Rs 5,500
 

AverMedia AverLife HD Studio media player � For that theater, at home Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Price: ₹5500
Release Date: 31 Mar 2011
Market Status: Launched

Key Specs

  • Playback Time Playback Time
    NA
  • Frequency Range Frequency Range
    NA
  • Channels Channels
    NA
  • Dimensions Dimensions
    NA

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Vishal Mathur

https://plus.google.com/u/0/107637899696060330891/posts

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AverMedia AverLife HD Studio media player � For that theater, at home

Price : ₹5500

AverMedia AverLife HD Studio media player � For that theater, at home

Price : ₹5500

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