Dune HD Pro 4k Plus Review

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Dune HD Pro 4k Plus Media Player Review

Dune HD Pro 4k Plus Media Player Review


Model Description

 Dune HD Pro 4K Plus is a previous version of Dune HD Pro 4K media player. The device is made in a different design and another form factor is aluminum casing, and the key difference is the support of internal hard drives through 3.5 “SATA HDD Racks.

The novelty is built on Realtek RTD1295 SoC in combination with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of flash memory, it supports HD Ultra 4K HD video with a frame rate up to 60 fps, HDR technology, 10-bit color coding, color coding according to the BT. 2020 standard, HDMI 2.0 output is an interface and much more. All HD video formats are supported, along with side-by-side, top-to-bottom and 3D MVC formats. Traditionally, Premium dune players are offered the A / V receiver output of all the latest HD audio formats, including not only Dolby True HD and DTS HD MA, but also new Dolby Atmos and DTS object-oriented formats.

The Player is equipped with an Ethernet 1000 port and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / N / AC (2.4 GHz + 5.0 GHz), which allows you to play high bitrate contents including “by air “. Also present the 1x USB Type-C host port, USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 ports, microSD card slot, and optical S / PDIF audio output.


Hi-end user interface Dune HD, which has been developed and improved over the years, in Dune HD Pro 4K Plus works simultaneously with the Android operating system, which combines all the advantages of the classic Linux Dune HD and Android media centers of smart TV set-top boxes.

    Design and Equipment

    For the new line of players, Dune HD uses branded white packaging with an abundance of graphics and printed features. In the box is the player, infrared remote control, brand new BT-Remote with the function of Air-mouse, a pair of AAA batteries, 12V network adapter, instructions, and HDMI cable.

    The main remote control is different from that used for the Neo 4K and looks more premium. It is elongated and does not fall well in every hand – access to a number of buttons requires interception. But here there is a minimum of Chinese lacquered surfaces and a soft button stroke. 
    Aero mouse feels not as budget as conventional smart boxes. One platform is used with the popular G10 remote with a gyroscope, but the connection is made via Bluetooth.
    As for the player’s design, it repeats the little known product from Eweat. The players of this manufacturer in a free sale in the CIS almost do not occur and we can get only on orders through Ali. In fact, 4K-players on new Realtek chips make 3 factories and two of them are already connected with direct competitors in the Zidoo and Zappiti face. Because Dune HD and cooperated with Eweat and began to use their chassis for the 4K premium line.

    The appearance of Pro 4K plus is generally a beautiful metal body, reliably fit in any interior. Even external Wi-Fi antennas do not spoil the impression. Claims can only be shown on screen on the front panel – it’s too simple for a model of this level. And ideally, it would be desirable to see a one-piece case without an obvious docking of the chassis and the front panel.

    It is felt that this is a premium line model, but there are cardinal differences from the younger Proshka. There is more and more heavy and solid due to the need to install the disk inside, and not compact with an external connection (even if it is SATA). Pro 4K Plus has something to surprise besides the visual sensation of a “full-fledged” media player. In comparison with the usual Pro 4K, the aforementioned internal compartment for a 3.5 “drive, an additional third USB 2.0 and the increasingly popular USB-C are added. USB 3.0 and optical output (S / PDIF) are saved. Also, note the separate implementation of the tulip-type connectors on the rear panel Good and vent slits on the left edge.

    Technical Stuffing and Model Positioning

    What is the fundamental difference between the hardware component of the Pro-line and Neo? These are Realtek chipsets, not budget Amlogic, more balanced memory configuration and faster network interfaces. 
    Pro 4K Plus uses the second revision of the SoC Realtek RTD1295. The newer chipset (RTD1296) is only in the Z-line from Zidoo, but all the improvements are cosmetic. 
    There is not a lot of memory installed, but enough – 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of flash. Expansion is possible with an SD card slot. Wired network – Gigabit Ethernet. The built-in module works in two bands – Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz). There is Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting airborne or peripherals.
    The player is equipped with HDMI 2.0a, supports 10-bit color, BT.2020, HDR and 4K UHD-video up to 60 frames per second. Of the important differences from simple players – full support for 3D video: MVC, Side-by-side, Top-to-bottom. 
    Based on the filling and set of interfaces, the model is clearly aimed at the consumer, who is interested in omnivorousness, working with heavy content and quick access to the personal content collection. Therefore, we have a huge gap to the smart set-top boxes and noticeable differences from the younger stationary players like Pro 4K, where the connection of the SATA disk is realized through an external connector and this model of work is not always convenient from an aesthetic point of view.
    In the new line, Dune HD is doing everything possible for its old customers who are accustomed to the interface, and Android seems to them incomprehensible and inconvenient in working with home media content. 
    If you compare pure iron, then there is nothing advanced. So why would Dune cost almost 2 times more? If you need something more than bare hardware without local services and long-term (or at least some) support, then be prepared to pay half the price of the device for software. But is Dune software worth a lot of money and who needs it? Read the answers below.

    System and Settings

    In Dune HD Pro 4K Plus, we immediately noted what we saw when we first met Neo 4K – an attempt to sit on two chairs leads to the creation of such Frankenstein. We must pay tribute to the company’s engineers – a year later, this hybridity is less noticeable and the mixture of Linux player and Android looks comfortable and clear. 
    Loading media player quickly. The continuity is preserved and it seems that Android decided to leave only somewhere deep inside as an invisible OS. Launcher, cataloger, android application icons – all in the old style. The settings section is much richer than the budget line, and the Android settings section looks classic and stands out for its material design.

    The maximum video mode is 4K 2160r60Hz. The choice provided by several players, system player and Android SPMC. A lot of settings for sound, subtitles and, of course, design. Opportunities to customize anything and sometimes even seem redundant, but Dune players are valuable, including these nuances. 
    Brand cataloger does not cease to look good. Very convenient (compared to most players on the market) work with the sources of the content is realized. Or maybe it’s just a subjective legacy of perennial habits.

    video and general impression

    Dishtracker Team tested Media Player for about a month and the final conclusions were made on the latest firmware version (March Alpha 190301_1357_r13). The first purchasers of the device complained about the dampness of the SOFTWARE, but now the situation has improved. The main problems with subtitles were solved, chapters appeared in mkv-files. The player doesn’t have any hangings or major bugs a la “young Neo 4K” and all the defects we found to relate to jambs of the Realtek platform itself (found on all players on RTD 1295/1296) or minor flaws of programmers. 
    Pantophagy on the part of playing video, audio or photo – almost at the height. Almost because AVI files are played clumsily (although we have not watched them since year 3), there are some flaws in the work of Youtube (VP9> 30fps is not supported by hardware). It is unpleasant, as for a player for $ 300 +, but did you really buy it for the ancient AVI and YouTube?

    When playing from an internal disc, even the heaviest files are played perfectly. 4K UHD or Full HD with maximum bitrates – no difference. Sound support is also great. Here you are not online movies with 5 Mbit video and sound in AC3 448 – this is the realm of the 80 Mbit video sequence and audio tracks in LPCM, DTS HD MA, DTS: X, Dolby TrueHD, and Atmos. 
    Enough and speed on USB – indicators correspond to the maximum for each protocol.

    In contrast to any budget consoles, there is a full-fledged playback of 3D content – switching to 3D is automatic, fans of ISO-Shek with Blu-ray 3D images will rejoice at the support of gradually disappearing content. 
    Again, in comparison with smart boxes, the full-fledged AFR works here, and this is important for consumers not online, but of high-quality content up to 4K HDR 10bit (BT2020).


    In any testing of a media player, a separate task now is to check the performance of different content over the network and the support of network protocols themselves. The Dune HD Pro 4K Plus is all right. You can work on a wired gigabit network, the interaction with network sources via SMB and NFS is perfectly implemented. The network browser normally sees NFS-balls and allows them to be mounted as network folders.
    It is quite another thing to check the work wirelessly. Until 2018, its real indicators were not enough in 90% of consoles. Pro 4K Plus uses dual-band 802.11ac, which quietly pulls any Full HD and 3D content, as well as most of the UHD. We checked it in conjunction with Asus / Linksys routers, and if the player is placed in the same room with a router, the bandwidth capacity (75-90 Mbit) and stability are enough, then when broadcasting from the next, there are occasionally problems with heavy UHD Bluray. In general, in the conditions of a city apartment and in conjunction with a good non-budget Wi-Fi router, a wireless communication channel may well be the main one for everything (or almost everything).

    The Player is positioned in the Premium class and therefore offers a “favorite” function such as working with complete Blu-Ray discs and, in particular, with the menu.
    I remember years ago there was a sharp rollback from the full version on Lite, but now the full menu is back again.

    And how does it work?

    Like all manufacturers – does not fully work. Full menus on UHD Blu-ray does not show – only light. Both the full and light menus formally work on ordinary blurs, but with jambs and part of the java, the menu is worked out clumsily. 
    It is worth considering the lack of support for the Dolby Vision format, which is just relevant for the most stuffed 4K Blu-ray. Be content with HDR10, and Dolby Vision and HDR10 + may only be in future players based on the announced RTD1395 chip

    How to evaluate the overall image quality?

    How good and very good (depending on the content). In comparison with old Sigma chips (in the players of the previous generation), an increase in Full HD content is visible. If, however, assess the picture on the RTD1295 and the flagship HiSilicon and Amlogic, then there is no definite leader. On network rips or blur with disabled enhancers during a quick inspection the difference is not visible. But HDR> SDR conversion looks better on HiSilicon (for example, the Himedia Q10 Pro player).

    Online Content and Additional Services

    Thanks to Widevine DRM L3 / L1 player has the ability to access services with licensed content Netflix, Okko, Megogo. And through the Play Store you can install hundreds of applications, but already in the database on Dune installed so much that the average consumer is enough with his head. 
    You are immediately offered a set of 30+ of the most important and popular applications with a variety of content that complement each other, both in terms of the range or efficiency of the emergence of new products and in terms of video and sound quality.

    You can watch TV channels via IPTV services (by the way, not old relatives look better, but new Android applications), watch TV and online video via AceStream or analogs.
    Android fans will love HDVideoBox and KinoPub. Dunwoody with experience will prefer the application Bazinga, which “covers” a lot of source video. Through Binging, torrserv is configured and this bundle uses an internal dune player. This potentially allows you to watch ANY content online, even 4K. In practice, there will be problems with 4K UHD Remux or Blu-ray – buffering is possible every few seconds. But for Full HD content is a convenient and working version.

    We meticulously tried all the options for launching content through different players and this is what was found. System player RealtekGallery2 – left in the base view. He is able AFR / Bitstream, but right after installing the firmware he is not able to decode 5.1 AAC to multichannel PCM. In addition, RealtekGallery2 does not see / cannot work with 5.1 AC3 neither in hls nor in mp4 container. To overcome hls + AAC 5.1 it was possible the android application Movian. In this case, the system player in Himedia, for example, easily deduces AC3 5.1 bitstream from mp4. And the internal player of Dune (which by sound can do everything) android applications are not available. 
    It turned out that all this can be fixed by editing the system build.prop file. After a small edit, problems with 5.1 sound in the system player RealtekGallery2 go away. But let it be officially done in the next firmware updates.
    KinoPub on Android has problems with 5.1 sound without editing build.prop. But the native Dune (php-shnoy) application KinoPub uses the internal player and there with 5.1 AAC and 5.1 AC3 everything is fine without additional intervention.

    What does all this mean and why does it work? It’s simple. The old ones in the dunes on Linux had their own interface (dune shell) and their own player (two). Now, everything old remains as a matter of fact, but from this interface, Android applications that run on the player’s system can additionally be launched. But dune’s internal player android applications do not see. As a result, when you launch the video directly from the Dune interface, only one player is used and everything is ok. And when from android applications – with sound, everything is not smooth without additional intervention. Moreover, this situation a year ago we noticed in the products of Zidoo and Zappiti.
    Of the nice bonuses, we note the perfectly working Dune Control for controlling with a smartphone (so far only Android). You can directly find and mount network folders from the application, configure player settings and so on. However, in this application, there is also where to dig programmers because the potential is not revealed by 50%

    conclusion

    Pros

    1.  Metal case, convenient compartment under the disk; 
    2.  Good stuffing and a variety of interfaces; 
    3.  Fast wired and wireless networks; 
    4.  Support for all modern video formats, including 4K HDR and 3D MVC; 
    5.  Excellent interface Dune; 
    6.  Functionality, the largest set of applications; 
    7.  Manage with your smartphone. 50/50
    8.  There are still a lot of non-critical flaws in the firmware. 

    Cons

    1.  The price is too high.

    In contrast to the Dune HD Neo 4K media player, this model justified the hopes placed on it according to the test results. Minor flaws can be attributed to the “originality” of the Realtek platform and flaws in the firmware, but in general Pro 4K Plus is already ready for the role of a workhorse in the DC system.

    Dune HD Pro 4K Plus is a good device for lovers of the “home server and normal content” and “dune fans” bundles who have been waiting for a normal device to upgrade their old devices to something new with support for 4K HDR, Android and new apps for change. But at the same time, the player is sharpened by a classic remote and will not attract the attention of fans of a powerful TV box on Android TV and air mashes – they are unlikely to understand all the advantages of the “dune” even with a bonus branded mouse.

    The second claim – the price tag. This player has a too large price gap with top-end android consoles. And the “bare” players from Eweat and Egreat are clearly not direct competitors for the proshka. Throw 10-15% of the price and the model will attract the attention of those who are now purchasing Himedia or Zidoo products. Highmedia products are very good at hardware, but there are almost no software developments there and all through Cody. Zida has a set of software and services that are still smaller and universal for the global market. The alternative from Zappiti is slightly better in design, but inferior in the number of additional amenities and services. In the meantime, the “Dune HD ecosystem” is much more powerful than its competitors, then there is no need to wait for the generosity auction

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