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Appeared on: Monday, April 11, 2005
Waitec Vision HTX


1. Introduction

Waitec sometime ago announced its first 5.1 home theatre system called the "VisionHTX". The press release was very interesting since Waitec's proposal included not only a DVD and DivX capable player but also an AM/FM tuner and of course, 5.1 speakers for surround sound. In this review we will investigate the player's main features and performance, especially with Mpeg4 encoded content.

- Features/Package

The Vision HTX is Waitec's first Home Theatre system which plays back standard DVD and the nowadays must-have DivX/XVid formats, includes an impressive Sub woofer, central speaker and 4 satellites making up the 6 speaker system and also combines an integrated AM/FM Tuner. The Vision HTX is an officially DivX Networls certified device.

The Vision HTX allows you to also play any audio CD or any music format burned on CD-R/CD-RW as well as DVDs. As Waitec mentions, the Vision HTX supports almost all of today’s standards, including Kodak Picture CD, almost all audio, video, and graphics formats found on the market. Another interesting addition is the fact that the player includes a Progressive Scan function (from the component video output), a necessity for better playback quality. Lastly, the Vision HTX is fully firmware upgradable, although to date, no new firmware has been posted on Waitec's web site.


2. Specifications

Lets now see the detailed player specifications as found on Waitec's website:

System Information:

- Power source input: AC200/240V 50/60Hz
- DivX player Power consumption: 25W
- Amplifier Power consumption: 125W MAX

Playback Functions:

- Progressive Scan
- Zoom in & Zoom out for DivX & DVD Memory (Bookmark Play)
- Repeat A/B & Track/Disc/Title
- Time/Chapter Direct Select
- PAL /NTSC /MULTI TV System selection
- Number direct select- Program play
- Fast / Slow motion play
- TV Mode Support: 16:9/4:3
- Dolby Digital Decoder
- Dolby Downmix
- Dolby Pro Logic II for DivX, DVD, CD
- Disc playable: MPEG4/DivX/XVID/DVD/CD/VCD/SVCD/Kodak Picture CD
- Disc Media supported: CD-R/CD-RW/DVD-R/DVDRW/DVD+R/DVD+RW
- Support 32 Kinds Subtitle & 8 Kinds Language & Multi Angle
- 24bit/192K Hz High performance audio DAC
- Full Function Remote Control

Input/Output Socket:

- Composite Video Output
- S-Video Output
- Component Video Output (YUV/RGB)
- Scart Output
- 5.1Channel Audio Output
- Coaxial Digital Output
- Optical Digital Output (Option)
- Two AUX input selection

Speaker Power Output & Dimension:

- Subwoofer Dimension: 170*265*305mm (W/H/D)
- Satellite Dimension: 85*112*100mm (W/H/D)
- Surround Speaker Power: 8W x5 (RMS) / 10W Max
- Subwoofer Power: 20W (RMS) / 30W Max

Tuner:

- Memory Total: 40 Band preset
- AM/FM selection
- AM band: 531~1602 KHz
- FM band: 87.50~108.00MHz
- Stereo/Mono model Selection
- RDS (Radio Data System)

The user can read the full specs at Waitec's website. Looking closely over the detailed specs, we can see that the player is DivX certified, meaning it will playback all 3.11, 4 and of course 5.xx DivX content and of course any MPEG4 compatible streams (such as Xvid).

Waitec promises also that the Vision HTX is capable of GMC, QPEL & B-Frames, which not many Mpeg4 players support anyway. Lastly, the player is region free, meaning you can watch DVD movies from around the world without the need for any special hacks or other modifications that void your warranty.


3. The Package

We received the Vision HTX retail package in our labs. The package is rather large, since it includes the Vision HTX player, 6 printed manuals in different languages, 1 Video (Composite) cable, 1 Audio RCA cable, 1 remote control, 1 set of batteries (AAA), an FM/AM antenna, 1 Subwoofer speaker and 5 satellite speakers. All content is well organized inside the box and in addition, all necessary cables are included for connecting the subwoofer/speakers to the player.

Looking at the front panel, we find the basic player operations, supported formats and of course, an LCD screen which displays most of the player's functions.

On the back, we find all the connection interfaces:

Despite the fact that the player is region free, it supports the Macrovision protection scheme. The player is revision 409:


4. Internal View

After removing all mounting screws and removing the cover, we can see the player's internal layout. Due to the large power transformer, the player is quite heavy. All components are clearly and neatly laid out and we can easily discern the disc loading tray.

Click To Enlarge!

For a closer look at the tray, click on the image to open a high resolution picture.

Click To Enlarge!

A closer look also reveals the main chipset used for all disc encoding/decoding functions. The Waitec Vision HTX uses the MediaTek MT1389DE:

On the right hand side of the loader, there is another label with however, an unknown brand name, "Cosmic".


5. Menus - Page 1

After connecting the power and the composite/s-video cables to the TV and turning on the unit, the user will be greeted with the following main welcome screen, with the Waitec, DVD-Video and Mpeg4-Video logos. On the top left corner, we can see the tray status (open/close/loading):

The player includes a screen saver so that if you don't use the player for a long period but leave it turned on, it will show a rotating DVD-Video logo, shortly after which the player will shut down. Quite useful.

The player has two audio line-in RCA inputs for hooking up external sources. The screenshots below show both inputs, appearing as LINE 1 and LINE 2 in the top left of the screen, just above the Waitec logo:

The audio line selection changes by using the "function" button on the remote control. Below we can see the screen for the FM/AM tuner:


6. Menus - Page 2

After pressing the "Setup" button, the player's main menu will display allowing us to set an array of options. The main choices or setup pages, appear as icons at the very top of the screen.

The "General Setup Page" includes the TV display (4:3, 16:9), the OSD language (no Greek language support) and the screen saver.

Moving to the "Audio Setup page", you can configure all the Audio related options: the 5.1 downmix, the 5.1 speaker setup and Dolby Pro Logic II 3D Sound Setup and choose from preset equalizer modes.

In the Video setup page, you can set the video output mode, turn on or off Progressive Scan and change the color settings.

The next two setup pages are the preferences and password pages.

The last icon exits the setup menu.


7. Menus - Page 3

After a disc is loaded and recognized, the Waitec Vision HTX displays the disc's folders as shown below. The player doesn't initially scan the disc for the supported formats and will display all folder names.

What could be a bit of a hindrance is the way the folder names are displayed, since only the first 15 characters are displayed. On the right hand pane of the disc navigator screen, you can preview photos (bmp, jpeg) or Kodak CD contents. Unfortunately, you cannot see any detailed information about the selected file. When playing back mp3 files, you can see the elapsed and remaining time, the track number, total files in this folder, the sound volume and an equalizer display. What is also displayed, is the bitrate for the file as in the following picture (17Kbps Mp3Pro).

While with VBR files, the average bitrate is displayed. Note that you can listen to mp3 files while simultaneously navigating around the disc contents.

Below we can see some more screen shots of folder contents are displayed as we navigate through the disc. Notice that subfolders have the parent folder indicated by the two full stops (..), common in desktop computer operating systems.


8. Menus - Page 4

We checked to see if any of the not so common languages were supported when displaying foreign subtitles. We selected Greek (see the screenshot below) but unfortunately it was all Greek to us! Whic probably means that it won't support any of the Cyrillic based languages either.

While a movie plays, the viewer can get what is admittedly rather limited information, such as the track elapsed time or track remaining time, by pressing the display button.

No other, additional information is provided (for example, the current file name, possible audio tracks or available subtitles).

By pressing the display button one more time, all display info is turned off

The viewer can also identify various audio tracks and subtitles only by pressing the corresponding Audio/Subtitles buttons.


9. Tests - Page 1

- Disc compatibility

Format
Content
Booktype
Playback
DVD-R
DVD-Video
-
Yes
DVD-RW
-
DVD+R
DVD+R
DVD-ROM
DVD+RW
DVD+RW
DVD-ROM
DVD+R DL
DVD+R DL
No
DVD-ROM
Yes

As the test results showed, the Vision HTX didn't have any problems recognizing and playing almost all tested discs, with the exception of +R9 media with DVD+R DL booktype. Inserting RW media which had been subjected to heavy use, the player managed to play it back even though sometimes we could hear the motor spinning down, trying to read the media. Lastly, the player is quiet, important for movie enjoyment.

Playback Tests

In order to test the Waitec Vision HTX, we used several encoded files with the latest versions of XVid, DivX, x264 Mpeg4 codecs, along with several Mpeg1 and Mpeg2 clips. You can view further details about all encoded files in this PDF.

In short, the Waitec Vision HTX supports the following audio/video/picture extension filenames:

Audio Tests

We used several audio formats from almost all current compressed/uncompressed music files:

Format
Details
Result
MP4
(.MP4 & .AAC)
CBR (32~192Kbit)
No

VBR (30~300Kbit)

No
HE/LC VBR 2.0
No
HE/LC VBR 5.1
No
AC3
(.AC3)
5.1
No
DTS
(.DTS)
5.1
No
MP2
(.MP2)
2.0
Yes
MP3 (Layer 3)
(.MP3)
ABR (32~320Kbit)
Yes
CBR (32~320Kbit)
Yes
VBR (32~320Kbit)
Yes
MP3 (Layer2)
(.MP3)
CBR (8~160Kbit)
Yes
MP3 (Layer 2.5)
(.MP3)
CBR (8~160Kbit)
Yes
MP3 Pro
(.MP3)
CBR (18~ 96Kbit)
Yes
VBR (Lowest-Highest)
Yes
OGG
(.OGG)
CBR (45~500Kbit)
No
VBR (25~100 Quality)
No
VBR 5.1
No
WAV
(.WAV)
PCM 44.1 /48Khz 2.0
No
PCM 48Khz 5.1
No
WMA
(.WMA)
CBR (5~320Kbits)
Yes
VBR (48~192Kbits)
Yes
WMA Pro
5.1
No

10. Tests - Page 2

Uncompressed Video Formats (.avi)

Format
Details
Size
BitRate
Result
AVI
(.AVI)
2.1GB sized
720x576
26Mbit
No

DivX Video Files (.avi codec)

DivX
(.AVI)
Home Theater Profile
720x400
1~4Mbit
Yes
High Definition Profile
720x400
4~8Mbit
Yes
High Definition
1280x720
4Mbit
Only sound
GMC
720x400
1Mbit
Yes
GMC Multiconsecutive
GMC & QP
Jerky playback
GMC & QP Multiconsecutive
QP
Yes
QP Multiconsecutive
VBR MP3 & AC3 Sound Streams
720x400
1Mbit
Yes

Special Video Files (.AVI)

Format
Details
Size
BitRate
Result
DivX
(.AVI)
ASP Adapt Nero
720x288
965Kbit
Yes
ASP Custom XVid
720x288
406Kbit
Yes
ASP GMC 1Warp Point DivX
720x288
356Kbit
Yes
ASP GMC 3Warp Point XVid
720x288
396Kbit
No
ASP Mpeg XVid
720x288
396Kbit
Yes
ASP QPel DivX
720x288
493Kbit
Yes
SP 3ivX
720x288
454Kbit
Yes

Packaged Video Files (Video, Audio and Subtitles Streams)

DivX
(.Divx)
3 VBR MP3 Audio Streams & 5 Subtitles
?
?
MP3 and Audio Streams are playable but not the main menu
Slideshow
?
?
Doesn't playback
Matroska
(.MKV)
DivX5 Video Stream, VBR MP3 AudioStream, 2 Subtitle streams
704x288
1Mbit
No

11. Tests - Page 3

Xvid Video File (.avi)

Format
Details
Size
BitRate
Playback
Xvid
(.AVI)
No special modes
704x288
1Mbit
Yes
BVop
Yes
BVop & Packed BitStream
Yes
BVop & Packed BitStream & QP
Yes
BVop & Packed BitStream & QP & GMC
Jerky Playback
BVop & QP & GMC
Jerky Playback

H264 Video Files (.avi)

Format
Details
Size
BitRate
Playback
x264
(.AVI)
VBR Mp3 Audio Stream
704x288
700Kbit
Only Sound
1Mbit
1.5Mbit
2Mbit
4Mbit
6Mbit
8Mbit

NeroDigital Video Files (.mp4)

Format
Details
Size
BitRate
Playback
NeroDigital
(.MP4)
Mobile
176x144
400Kbit
No
Portable
352x288
2Mbit
Standard
720x576
4Mbit
Cinema
1280x720
9.8Mbit
HDTV
1920x1072
9.8Mbit
-
XVid Encoded with AAC Sound and Subtitles Streams
720x576
217Kbit
No

12. Tests - Page 4

Mpeg Video Formats (.mpeg)

Format
Information
Resolution
Bitrate
Playback
Mpeg1 (.MPG)
VCD Compliant
352x240
1152Kbit
Yes
352x288
1152Kbit
XVCD
352x288
1500Kbit
XVCD
352x288
2000Kbit
Out of specs
640x480
1200Kbit
Yes but with problems
Mpeg2
(.MPG)
-
720x480
2713Kbit
Yes
AC3 Sound
720x576
9800Kbit
SVCD
480x576
2519Kbit
Mpeg2
(.M2V)
Compliant Test Stream
352x288
1.5Mbit
Yes
704x576
4Mbit
6Mbit
8Mbit
12Mbit
18Mbit
No
40Mbit
Mpeg2-TS
(.TS)
5.1 Surround sound
720x576
12Mbit
No

Windows Media Video Video Files (.wmv)

Format
Information
Resolution
Bitrate
Playback
WMV (.WMV)
Windows Media Player 10 Digital Life Clip
320x180
300Kbit
Not recognized
Windows Media Player 10 Striker Clip
320x180
300Kbit
Not recognized
WMV HD DRM
(.WMV)
Alexander Trailer
1280x720
6Mbit
Not recognized
1920x1080
9Mbit
Not recognized
WMV HD
(.WMV)
The Magic Of Flight Clip
1280x720
6Mbit
Not recognized
1920x1080
9Mbit
Not recognized
WMA Pro 5.1
(.WMV)
Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer Videoclip
240x192
466Kbit
Not recognized

13. Advanced Tests

Special Tests

Format
Information
Resolution
Bitrate
Playback
Mpeg 1
(.MPG)
Filename contains Greek Characters
352x240
1Mbit
Correct filename doesn't recognized but file can be played without any problem

Subtitles Test Files

Format
Information
Playback
Text (.SRT)
English Subtitles
Yes
Greek Subtitles
Doesn't display Greek characters
DVD (.IDX .SUB)
English Language
No
Greek Language
No
Netherlands Language
No
Text (.PSB)
MicroDVD Format English Language
No
Text (.PSB)
PowerDivx Format English Language
No
Text (.SSA)
Substation Alpha English Language
Yes
Text (.SUB)
Subviewer English Language
Yes

Picture Formats

Format
Resolution
Playback
Jpeg
(.JPG)
2272x1704
Yes
2048x1532
1600x1200
Png
(.PNG)
2048x1532
No
Gif
(.GIF)
2048x1532
No
Bmp
(.BMP)
2048x1532
No

14. Conclusion

The Vision HTX is the first 5.1 system from Waitec that not only includes a well balanced DVD and DivX player with FM/AM radio, but also 5.1 speakers with all the necessary cables and enough sound power to make you enjoy a digital life. Of course, as was expected, there were some drawbacks, but considering the price range, we were generally happy with the whole package.

Middle to Pro users will probably not be satisfied with the limited range of input/output interfaces or sound output power of the Vision HTX and will look to other high powered solutions. Of course, high output power solutions may cost double to triple the money of the Vision HTX and may not support the nowadays must have DivX/Xvid formats. As usual, consumers have to consider the price and capabilities of a package and decide whether to buy or not. From our point of view, we were happy with the Waitec Vision HTX, but we also hope Waitec will release firmware updates to fix some problems we encountered during our test process.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To Be Fixed



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