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Appeared on: Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Neodigits X4000


1. Introduction

NeoDigits.com announced on May 22, 2006 the new HELIOS X-Line of HD Network Media Players.

The HELIOS X-Line of HD Network Media Players changes the way you manage, access and enjoy all your multimedia, giving you total freedom to enjoy them in superior audio and high-definition video quality anywhere in (and beyond) your home.

Tim Beloney, Director of Sales for NeoDigits comments, "From digital cameras and camcorders to MP3 players, online content and downloaded movies, digital media is everywhere but rarely connected and easily accessible. The X-Line lets users easily bridge the digital gap from the PC to the living room, and even extend it to the basement or boardroom while maintaining our extreme flexibility and high resolution roots. NeoDigits also takes pride in listening to our customers and providing them with real world solutions they want. Beyond the incredible flexibility and functionality of the X-Line, the HELIOS X5000 is our flagship of quality, high performance, and style."

The HELIOS H4000 HD Upscaling DVD Player is the only player on the market that can bring your home theater images to a stunning 1080p resolution at 50Hz through HDMI, component and even better, 720p and 1080i through VGA/RGB-HV outputs. Its HDMI output even lets you switch between HDMI and DVI mode to improve compatibility with your HDTV. Retailing at US$169.00, the H4000 is available for purchase directly from NeoDigits at www.neodigits.com.

With 10 different resolutions to choose from, the H4000 upscales not only your standard DVD titles and HVDs, but also your "home-made" DVDs, not to mention SRT, SUB and all other MPEG4 formats such as DivX and XviD stored on your CDs and DVDs at up to 4500 kb bit-rate!

VGA/RGB-HV outputs even give you the ability to upscale to 1080i on your projectors! And with a 576i video output via HDMI, the H4000 is ideal for your external video scalers. 

The H4000 supports both PAL and NTSC and is capable of playing back just about every popular format available. With a screen saver feature that prevents your plasma screen from burning out, the player also lets you adjust color and display, giving you complete control over image brightness, contrast, black level and tint. To top it all off, the H4000's Smart Play feature lets you skip all those annoying trailers and go straight to the movie - on absolutely any disc that you pop in!

With a slick and sexy design in a compact and lightweight plastic case, the H4000 brings to your home theater a stylish and inexpensive solution to satisfy your high-definition craving.

- Features

- Specifications

Video Playback formats:

DVD
VCD
SVCD
MPEG4 video
MPEG2 video
MPEG1 video
DivX video
Xvid video

Video outputs:

High-Definition Resolutions
Composite video
S-video
Component
HDMI
DVI(via HDMI to DVI converter)
VGA/RGB-HV

Audio Playback formats:

Audio CD
MP3

Audio outputs:

Analog stereo
5.1 channel audio
Optical
Coaxial

Power Supply:

110/220-240V
25W

High-Definition Resolutions:

720p/1080i/1080p via component
720p/1080i/1080p/640x480/800x600/1024x768/1280x1024 via HDMI
640x480/800x600/1024x768/1280x1024/720p/1080i via VGA/RGB-HV

Recordable media formats:

CD-R / CD-RW / DVD+R / DVD-R / DVD+RW / DVD-RW

2. The Package

- Unpacking

For our tests, NeoDigits supplied us with the retail package of the X4000, which contains:

The player is currently listed at the retail price of US$169 and is available for purchase directly from NeoDigits at www.neodigits.com. The player is made of plastic and is very light weight, but it feels very solid.

Click To Enlarge!

On the front, there's a LED panel display that shows the basic operations of the player and the CD/DVD loader . On the top surface and towards the front of the player, there are the power on/off switch on the very left and at right a 4 button joypad for Stop/Previous/Play-Pause/Next and a fifth button in the centre for eject. It's an uncommon design for a player, but nonetheless convenient. The only drawback with having the controls and power buttons on the top is if you stack your decks, this unit will have to go on top.

Click To Enlarge!

The CD/DVD loader seems to work well. The tray loader when ejected, doesn't fully protrude outwards so you have to be careful when placing and removing discs. On the back, you will find the numerous connections, including:

Click To enlarge!

- Video I/O: Composite video, S-video, Component, HDMI, VGA/RGB-HV and DVI (via HDMI to DVI converter)
- Audio I/O: Analog stereo, 5.1 channel audio, Optical and Coaxial outputs

Looking at the inside, we can see the board layout. We can identify from left to right the PSU, CD/DVD Loader and main board.

At the top we also have the two small boards that handle the power on/ff and joypad:

The Helios X4000 is powered by the AmLogic AML3433G chip:

There aren't a lot of details about the AML3433G chip so we have to find out for ourselves, its strengths and weaknesses.

The remote control is large with the usual array of functions. Of course you need some time to get used to it, especially with its "big"size.


3. Power up the player

- Power up the player

After connecting the player to the power and a TV, you are ready to go. The first thing you need to do is a basic setup. After turning the player on, the first screen that comes up allows you to play or perform a setup:

Choosing Setup, brings up 5 choices to select from:

The Display settings are most useful. You can select the type of TV image (aspect ratio)

as well as several other options:

The resolutions are many, depending the output method:

More video options are available here:

And of course, choice of language:

The player only has menus and subtitles support for six (6) major languages, so many are missing:

 


4. Using with the player

- Working with the player

The screenshot below shows what you get when looking at the folders of a data disc:

You navigate through folders with the arrows and enter button. You can view several bits of information about a file, like size, type, bitrate, video codec and resolution:

The bitrate function doesn't seem to work very well, at least with several file types we tried:

In the case of a DivX HD, the file information info was correct:

X264 files are not supported but you do get some information back:

While playing, you can get more information about the file and select subtitles, etc:

Zoom is supported, up to 5X

Unfortunately, the zoom function does not work very well, since in this case it shifted the image to the top, not centered:

More pics from this problem:

Whereas with mpeg files, zoom works perfectly:


5. The Tests

- The Tests

The player has been tested with several test files and different Audio/Video formats. All tests were carried out by connecting the NeoDigits X4000 DVD player to a Samsung 32R51B 32" HDTV with a HDMI cable. By pressing the appropriate button at the top, you can cycle between VGA, HD (HDMI) and Component modes.

Let's now see some basic information about the player's capabilities:

Audio Tests

Video Tests:

The player recognizes the following formats: .MPG, .AVI and .DivX. Our overall impression from the picture quality was good, either with Component or HDMI connection cable.


6. Conclusion

- Conclusion

The Helios X4000 player's main advantage is the fact that it offers many output connections (HDMI, Component, VGA) and can playback DVD-Video and Mpeg4 encoded files. The weight and dimensions are small, with a comparatively "low" price and good manufacturing quality. While the whole player is made out of plastic, it's still very sturdy.

The player supports most currently used Video and Audio formats. More-over, it will upscale everything to full 1080p output, even DVD-Video discs with CSS protection. The player is region free out of-the-box, ensuring that you won't have any problem with regional discs. Everything worked perfectly. There is also a component output for users who don't have an HDMI capable HDTV, and of course don't forget VGA output also.

There are some glitches with specific Video/Audio formats. Of course, no player currently sold is perfect. However, we can say that the player needs new firmware to fix those problems. We have explained in depth its overall weakness so take care before purchasing. The player is listed at $169 at the neodigits website (+shipping). For us, we would prefer the X3000 series with much better performance and capabilities, even though the price is twice as much. As always, the choice is yours....

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To Be Fixed



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