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Home > Hardware Reviews > Consumer Electronics

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Snazio NetCinema HD Player SZ1350

1. Introduction

Network DVD players are very common nowadays. Most users wish to "stream" multimedia content either from their PCs, or playback Mpeg4 Videos from a USB or network attached HDD player. Wireless networking also provides an alternative solution to using the various connections available. High Definition content is also being pushed into the forefront by manufacturers, as the future in visual and audio quality. Is there a desktop player that can cover all the above needs? Snazio* believes so and provided us with their latest NetCinema HD player, with the model name SZ1350. In this review, we will try to present the player's full functions and features, along with our real life tests and some extensive modifications. Note that several parts of this review are subject to change, due to the fact that frequent firmware releases can fix problems and incompatibilities. From our point of view, we will try to keep this article up to date with the latest available information.

- V One Multimedia Company Profile

V One Multimedia was established in 1997. V One is headquartered in Singapore, with sales, marketing and support activities in USA, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Japan, India and Pakistan. V One has a product development team with full capabilities in R&D, manufacturing, warranty, web-based technical support and operates a speedy logistics facility to support it's worldwide expansion plan. Using internationally endorsed MPEG technology, V One started shipping the first affordable Digital Video computing products, Snazzi* and Dazzle*, in 1997.

The original founder was also the original founding Chairman and CEO of Dazzle Multimedia. Leveraging on LSI (C-Cube), Broadcom, Stream Machine, Philips and Winbond technology, the product can encode video and audio into MPEG file format in real-time. V One will continue along this path and develop a wider range of products with more advanced video-encoding capabilities for both the professional and consumer markets, which will include the latest DVD, DV, AAC and MPEG-4 technology.

- Snazio* NetCinema HD Player SZ1350

Snazio*'s NetCinema SZ1350 is a network High Definition player with many connection and playback capabilities.

As Snazio* comments, you can:

  • Set-up a Wi-Fi (802.11g) or LAN based Digital Home Cinema Systems to playback your digital media collections stored on your PC, Notebook, iBook or iMac systems.
  • Playback your WMV9(HD), MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, DivXHD, Xvid, MOV, MP3, WMA, WMA Pro, AAC and PCM files from your remote computers and media server
  • Browse your favourite photos stored on computer/ USB HDD with stunning high definition quality.
  • Enjoy your growing library of music through your Home Theatre System with astounding surround sound.
  • Listen or watch your favourite iPod music and photos like the way never before.

Below is an overview of how Snazio* envisages all possible uses of the SZ1350 player (click on the picture for full size image).

Below is a short listing of the main specifications for the SZ1350 player.

DVD / VCD / Mpeg-4 Disc Playback Yes
HD Video Playback VC-1(WMV9 MP@HL), MPEG-2 MP@HL (720p/1080i), DivX HD
HD Video Output Resolution Up to 720p/1080i (True High-Definition Decoding)
Audio WMA9 Pro YES
Media Processor Sigma Designs EM8620L
CPU / System Board 166MHz 32bit RISC Processor / 8KB I-Cache / 8KB D-Cache / 64MB Data Memory / 4MB Flash
Video DA Converter 12 bit / up to 148.5MHz pixel clock
Audio DA Converter 24 bit / 192 Khz (5.1 Analog RCA Output)
USB Interface on front USB 2.0 / 1.1
Wireless 802.11b/g (integrated)

As we can see, the player is "powered" by the EM8620L chipset from Sigma Designs. The chipset is powerful enough to decode HD content (WMV9, Mpeg2 and DivX HD) up to 1920x1080 resolution (1080i). The upcoming EM8622L/8624L would be able to decode H264 material, as the Sigma Designs brochure unveils:

- Full specifications

Before we proceed with a description of the player, we will spend a little time looking carefully at the full specifications for the SZ1350 player. The player supports almost all currently used Video codecs (apart from WMV7, 8) and has a variety of inputs/outputs:

AV Output
Video Output Composite Video(RCA), S-Video(Y/C), Component Video(Y Pb Pr), Digital Video Interface-Integrated (DVI-I), VGA (via optional adaptor). Support Progressive Scan
Video Output Signal
SCART Connector
  Video S/N ratio: 65db
Composite Video - 1.0Vpp (75Ω) , S-Video: Y : 1Vpp (75Ω) - C: 0.3Vpp (75Ω)
Audio Output
RCA x 6 Surround 5.1
Audio Output Signal Coaxial SPDIF Digital Output, Optical SPDIF Digital Output
  Audio S/N ratio: >90db, Degree of distortion: < 0.01%
Audio Stereo Output : 2Vpp , Audio Out 2.1CH: 0.5Vpp
Media Format
Video Format MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, Xvid, RMP4
Audio Format
Audio Digital / Surround Format
MPEG-1 Layer 1 / 2 / 3 (MP3), OGG vorbis, AC3, MPEG-4 AAC (Low complexity, 5.1 channel), WMA9, PCM
THX. DTS, Dolby Digital, WMA9 Pro, AC3 and Linear PCM at 16/20/24 bit with 44.1/48/96 KHz digital bit stream to SPDIF Coaxial and Optical output
Image Format JPG, BMP, PNG, TIF, GIF, Animated GIF
Disc Format DVD (Single/Double sides) (Single/Double layers), DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-RW, CD-R, VCD, DivX 4.02 or above without QPEL and GMC, MPEG-4 ISO, CD, CD-DA, MP3, WMA (8.0) or above, Picture CD
TV System NTSC / PAL compatible
Video Resolution Up to 1920*1080 (1080i)
Multiple DVI Resolution 480p, 720p, 1080i, 640*480, 800*600, 1024*768, 852*480 (Plasma) (p-progressive, i-interleaved)
Multiple Component Resolution 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i (60Hz); 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i (50Hz)
Picture Resolution Up to 2048*1532
Network Connection LAN, Wi-Fi
Network Interface (10BASE-T) IEEE 802.3, (100BASE-TX) IEEE 802.3u , IEEE802.11g / IEEE802.11b
Network Protocol TCP/IP
LAN Connector RJ-45 8 pin 10Mpbs / 100Mbps (auto sensing)
Wi-Fi Security SSID (64 characters max), WEP Key (64 bit, 128 bit) (* note 2)
Wi-Fi Access Method Infrastructure, Ad hoc
UPnP version 1.0
Windows Media Connect (WMC) YES
USB Interface Type-A Connector
USB device Classification Mass Storage Classification – Fat16, Fat32, SCSI transparent command set
USB device USB HDD, Thumb Drive, MP3 Player, Media Reader (CF, Micro Drive, Memory Stick (Pro), Smart Media, MMC, SD, xD)
Media Server Software Platform and Updates
PC Windows Media Server Software Snazzi* Net Cinema for PC Windows included
Mac Media Server Software Snazzi* Net Cinema for Mac included
Linux Media Server Software Snazzi* Net Cinema for Linux (contact Support)
Network Attached Storage (NAS) SnaZio* Studio NAS HD Pro (with built in Net Cinema Media Server - operates as a standalone server)
Firmware and Software Update Periodic Updates are available for online download by registered users
Basic Specifications
Power Supply AC 100V – 240V 50 / 60 Hz 15W
Size 430 * 290 * 45mm (L*W*H)
* note 2 : WPA, WPA2 recommend to use external wireless bridge

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