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Home > Hardware Reviews > Consumer Electronics

Tuesday, January 02, 2007
NeoDigits X5000

3. The Package

For our tests, NeoDigits supplied us with the retail package for the X5000 which contained:

  • the X5000 HD player
  • 1x Wireless Antenna
  • 1x HDMI to HDMI cable
  • 1x AV cable
  • 1x Backlit fully-functional remote control (with batteries)
  • 1x printed, quick-start guide

There is no comprehensive printed manual in the retail package, but users can download one from the neodigits website. The player is currently listed at a retail price of US$579 and is only available (online) to US users. The shipped retail package weighs around 11kg, which is probably the heaviest you will find for a DVD player. Neodigits advertises the player as a high end player and is aimed at the high end market.

The player itself is quite heavy (8kg) but the unit looks and feels very solid. The front panel is handcrafted with fully-brushed aluminum, while on the back there are gold-plated RCA jacks.

On the front, there's a LED display that shows the basic operations of the player, the CD/DVD loader and five buttons for basic functions (open/close, play/pause, FF/RF). The buttons are not backlit. Neodigits uses an LG DVD-ROM drive that provides maximum compatibility with almost any type of CD/DVD storage media.

On the back are the connections, including:

  • Video i/o:
    • HDMI,
    • DVI with optional HDMI to DVI converter cable,
    • Composite,
    • Component,
    • S-Video
  • Audio i/o:
    • Analog 2 Channel Stereo,
    • Optical output
    • Coaxial output

There's also a nice big heatsink on the back, to help keep the internal PSU cool. There are no rotating fans to produce any kind of annoying noise. But even when the unit is reading CD and DVD media, the player is silent.

There are also two network connections, a 10/100 LAN and a built-in wireless 802.11b/g network adapter. And if that's not enough, there's two USB 2.0 inputs with NTFS support (on the back and right sides):

Taking a look at the inside (you really have to remove too many screws), we can see the layout. Don't expect anything fancy. Looking at the photo below, on the left is the "heart" of the system, the mainboard based on the Sigma Designs EM8620L chipset. In the middle is the LG DVD-ROM drive and on the right is the big R-core linear power supply:

Neodigits uses the LG GDR-8164B as the reader for all optical storage media. According to LG's website, the drive supports 16X DVD and 52X CD-ROM speeds. The firmware on our unit was 0L06, but there was already a TDB release which is Region Free and available for power users

The drive uses a 40pin ribbon cable and both the IDE and power cables were glued in place to prevent them from accidentally coming out. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from removing them by applying a little force and installing another optical drive.

The main board is from Sigma Designs with Samsung memory chipsets:

While Realtek and Via network chipsets are also present:

Lastly, the remote control has all its buttons backlit, which at first is quite novel, but later on it becomes a little annoying. While the button layout is very good, we found that the remote control response range is rather limited. You have to face the player directly for immediate response. The backlighting also helps eat up the two AAA batteries faster than usual. In my opinion, this is a point where neodigits should had given more thought...

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