A.C.Ryan is also continuing their Realtek based lineup introduced last year. Unlike Sigma Designs, Realtek is really secretive about their media decoding SoCs. The fact that we are not aware of the specifications of their SoCs (no product briefs) is not helpful in analysis. In some ways, it is good that we hear announcements from Realtek only when the chips are already shipping to the manufacturers, meaning that it is close to getting into the consumer's hands. On the other hand, it nice to know that 3D enabled XBMC / VXP video post processing will be coming on Sigma enabled products 18 - 24 months down the line.

The latest media decoder SoCs from Realtek are not even up on their official website. However, we already know quite a bit about the RTD1055 and RTD1185. While the RTD1055 is a low cost solution without support for Ethernet or SATA, the 1185 is a premium solution with the whole kitchen sink of connectivity options. From our analysis of A.C.Ryan's second generation offerings, we can only be sure of 2 USB hosts and 1 SATA controller in the 1055. In the 1185, we are sure there is a PCI-E port as well as Gigabit Ethernet, 2 USB hosts and 2 SATA controllers. From the look we had at the GUI on the streamers, it looks like Realtek doesn't care about having any sort of 3D graphics engine (like the PowerVR SGX535 on the CE4100 or the SGX531 on the SMP8656) on-chip. Sigma realized the importance of the UI on media streamers and incorporated the PowerVR SGX531 on their SMP 8656, but Realtek doesn't seem to have done that. The graphics engine still seems to operate in 2D, and we can just hope that companies like A.C.Ryan make the best possible use of the available resources. Beyond what we have inferred, we don't have any product briefs from Realtek to analyze their platform.

A.C.Ryan felt that the increased memory addressing capability of the second generation SoCs from Realtek and the presence of GbE were reasons enough to use them for the second generation PlayOn! HD products. Let us now take a detailed look at what A.C.Ryan has lined up for us using these two new SoCs from Realtek.

PlayOn!HD Essential

Based on the 1055, this product has no network capabilities. The internal hard disk can be 500 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB. While there is full DVD-ISO menu support, BD-ISO still has basic navigation capabilities only. The PlayOn! GUI 2.0, a standard feature in all A.C.Ryan products now, shows the effort put in by A.C.Ryan to make maximum use of the rudimentary graphics engine in the Realtek SoCs.

This model is already shipping with a suggested MSRP of $139 for the 500 GB model. The 1 TB and 2 TB models are expected to cost $155 and $179 respectively.


This is based on the 1185. The salient features of this product are:

  1. Gigabit ethernet support
  2. USB 3.0 slave support for the internal hard disk
  3. Easy slot loading for the internal hard disk.

This is the first streamer we have seen with native GbE support. The WDTV Live Hub has support for Gigabit Ethernet in the system, but the maximum speed we were able to obtain while transferring data to / from the internal hard disk was around 100 Mbps. The SMP 8654 used inside the hub has no native GbE support resulting in the lackluster GbE performance. The PlayOn!HD 2 looks to be the first media streamer with serious NAS capabilities.

The first Realtek based media streamer with USB 3.0 slave support was the Asus O!Play 2. USB 3.0 host functionality is definitely not needed in media streamers because there are no media streams which need such high bandwidth. On the other hand, USB 3.0 slave support for streamers with internal hard disks makes a lot of sense when the product is viewed as a direct-attached storage (DAS) device. It enables much faster transfer of existing content on the PC into the media streamer. The PlayOn!HD2 also has a USB 3.0 slave port and also comes with the appropriate cable. Internally, the board contains a USB3 - SATA bridge chip to ensure that there is no bottleneck in the USB3 transfer speeds. I suspect the 1185 has a 3 Gbps SATA interface which tends to saturate most, if not all, hard disks. The fact that the PlayOn! HD 2 is the first to market with native GbE and USB 3.0 slave support makes it an exciting product in the media streamer / NAS / DAS space. We can't wait to get our hands on the PlayOn!HD2 to find out how it performs as a NAS / DAS.

Out of all the internal HD mounting methods I have seen in various media streamers, the one adopted by A.C.Ryan is the simplest and most fool-proof. A.C.Ryan demonstrated the nifty nature of their slot loading mechanism when I visited them during CES and we will cover this in detail in our final review.

This model is expected to launch in February 2011 with a suggested MSRP of $169 for the model without storage. 500 GB, 1 TB, 1.5 TB and 2 TB models come in at $205, $229, $259 and $289 respectively.

PlayOn!HD Mini 2

This model is very similar to the PlayOn!HD2 except that the internal storage option and USB 3.0 slave port are removed. Due to the removal of the internal storage option, there is no necessity for a fan in the enclosure. Some models also have 802.11n wireless capability built-in in addition to the GbE NIC.

This model is also expected to launch in February 2011 with a suggested MSRP of $109.

In addition to the above models, A.C.Ryan has also lined up a media streamer / DVR combo with support for dual DVB-T digital tuners (simultaneous watching and recording). This is based on the Realtek 1283C+ chipset. The DVR model will not be sold in the US due to lack of market interest.

A.C.Ryan Fluxx Final Words
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • ganeshts - Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - link

    Much lower power consumption, for one...
  • rigamortis1594 - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    ive got a newer toshiba LED that is supposed to support streaming video through wifi, but even if i could play my media that i see, it doesn't support mk2v. Then i have the older WD media player that plays files when it feels like it, its weird, and only works with a certain hard drive, and only 720p. Then ive got a wii which i can connect to TVversity through but only on smaller lower res files. Then ive got a comcast box, i mean come on. Its getting ridiculous. I just want to have media on a pc or nas box that i can access through wireless to my TV and have the correct sound and video processed.

    With all these devices i still can't get what i want, its driving me nuts. True a playstation does consume more power, but i mean how much does a PS3 really consume, does it play mk2v? If it does, i can sell my blu ray (oh yeah forgot to mention) another internet enabled device that i have and get that.

    Makes a lot of sense. How about a cable box, with a blu ray, hard drive, and obviously a cable card, and maybe a wii mod of sorts. That would make it so i could sell 4 devices. i'll take that if its reliable, but unfortunately that is called a PC, and i can't rely on a PC to do all of that, suggestions?
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - link

    That's pretty much my opinion as well for my case. I just got a 1080p and see a PS3 in my future in the next year and while slightly more expensive (both cost and consumption) it does pretty much everything I need with games to boot.
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - link

    40" G25 Panasonic Plasma*
  • Etern205 - Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - link

    RLUXX sounds a lot like Rolex.
  • notanakin - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    As an unfortunate victim of one of AC Ryan's other media players (PlayonHD) I advise readers to take a look at the AC Ryan forums before they buy any device from them.

    Just take a look at the long list of complaints from users. It seems the company's policy is to shovel the hardware out and worry about the firmware/software later.
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    To be frank, no media player is perfect.

    Of course, when the unit comes in for review, we will give feedback to AC Ryan (already sent them some samples from our test suite for them to fix before releasing the product). After that, it is just a matter of how responsive AC Ryan is and that is going to be reflected in the review :)
  • khimera2000 - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    It looks nice, but I dont see it really taking off, not to mention that i never really looked at realtek as bleeding edge ( just how i see realtek. bad experiance).

    With the capability for nearly all modern day computers to plug into any descent TV, they really have to come out swinging, for me to even consider it I would want cablecard (or dish) support with the ability to navigate easily to what i want, and since these boxes are touting premium services i would need a way to find what im looking for across the board regardless of the service provider (netflix, Blockbuster Etc.) or location (local hard drive, cloud storage, phone... family dog ).

    If the access to premium and local content isint seamless, if the system lacks cable card support, and if the codecs suck (although they have a complete list dosent mean there any good) then this wount make any shopping list. It just dosent have a place to fit in... in short im not impresed, tivo alrady did the content provider thing, I have to see a more hands on and thorough review before i even consider this device.
  • AunyBravo - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

    In my oppinion, this is the world best media network player right now, I have yet to see a file format this cannot play plus it support DTS 5.1 and mkv, moreover you can play online media like hulu or bbc iplayer.
  • Wwhat - Sunday, February 6, 2011 - link

    A,C.Ryan used to have youtube in their media players, then youtube/google sent them a mail to remove it, since that time they did not manage to get youtube back it seems.
    So if they fail at even convincing youtube I don't see them having much future with the others who are generally regarded more protective
    I think google doesn't allow youtube in products from foreign countries or something? I'm not sure what they are doing in that area.

    This story also shows where google is going these days incidentally with their change to being like all the others with their hiding of torrentresults and this kind of thing.
    Actually I have the impression that being in the telecom business a while will make anybody an asshole, so maybe that's it.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now