I have RM500 (ceiling RM600) to be spend as my home entertainment hub. And it is pretty hard for me to buy one. For months, I can’t actually decide which one should I go ; either Sarotek Media Player (2.5 inch HDD base) or well establish brand DVD player with DIVX/XVID/MP4 capabilities.
A couple of visit to Giant Kelana Jaya, SenHeng, Digital Mall and even Low Yat plaza still can’t help me to decide which one should I go.
Cheap brand like Pensonic got DIVX capable DVD Player but with very limited function. Can’t blame it with sub RM 200 price tags. Some of these cheap DVD player support WMV but not DIVX, some support DIVX but not XVID, some has USB but can’t played divx via USB…only for music ripping…bleh.
Moving to sub RM500 but above RM350 DVD player reveal more option for me. Have better support for DVD+R, DVD-R, RW and even DVD-RAM. Support DIVX, WMV and MP4 mostly. Half of them got not USB extension and how about firmware update. What if new version DIVX and XVID released and people start to encode their movie using latest codec. Will that player still able to play that movie without firmware update. One thing that annoy me with firmware update is : Most of the manufacturer claim that the firmware is upgradeable but heck…nobody could find the latest firmware. Look like, the customer need to buy new player instead. This is my major concern, as codec evolve pretty rapid these days. And I dont want to spend RM 500 to something that will absolute in 1 or 2 years.
Second alternative is HDD base Media Player like Sarotek Media Player. Basically, it is 2.5 inch (notebook) hard disk casing with multimedia function (capable to play divx, xvid, mp3, mp4) and remote control. The case alone will cost me RM450+. Hard Disk not included. Expect to spend another RM150 for the hard disk. This alternative sound pretty good to me. It use less space than dedicated DVD player with mp4 capabilities and has at least 120 GB of storage. Around 171 divx movies. Hmmm…
Suddenly, I found a web page which explain how to make a PlayStation 2 as Home Entertainment Hub with a single boot CD (which is the author is kind enough to pre-made it and host it). According to the author, with this boot CD (which bypass PS2 OS and load up SMS Media Player), PS2 could play DVD Movie, divx, xvid, mp4, mp3 from various type of resource; either DVD-+R, CD-R, USB (External HDD, Pendrive, Memory Card Reader), LAN (Lan storage), even HDD itself). I was about…holy crap..this is excellent. A free home brewed boot disc which able to transform PS2 gaming console into full fledge Home Entertainment HUB.
A quick check at Lowyat.net forum and Sungai Wang Plaza, brand new PS2 will cost you around RM380 to RM599 depending on package. As my previous post I settle with RM550.00 package which give me a new version of PS2 console (90006 slim) + 1 original controller + 1 look like original but not so controller + 1 8 MB original memory card + 1 PS2 travel case + AV cable.
So, why did I choose PS2 instead of Sarotek HDD Media Player? Sarotek HDD Media Player, albeit it will cost me another RM50 compare to PS2, I got 120 GB of storage space. A dedicated storage space for my movie alone. But, some issue with HDD base media player. One is the firmware. What if the manufacturer stop or actually never release new firmware? What if the remote control lost or damage (most hdd base media player 80% depend on remote control for its operation). When HDD is one of the component in the system, durability and reliability become a major concern.
And the ultimate reason is : I spend RM 600 for a multimedia player only BUT for RM 550 (PS2), I got multimedia player and 1001 PS2 games (which cost me RM3 to RM 5 each) console. Game console alone worth the RM500 (which I could spend countless of quality hour with my wife watching our divx movie collection and play our favorite games together), let alone it limitless capability on playing what ever format / codec. As long as PS2 community still exist, there will be nonstop of supply home brewed applications from them.
Next : How to make your PS2 –> Multimedia and Multiformat Media Player (Pre-Made installer/image and step by step Guide). Read Here