Astone Media Gear AP-110D review: Astone Media Gear AP-110D

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Typical Price: $99.00
4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Quick response in menus. Wide variety of codec support. DVD playback. iPod compatibility.

The Bad Menus are sparse and ugly. No online capabilities. iPod compatibility is limited to hard disk models only. Base vents cause the unit to run very hot.

The Bottom Line The 110D is a media streamer short on frills. It works, but don't expect fancy interfaces or a high quality remote control.

8.2 Overall

Design

Media streaming boxes are flooding the market at a rate of knots, and it's rather tough to keep up. Astone's Media Gear AP-110D has been on the market for a while now, but in the heavily saturated field of players, it's not a player that stands out, at least visually. The player itself is a small metal box with dual USB ports at the back, along with Ethernet, HDMI, YBbPr and component video outputs on the back. The design is astonishingly unexceptional save for the fact that the vents for the unit have oddly been placed on the base of the 110D. More on that odd design choice later.

Features

In line with its bare-bones aesthetic, the 110D hits the basics of media streaming and not a whole lot else. Ethernet is the default connection method, although it's possible to purchase an 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter or run media from connected USB drives. One neat feature of the 110D is that it'll support USB-connected DVD drives for playback. There's a catch here, though, as Astone's product page for the 110D notes that it doesn't support playback of CSS-protected DVD Video, meaning you're mostly going to be stuck with playing back your own holiday movies, rather than many commercial discs.

Other than that, the 110D's codec coverage is pretty wide, encompassing MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 SP/ASP, Real Video, AVC, WMV/VC-1, QuickTime, Flash and Motion JPEG, with support for Dolby Digital, DTS, MPEG-1, MPEG-II, Real, MPEG-4, LPCM, MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, FLAC and OGG audio. There's also limited on-board support for iPod playback, but only from hard drive models such as the iPod Classic. iPhone and iPod Touch users can plug in their units with the cable, but all you'll be able to do with the 110D is recharge.

One feature we've seen in many media streamers is online media compatibility, and here the 110D is noticeably lacking, with no in-built YouTube or similar streaming capability.

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