Sumvision Cyclone Primus mkv Review

Just a quick review and first impressions of the Sumvision Cyclone Primus HDMI MKV media player / HDD enclosure. This is the latest version of a media player hard drive enclosure from Sumvision. These are available for around £50. It will take any SATA hard drive upto approx 2TB, and will play literally all media formats out at the moment. It has HDMI and composite outputs and can also just be used as a standard USB hard drive caddy. For full specification see bottom of this post.

Upon unboxing of the unit you get in the box the enclosure, remote control, USB lead, composite TV lead, power supply, manual and even 2 AAA batteries, Though no hdmi cable supplied. The unit we had didn’t come supplied with a hard drive as we had a 1TB seagate barracuda ST13000528AS sata hard drive that had been taken out of a Iomega external unit. To fit the hard drive into the unit is very easy. The bottom of the enclosure comes off the unit and you screw you hard drive to the bottom metal plate, then all that you need to do is connect both the data cable and power connector. You then attach the bottom of the enclosure by slotting back in and inserting for screws under the feet. The bottom of the unit can be a bit fiddly to attach. You cant get the wrong way round as there is a small notch to align.

To connect to your TV you have a choice of outputs the HDMI or the composite, though composite ie the 3 phono connects are only for standard def and not HD, to get the best out of this player you need to connect a HDMI cable. Also on the back of the unit you have coaxial audio, usb A and B connectors, 12v power. On the side of the unit you also have a USB connector for usb memory sticks or usb hard drives and a SD slot that will accept SD, SDHC & MMC.

I initially set this unit up on a Samsung 42” Lcd TV that supports 1080p. Once all connected turned the unit on from the remote, as when power is connected it is in standby mode this show a red light on front of unit, once you power on from the remote you have a blue light on the front of the unit, this then also spins up the hard drive. The seagate hard drive that was put in was formatted to NTFS and already had a selection of media files on and the unit recognised this straight away without any problems.

Upon bootup which only takes a few seconds you get a nice menu with four options Local HDD, USB Device, Smart Card & Setup. If you don’t have a usb device connected or a sd card inserted these options will be grayed out unit you connect either of these. The first thing you should do is go into setting to select the best resolution for you TV, although this can be changed at anytime using the TV System button on the remote that cycles through all available resolutions. Once you select your device from this menu you either see the partitions you have on your hard, once you select your partition you then have a standard folder list.

To select your media just browse to the location of your videos, photos or music then select your file to play and it then plays. I tried all different video formats including 720p & 1080p mkv files ranging from 1gb to 9gb in size with different bitrates, DIVx including divx hd, MP4 720p. All of the formats I tried had no problems, though sometimes when starting or after fast forward you get a very slight jitter in sound and picture, but this is just for around 1 second. I also had a slight problem with a MP4 720p that I had created myself as very slight corruption at the start, but this I think is the way I encoded this self created video clip. I even tried the memory card out of my Panasonic DMC-FZ38 which takes video in the AVCHD format at 720p 50fps and these player perfect other than did take a few seconds to start playing these file, which to be honest didn’t think It would play these files, but it did great.

On playing videos you have both fast forward and rewind at different speeds 1.5x, 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, 32x and if you need to change the aspect ration you have a zoom function which changes the format including 4:3, 16:9, stretch etc. Also by default if subtitles files and encoded into the video file or a separate file ie, srt file the unit on first setup show subtitles. This can be easily turned of from the subtitle button on the remote and within that menu set No to subtitles. Once done the player remembers this setting. If you have previously watched part of a video file, upon opening that file again asks if you want to resume playing from that point.

To play music in MP3 etc again very easy just select your music files and it will play. The one thing that I don’t think this player can do is while playing music is to display any visualisations, but this isn’t really a problem, though you can play music while watching a slideshow of your pictures or photos.

On displaying photos again just browse to the location of your photos, while you see the list of your files on the left of the menu you see a thumbnail to the right, so easy to find the picture you want. When you select a image to display this puts your photographs in that directory as a slide show, to pause on a picture just use the pause function. You can change the default slideshow time and transition withing the setting menu, for slideshow intervals you have 3, 5, 10 & 20 seconds and a choice of about 15 different fades etc.

You can also just use this as a external USB hard drive on your pc with the supplied usb cable, though a slight problem in that to power the unit up you need to turn it on and without a physical switch on the unit you have to use the remote to power the unit on which then spins up the hard drive and then the computer recognises it.

I also tried using the unit with the supplied composite cable on a standard tv, and although the unit had been selected for 1080p when had been using it on the hdmi. The media player didn’t need the resolution to be changed to SD for the composite. So this is great for using the media player on all different tv’s. I have read there is a slight problem with DTS audio output through the coaxial connector, I couldn’t test this but sumvision are aware of this problem and are releasing new firmware to fix this problem in mid January, so probably by the time you are reading this it is out. Goto sumvisions firmware website for details HERE.

So all in all this is a great media player, as it does play anything you throw at it without any problems, the lack of a network port may put some people off, but if you looking for either a new external

hard drive or a effective way of watching HD files on your TV this would be a perfect unit and for the price a great bargain. This unit was for my parents and they can work it perfect and this was to replace the ageing original xbox they had, that had been modified with the XBMC (xbox media centre) for playing their video files, but they now wanted HD content so this unit is perfect. The manual provided gives you the basics on how to use the media player, but to honest it is so easy to use you probably wont even need to look at it.

I have created a quick little video showing the way the menu works on the Sumvision Cyclone Primus media player, see below. Sorry for the focusing problems on the video as was recording direct from in front of the tv and the autofocus system on the camera kept messing up, but at least gives you an idea of the way the menu system looks and works.#

If anyone can help out with any of the problems that people are having within the comments please leave a comment to help everyone out, as I set this up for my parents so cant always check the various problems and quires that people are asking.

Here is the full specification of the Cyclone Primus MKV HDD Enclosure:

Specification:

* Max Hard Drive 2TB, cant take 3tb or 4tb.
* Supports audio files in MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG, AAC, LPCM, FLAC, APE & AC3 formats.
* Video media supports H.264, MKV, WMV9, FLV, RM, RMVB, AVI, VOB, DVD, MPEG 1/2/4, XVID, DIVX, Divx HD
* Photo support for JPG, BMP, PNG and GIF. Supports 1080P when using HDMI output.
* Support for subtitling: SSA, SRT, SUB and SMI.
* NTSC / PAL60 / PAL.
* Works with Windows 98 2nd edition / ME / 2000 / XP / Vista, MAC.
* Clear and easy to use TV menu system.
* On screen library system providing full access to all files.
* Language support for: English, German, Spanish,   French, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch.
* Card reader with support for SD, SDHC and MMC.
* Size: 206 x 160 x 46.5mm (L X W X H)

Whats in the box
* USB2 A-B Lead (also works with USB1).
* Power supply with plug.
* Driver CD (not required for XP).
* Remote Control
* Batteries.
* AV output cables (Yellow / red / white phonos).

Compatability:
This drive works fine on laptops and desktops with the following operating systems:
* Windows 98SE / 2000 / Me / XP Home / XP Pro / Media Centre / Vista / 7.
* MAC OS & OSX.

UPDATE: 

Im now using a hacked now tv box which is really cheap with plex media streaming client to access all media off my main pc for full info see HERE for details.

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Kevin Simon

My Name is Kevin Simon and I am the creator & main author on KS News & Views, I am self employed and can supply IT & Web Design services aswell as Fish pond Maintenance. I have a few hobbies which I write about and anything that interests me really.

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59 Responses

  1. Simon K says:

    Does not detect/playback ISO files.
    Also had problems playing back some MKV files- the Primus player eventually freezing up.
    Sumvision’s earlier models I own ie MKV1 adapter and MKV2 enclosure played back the same MKV files smoothly with no problems?

    • Kevin Simon says:

      well so far we have had no problems with any files, as a guess the firmware update my solve that, just noticed the firmware due out now, has been delayed

  2. Bruce Thorne says:

    Hi. Great Review. Very Helpful. I have been told by someone selling these drives that I do not have to plug it into a TV to view the menu – the menu is on the media drive. Is that correct? I want to ply it through my music system but not connect it to my TV.

    • Kevin Simon says:

      @bruce, on the primus model there is no display on the unit itself, though one of the higher models i think does have a little lcd display on the unit for use as navigation

  3. tony marrese says:

    hello chaps, I wonder if you can help me with some advice. I have just bought a cyclone primus with a 2gb sata drive installed, it works fine on my computer via USB, and with a HDMI lead to a TV you get pic and sound. Unfortunately I want to use it with a projector and separate receiver decoder for audio. I assumed the RCA’ [AV OUT] would be active and I would connect the audio from there to my amp, but they dont output [at least when the HDMI is connected. So my question is if I use the HDMI to go to my projector where can I get audio from to go to the amp? Is it via the coaxial? I have seen that there is an issue with firmware and the coaxial? Help please…and thanks in advance, Tony

    • Kevin Simon says:

      hi, you cant use the hdmi and rca outputs at the same time, so thats why no audio, but if your projector has audio out you should be able to connect that to your amp, other wise yeah you will have to use the coaxial to your amp, I haven’t tried the coaxial output myself, the problems seems to be with some video files if audio in encoded in 5.1 dts, other audio streams from what i know dont seem to be affected, so just try with your files, if you do get files that wont output the audio through the coaxial you could convert them to 2.1 audio using conbverter software possibly, but then you do loose the 5.1, just checked and sumvision still saying update delayed.

  4. tony marrese says:

    Cheers Kevin, I really appreciate the advice…My projector is far from the amp and I have installed a HDMI cable to it so I cant really run the audio back without having a cable hanging…Hopefully the Coaxial cable will be active with audio, I’ll get one of those leads tomorrow.

    Cheers

    • Kevin Simon says:

      the coaxial audio should be available whichever video output you use, as is just dedicated audio out, let me know how you get on with the coaxial audio out

  5. tony marrese says:

    will update on the morrow, cheers

  6. Bill Bierney says:

    Hi all, I’ve had one of these for about 5 weeks now and agree with everyone- a pretty nifty device.Got a problem though. I’ve had 4 or 5 MP4 movies stop towards the end of a movie. I’ve also had this happen with AVI files from an external 2.5″ drive. All of these movies check out fine and complete on a pc. MKV files are fine on the device. Anybody else seen this? Any ideas?
    Cheers

  7. Shazman says:

    My Primus also has problems playing certain MKV files. Some MKV files will not play at all, and some will skip the end of the video file. ISO is also not supported.

    I don’t like the fact that subtitles are switched on by default. The promised firmware update is supposed to fix this, but it’s been delayed.

    Other than that, it’s not a bad media player and looks quite elegant – especially with a decent full-sized remote control.

  8. Graham Brooks says:

    Hi Kevin,great review,2 questions for you – is it
    correct that there is no file copy function on the
    primus to transfer from one media machine to another?
    Also how do you get the subtitles to work when the srt file does not show even when it is in the same folder?
    Thanks

  9. chris says:

    Hi anyone having problems playing mp4 720 2gig pluss files?mine plays till the last 10 mins then goes to the begining!it does this on star wars and matrix hd box sets! Will the firmware resolve this?also the option buton doesnt give full settings?

  10. Chris says:

    With ripped DVDs (.dvdmedia files), can you still navigate chapter by chapter? What if it’s a TV series DVD with multiple episodes? Can you navigate to each episode? Bonus features?
    With the audio, can you make playlists or will it read iTunes playlists? -Tx

  11. Kevin Simon says:

    first sorry for all that have commented, as i have had problems with my commenting system,

    @Bill Bierney – I had the same problems when using external usb with certain mp4 and a avi file, im not sure what the problem was as i checked the files on pc and all ok, the only thing i can think of is there is a buffering probme when using the usb

    @Graham Brooks – you are correct as far as i know there is no copy function within the device, with the srt files i know that they have to be the exact same name of the video file ie if vid12345.avi the srt file should be vid12345.srt

    If anyone else looking at this can answer some of the above please leave comments, as the unit i reviewed is at my parents so i cant check all the problems.

    Hopefully the firmware update will help out with all these problems but just checked and still not available

  12. Derek Western says:

    Hi,
    Just started playing with a Primus (half TB drive pre-installed)and although eveything started out great, after loading a few (about 300) music files and some photos (about 20 @ 1.9 Mg each) the unit has “frozen” and my laptop cannot access it.
    Have connected to TB and still get all the same menu’s up, tried a reset, no joy.
    Laptop see’s it, but as soon as i click on the ico to open it, that’s all that happens.
    Just the little circle whirling round & round & round for hours on end.
    Anyone have any ideas????
    Many thanks

    Derek

  13. Dave White says:

    There has been a firmware update that although only officially resolves sound issues, seems to have resolved a whole host of others.

  14. Richard McCorrisken says:

    Hi there, perhaps you can shed some light on this for me. I have bought the Sumvision Cyclone Primus mkv. It appears to be working fine apart from not playing .flac and .ape files. Also according to the manual you should be able to access some sub menus…… such as equalizer settings, but following instructions nothing appears.
    I hope that you can help as searches on the net gets no results for this problem and there is no contact information on the Sumvision site.
    Thanks,
    Richard.

  15. Emma Chadwick says:

    Hi there, wondered if anyone could help, I just got the cyclone primus and everything seems fine unless I try to play moves of the internal drive? They play fine through my external harddrive but once I transfer them to the cyclone drive and try to play them they just wont play at all.

  16. boontown says:

    hey there, is there anyway of having a movie cover art display
    thank you

  17. Maria says:

    Hey, when playing back pictures, any portrait style picture is rotated and viewed as landscape.. any ideas on how to stop that from happening and rotate the pictures back permanently
    Thanks

  18. Alan says:

    Hello, just a quick question, is there a way of powering on the primus without the remote, like when I plug the primus into my computer I still have to use the remote to power on the device, If I ever lost the remote I’d be in trouble.

  19. John says:

    just bought a cyclone primus and a 1tb hard drive which is a western digital. put the hard drive in and it works on my computer you can put films on but once i plug it into the tv and turn it on and try to watch a film it wont load them up and restarts to the menu any ideas please?

  20. Michael says:

    bought item yesterday and saw there was a new firmware update, started doing the update and had powercut, it is now not working I can use it as an external harddrive on laptop but when pluged in tv the blue light comes on but nothing on tv. can anyone help me
    thanks

  21. kevin says:

    hi there have just brought a sumvision cyclone primus 500gb hd media player, do you know where i can get a user manual, i have tried the sumvision site but no luck. i dont really know how to use it, so please anybody help.

    kevin

  22. Marvin says:

    It is a good piece of equipment except for one thing. Reliability. I have owned loads of external HDDs that have survived great falls even when running. This 2TB player dropped a very short distance from a very short tv stand to the floor and that was the end of the hard drive.

  23. Sally Smith says:

    Hi, have had a cyclone primus for a while now and have updated the firmware which speeded up scrolling through the folders and tracks, i found that it doesn’t play m4a audio files from an ipod so i have to convert them to another audio format and the most annoying thing is that there is no way of creating a play list apart from having a seperate folder with all your favourite songs in it, if anyone from sumvision is out there reading this then please spend the time to add some form of creating a play list into the next firmware update cos it is really annoying, or does anyone know of any programs that can be loaded onto thge primus to get round this problem, by the way i have mine connected to the tv via a hdmi cable and to my amp via a digital coaxial cable and both seem to work well (this may help with previous questions), thanks

  24. David says:

    anyone,

    can you help me with my prob? … i’ve just purchase one with 2tb already fitted in it. i can’ play a slideshow with background music. Does someone know how to do it? Manual says to press Slideshow button on remote control but where it is?

    thanks

  25. rob says:

    Has anyone else experienced problems with FLAC files. They play ok, but will not move on to the next track automatically… Mp3 files don’t seem to have this problem. Happy with the unit, apart from the audio out problem to get audio to my amp.. My amp does not have an optical in…The work around it to connect to your tv via HDMI, then from tv to amp through the tv’s headphone socket… Really not ideal…. Especially since if I do that I have to leave my amp on all the time even when i’m just watching normal tv.

  26. George says:

    My 2TB was brilliant until I disconnected it from my television and reconnected it to my laptop to upload more files and sometime, without it being dropped or knocked it decided not to work anymore so all the files on it already are now gone and won’t show on my television or my laptop

    Any advice would be brilliant

  27. laura peixoto says:

    i want to connect the cyclone primust sumvision 1tb to my laptop to load more movies. but i am not sure what to do as when i pluged it it did nothing. what cabble must i ese? i have a cabble that one end i plug to the cyclone saying usb device and the other end to the usb on the lap top. please help

  28. Matt says:

    I have had one of these for a few months now, great unit for backing up all my movies on, however some of my blu-ray files judder and have no sound, also i cannot get subtitles to work. Could anyone advise, or link an idiots guide to getting subtitles from start to finish. i use a SUB file in the root of the movie with the movie being named the same, nothing.

  29. craig says:

    I am having problems with playing sound trough my amp via coaxial. I’ve read there are issues and now new firmware. Can anyone tell me as i have never done an update, will i lose all the films i currently have on the unit?

  30. andrew says:

    hello kevin,
    i bought a week ago a cyclone primus 2tb and i don’t know is not loading subtitles… only some of them… what i can do… thanks

  31. Ian says:

    Hi
    I bought one of these mainly to play music and only managed through the TV. Does the AV outputs not work on a HiFi amp? Working through the TV I haven’t been able to select multiple files eg a whole album, can you only play one file at a time (mp3, flac, wav etc)

  32. Baz says:

    Perfect bit of kit (2TB player) only downside is wont display media artwork in right menu pane would love this to be added in future firmware

  33. Peter says:

    Hi, i have been using this as a harddrive with a view to connecting to tv when about 50% full, just about reached that point when it appears to have become corrupt, do you think updating the firmware might save my files that are on it? Peter.

  34. Tony says:

    I’m assuming that you just drag and drop the media files you want onto the units internal hard drive via the back USB connection from your PC? I can see two USB ports so.. I’m guessing the other is for an external storage device like a USB key or other hard drive!

  35. Andrew says:

    Hi. I have just got this for xmas, the only problem I have with it so far that its not passing 6ch audio through hdmi. The cylone is connected to my sony dh800 amp. Any ideas? I’ve updated the firmware but hasn’t made any difference.

  36. Mandy says:

    Hi, First a tip, then a problem if anyone can help please?? I found with my small cyclone that it wouldn’t let me scroll down my list of movies, therefore I couldn’t select any further down the list, if there were loads on the hard drive I had plugged in. My daughter, however, found that if you selected “Pictures” and then went to the folder you wanted that you could then switch it back to “movies” and get them that way.
    Now I have the larger 1TB Cyclone Primus and it is great but it makes a whirring sound that nearly drives me nuts in the quiet parts of films. What is that? Can I stop it happening?
    Would be so grateful for advice. 🙂
    x

  37. Paul Lynch says:

    hi there, ive got this hard drive and im happy with it and everything, but ive got 150gb worth of music on it, and for some reason, the files that are Mp4 dont show up in the folders, ie – songs that are mp3 etc are all visible in the album folders where as when i go into a folder that is mp4 theres just no files in them. (this is when its plugged into the tv, when its plugged into the laptop every file is visible), Is there anyway of updating the hard drive or changin the settings etc to get the mp4’s to show once connected to tv. thanks Alot. Paul.

  38. Simon H says:

    I bought one of these this week but found that I can’t get 5.1 audio or DTS via HDMI cable, it only outputs stereo (2.0). I downloaded and installed the firmware update but that didn’t fix it.

    A real shame as it’s a really neat unit and has a lot nicer-looking menu than my Xenta.

    If anyone else has managed to get DTS via HDMI please reply!

  39. Pete Carey says:

    I bought a Sumvision Primus, formatted it on PC, now read only, can not put media on it, no customer support for Sumvision, useless.

    I also had a Sumvision external 2tb hard drive, it was so noisy I got rid of it.

  40. Steve says:

    Simon,

    Have you changed the output setting in the audio menu?

  41. Brian says:

    anybody any ideas why my primus reboots everytime i put a usb or hd into it?

  42. Eddie says:

    Hi, someone please help. My laptop broke, but I was able to transfer all my pics and films to my Cyclone Primus. Now that I have a new laptop, Im trying to transfer some of my files back onto my laptop. Most of moved across fine, except for a file with some photos in it. When I connect to the TV, I can see the folder and view the photos, but when I connect to my laptop, the drive appears however the file that I particularly want is not there. I know I havent lost the file as its viewable on the TV, just not when connected to my laptop. Any ideas please.

  43. Marrko says:

    re: tony marrese post above.

    I had the same issue of HDMI to projector; and thus,
    no sound via RCA.
    happy to report that coaxial connection solves the issue.
    just make sure to change (in cyclone primus setup) audio
    settings from “normal” to “SPDIF”.

    cheers,

    M

  44. skip says:

    i have a cyclone 2 which will not play files over 1 gig avi
    will this play up to 2 gig avi’s

  45. Ged Worrall says:

    Hi Wonder if you can help.When playing back movies through HDMI the unit sometimes freezes .When playing back movies via pc seem to have no poblems at all

  46. james says:

    I bought this caddy and a WD Caviar Green 1.8Tb drive, but local hdd doesn’t show up when i connect it to my tv 🙁 the drive definitely works because already connected to my computer to copy films onto the drive. Is there a compatibility issue and if so, can anybody recommend a drive that definitely works.. it’s a neat piece of kit that i’d love to get working properly!

  47. Mark says:

    Hey guy’s! I just bought a Cyclone Primus V.2 and had issues with the sound. I downloaded the firmware as it say’s it will fix DTS/Dolby Digital. I followed the instructions on the Sumvision website yet the player say’s it does not support this format when selecting the firmware upgrade. I tried registering the product on the web to get technical support. I have received nothing back from Sumvision! Can anyone help?

  48. fatih says:

    hi..my player selects only one subtitle and i cannot change it to another.i want to select a subtitle in other language but i cant.The player always select one subtitle file which is exact same name with the video file.I make the folder like this:
    starwars.avi (video file) and starwars.eng (srt subtitle file for english) or starwars.tur (srt subtitle file for turkish)in the same folder but it doesnt work.could someone tell me what i should do?

  49. Haydn Boniface says:

    I bought my cyclone recently on the advice of a friend, but I forgot to check whether it was Mac compatible. Anybody out there got a Mac and managed to load films onto it their Cyclone. At the moment I can only watch movies saved onto a Flash drive. I’ve tried formatting my flash drive to FAT32, but then my Mac tells me there is not enough room to fit the movie on…..

    Please tell me there is a relatively easy solution to this problem…

  50. Geoff says:

    Hi, does anyone know if there is a way of creating a playlist for the cyclone primus or is this a fimrware issue, if so can any program a firmware update to be able to create a playlist as it is so annoying to play audio files an album at a time, you can create a favourites folder and play this but it will only let you play the same songs over and over again, if anyone knows of a solution i would be grateful, thanks

  51. andy says:

    I have just bought a cyclone primus and can find no firmware update for it,even after looking on the sumvision website,Any ideas………please

    • Adrian says:

      @Andy

      Had the same problem, finally got hold of them through the ebay shop i bought mine from, but the update actually made me be able to play LESS formats
      So i sent it back to them for a refund
      Sumvision NEVER answer any support tickets and i shall never buy a product of theirs again !

      Instead i got a MX player with HBMC, AWESOME DEVICE an plays everything and no need to download, very impressed

  52. manolo says:

    by accident my son has deleted or reset the sumvision cyclone android 1080p mkv media canter.

    what can i do to fix it.

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