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:
* 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
* AV output cables (Yellow / red / white phonos).
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.
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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