Feeds
70%
Viewsonic VMP74

Viewsonic VMP74 1080p media player

You want codecs? It's got 'em

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Review For most of this century, I've evangelised home movie set-ups that put a lightweight, probably Linux-based player in the living room, leaving your multimedia libraries on a server at the other end of your network.

Viewsonic VMP74

Viewsonic's VMP74: compact casing - but what a lot of codecs it contains

My favorite player has always been the Pinnacle ShowCenter, a pioneering device that lost its way in the market when five years ago Pinnacle fell into the insensitive clutches of the Avid Corporation. The ShowCenter's video decoding capability, alas, stops with the now ageing H.263 (XViD, etc) codecs. To carry me forward into the era of H.264, Viewsonic's new VMP74 might just be the proposition I'm looking for.

While the older generation of players like the ShowCenter tended to favour traditional hi-fi form factors - although this left them filled mostly with air - the VMP74 is less than 30mm in height, around 130mm wide and 100mm deep.

There's no wireless connection, but any device like this that pushes out true HD would probably struggle to suck in 1080p input over the air. My ShowCenter - it maxed out at 720p - was never convincing over 802.11g, so I don't see the Viewsonic's wired-only LAN link as an important limitation.

The huge spectrum of codec specifications is down to the talents of the Sigma Designs SMP8654AD processor. This extraordinary single chip not only decompresses video and audio, with post-processing functions like deinterlacing and deblocking, but also handles the Ethernet and the USB. The VMP74 has a pair of USB connectors at the rear, one of them doubling as an eSata port. And, yes, the Sigma chip takes care of the eSata protocol too.

Viewsonic VMP74

Good range of ports - but component-video would be handy

Oh, and it also negotiates "a wide variety of Digital Rights Management solutions", which should be reassuring to those of you who are gagging to play content-protected WMV 9 files.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.