With HD making lots of buzz these days, it should come as no surprise to find multimedia products perched up high on the sales chart. Among the biggest names in the business is Sarotech, a Korean-based company that has recently brought in a multimedia player equipped with a DVI connection, the DVP-570HD.
The abigs HD multimedia player sports a clean and sharp look; at the front is a monochrome LCD with blue backlight accompanied by a navigation cluster and a power button. Eager users will find that the DVP-570HD has no lack of support for HD televisions, home/office networks and MP3 players as there is a host of modern connection ports at the rear waiting to be called upon. However, for some bizarre reason, the abigs does not come with any hard drive installed – the same case with the Mediagate MG-35 Network Multimedia Player reviewed a week ago. Storage for native multimedia playback has to be purchased separately, which thankfully is a simple process.
No software installation is needed because the abigs behaves like a removable hard drive when plugged to a computer via USB. This bodes well for end-users as transfer of files is a mere drag-and-drop process. Users can also hook up the abigs to LAN network or a wireless bridge in order to read media files off shared network folders. In addition, the front USB port allows other USB devices such as external hard drives and MP3 players to stream files through the DVP-507HD.
The Sarotech abigs was tested with our usual assortment of 720 and 1080i HD videos, and we are happy to report that these were processed without a hitch.
Even the typically difficult 1080p WMV trailer of ‘Alexander’ was properly played with two instances of lag the only notable hiccups throughout the entire session (in 1080i display mode). The same smooth playback was also experienced with raw DVD and VCD media files. It’s also important to note that TXT files are supported by the abigs player. There are four types of subtitle formats supported in addition to multi-language support. Users can also synchronize subtitles, which are useful features to have in the abigs.
There were several aspects of the abigs we found inadequate. First of three major gripes we had was the temperamental remote control that did not always allow us to change the size of subtitles as and when we wanted to, and it was rather disappointing to discover that the abigs could not playback our collection of M2T HD files - TP HD files played back perfectly though.
Lastly and most disappointingly, the abigs does not allow aspect ratio to be changed between 4:3 and 16:9. The only video adjustment available is the zoom function that allows magnification of up to 300%. There is one nifty and interesting feature of the abigs worth mentioning though, and that is the built-in FM transmitter that allows users to stream audio on one of four FM channels (87.7MHz ~ 88.9MHz) to any FM receiver around the house.
While the Sarotech abigs DVP—507HD promises a bevy of features, it still has a long way to go in order to compete with a HTPC and several multimedia players in the market today. It is in need of refinements to rid itself of occasional hangs during video/music playback, a sluggish user interface as well as slow remote response. These, we think, can be fixed via firmware updates, so it might be wise to sit back and carry out a more thorough comparisons before you take your home entertainment to the next level.