Wednesday, August 03, 2011

iOmega Screenplay Director

I am a moviebuff and used to watch lot of English, Tamil, Korean, Japanese movies. I felt a media player connected to TV in my living room would be better compared to watching movies in laptop. So, here is my review of the latest gadget in my home. iOmega Screenplay Director. My first choice of media player was WD Live TV because of its low cost (it doesn't come with internal HDD) and I convinced myself to go for Screenplay Director, as one of my colleagues own it. Also, this is the only media player available in Chennai stores. It comes with two years warranty.

Screenplay Director comes with 1TB and 2TB versions. I gone for 1TB version. I copied my movie collection from my laptop and external HDD that I had. I was happy about the space that I have, which could hold hell a lot of movies.

HDD : 1 TB / 2 TB
Video formats supported: MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4 (upto 1080p), H.264, XviD, WMV, VC-1
Audio formats supported: AAC, AC3, FLAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, WAV, WMA
Photo formats supported: BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF
Output ports: Composite (SD), Component, HDMI, Optical audio.
USB ports: 3
Ethernet port: 1

The pack comes with only Composite cable.

The media player is not a sleek one compared to other media players in market. The remote doesn't look impressive and most of the keys have dual purpose. For example, the rew / fwd, vol up / vol dwn keys have a single key and these keys are very small to press what you want to. There are Video, Music and Photo keys in the remote that lets you directly jump instead of pressing the Home key and selecting videos or music or photos.

Poor software:
The software is the worst part of the gadget. There are so many bugs, which leads you to restart the device most of the time to recover. The boot up time also takes around 2.30 minutes :(

User interface:
The UI design is okay. Not worst, not the best. There is no customization possible like changing the color of the screen.

The navigation is designed badly. While watching a movie, if you decide to play another movie, you press the Video key in remote. This takes you to the list of available HDD (internal and external) menu, instead of taking you to the last selected movie folder. I felt this is quite annoying at times. You have to keep scrolling all the times.

I haven't used any other media player, but the quality of video that I get in Composite (SD) is quite fascinating. The clarity of the video is really very good. However, some of my downloaded Tamil movies doesn't play with this media player. Not sure why is it. Haven't explored on this. There is no way to customize the subtitles, either the location or the size of the font on the screen. The text is small to read. The player doesn't upscale the audio that comes in the video. Sometimes, the audio is too low that I have to keep 100% volume in my TV.

They haven't cared much to provide a good photo viewing experience. The wide screen photos are just scaled in composite output, which doesn't appeal at all. There is no way to configure the speed for transition.

The media player doesn't have inbuild wifi capability. However, you could plug in a iOmega wifi dongle in the USB port and connect to internet. I haven't bought one dongle yet. The software supports only YouTube videos from internet.

Torrent support:
I think these guys thought about all the moviebuffs in the world, who mostly use torrents to download illegal movies. This player allows you to download any files over torrents if you have added it.

I wouldn't recommend this media player, except for its good quality video. Most of the LED TVs nowadays come with USB source, where you could plug in an external HDD and play any type of video format. If you are planning to buy such a TV shortly, don't think of going for a media player.