Astone Media Gear AP-360T 1080p Media Player with PVR & HDTV Tuner - Reviewed

Written by Joe Baker on . Posted in Video

Astone AP360TThis unit has created immense interest on the digital reviews News, setting new records, for the number of visits in a day, (in excess of 20,000), so we will make sure we do it justice.

Firstly the unit is “top of the Tree” in the Astone Media Gear range, with an impressive specification sheet to go with it We have noted already that it is not supplied with a Hard drive, understandable because users individual capacity needs will vary.

No dongle is supplied with the unit, and we are surprised at this as it would have been seen as a more complete package. The Ethernet only supports 10/100 Mbps where ,being a top notch product we could have reasonably expected 10/100/1000.

Install and Setup
Astone AP360T parts for setupWell as we install the Hard drive we notice the exacting, strong and well manufactured hard drive bracket. Connecting the Serial Ata up we make the comment that the cable requires a careful 90 degree bend to get the plugs matched and connected, so that we avoid any undue strain on plugs.

You usually only get one chance at this so be sure to handle the joining bracket carefully to ensure that no hard drive connection pins are bent or broken. Having got the minor criticisms out of the way lets begin to trial some features and see how it goes.   Our first comment on the aesthetics of the console viewed from the front was that it looked a little dowdy, but we were pleasantly surprised when we turned it on and the power, standby as well as the hard drive indicator buttons became softly illuminated totally transforming the console fascia into a professional looking unit.

Astone AP360T RearBy now we have hooked it into a 60” Sony Bravia and we find out straight away that the “setup” is a  wizard based process and very easily accomplished. Every possible TV system is available NTSC, PAL and all the rest plus all of the latest common resolutions such as 1080p and 1080i to mention just a few. The area that impressed us the most was “plug in a USB stick and away you go it was simply that easy to have the contents of the stick displayed in the format of your choice.

Tuning in the TV channels was fuss free and easy to do although we did note that you cannot watch and record different channels at the same time, but you can play a movie when you are recording. We understand that this device is not compatible with IceTV Interactive.

Astone AP360T Menu Language Setup Astone AP360T Aspect Ratio Setup Astone AP360T TV Region Setup Screen Astone AP360T HDD Format Warning
Astone AP360T Main Menu Astone AP360T File Browser Astone AP360T File Copy Astone AP360T File Copying

  Specifications
• Disc format: FAT16/FAT32/NTFS/UDF/EXT3
• Subtitle: Chinese Traditional/Chinese Simplified/UTF8/Europe/Korean/Japanese
• Resolution: 1080p HD decoding & output, upscaling, CVBS & YPbPr & HDMI output simultaneously
• Aspect ratio: Pan Scan 4:3 / Letterbox 4:3 /16:9
• Video Interface: CVBS composite RCA Video, YPbPr RCA, HDMI 1.3
• Analog Audio: Analog: AUDIO L/R RCA
• Digital Audio: SPDIF, TOSLINK & Coaxial, HDMI
• USB: USB 2.0, 5V-1000mA, For USB External HDD, USB Flash Disk, USB DVD-ROM*
• SATA II: For internal 3.5" SATA II HDD x 1
• Ethernet: RJ-45 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port
• Optional Wi-Fi dongle: Astone AW-N290 USB 802.11n Wi-Fi Dongle
• Analog Video Record: NTSC/PAL
• Record quality: HD, HQ, SP, LP, EP, SLP
• DTV Support: DVB-T, DTV EPG
• Record Function: DTV EPG / Timer Recording, Pause Live TV, one-touch recording
• Movie Video: MPEG-1 (DAT / MPG / MPEG); MPEG-2 (MPG / MPEG / VOB / ISO / IFO / TS / TP) MPEG-4 (MP4 / AVI / MOV); DivX 3/4/5/6, Xvid (AVI / MKV) H.264 AVC (TS / AVI / MKV / MOV) VC-1 (TS / AVI / MKV / WMV); WMV 9 (WMV); Real Video HD 8/9/10 (RM / RMVB); FLV (FLV)
• Movie Audio: Dolby Digital AC3/Plus/TrueHD, DTS/HD Master Audio/LBR, LPCM, MPEG-I Layer 1/2/3, MPEG-II Layer 1/2 multichannel, MPEG-4 HE AACv2, Real Audio
• Movie Subtitle: srt, sub, smi, idx+sub**, ssa, DVD subtitle, DivX subtitle
• Music: MP3, WMA, WAV, ASF, AAC, OGG Vorbis, FLAC, iTune, M4A(AAC), M3U(Playlist)
• Photo: JPG(40-mega pixel without limitation of resolution, Baseline), BMP, PNG, GIF, TIF, TIFF
• Power rating: +12V 2A
• Power consumption: Operation: 7 W (USB device/HDD consumption not included)
• Standby: 0.5 W
• Size: 206 x 151.5 x 51 mm (L x W x H)
• Operation temperature: 0-40 Celsius

Lets see what we are supposed to get in the box
• AP-360T HD Media Player
• Power adapter
• Remote control unit
• AAA batteries
• Mini jack to RCA composite cable
• RCA YPbPr cable
• User's manual
• S-ATAII Connector Cable

Now that we have all the bits lets get to connections and look at all the features
• Decode and output High Definition 1080p video and Photo.
• Support Mainstream formats of HD video including MPEG-2, VC-1, H.264/AVC and RMVB HD.
• Watch DVB-T program with Pause Live TV and timer recording function.
• Within the next generation interface - HDMI 1.3 output.
• Ethernet port supports Network player function.
• High performance video playback. Experience fluent playback control like Zoom out/in, Pan the picture, Fast Forward, Fast Reverse, Slow-motion.
• Fully supports the subtitle format. Dynamically change the subtitle display by remote control.
• Photo playback via HD. Supports Up to 40 mega-pixel photo files, 16X Zoom in, 3-direction rotation.
• Slide show mode with 8 different transition effects. Background music playback is supported.
• Rich types of music file. The playback function includes Fast Forward, Fast Reverse, Repeat, Shuffle and Shuffle Repeat.
• Within USB 2.0 port, plug-and-play the USB Flash Drive, USB Mobile Hard Disk Drive , USB Card Reader, USB DVD-ROM*, USB Wi-Fi Dongle.
• Supports Internal SATA or SATA2 HDD
• Easy to use and intuitive control. Change to setup menu at any time even in media playing to provide the fluent control.
Note
*USB DVD-ROM doesn't support playback of CSS-protected DVD Video.
**When playing the HD video, the display position of the subtitle could be in the higher part of the TV picture. Only the subtitle format idx + sub can maintain the same position as playing in the SD video.

If you want one unit that will serve to accept TV transmission, decode and record with HD @1080p playback through HDMI as well as support most media formats such as HD MPEG2, HD VC-1, HD AVC/H.264, Divx and RMVB, which could have been stored in internal hard drive or external USB devices, then this is for you. . It also supports NAS with a built in Samba Server, which is able to share the whole hard drive and USB drive to the network, so you can easily access media files via your computer wirelessly if needed.

Video Support
Video  Feature Others File Container
MPEG-1 - up to 1920x1080x30p DAT TP MPG TRP MPEG TS
MPEG-2 Up to MP@HL 1080p 1080p, 80 Mbit/s DVD-ISO MPEG IFO TP M2TS TRP MKV TS MPG VOB
MPEG-4 SP/ASP DivX 3.11
DivX 4.12
DivX 5
DivX 6
DivX HD Xvid 1080p, Xvid: GMC function not support DIVX AVI MKV
Real Video Real Video 8, 9, 10 Up to 720@30P RM RMVB
AVC H.264 BP@L3
H.264 MP@L4.1
H.264 HP@L4.1 480p, 10 Mbit/s
720p, 50 Mbit/s
1080p, 62.5 Mbit/s AVI MP4 FLV MTS M2TS TP MKV TRP MOV TS
WMV/VC-1 WMV9
VC-1, AP@L3 VC-1 1080p, 45 Mbit/s ASF TP AVI TRP M2TS TS MKV WMV MTS
Quick Time MPEG-4 Visual
AVC/H.264 1080p MOV
Flash Video H.264, Sorenson H.263 352x288 FLV
Motion JPEG M-JPEG 640x480x30p AVI MP4 MOV
Audio Support
Audio Feature Others File Container
Dolby Digital AC3, DD Plus, TrueHD 7.1 down-mix
Digital pass-through Audio Track in movie
DTS DTS, DTS HD Master Audio, LBR 7.1 down-mix
Digital pass-through Audio Track in movie
MPEG I MPEG I Layer 1,2,3 (2CH) - Audio Track in movie
MPEG II MPEG II Layer 1,2 (Multi-Channel) - Audio Track in movie
Real Audio RA1/RA-cook/RA-lossless - Audio Track in movie
MPEG-4 HE AACv2 - - Audio Track in movie
LPCM - 7.1 audio channel Audio Track in movie
MP3 MPEG-1 Layer 3 2 channels, 8-320kbps, VBR, M3U (MP3 list) supported MP3
WMA WMA ver. 9.1 (2 CH)
WMA Pro 9.1 (Multi-CH) WMA ver. 9.1, CBR up to 320kbps, VBR up to 256kbps ASF WMA
WAV LPCM, ADPCM - WAV
AAC MPEG-2/4 LC/HE profile
AAC+ ver 1/2
iTune M4A UP to 288 kbps AAC MP4 M4A
OGG Vorbis - Sampling rate: 32K, 44.1K, 48K, 64K, 88.2K, 96K, 176K, 192K OGG
FLAC - 2 channels, VBR FLAC
Photo Support
Photos Feature Others File Container
JPEG Baseline JPEG Up to 40 M-pixel with unlimited resolution JPG JPEG
BMP, PNG, GIF, TIF, TIFF - Width <=3968 pixel BMP PNG GIF TIF TIFF

Conclusion

Astone pretty well summed it up correctly when they said
“Watch, Record and Play in the comfort of your living room”
• Watch High Definition TV program on your HDTV
• Record your favorite TV Program into Hard Drive
• Play High Definition content in your living room

We can endorse all of what Astone have said and give it the "big thumbs up", and we would also like to state that we found that the product surpassed the value to the home video and audio fields we had expected of it. We found nothing of consequence lacking and soon realized that the Astone Media Gear AP-360T pretty much coupled up to anything we had in the home that we would want to watch without messy complicated transfers or burning.

We would like thank www.achieva.com.au for the supply of an excellent product for review and the input of our Technical consultant Marcel Regtein.

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