Most forgiving blu-ray/media player?
December 23, 2011 12:03 PM   Subscribe

My Blu-Ray player will play AVI, MKV & other video files but it is a little too finicky about which ones it will accept. Is there a more liberal, tolerant, and accepting player on the market?

I watch most of my media in MKV, AVI or MP4 format off of USB keys plugged into my Blu-Ray player. This is great. But, more and more I'm running up against the limitations of my cheap Sony player, which is a little too finicky about formats, encodings, etc. I'd love to be able to use HandBrake, for instance, to convert some PAL DVDs to MKV, but in doing so I'm finding that I can't seem to produce a file that the Sony will accept no matter how much I fiddle with the encoding settings. Is there a widely-available, affordable Blu-Ray/USB-enabled media player that is known to be more wide-open and tolerant and unbothered with the widest variety of video formats? And, for that matter, is cool with both NTSC & PAL?
posted by anazgnos to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
PS3 + PS3 Media Server has played almost everything that I have thrown at it with a pretty high degree of success. However, the kicker is the fact that you have to do it through the Media Server program (which is free) hosted off a computer, rather than directly through USB.
posted by griphus at 12:07 PM on December 23, 2011

Not cheap, but the Dune line of media players, many including Blu-Ray drives, are renown for being able to play a mind-boggling number of video formats in either PAL and NTSC. The HD Smart B1, a Blu-Ray player and media player with USB and eSATA ports for flash drives or hard drives, and an Ethernet jack to connect to a computer on your network, will play just about anything you throw at it, PAL or NTSC. Review here.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 1:32 PM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Not cheap, but top tier when it comes to Bluray playback.

Also the Popcorn Hour C-200.

However, if you don't mind separate components, I would just add on a WD TV Live (most current version).
posted by wongcorgi at 4:00 PM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: I can vouch for the WD TV Live playing Handbrake produced mp4s and mkvs with no hiccups.
posted by lilnemo at 4:29 PM on December 23, 2011

Response by poster: Awesome, sounds like the WD TV Live is the answer. Thanks for all the help!
posted by anazgnos at 6:12 PM on December 23, 2011

Response by poster: If anyone's still reading, does the WD TV Live have an analog audio out? I'd like to be able to connect via RCA to an older stereo amp. From the images on Amazon I see an output marked "AV" - if that's an analog 1/4" headphone type jack for the audio signal, then we're in business, but I wasn't sure why it would be labled "AV"...
posted by anazgnos at 7:17 PM on December 23, 2011

i just switched form the WD-TV-Live to the boxee box, and while i loved my TV-Live the Boxee is far superior in terms of user interface and the way it finds and catalogs my media for me.
posted by h0p3y at 5:26 AM on December 24, 2011

None of the wd tvs have an analog 3.5mm jack (headphone type). The original had 2 RCA jacks (for stereo). The current models have 2 ports for included component & composite cables that have stereo cables attached (RCA Red & Black plugs). They also use HDMI (which carries an audio signal), and a Toslink for optical audio. Here is a link to the pdf manual.
posted by lilnemo at 12:52 AM on February 17, 2012

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