Manufacturer:QNAP UK Price (as Reviewed): £285 (incl. VAT) MSRP US Price (as Reviewed): TBA
Network media players have already overtaken the market for basic home theatre PCs. They do the same thing, but are often cheaper and lower power. QNAP is better known to us for its storage - NAS box - and network surveillance products aimed at home and business, but it also makes associated hardware like the NMP (network media player).
Specifically, the NMP-1000P may appear just a suffix away from its older NMP-1000, but the new model sports a ton of extra features. First of all is its faster processor: a 667MHz Sigma Designs SoC , twice as much memory (512MB) and four times as much Flash to store its OS on. There's also more high-end features including a Wolfson WM8524 high performance DAC that claims 106dB SNR and new streaming video options from the Mediafly Network.
There's lots of useful ports and sockets, but we are dying for a USB port in the front
Rear A/V connections include HDMI, component and composite video, RCA stereo audio, and optical S/PDIF out. Above the two USB 2 ports the Ethernet is limited to 10/100, which is disappointing for a media device that doubles as a NAS box. There are also specific ports for direct USB and even eSATA to connect directly to a PC, as another means of getting data on the internal hard drive.
If the single internal drive isn't enough space, then there's also a standard eSATA port (or USB 2) to plug in an external drive as well.
The remote control. The 'whiter' buttons glow in the dark
Supported A/V playback formats include:
Audio Formats: FLAC (including FLAC lossless), APE, WAV, WMA, AAC, PCM, AC3, MP3, OGG, M4A, DTS, Dolby Digital (supports Dolby Dynamic Range Control for night-mode surround sound)
Video Codec's: MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, XVID, H.264, H.263, WMV9, VC1
Subtitle Compatibility: SRT, SUB, SMI, TXT, ASS, SSA, SUB (with IDX)
It's pretty much every demanded format, codec and file wrapper out there. That definitely puts it on par with the ACRyan hardware, but QNAP also includes the 'Dolby Dynamic Range Control' which is great for moderating the sound levels to a consistent pre-set factor. The lack of official branding would suggest it's similar to but not the same as Dolby Volume though.