Asus O!Play HD Media Player firmware update on its way

If you’ve read my review of the Asus O!Play HD Media Player, you may be aware that I had a few issues with this little media device. While the hardware works pretty much as expected and allows you to stream audio and video from a shared network drive or USB drive to a TV, the software interface leaves quite a bit to be desired. It kind of feels like beta software, expect that it’s not. It’s the software that ships with the Asus O!Play which was released to the public this month.

Fortunately, it looks like Asus is aware of some of these issues, and I’m told that a firmware update should be available by the end of the week. You’ll be able to download the update from the Setup menu in the O!Play interface. The firmware coming this week will include adjustment to the font size and color, support for enhanced FLAC playback, and support for thumbnails.

But I’m more excited about some of the enhancements in the pipeline for future firmware updates, including:

  • New search/scrolling features including search by date, size, file type and adjustable scrolling
  • Ability to make time jumps in a video (instead of just fast forwarding and rewinding)
  • Online content from Flickr, YouTube, and other sites
  • USB hub and keyboard support

I also checked with Asus about my problems viewing high resolution images using the O!Play. We think the problem is that I was using the included composite cables to connect the box to my TV instead of an HDMI cable. Unfortunately, Asus doesn’t ship the O!Play with an HDMI cable and I don’t happen to have one lying around (I just got the HDTV last week and it’s spent most of its time plugged into a PC).

Update: Well, the first firmware update is available. I’m most interested in item #5 on the list of changes. I’ll download the new firmware and give it a try this weekend.

  1. Improve the compatibility of HDMI cable
  2. Add video/audio information when pressing “DISPLAY” button twice
  3. Add thumbnail view for picture browsing
  4. Add more setting choices of subtitle such as color, font size, and location etc.
  5. Add sorting ways for easy file searching

Update 2: I took the firmware update for a spin, and the good news is that you can now sort audio files by date, folder, recently played, album, singer and genre. The bad news is these options aren’t available for files stored on a shared network drive. So if you have all of your media on a USB flash drive or hard drive, the firmware update should make it easier to find the files you’re looking for. If you plan to stream your media across a home network… not so much.

The update also doesn’t allow you to search for files by name, and scrolling is still set at one speed only: slow. So you no longer have to wait for-friggin-ever to scroll through your music folders from A to Z. Instead, you can scroll through genre, album name, etc while you wait for-friggin-ever to get from A to Z. It’s a baby step in the right direction, but it’s not quite there yet. Fortunately, this is just the first firmware update. Hopefully future updates will bring more functionality.

  • Mikez

    Lets hope they update the 'quick start' also -

    In particular, that statement that the source would be
    available Dec. 1, 2011. I hope that is a typo. ;)

  • fullhdperu

    I would like ASUS O!PLAY to support:
    -BDMV folders (bluray rips), bluray menus
    -video_ts folders (DVD rips), DVD menus

    -display text instead of n/N when changing subitles or audio tracks
    - chapters in m2ts files (chapters in MKV working fine)

  • http://www.zoombits.fr/encres/ cartouche encre

    I recently just got this box in the mail, and got it setup and start to watch movie in less than 10 min. It can read every file that I throw at and it plays them all perfectly. While some may feel that lack of wireless is a problem, I don’t think you can have a media player stream 1080p content reliably over wireless as you need a 25Mbps of constant stream. Maybe a N network will work, but even then, it is not something I want to mess with while watching a move with friends.

    The box is small, makes no noise, plays every file from my nas storage, boots instantly, and it just works. It fits my need perfectly.

  • Mikez

    The box does “just work” for what it is intended to do.
    Probably would make a safe tech gift for that hardware
    gadget person on your holiday shopping list.

    I don't miss the wireless support, even over an N network
    it would probably be more hassle to than its worth.

    I do miss not being able to play from a CD/DVD drive
    but ASUS might fix that (it is fixable).

  • Mikez

    Like any other electronic toy, this one is money hungry. . .
    Add on: External eSATA drive, HDMI-DVI adapter, USB-TV thingy. . .
    Now the <$100 media player is a <$300 media system.

    Geesh, when will I ever learn?

  • rmessina

    Hi I have two queries;

    1. Does the ASUS allow video to be streamed from a PC attached to the network that is playing online videos, i.e. if you were streaming a TV show e.g. from CBS.com, etc could this be streamed in turn to the ASUS to be played on the TV rather than watching on the PC screen?

    - Are there any plans to upgrade to a more visual interface (you had mentioned thumbnails) for videos etc, or even to be able to create libraries?

  • Mikez

    1) At the moment, it is a file reader only. That might change in the future.
    2) You should be able to create directories now (and use as libraries).
    - -
    ASUS has a product specific forum up – good place to make requests.

  • FullHD Perú

    I tested a different product with the same RTD1073 chip, it works better than O!PLAY
    - reads the BDMV folder and identifies the main movie, plays the preview and the movie, access audio tracks, subtitles and chapters (so no MKV conversion neede, just rip your BD and that's it!) however, no menus supported, so there is no way to access the extra features, even if they are in the folder
    - read BD-ISO, same behavior as BDMF folders

    a firmware upgrade in O!PLAY must fix this, or it will be behind competition

  • http://liliputing.com Brad Linder

    That would probably explain why they pulled the update!

  • Mikez

    There where at least two updates posted, 1.10 and 1.11
    And reports on the Asus O!Play product forum that the *PAL
    versions where bricking the machine. A big OOPS for Asus.

  • http://liliputing.com Brad Linder

    That would probably explain why they pulled the update!

  • Mikez

    There where at least two updates posted, 1.10 and 1.11
    And reports on the Asus O!Play product forum that the *PAL
    versions where bricking the machine. A big OOPS for Asus.

  • Noel

    Asus should update its latest firmware 1.41 by adding Youtube in this model
    O!Play HDP-R1. Please do so Asus! I would rate it to 5-star Media Player.