oplayThe Asus O!Play is a small, low cost media streaming device. It’s not a full fledged computer, but here’s what it can do: You place it next to your TV and plug in a hard drive or flash card with media on it and you can watch video, listen to music, or view pictures on your TV. But there are two reasons that I’m particularly excited about this device:

  1. It also features an Ethernet jack so you can connect it to your home network and stream content from your PC.
  2. It costs just $100.

Sure, WiFi support would be nice. But if you don’t feel like stringing Ethernet cables throughout the house, you can always pick up a cheap Powerline Ethernet adapter from eBay which will let you turn your home’s electrical wiring into one big Ethernet network.

Asus has put together a little video showing the O!Play in action. You can check it out after the page break.

While the software interface is pretty basic looking, the device supports a wide range of formats including MPEG1/2/4, H.264, VC-1, MP4, MOV, WMV, XViD, VOB, and FLV. It doesn’t look like you’ll be able to watch web video on the device at this point, but thanks to that Ethernet jack, I wouldn’t be surprised if a future software updated added support for YouTube and other online video sites.

Of course, if you want a more full featured media player with support for online video you could pick up a Neuros Link, but that costs twice as much.

You can pick up an Asus O!Play HD Media Player from Amazon for $99.99.


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15 replies on “Asus launches O!Play HD media player”

  1. This could be interesting. It is actually being sold instead of used as a teaser for a subscription service so they might not have bothered to lock it up totally. It has to be a medium/low powered computer for the network and UI with a nifty hardware decoder solution to deal with the actual playback. Bet a lot of additional features can be added if it can be opened up.

    1. That $50 device mentioned here earlier this week is, I suppose, what you had
      in mind by “teaser for a subscription service” – – –
      It caught my eye briefly, until I found out a few details about it;

      As a $50 hack target, it only has 8M flash and 64M ram (plus micro-sd slot) –
      about the minimum for playing with customized Linux installs.

      As a $50 messaging device (its intended use) –
      It comes with “4,000 free messages per month” –
      But a recent survey I read claims the adverage messaging per month for
      a teenager is now at 13,000 messages per month.
      So I suppose some people will be hit with “overage charges” on that device.

      But I agree about this $100 device – it does look interesting, at least until
      someone opens it up and tells us of some hidden hardware limitation.

      So we (the liliputing readership) need to give Brad the task of finding us
      a preliminary “hack report” on this device.
      It has a video connector, a usb connection, a network connection –
      If it has more than 8M of flash and 64M of ram. . .
      And if someone at OpenWRT gets their hands on one of them. . .

        1. The device is “in the mail” – will be a few days until I tear it open.
          @Brad – I used your link here, you should get a percentage for the sale.

          1. Awesome. I’m trying to get a review unit from Asus, but failing that I
            might just pick one up for myself. I’m in the process of setting up a
            secondary media center in the basement and I’m looking for a good way
            to stream content from the HTPC in the living room.

            I’m torn between the O!Play and the Hauppauge MediaMVP at the moment
            (since the TV for the basement isn’t HD anyway). There’s more third
            party software for the MediaMVP at the moment, but the O!Play supports
            more file formats out of the box.

          2. It comes with Linux installed and sources on the CD.

            So even if someone posted the application titles from the CD….
            It has an eSATA port, so your limited to a 2Tbyte disk drive…
            How many movies is that? Quite a few.

            It may turn out to be a generally useful little box, just depends
            on what hardware ASUS put inside of it.

            I keep thinking of all the uses people found for the NSLU-2,
            and it didn’t have any video hardware.

  2. Can it do movie covers?
    If it can’t, is there any product out there similar to this that can?

  3. Nothing new – your newer TV’s do most of that anyway.

    What I really want is a wireless device that will connect to the URL of a streaming radio station, then have RCA outputs. That’s it. No rhapsody, itunes, pandora, etc. Just 1 url and play. Can’t buy that at any price.

    1. All most. . .
      You can get a selection of refurbished 7 inch machines,
      any can deal with streaming audio;
      Install your favorite streaming app (vlc?) plus a bit of scripting;
      Close the lid and pretend it isn’t a NetBook.
      You might have to add the RCA output adapter yourself.

    1. My Western Digital HD TV, has been doing this for a year now, and its my favorite toy….The ethernet jack is overrated….My MediaMVP a few years back ran off the ethernet connection and was always lagging if you had downloads running.

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