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.
- Improve the compatibility of HDMI cable
- Add video/audio information when pressing “DISPLAY” button twice
- Add thumbnail view for picture browsing
- Add more setting choices of subtitle such as color, font size, and location etc.
- 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.