I’ve been exploring options for upgrading my aging HD TV and have seriously been considering a 4K TV. Too bad, I missed on the Black Friday deals and Christmas offers, but nonetheless, I am sure in 2015 there’ll be plenty of opportunities to get myself upgraded. However, I don’t think that the 4K TV would be a problem, at least getting a decent affordable one might be a bit more challenging, as there’s no way I am spending four digits on a TV… at least not if I still want to have a roof over my head.
I think the more challenging part of my Home Entertainment suite upgrade would be finding a decent 4K media hub. I for once, feel a bit “behind the times” in this department. I still plug in a very old Western Digital 120GB HDD into the USB 2.0 port of my very old, but Multi-region, Blu-ray player in order to watch a .mkv or a .mp4 on my TV.
I remember being at Vlady’s house over during the Christmas holidays, and saw his 1080p media hub, which was quite neat. It was small, compact and you could operate it with a remote control. I had seen these at electronics stores, but never thought I’d actually end up needing one. Why would I need one, when I can just plugin my 120GB external hard drive? I felt behind the times and missing out. Or was I…?
Honestly, it was time for me to get with the program and get a decent media hub, but I decided to skip the 1080p media hub altogether and jump on the 4K train. As to my trust external drive putting in time as my current “media hub” I still have no idea why it’s running, that thing is probably 8-10 years old, and I don’t think they even make those any more.
Recently, I came across an interesting option for a 4K media hub called Nuvola NP-1 from NanoTech. They dubbed the little box – “The World’s First Streaming 4K Ultra HD Media Player…” It runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and it connects via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
The Nuvola NP-1 supports current 4K Ultra HD video using the H.264 compression, and will be automatically updated with the latest H.265 (HEVC) codecs as they become available. HEVC support is a good thing, as eventually 4K streaming will move towards the new standard.
I am not very familiar with the NVIDIA Tegra 4 Quad Core mobile processor that the Nuvola NP-1, but the 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal flash memory seem to do the job fine, at least for me as I don’t plan on playing video games on the unit, as I am trying to shake off my Angry Birds Star Wars addiction.
The Nuvola NP-1 from NanoTech comes bundled with the following apps:
- NVIDIA Tegra 4 Quad Core Mobile Processor with 2GB DDR3 RAM
- 72 GPU
- 16GB Flash Memory
- Dual Band 802.11n 2×2 Mimo Wi-Fi
- HDMI 1.4 output w/Audio
- 1x USB 2.0 / 1x USB 3.0
- 0mm (w) x 100mm (l) x30mm (h)
- 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160), HD (1920 x 1080 & 1280 x 720), SD (720 x 480)
- Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS
- DC 5.2V
- MP4, MKV, AVI, MOV, OGG
- AAC, FLAC, MP3, WAV
- BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG
- Access up to 10 Streaming Movies free of charge on the NanoFlix Ultra HD Channel
500K – SD
1.5 M – HD 720p
2.5 M – HD 1080p
10M – UHD 2160p if HEVC H.265 capable playback device
20M – UHD 2160p if HEVC H.264 capable playback device
Visually Perfect Download (very difficult to detect any loss)
400K – SD
1.2 M – HD 720p
1.6 M – HD 1080p
6M – UHD 2160p if HEVC H.265 capable playback device
10M – UHD 2160p if HEVC H.264 capable playback device
Some Lossyness (banding, blocky gradient)
300K – SD
980K – HD 720p
1 M – HD 1080p
3M – UHD 2160p if HEVC H.265 capable playback device
6M – UHD 2160p if HEVC H.264 capable playback device
The nice thing about this media hub is that it is not tied to any manufacturer’s TV – for example Sony’s 4K media hub, the name of which evades me, requires a 4K Bravia TV and an Xperia table? None of which I have! My current HD TV is a Sony Bravia, but as to 4K, I may be switching to a more brand agnostic hub. The Nuvola NP-1 runs Android too, giving me additional flexibility. Or as I like to call it – one more step towards leaving the “Apple” ecosystem…
You can buy the Nuvola NP-1 from NanoTech directly, or try your luck on Amazon US.
[via HDTV Magazine]
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