OH! The O! Play HD2 is here

Mrs Mario
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ASUS have just launched the O! Play HD2, the world’s first media device to offer USB 3.0 support. It can transfer high definition video and audio at ultra-fast speeds and it offers a bunch of lovely features under the hood to boot.

It’s rather good timing, this launch, as you get to casually leave this page open on your computer for your other half to see. Hopefully they’ll get the hint and nab you one of these multimedia servers for Christmas. After all, you wouldn’t want to be without super fast, awesome entertainment as the cold gets colder and the nights get longer, would you?

Retailing for around £109, the O! Play HD2 also adds support for an internal hard drive and has access to over 20,000 radio stations, Picasa and Flickr. This means you can use it as a NAS box, with support for iTunes and FTP.  iTunes comes preinstalled (awesome) alongside Samba and standard FTP functionality. There is even an iPhone app you can download to convert your iPhone into a pseudo-remote control.

Offering very similar features to its cousin, the HDP-R3, the HD2 has all the requisite memory card slots, ports, outputs and extras. You also get the Realtek RTD-1073 chip with support for almost every single media format around.

The price point is amazing for the sheer volume of connectivity options and format support, and it includes DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) for a standardised format for handling content across different devices. The HD2 is compatible with DLNA, as well as with all the formats mentioned earlier, so you’re not going to end up with frustration and irritation when it’s time to stream your HD content this Christmas.

On the audio side, the HD2 has 7.1 channel audio output for that “movie theatre in your own home” feeling and supports Dobly TrueHD decoding and pass-through. For the layman that means you can enjoy the same quality sound as any Blu-ray disc.

It’s a nifty little doodad that will utterly transform entertainment in the house. I am not sure that I would actually leave my sofa if I got one of these. Nor do I think I will permit my partner to get one. I have a hard enough time getting him to share the gaming laptop.

Still, for those of you that appreciate HD, sound and streaming genius, the HD2 comes in at a tidy price point and has some excellent features to commend it. The design is interesting, not up to ASUS’ usual flair and stylish standards, but as a box you can slot behind the TV it works a charm.

I’d definitely advise taking a peek when you’re next ambling round the shops. I have to admit that I love the name. I keep going “OH!” whenever I write the O! Play title. Sad, sure. Fun, definitely.

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