This player will work from the NeoLink PC software, Windows Media Connect and uPnP devices. For example, it should work fine with Twonky. Unfortunately, Samba shares are not supported by this player. For example, if you have a NAS server without uPnP, the only way to access content on the player is by creating a 'watch' link in NeoLink's PC software to point to the NAS or sharing out the network drive with Windows Media Connect.
Going by the file encodings you mention, it has no problems with XviD 720p encoded files, as well files I've come across so far encoded in 640x480 and 528x576, including with AC3 5.1, MP3 or multiple sound tracks. However, it does not seem to support subtitles, at least from my tests, i.e. it will play the files, but shows â€˜Invalidâ€™ if I press the subtitle button. Browsing content is much like browsing a hierarchy on a PC. For example, if I put plug in a USB disk containing a folder of TV recordings, from the root listing I select the USB drive, select the folder, select the title of a recording Iâ€™m interested in and press 'OK'.
If you have music compressed in the APE lossless format, you'll need to convert them to FLAC to play on this player. On the other hand, at least unlike WMA, MP3, etc. converting from one lossless format to another does not result in any loss of quality.
So far I have watched a handful of XviD and MPEG2 encoded TV programmes on the player streamed over my Wi-Fi network with NeoLink running on a Wi-Fi connected PC. While I very rarely experience a drop-out, the Wi-Fi access point or router needs to be reliable (not requred for an â€˜Ad Hocâ€™ network). For example, if I used my old D-Link DI-624 Wi-Fi router, which has a bad reputation for dropping connections and randomly rebooting, the playback would often break up or stop altogether, like if I try playing back from a Wi-Fi laptop using that router. My current D-Link DGL-4300 gaming router so far has very rarely resulted in a drop-out. I also had the Club977 MP3 Internet radio station playing for part of the evening (over Wi-Fi) without any drop-out.
While I haven't actually used a Kiss network DVD player, to me it seems rather unusual for your player to take up to half an hour to get a connection. As a quick test, I fully turned off the player and timed how long it takes from powering it on to the time it displays the list of network sources (as online). For me it took ~34 seconds using a stopwatch. According to Helios Labs, the player runs on an embedded Linux OS, which explains why it takes ~30 seconds to â€˜bootâ€™ unlike a basic DVD player.
When it comes to stability, generally the only time I had the player crash is on occasion if I try changing the video output mode while playing a DVD. For curiosity, I tried three simulated Wi-Fi drop-out tests to see what effect it has on the player while playing a 720x480 NTSC XviD file (3Mbps average bitrate):
- On the first test, I disabled the Wi-Fi connection on the PC. After about 6 seconds, the picture on the player froze. Once I enabled the connection, the playback continued shortly after the PC showed the "Connected to..." balloon. I retried this test with a ~4Mbps PAL MPEG2 encoding (captured from a satellite TV channel) with the same result.
- This time, I unscrewed the playerâ€™s antenna. Like the first test, the picture froze after a couple of seconds, but resumed playback within a few seconds of screwing back in the antenna.
- Finally, I unscrewed the playerâ€™s antenna once again and this time left it off for over a minute. After about 30 seconds, the player displayed the writing â€œConnection Lostâ€ while still showing the frozen picture. However, like the second test, once I screwed the antenna back in, the playback resumed after a couple of seconds.
If the playback has become permanently frozen, such as if the PC is switched off, it is still possible to return to the main content source menu.
Now that you mention of drop-outs, I'll be sure to try simulated drop out tests if I do another review of a Wi-Fi enabled network media player.