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Wyplay Wyplayer review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £282
inc VAT

This multimedia Swiss army knife is let down by its poor handling of Freeview broadcasts.

The Wyplayer is a set-top box that is both a PVR and a media-streaming device.

You can watch and record Freeview broadcasts, stream media from PCs on your home network and play files stored on its built-in hard disk or from removable USB storage devices. It can also access media from a range of internet content providers. This is an impressive set of features given its reasonable price.

Sensibly, Wyplay offers the Wyplayer both with and without a hard disk. This means you can fit a drive of your own, or just use an old one you happen to have spare. It’ll take any 3½in hard disk, so you could fit a whopping 1TB disk for as little as £60. Fitting a disk is easy, with just a couple of screws to undo on the bottom of the unit.

Adding a big hard disk may give you plenty of recording space, but the TV interface doesn’t live up to the better PVRs available or Windows Media Center. There are two Freeview tuners, but you can record only one programme at a time, which seriously limits its flexibility. The EPG is also sub-standard; we thought its unusual vertical arrangement was less easy to understand than the usual timeline designs, and there’s only space onscreen for three channels’ schedules at a time. If there’s a series of short-running programmes, it actually displays the programme names one over the next, making them unreadable. Like Media Center there’s no support for interactive content via the red button. Finally, and unforgivably, there’s no series link function, so you have to schedule every episode of your favourite shows manually.

Despite these issues, the interface is logically arranged and the slick-looking menus are easy on the eye. The remote control, however, is a design disaster. Wyplay has opted to keep the number of buttons to a minimum, but combining multiple controls on each button, together with the lack of onscreen prompts, makes for a confusing mess. The directional pad is precise and has good feedback. It also rotates, for navigating through menus and TV shows, but this feels imprecise. The omission of dedicated play, pause, fast forward and rewind buttons is a serious error.

There are some positives, however. The box itself is understated, stylish, compact and quiet. It has only composite and HDMI outputs, but that won’t bother most HD TV owners, although the maximum resolution of 1080i is a little disappointing. Stereo phono and optical S/PDIF outputs are provided for audio purposes. There are three USB ports for attaching USB storage devices, plus a fourth for connecting the Wyplayer to a PC as a storage device itself. Only wired networking is provided, so you’ll have to connect via Ethernet to your router or to a wireless bridge.

It’s an excellent media player, whether you’re streaming from a UPnP media server or reading files directly from a storage device or the internal hard disk, which you can copy files to and from, including TV recordings. There’s support for all the video, audio and image file formats you’d expect. It played 1080p 24fps Blu-ray quality video flawlessly, and we saw no image issues from any of our test clips. Being able to access RSS news feeds, photo-sharing sites and video providers such as YouTube is a nice extra. However, the lack of an alphanumeric keypad on the remote means that entering search parameters using the onscreen keyboard is painfully slow.

Given its varied capabilities, the Wyplayer seems reasonably priced at first glance. Unfortunately, as a PVR it simply isn’t up to the task, with Sky+, Humax’s PVRs and Windows Media Center all streets ahead for usability. If you just want a media-streaming device, Syabas’s Popcorn Hour A-110 (below) is just as capable and far cheaper, and you can also fit an internal hard disk if desired. Alternatively, you could buy a nettop media centre, such as Acer’s Aspire Revo R3600, together with an inexpensive dual USB TV tuner. Such a combination would be superior to the Wyplayer for media file playback, TV viewing and internet access.

Basic Specifications

Rating **
Media Streamer type streaming multimedia receiver

Audio Compatibility

Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback No
Audio AAC playback Yes
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback Yes
Audio WAV playback Yes
Audio Audible playback No
Other audio formats Dolby Digital, DTS

Video Compatibility

Video MPEG-1 playback Yes
Video MPEG-2 playback Yes
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support Yes
Video H.264 support Yes
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support Yes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support Yes
Video WMV playback Yes
Video WMV-HD support Yes
Other video formats AVI, ASF, MKV, ISO
Internet video stream compatib FLV (YouTube)

Image Compatibility

Image BMP support Yes
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support Yes

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports 10/100
Wireless networking support No
128-bit WEP No
256-bit WEP No

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs 0
Minijack headphone outputs 0
Stereo phono outputs 1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs 0
Optical S/PDIF outputs 1
Total SCART sockets 0
HDMI outputs 1
Component outputs 0
S-video output 0
Composite outputs 1
Other connectors 3x USB, USB mass storage


Size 46x274x240mm
Antennas 0
Internal/external antennas N/A
Upgradeable antenna No
Power consumption standby 15W
Power consumption on 19W

Server Compatibility

Software included N/A
UPnP Yes
iTunes No
SlimServer No

Buying Information

Price £282
Warranty one year RTB

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