Update 4/1/2015: VidOn has released a v18.104.22.168 Gotham build for forum members only. With SDK 1.2, which renders XBMC UI at 720p, video playback doesn't stutter as with VidOn XBMC v0.0.0.4 and later. With SDK 1.3 and any version of VidOn's XBMC, it's a different story. So, for best results, use SDK 1.2 and VidOn XBMC v22.214.171.124.
Update 3/14/2015: A relatively new player is now available from HiMedia that offers an alternative to VidOn. Read here. It's more expensive, and has no official support forum, but is a little better overall IMHO.
Snapshot of the VidOn Box (latest state)...
- Official website
- Official forum
- Cheap (for what you get) at $69.99 shipped, with 1-year membership included (required for HD audio)
- Clean user interface (UI), with over-the-air (OTA) updates
- Custom VidOn XBMC (Kodi) based on Gotham that supports frame-packed 3D BD-ISO playback and HD audio bitstreaming (TrueHD, DTS-MA, 5.1 and 7.1); Dolby Atmos supported
- 1080p/24 and 60 supported
- Forced subs (for titles like 'Avatar') work
- Stutter-free playback of high bitrate videos (including 3D ISO's) over wired network or local storage now possible via VidOn's Gotham v0.0.0.4+ XBMC builds (but only with SDK 1.2, not 1.3)
- Some Android apps run well (read thread)
- Improved remote (vs. one included at launch)
Minusses (Points in red are items VidOn really needs to fix):
- No automatic framerate switching, and no 23.976 and 59.940 support yet
- No ability to switch between left/right-eye first 3D modes. Several 3D titles like 'Rio', 'Drive Angry' and 'Edge of Tomorrow' that have right-eye first will look out-of-whack, unless your display has the ability to switch 3D modes
- On several A/V receivers (and some displays) 3D ISO's play back as 2D and/or HD audio doesn't work, likely due to HDMI handshaking issues (AVR compatibility list here)
- VC-1 at 1080p/23.976 plays fine, but 1080i/29.970 is a pixellated mess
- MPEG2 1080i is stuttery or has lip sync issues; 720p is fine
- Box could be faster; XBMC lags with large libraries (1000+ movies or TV shows), but VidOn has improved performance a little since launch
- XBMC set at 720p (and can't be changed to 1080p); thankfully content does play at 1080p. SDK 1.3 gives 1080p XBMC UI, but video playback get worse
- Membership requirement to get HD audio (although 3D is included without). First year free, and while $15/year thereafter is reasonable, VidOn should offer lifetime option for early adopters (or all) at a reasonable price
- Box isn't suitable for gaming. Light games work (provided you have an Android game controller or air mouse for some), but heavy games (like Riptide GP2) don't work
I've deleted my initial review/impressions posted here on 10/21/2014 as most of it is now outdated. In fact, if you want to jump ahead in this thread, you can start from p.43. The pages until then are useful to provide history of improvements and issues that remain unresolved. There's also some discussion about VidOn violating GPL, but IMO, not strictly related to the performance of the box.