- HiMedia is continuing support of Q5/Q10 Pro with dual Android 5.1 and 7 firmwares
- Alternative to HiMedia is pricier eGreat A5/A10, but they use VidOn XBMC Pro, so we can't talk about it here. Also, eGreat suffers from the same key issues as HiMedia, namely lack of 23.976 support w/3D ISO's (same HiSilicon SoC, so not a surprise)
- I had, but got rid of, both my HiMedia and eGreat players. Did so as I didn't care for VidOn w/latter, and lack of 23.976 for 3D with both. To me, Zidoo's support for 3D MVC MKV's in addition to 3D ISO's, plus proper 23.976, and a more elegant Kodi-to-native playback implementation... all won me over!
Review last updated October 19, 2016 (will no longer be updated as I no longer have HiMedia)
Overall verdict: B+
Based on firmware version HMD-1.0.8 2016-10-12.193826 (for Q10 Pro) and HMD-1.0.8 2016-10-17.104357 (for Q5 Pro)
HiMedia Q5/Q10 Pro media players continue to improve w/firmware updates. Despite a couple of key outstanding issues, they're still among the best 4K + 3D + HD audio combo boxes on the market for local/NAS playback for A/V enthusiasts! Challenging HiMedia now however is Zidoo w/X9S and upcoming X8. And, Zidoo is providing better support as of now.
- PQ = B+ [Weight = 35%]
> HiSilicon's Imprex Engine 2.0 builds upon previous engine to provide continued PQ goodness. But, 3D, while it looks great, has microstutters that hinder an 'A' grade
- AQ = A [Weight = 25%]
>All formats, including Dolby ATMOS & DTS:X bitstream great! But, unfortunately for audio fans, 96/192KHz @ 24-bit is downsampled to 16-bit
- UX = B+ [Weight = 20%]
>User experience is similar as Android launcher similar to previous-gen, but bit more polished. Kodi relies on HiMediaWrapper for playback as before. Ease of set-up is fairly straightforward; apply pre-installed wrapper, and make necessary A/V settings. See photo gallery below. Password-protected shares are now also supported
- Build quality = A [Weight = 5%]
> Solid aluminum shell body, with full 3.5" HDD bay, and near-silent fan. Remote same as before, lacking 'Stop' button (but, here's a workaround)
- Manufacturer support = B [Weight = 15%]
> Better than most Chinese manufacturers; but there's definitely room for improvement. Solid forum support however via Futeko and of course here
Background & Overview:
I've been testing Q10 Pro since February with two fellow Kodi and 3D enthusiasts. Initially pre-production samples, then the production (public release) units. My thanks to HiMedia for reaching out quite some time ago, letting me invite a couple of Kodi members (now A/V buddies ), sending us samples, and involving us in the beta-testing process with their engineers. It isn't an ideal relationship as communication could be better, and some things less secretive (even within closed beta testing). But, this relationship has already delivered in several ways, as the production (public release) box you all are getting has several of our pre-release requested fixes implemented! Also, @pcristi's involvement via Futeko forum has really helped with framerate switching and diagnostics.
For the bulk of my tests, I relied on Epson 5025UB 1080p 3D projector (w/a Dalite 133" High Power screen). For 4K, I relied on my 65" Vizio D65u-D2. It supports HDMI @ 60fps, but sadly lacks 10-bit and HDR (only supports 8-bit). I do have a 11.2 audio set-up for HD audio, including Dolby ATMOS nor DTS:X. Please see my signature below if you want full details and/or pics of my home theater set-up.
Additional Reviews & Impressions of Q10 Pro:
- AVForums' Q10 Pro Review
- Master stickied comparison thread on relevant Kodi 3D-capable media players and HTPC options (Q10 Pro included)
- Massimo (looun)'s Blog with impressions and tips (fellow beta-tester)
- Android SmartTV's review
HiMedia Q10 Pro relies on HiSilicon's latest Hi3798C V200 SoC (system-on-chip), successor to Hi3798C V100 as found in previous-gen Q5/Q10 4K3D boxes. For PQ, we now get Imprex Engine 2.0, with HDR-10 4K support. Dolby Vision was initially claimed, but no longer is (they do play though). Imprex 1.0 was already the best part of Q5/Q10 4K3D, and with the new SoC/Imprex in Pro, PQ is just as good (and maybe marginally better), and shining most with 4K content. Also, Q5/Q10 Pro use Android OS 5.1.1 (w/next firmware expected to use Android N).
My Q10 Pro boots up in just under 20 seconds (vs. 44 seconds for Q5/Q10 4K3D). Q10 Pro is significantly faster, snappier all around: responsiveness, navigating around, launching Kodi and browsing large movie/TV libraries. Local streaming is also much improved as you'll see below from bitrate tests.
After the initial opening of Kodi, and closing it, I applied the new HiMediaWrapper APK. It works similarly as in previous Q5/Q10 4K3D. Here's a photo of the wrapper app.
The remote is the same one HiMedia seems fond of as they've used it in multiple players already. It lacks a 'Stop' function (but, here's a workaround)). Also, if you own other HiMedia players, each controls others.
Framerate Switching with Kodi and Native Player: Please read @looun's explanation and replies here.
- [Audio] Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kbps) = pass
- [Audio] DD Plus 5.1 = pass
- [Audio] DD Plus 7.1 = pass
- [Audio] TrueHD 5.1 = pass
- [Audio] TrueHD 7.1 = pass
- [Audio] ATMOS = pass
- [Audio] DTS (1.5Mbps) = pass
- [Audio] DTS HRA 5.1 = pass
- [Audio] DTS HRA 7.1 = pass
- [Audio] DTS-HD MA 5.1 = pass
- [Audio] DTS-HD MA 7.1 = pass
- [Audio] DTS:X = pass
- [Audio] AAC 5.1 = pass
- [Audio] FLAC 5.1 = pass
- [Audio] LPCM 5.1 = pass
- [Audio] LPCM 7.1 = pass
- [Audio] 96kHz, 192kHz and 96kHz/24-bit = all three pass (However, no 24-bit as capped at 16-bit render; read here, especially if you're an audio fanatic)
- [Video] Anime 10-bit 1080p HEVC = pass
- [Video] Anime Hi10P 1080p H264 = plays, but w/some macroblocking and pixellation in certain parts of the picture
- [Video] 29.970 MPEG2 (VOB from a DVD rip) = pass, playback at proper framerate
- [Video] 29.970 MPEG2 1080i 4:2:0 = pass, playback at proper framerate
- [Video] 29.970 MPEG2 1080i 4:2:2 = audio okay, but picture (most media players, including nVidia Shield, can't handle this video type; Intel i3 and up can)
- [Video] 59.940 MPEG2 720p = pass, playback at proper framerate
- [Video] 23.976 1080p H.264 = pass, playback at proper '23.97' framerate (as my projector indicates). @pcristi's diagnostic tool indicates 47.94 (double value of 23.976), which seems okay as there are no microstutters. More here
- [Video] 24.000 1080p H.264 = pass, playback at proper framerate
- [Video] 29.970/60.000 1080p H.264 = pass, playback at proper framerate
- [Video] 25.000/50.000 1080p H.264 = pass, playback at proper framerate
- [Video] 23.976 1080p VC-1 = pass, playback at proper framerate
- [Video] 29.970 1080i VC-1 = pass, but could be a bit smoother (the pre-production unit fared worse w/this)
- [3D MVC] 23.976 3D ISO = partial fail, playback in proper 3D mode, but at '24.00' framerate (microstutters, frame skips, jumps are noticeable; this remains the biggest issue left for HiMedia to address)
- [3D MVC] 23.976 3D MVC = plays in 2D mode (have requested HiMedia to add support for this as container shouldn't matter; should leverage MVC decoder same as ISO)
- [4K HEVC Video] 23.976 = Smooth playback
- [4K HEVC Video] 24 = Smooth playback
- [4K HEVC Video] 24fps HDR 10bit = pass (looks gorgeous even on my 8-bit 4K display)
- [4K HEVC Video] 25 = Smooth playback
- [4K HEVC Video] 29.970 = Smooth playback
- [4K HEVC Video] 50 = Smooth playback
- [4K HEVC Video] 50fps 10bit = Smooth playback, no issues here (especially as playback issues on some 4K players, like pre revision-C AMLogic S905 h/w)
- [4K HEVC Video] 59.940 = Smooth playback
- [4K VP9 Video] Variable framerate clips = Smooth playback
- [5K Video] 5120x2700 29.970 = No picture, audio okay (just tried out of curiosity; Shield TV can't handle it either)
- [8K Video] 7680x4320 29.970 = No picture, audio okay (just tried out of curiosity; Shield TV can't handle it either)
- [Forced Subtitles] Support has been added. Tested in MKV only
- [3D Subtitles] Supported in 3D mode
- [Bitrates] Birds clips up to 90Mbps = plays perfectly without breaking any sweat
- [Bitrates] Jellyfish clips up to 300Mbps = no sweat, perfect playback, whether H.264 or HEVC
(This is a huge improvement over previous-gen Q5/Q10 4K3D. Makes Q5/Q10 Pro more than capable for any high bitrate videos as no existing or upcoming 4K's are expected to exceed 128Mbps)
Other Playback Issues & Bugs:
These two are the key remaining issues:
- The 3D ISO microstutters issue as 23.976 is output at 24.000 (already mentioned above)
- Rough left edge (white line w/video noise) in most 3D ISO's. See here.
HiMedia has been using the same remote with all their media players for years. The biggest shortcoming, as already noted above, is lack of a dedicated 'Stop' button, but here's @looun's workaround (a god-send).
'B' for manufacturer support; 'A' for forum support.
HiMedia is considered part of the 'cream of the crop' when it comes to Chinese media player manufacturers, but our expectations are obviously higher. Not expecting Pi2/3-level support, but HiMedia can/should communicate better, be more forthcoming (as Zidoo has demonstrated). Thankfully we have this forum and Futeko forum, with Simon behind it. He's a dedicated and reputable reseller, and has been pushing HiMedia for improvements (to extent he can) as better quality/reliability impact his bottom line.
Tips and Tricks:
- Remote control patch by @looun
- Video framerate input/output Info diagnostic tool by @pcristi
- See @OlivierQC's helpful video tutorials here.
- Don't care for Imprex engine? Here's one way, and below another to minimize its effects and get better blacks & whites...
(2016-04-21 17:54)BigPines Wrote: One thing I should point out is that the external player is always processing the image even after disabling Imprex. I found that both whites and blacks are crushed even with Imprex off and image settings set to standard. So unfortunately, there is no true pass-through available on the device as it is always altering the image. I reported this problem to Himedia during the pre-production testing and I have confirmed the problem exists on the production hardware as well. The work-around I found was to turn off all Imprex options and set Brightness to 66 and Contrast to 43. This eliminates crushing on both blacks and whites. I used a test pattern from Digital Video Essentials to confirm this.
HiMedia Q10 Pro mostly delivers on that next-gen experience, while retaining most of what was excellent about previous-gen. There remain a couple of key issues/bugs present, namely microstutters w/3D ISO's (as no 23.976 for 3D). HiMedia Q5/Q10 Pro remain solid all-in-one A/V enthusiast media players! But, with HiMedia waiting on HiSilicon for the 3D fix (via a new SDK), and Android N also needing to be supported alongside 5.1, it may be a long wait for fixes.