Vero 4K+ Review: Finally, a Native Kodi 4K + 3D Do-it-All Player?
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Updated August 15, 2020
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News or Notices:
I'm lowering the overall grade to A- for two reasons that several of you here and OSMC forum have pointed out: (1) 3D support requires a specific Beta build (osmc=18.6.0-13), and one must remember to avoid updating to latest builds when prompted by device and check OSMC forum to keep atop beta releases to know when to update that includes 3D, and (2) a couple of issues related to 3D remain, namely with subtitles and occasional picture issues like macroblocking or overlapping images, on 'Avatar', 'Ready Player One', and possibly a few other 3D titles.

The latest beta testing v4.9 kernel does not have 3D support included back in. When it is, we have much-improved SMB/NFS performance to look forward to, in addition to other enhancements.


Quick Take:
Yes, almost! If what you're after is that (elusive to date) pure Kodi player w/perfect 4K HDR + 3D MVC + HD/object-based audio playback for your videos off a NAS (or old school USB drive)! This is it; there's no other player on the market (at the moment) to accomplish this feat, come this close that is!

My Assessment: Overall grade: A- (updated)
Vero 4K+, in my assessment, is a first-rate media player, but I'm not saying so lightly. No player is perfect, but it took owner Sam Nazarko and OSMC developers since summer of 2018 (when it was released) to get the player to its present state. I requested a review sample in August 2019 when 3D support was first introduced to Vero 4K/4K+. Early results were very encouraging, but nagging issues needed to be resolved w/3D (and it was by no means a sure thing they'd all be resolved). Sam and team took their time, in particular our hero @tanio99, and did so deliberately in improving performance w/community inputs, and boy did they deliver, just recently, hence the timing of this review.

This is about as close to a perfect Kodi-native player we're likely to get! OSMC is the OS (like CoreELEC) behind Kodi in Vero 4K+. For 4K fans who continue to also love 3D as much (or more so), it had been necessary to have 2+ players (in my case Zidoo Z9S, mostly for 3D, with Odroid N2 w/CoreELEC for 4K and everything else my own media). For Netflix, Amazon Prime and other premium services, along with Kodi, nVidia Shield TV remains excellent, but lack of 3D (which nVidia has said will never happen) is a bummer.

For proper 3D playback and quality, Vero 4K+ edges past my previous favorite pick Zidoo Z9S (that post to be updated soon to reflect so). While Zidoo remains an excellent choice, ZDMC (Zidoo's Kodi fork) is simply a front-end (window-dressing) to manage your media library w/playback being handled externally by the Realtek-based Zidoo player app. For pure Kodi for all local media, Vero 4K+ is it.

Disclosures:
  • Vero 4K+ review unit kindly provided by Sam
  • Player software version June 2020.06-1 (kernel 4.9.113-20-osmc)
  • Opinions are my own, and haven't been influenced by anyone else
  • This review is being posted w/o seeking any kind of consent from Sam or the OSMC team
  • Here's my new home theater and review set-up


My Expectations for a Media Player:
I love HD, 3D and 4K, with HD audio (preferably Dolby ATMOS/DTS:X) in the best quality possible (that means local media vs. online streaming whenever possible). I love movies and shows, and want to enjoy them in the best environment possible (and what I can afford, which isn't high end by any means). I realize 3D is a slow dying format, but at 400+ titles in my collection (and growing), I continue to support and enjoy it (even if manufacturers and studios have mostly abandoned it). See this thread on Blu-ray.com's forum with fans keeping 3D on life support. Although you can't buy new 3D TV's anymore, it's still well-supported on projectors thankfully from the likes of BenQ, Optoma, JVC and Epson. And a big screen is the way to enjoy it anyway. As much as I love the clarity and rich colors of 4K w/HDR, you simply cannot beat the total immersive experience of (decently produced) 3D, especially combined w/Dolby ATMOS or DTS:X! Those who dismiss 3D don't get it, or didn't experience it as they should've at home.

Solid playback is a must! Glitches, stutters, unwanted artifacts or other issues (even minor) ruin the movie experience. And a solid player needs to support SD, HD, 3D, 4K w/various audio formats, in various containers (MKV, ts, ISO, mov, etc.) equally well. Refresh rate switching and resolution switching also need be handled right. For 4K, accurate colors and no banding. And, the player needs to be really affordable. Oh, and it needs to be well supported and for months, years. Not asking for much are we home theater fans?! Wink

Vero 4K+ checks all these boxes as a local media player! Like I said, not perfect, as there are a few 3D titles that exhibit issues.

Performance Results:
To cut to the chase:
  • PQ is excellent (and looks as good as my nVidia Shield TV, Odroid N2 w/CoreELEC and Zidoo Z9S)
  • Proper 23.976 support and other framerates (59.94/60, 24, 29.97, etc.) and resolutions (HD, 3D, 4K, NTSC/PAL-based) matching source media
  • Proper HD audio passthrough support for all formats, including Dolby ATMOS and DTS:X
  • Proper HDR10 support, along with HLG and VP9; also MaxFALL/MaxCLL metadata passthrough and HDR10+ fallback support
  • Playback of high bitrate videos (over wired connection of course), including the max Birds 90Mbps clip and even the Jellyfish 400Mbps

Vero 4K+ supports gigabit connection and relies on AMLogic's S905D SoC to power it, with 16GB onboard (eMMC) memory. It support Bluetooth, so you can pair a Bluetooth remote or keyboard to it. I have my Logitech Harmony Ultimate remote and iOS app paired, but the supplied wireless USB remote is simple and well-designed, and works well (see here for extended functionality).

Adding your networked media shares via SMB or NFS work just fine, including high bitrate playback, even up to max available 400Mbps clip, playing smoothly (using OSMC s/w version June 2020.06-1 or later; kernel 4.9.113-20-osmc). You can also mount shares for even better results. See this thread about using autofs to mount shares. It may seem intimidating at first to some (did to me), and I did need to solicit help, but experts like @fzinken and others came through quickly (and even tweaked instructions for clarity based on my feedback).

Boot-up is under 13 seconds (but, I never turn off my Vero 4K+).

Photo Gallery:
A few pics.

Quick Video Review & Demo:
I tried over 50 types of a/v test clips (4K, 3D, bitrate/torture, fps/codec, subtitles and motion/clipping), and all played perfectly. One I didn't test is Hi10, which is presently a "work in progress".


Anything to Gripe About?:
See a laundry list in @Shasarak's post below.

Some may also say Vero 4K+ can't be a true do-it-all player w/o support for premium streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, etc. Maybe, and if you don't care about 3D, nVidia Shield TV will fit the bill. But, we're in a Kodi forum, and it's about top notch local media playback. I don't subscribe to Netflix and barely use my Amazon Prime service for streaming, and even with improved quality of streaming, I prefer high bitrate, full ATMOS (over EAC3 JOC) whenever available.

For 3D movies with subtitles, while most play well w/the subs in the correct 3D plane, some don't. However, you can manually adjust the 3D sub depth so it isn't distracting w/characters and 3D objects occupying other 3D planes. Also with 3D, there are occasional picture issues like macroblocking or overlapping images, on 'Avatar', 'Ready Player One', and a couple of other 3D titles.

Other than this, the OSMC team continues working on improvements; see here for details, which leads me to the next topic...

Support:
Just terrific! This is one of the key things that sets Vero/OSMC apart from most manufacturers. Sam and team support the community with patience and persistance, and appear to continually work on improving performance and features. They worked hard for over 9 months to get 3D right before Sam felt confident I could review the player. What the OSMC development team has achieved is no easy feat as there are simply no other native Kodi 3D players that also support 4K HDR. And, HTPC's don't have that set-top box convenience and user experience (and require a lot of work to configure and maintain). Beyond 3D, numerous 4K improvements have been made, from HDR10 metadata passthrough to HLG and HDR10+.

Wrap-Up:
What a pleasure it has been to review and now own a Vero 4K+! While I still use my Shield TV, Zidoo, Odroid N2 w/CE and even Fire TV Stick 4K, my default (and most used) player for my home theater has now become my Vero 4K+. I don't have to think about the type of local media type (4K, 3D, ATMOS/X, whatever) and confidently use it knowing, for 99% of what I have, I'll get perfect playback.
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
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Messages In This Thread
Vero 4K+ Review: Finally, a Native Kodi 4K + 3D Do-it-All Player? - by hdmkv - 2020-05-05, 03:34


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