Asus has created a nice interface for the O!Play HD2. They have nicely split it up into categories like Movies, Music, Photos, and Online. One thing that isn’t so nice, is that to achieve their goal of putting the correct types of media in the correct category, they’ve decided to index every device connected to the O!Play HD2. Furthermore, it will index the device every time the O!Play HD2 is powered on, even if it has already been indexed. If you don’t have a lot of files, indexing is trivial. However, if you hook up an external hard drive with thousands of files, indexing can take minutes to complete. You can still playback media while the O!Play HD2 is indexing, but a piece of media you’re looking for maybe missing from the list if it hasn’t been indexed.
For a more comprehensive view of the Asus O!Play HD2 interface and its features, check out the video above.
Video & Music Playback
Each of these are pretty straight forward. You’re presented with a list of video or audio files that you can choose from. If you’re browsing video files, you’ll be given a preview window. The preview window will start to playback the file, although, when you press “OK” on the remote to play the video in the fullscreen, the video will play from the beginning and not from where you were in the preview window.
The music interface is very similar to the video, but the music interface does not offer previews. All songs are listed by the “title” field in their ID3 tag, and are in alphabetical order. For some reason, album art does not appear, and more informative ID3 tag display seems to be non-existent. Also, one problem I noticed, is the song’s timeline does not advance while playing AAC files. Seems like this is just a bug in the interface that could be fixed in a firmware update.
The O!Play HD2 handles pictures as you’d expect, without a hitch. I tested BMP, JPG, and PNG pictures, each were displayed properly by the O!Play HD2. You can also zoom and rotate any photo. However,
there aren’t any fancy transitions between photos like the Patriot PBO Core offered.
iPhone Remote Control
There are times when you are far away from your living room, but you have your music so loud that it resounds throughout your entire house. You’re jamming to one of your favorite songs, as it ends, the next song is chosen at random and it isn’t a song you particularly care for. Normally you would have to march all the way back to your TV room, find the remote for the O!Play HD2 and change the song. If the random selection algorithm is having a bad day, you could be going back and forth a lot to change songs. Well, Asus feels your pain and they’ve expanded the O!Play HD2’s to the iPhone. Just enter the O!Play HD2’s IP into Safari and you’ll get a virtual remote control. When the page first loads, you’ll see a directional pad, similar to the one on the remote, with an “OK” button in the center. This makes it easy to navigate around the O!Play HD2’s home menu. There’s also some shortcut keys underneath the directional pad, to help you quickly move around the O!Play HD2’s interface. Asus has even gone as far to update the remote control depending on what type of media is playing. If you’re playing back a video, you’ll get buttons to play/pause, fast forward, rewind, stop, mute/un-mute, stop, and previous and next video files. If you’re playing an audio file you’ll see previous, next, play/pause, mute/un-mute, and stop.