04.01.2013 08:50
03.01.2013 20:18
11.03.2012 16:56
10.12.2011 17:49

Dune HD TV-101

In past few month the market with so called home HD media players has grown an order. I was looking for such a toy a year ago, and there were very few devices with close to no capabilities I wanted - that is mainly to have and ethernet connection, a possibility to play media and streams from local network and fan less operation. The Dune HD TV-101 was released month ago having promising set of features and acceptable price.

The obvious thing is, this is a low cost thing. The construction is as simple as possible. Simple plastic housing, PCB, and bottom metal plate. The printing on the surface looks terribly cheap and the combination of the fonts is weird. The worst thing is, it is so light weight that when you connect all the cables, it would never stand on its feet.

Nevertheless if you do not buy a media player to fit into your home cinema and you do not care about housing details but are interested in features, then this model may interest you.

Dune HD background

I am not 100% sure at the moment, but Dunes' firmware is most probably Linux based. While Dune HDi is a German company, not much of the Dune player is made in there. The firmware seems to be made in Russia (this is why the Russian language is the only second language for documentation and support beside English). The hardware is made in Taiwan, power source of course China.  Thou maybe the design of the HW is made in DE...

Formats Dune can play

I downloaded a number of trailers and various fun videos from the net to test the capabilities of the player. To be honest, my first impression was really bad, as the player refuses to play most of the videos (around 60%). This is a kind of disappointing for media player.

DX50 -> DIVX

It shows that the biggest portion of videos that player refused to play are with video codec specified by fourcc as DX50. See fourcc web site to find more. This is officially DivX 5.0. At the moment it is not easy to find any info on the net about this Dune player, but after a while of searching I found a topic on MPCclub forum that this is probably a bug or something, and changing the used fourcc code to DIVX works around the problem.

It is not very comfortable, but here is how to do it in Linux:

  1. Get a cfourcc command line utility from http://freecode.com/projects/cfourcc
  2. Compile it gcc -o cfourcc cfourcc.c
  3. Move it to e.g. /usr/local/bin
  4. Run cfourcc -u DIVX <videofile name>

Be sure to do that only for DX50 file, this will not make other files playable. To find if this file is really DX50 run the cfourcc without option on the video file.

I've reported this to HDI Dune support, but we'll see.

There may be some other way around. You may find dune_service_enable_divx.dsf file on the net. I did not try this.

Error messages

At the moment I saw three various error messages when Dune is not able to play a file

It looks like Dune is made mainly to play a well known and often used codecs for High Definition content, like H264, XviD and MPEG2 and 4. 

Playing streams using Dune

Dune can play a video streams. I use it to play a DVB-T streams. There is a really easy to use feature in this player called Dune Folder, that enables you to play most of the streamed content. It is described in this IPTV how to. Do not be confused by the IPTV, any stream is like an IPTV right? There is another IPTV menu in Dune with bit different purpose. You have to make a IPTV_config on primary drive (USB only for Dune HD TV), then this menu is active.

One thing I do not understand - you can make an icon for the channel to display in the list, but it is in some weird format AAI, that is made by Dune for Dune. Why it can not use a PNG directly is hard to understand for me.

Dune in the network

The reason why I've bought this version of Dune is, it has no internal HDD, but is capable of using a NFS. It can use also SMB (Samba) or UPnP to get the file thru network, but why to bother with another demon for UPnP when there is proven NFS. It is easy to connect to NFS with Dune. Just follow the instruction in manual.

On the Linux server side, there is also no magic. Just edit the /etc/exports and add

/path/to/data dune.ip.address(ro)

Start he NFS service. You are done.

The speed of Dune

While some actions are really instant (menu browsing with effects, network attaching, browsing the network drivers) I can imagine that the video start would be faster. The slowest is to start the playback of the stream. It takes several seconds. Also a cold boot is taking some time, but as most of the time the player is in standby and the wakeup is immediate, this does not look like a problem to me.

So far the firmware is stable and reliable at release time. 


The IR receiver is on the front of the Dune player, and you really have to point your remote to the Dune for remote to work. Well the IR transmitters and receivers are of a various quality too and this one is probably not very good. But if you place the player on same sane place, then this should not be a big problem. The remote itself is fine for me. I am still finding a new shortcuts and functions remote provides. Definitely somebody was thinking about it, and it is a good news.

Beware the A/V connector

The TRRS A/V connector used on the Dune HD TV101 is for some reason incompatible with standard 3.5 mm audio JACK to stereo RCA (cinch) tables. This is quite unbelievable to me that Dune connected to one of the speakers VIDEO OUT signal. Therefore the only cable you may use to connect speakers is the one provided with Dune. You can not plug in directly any speakers with 3.5 mm TRS audio jack. You must have a speakers or amplifier with RCA connectors.

The be precise, here is the wiring on the TRRS A/V connector:

tip = video out (yellow)
ring1 = left (white)
ring2 = right (red)
sleeve  = gnd

Standard audio TRS jack is:

tip = left (white)
ring = right (red)
sleeve = gnd

PS: There is a mess in the TRRS vs. TRS connectors all around the world. :(

In the Dune

Inside Dune is running Linux on MIPS with FlashLite frontend and video on Sigma processor. When you put the device in the standby, the Dune just disables HDMI output and stops the frontend, but the MIPS is still running. Therefore the standby consumption is somewhat higher than you may expect (cca 4W). This is price for the player being accessible even when it is not playing anything. In this case you may use it as a simple NAS or use its http frontend. (Just try http://dune/cgi-bin/do?cmd=status.) You may also login to the device via telnet, but you have to first start it via proper telnet .dsf file. In the setup you may set the power button to really power off the device, but the cold start of the Dune is bit long.

More features

I recommend to read thru the pages about Dune firmware. It is a good source of what other things you may do with the player as the manual is really very basic (this is also nowadays trend - almost no documentation attached). You just need to be careful as not everything applies to all models.

Here is a bit about internals: devel info

Play a file on startup

If you want to play any media file on startup, you my do it using a dune boot scripts.

  1. start telnet wia .dsf file
  2. login, mkdir /config/boot
  3. vi /config/boot/play_on_startup.sh && chmod +x /config/boot/play_on_startup.sh
(sleep 10 && wget -q -O /dev/null '') &

sleep 10s starts the playback while dune initializesh the HDMI for its gui and there is nothing visible on the screen, longer delay should start the playback as usuall. You may also use locally stored file, just use a different path in url as described in dune_ip_control_overview.

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