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Author Topic: The Dune HD Real/Pro/Max Vision 4K detailed review  (Read 32701 times)

Nice Monkey

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The Dune HD Real/Pro/Max Vision 4K detailed review
« on: June 08, 2021, 09:12:02 AM »
This is a full review for the new "Dune HD Real/Pro/Max Vision 4K" players. Dune clearly made a huge marketing mistake not including DV with their earlier RTD1619DD models which they quickly corrected launching the Vision Series players. I don't expect new models to replace these again any soon.
 
Most of the review in fact applies to the full Dune HD Vision family series including: Real, Pro, Max and Ultra models. My review includes hands on experiences with both the Real and Pro models. I own a Real myself and a friend just got himself the Pro model. Where other differences apply for Max and Ultra versions this is indicated. Obviously the additional goodies for those being the Front Display and DAC are not evaluated.

My personal use of colors:
- Action Points (my to do list together with Dune)
- Positive market differentiators
- Inconveniences open for improvement
- Caveats or serious shortcomings to be fixed
Obviously my marking is somewhat subjective.

Be aware I am a purist and use only 1:1 backup copies for movie playback being DVD, BD, BD-3D or UHD/HDR BD in ISO's or folders. Music files are SACD ISO, DVD-Audio ISO, DTS-CD and FLAC/MP3 only. Don't ask me questions about other formats/containers.

I am using a Philips 55OLED805 TV plus an Onkyo RZ720 AMP during my review and an OPPO UDP-203 as reference for Video / Music playback functionality and quality.

At the moment I am still in close dialog with Dune for several findings with initially good and quick responses but it varies depending how busy they seem to be. I am pleasantly surprised overall on the problems solved and how stable it got since the first communication.

For the new GUI/Launcher and My Collection under development: "dune_firmware_tv175u_220630_0727_r20.dff" has just been installed and is under test.
See Appendix-A for my current findings. The "NewGUI" experience will be integrated into the review when a final version is released.
This FW in fact synchronized again all feature for the last 3 generations Dune players (since 2018) which I regard as excellent support.

Intro:

The player seems to be a replacement for both the Dune HD Realbox 4K and the Dune HD Pro 4K II player clearly meant to be competitive on price with the Zidoo Z9X. I must say that target seems to be hit. It is close enough on price with the Realbox 4K but almost a RTD1619DR + BT5 upgraded Pro 4K II on specifications. Even the physical size measuring 160x115x26mm is midway achieved by stripping all non-essential ports.

What makes the Dune Vision series unique is the OS. Dune is using since many years their own Linux based Dune OS. Next to that they integrate the Google Android TV 9 OS as found on many Smart TV's today. This way additional APP's can be installed using either OS. Dune claims to be able to totally control the resource utilization of Android TV avoiding potential negative impact on Dune OS integrated media players.
For Dune OS this is limited and above all supported by a Russian community. For the strict Google controlled Android TV this is different as it offers the same as found on Powered by Android Smart TV's. Multiple TV manufacturers similar to Panasonic, Philips and Sony ditched their own OS versions in favor of Android TV. This makes it only more attractive regarding APP variety, updates, stability and quality.

Chapter-1: The HW of Real and Pro Vision
The specifications and some pictures can be found at Dune directly:
https://www.dune-hd.com/products/dune-hd-real-vision-4k
The Dune site also includes a nice comparison table of FW features and HW provisions for the 4 Vision models.
For a lot more pictures and peeps at the menus see this French review which reads nicely with Google Translate:
https://cod-box.net/dune-hd-real-vision-4k-test/
My review is very much complimentary being mine a lot more technical and detailed but far less fancy.

The first thing worth to mention is that all Dune Vision players seem to be using almost the same FW just changed for HW specifics. That makes Dune support a lot easier but also makes this review apply for most part to the bigger models too. See the Dune site for all details but in a nutshell here are the characteristics:

Unboxing
The player actually comes in a very good looking box and is very well packed.
It contains: The player, the brick type PSU including 4 plug adapters for global deployment, 2 external antennas, HDMI cable, BT remote and even an IR extender plus a 3.5mm A/V cable with 3x RCA plugs. This is very convenient and complete above all for an entry level model.
There is only a leaflet included but on the Dune site an online manual can be found. 

The Pro unit has a bit simpler but still nice box but surprisingly comes without the IR extender and RCA cables being bundled. Other items are similar just being a bigger PSU.

The Unit itself
The Real player comes with 2 GByte RAM and 16 GByte Flash memory residing on a dedicated motherboard for this model. I expect this to do just fine. The Pro comes with 4 GByte RAM and 32 GByte Flash memory.

For Android applications the Internal storage of Real can be expanded by inserting an SD-Card into the slot (low Read/Write speed). Within Android setup => Storage the SD- card can be found and be formatted for Internal Storage or Portable Storage. Internal Storage formatting works and some Android Data can be moved to it. That process can conveniently be undone too.
If you do so the storage will still be seen by the Dune OS as portable and offers to format it which obviously never should be done. The card may neither be removed as it will make Android unstable for sure. Dune promised to solve this in a coming FW update.

Dune next decided to bundle the Real Vision with a brand new little BT Remote Control. In practice this small remote works well with the advantage of BT, but is missing some direct action buttons. If you also use the excellent Dune Control app then this is less of an inconvenience. Buttons for TV Power, V+, V- and Mute may be programmed to IR which is very pleasant (see the leaflet included for instructions).
When doing a factory Reset the default pairing is lost and must be done when initializing the player again (V+ & Enter kept pressed for 3 seconds). A warning about that Factory Reset as it will reduce the Audio Output level again to the reduced factory default. Dune promised to change that too.

This brings me to the antenna's. The Real Vision is a nice small box but got the same huge antennas from the other big(ger) vision models. Not really good looking for some of us. What is the problem as these are made removable even for the entry model? Dune decided to combine BT and WiFi antennas for the Real Vision model to reduce some costs but bundling a BT remote these antennas can't be removed in practice as a consequence. You might get the Dune HD Premium IR remote for it to remove those as  the box comes even bundled with an IR extender. For me a bit strange overall move and HW bundling. Got myself that backlit Premium IR in the end.

Regarding ports there is only one HDMI-Output, no HDMI-Input, no SATA connector, no USB2 and no USB3c (just 2x USB3) with Real. For me personally the absence of a SATA connector is the most relevant. I you need any of these extra ports get the Pro Vision instead. That model also has a  bigger front display of 6 position HH:MM:SS instead of just the 4 position HH:MM of Real Vision and a HDD bay. Frankly the display of Real Vision is just too small for me as I can't read it from a typical viewing distance. The Pro on the other hand comes with a real nice bigger than average front display. The clock on the Pro is configurable for displaying seconds or not (4-pos).

All models above Real come with 4 GByte RAM,32 GByte Flash and a second HDMI Audio output only port. Dune offers no choice for Audio on Main + on that 2nd Audio only port concurrently. Both my Egreat A11 and Zidoo UHD3000 do enable to choose dual audio output or on 2nd HDMI only (Auto is the default). This may be relevant with some setups.

The Max Vision and Ultra Vision expand further with dual HDD bays and a graphical front display plus an Analog Stereo DAC with XLR outputs. The Ultra with top of the line DAC and PSU components, additional DAC inputs and a lot bigger front display. According information I got the info displayed on the Front panel is actually the same for Max and Ultra models.
Player functionality on all Vision players remain almost the same regarding software features. 

Power provision
In contrary to the old Realbox the new Real Vision comes with an adequate 12V 2A PSU and supplying power to the 2x USB3.1 ports (800mA) should not cause any problems.

Real Vision Power consumption measurements:
Idle:           1.5 W
Play:           2.8 W
Sleep:         1.2 W
Standby:   <0.1 W
It has no fan and only some vent openings at the bottom which is very adequate.

Never seen such low values before. If you are a really green person this is the box to get.
It takes about 50 seconds to boot which is somewhat longer than usual but it clearly does HDD startup in parallel. If you like the clock during sleep it is probably more convenient just to leave the player always on for better display visibility.

The box will always boot up when powered on, has no battery backup cell for the clock and does not support WOL (Wake On LAN). By default power off will result in a sleep mode but this can be changed to a real standby mode by a power setup APP setting.

Chapter-2: Menu, Setup and Bundled App's
Menu's
Getting familiar with the Dune menu structure takes some getting used to despite being intuitive enough. There are more Icons than on most players and not all really useful for all. Fortunately many items can be expanded or suppressed. The level of optional customization inclusive using custom skins and custom language packs is fairly high. One needs to consult the Dune online manual for using these.
https://dune-hd.com/eng/support/online_manual/getting_started
It is good to see such a manual with essential information for the various players.

Setup
The Dune setup uses the same icon structure as the main view. Going over settings is easy enough. Strange is that for a player running its own Dune OS that it has multiple essential settings (hidden) within Android setup. Good examples are BT pairing, HDMI Range and drive "Eject". Various Android settings for Audio and Video are under investigation on its functionality and usefulness. Most are very likely not used at all, but that makes it even more confusing.

Worth mentioning is that Dune has proven that HDMI-CEC can work well with both TV and TV+AMP setups:
- Switching to the designated HDMI port on my AMP automatically when powered on.
- Volume control of the AMP via HDMI-CEC using the volume control of the player.
Auto power-on or power-off in any combination with TV and/or AMP is not used by me but is configurable.

Bundled APP's and Android TV compatibility
Standard facilities and players for Pictures, Music and Movies are to be found on the main page. Bundled APP's can be found under Android Applications respectively Dune HD Applications.
The Dune HD APP "DUNE-HD.TV" requires an account and was removed by me. Radio Time is very nice on the other hand.

It is possible to get a lot more Dune HD APPs using patch "dune_service_install_dunestor_extension_v3.1" but these come from Russian users. The courageous can give it a try. A lot is actually also in English and usable. It is a lot for sure but potentially some may be highly illegal too? No guarantees or support by Dune here.

Under Android Applications come several more popular app's. One needs to be aware that these need to be installed first. It includes amongst others the famous Android TV Launcher, Google Play Store, Netflix, Youtube, HibyMusic and SBMC. App's can be added using Aptoide or the Google Play Store. In that sense it is even more flexible than Android TV coming with Smart TV's.
I found the Android TV compatibility to be excellent but keep in mind that only App's designed specifically for Android TV will be found on the Play Store and not those for Smart Phones! Some will exist in both versions but many won't.

NAS Support & SMB Server
Standard provisions for NAS access via NFS, SMB and UPnP/DLNA are included. The player can also act as a SMB Server which APP is to be found under Dune APP's. Unfortunately this APP does not allow full device access for all HDD's via a single share "\share" or "\public" is commonly used for that. Instead a HDD must be found with its HW ID as an unique share name which makes HDD dynamic swapping impossible. Just use Internet Explorer with the matching IP-Address e.g. \\192.168.2.1\ to find those share names.
Using W10 SMB Client I needed to use the Server Name in front to connect as using the IP-Address did not work there for me. Strange!
Neither setting an UID/PWD or Read/Write for access is possible. Positive to mention is that it puts the Volume Label in front of the HW ID for ease of  identification and that the Read/Write performance is good.

File Browser:
The File Browser is called "Sources" here. The APP works fine with all common file handling features available via pressing Menu and including several options for changing the actual view.
Missed just an "Eject" facility to swap files. That Eject actually exists but is deeply buried under Android Setup. Dune promised to add it in a future FW. They included a "Watched" feature with the recent FW update and is now included.
I am also missing the option which I always use myself which is "parking HDD" when not active for a set time interval. That reduces power/heat and next above all the noise produced by them. 

Chapter-3: Movie/Video playback

Videos can be started using the File Browser directly or using a Poster Wall.

The Video Player
Warning: Video setup parameters are used a bit different on this player than on most other players I used.
It starts with the Video Mode which is here not the "default video mode" but "maximum video mode" which is to be taken literally. It should be left on Auto (EDID) in almost all cases avoiding limiting TV capabilities. An exception may be using a HDMI 1.4 restricted AMP in between. As a consequence all menus and music playback will happen with the highest definition supported which may have you straight away running into HDMI cable limits.
Warning: The Dune showed to be extremely critical on cables. Swapped myself to the cable it came with in the box. In combination with UHD HDR video plus HD sound it may disappear and sound with side effects or drops. The sound will suffer first not the video strange enough. My Zidoo players all work under those same conditions with my old cable.

Enabling Auto Frame-rate and Auto Resolution will downscale actual movie playback output to the format of the source. Also set Preferred HDMI color depth then to: As in content. The TV will next do all the resolution upscaling which it mostly does excellent. If you want the player to do the upscaling then disable Auto Resolution.
It is the first implementation I have come across which works as designed with no flickering or other visible adoptions as claimed by Dune The time to get a first display after hitting play with BD-lite varies with the complexity of the source. UHD with DV and Atmost taking the most and a regular BD being very fast.

The picture quality for SD, HD and UHD is on par with other players I own including my OPPO UHD-203 which is my reference for this. Handling UHD/HDR movies with HDR10, HDR10+ and DV neither resulted in observations other than that these are reproduced as they should be. I am not the guy which compares paused pictures, uses test discs or other fancy analysis. So very minor differences and glitches may escape me. For daily viewing I found no problems with any standard video or audio format used by me. I am happy with the PQ, formats supported and far from trivial playback stability.
I am just missing an HDR mode option to toggle DV and HDR10/HDR10+ output for TV's supporting both (setup option coming according Dune).

The player seems to have no problems with my movie collection playing all formats inclusive the DVD/BD menu. Different sound formats including DD Atmos and DTS-X work just fine via my AMP and the BD Full Menu support seems to be better than found on most media players as claimed by Dune. I did not run into any Menu problematic BD discs yet this including UHD and 3D discs.

When playing BD's with menus (Full Menu) the player in fact acts as an equivalent disc player with all interaction going via the BD menu or dedicated remote control buttons. There are then no additional features or options for playback not foreseen by the actual disc being played. This includes external subtitles which are then not supported in any form. You may like it or miss features playing that way but it is not a bad concept keeping it pure. It is the real "just pop-in a disc feeling" that you get playing this way. Coming from a disc player you will feel familiar straight away.

When playing Full Menu BD then the colored buttons on the BT remote get assigned and e.g. Subtitle and Audio can be selected directly that way. Just press Info for instructions which key does what This for BD's which enable the pop-up menu. If they don't you can press Info which will enable the keys while info is displayed temporarily.

Playing BD's without menus (Lite Menu) with either ISO or BDMV Folder offers several more features and configurable options. This is much closer to the experience playing on other brand media players. There is also a real time subtitle download option for the default system language set. The essential subtitle options are there too: Time-shift, vertical shift, color and size.
Correctly named subtitle.srt files can be put into the BDMV folder as common practice for other brands and will show the matching language when tagged/named properly. Manually pointing to a file via the filebrowser to an arbitrary file and location is not supported.

The on-demand Internet download command will download subtitles for the system set language plus the subtitle set preference and also English if different. This allows searching for 3 languages which will be adequate for most.
Used subtitle downloads ought to be put automatically in the folder of the matching movie for future automatic reuse which it unfortunately does not.

DVD's are always played with DVD Menus and fortunately include external subtitle support with that. The DVD menu processing seems to work well, but frankly hardly tried it thus far.
   
For sure it does not include many blows and whistles as included by some other brands. I would conclude saying about it "the essential set of features is available".
« Last Edit: September 04, 2022, 01:16:11 AM by Nice Monkey »

Nice Monkey

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Re: "Dune HD Real Vision 4K" review (most for total Vision family)
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2021, 09:12:41 AM »
Chapter-4: The Movie Poster Wall
The Movie Poster Wall is called "My Collection" here. Folders can be added to it and next scraped.
A lot of work is currently being done on a merged new Launcher/GUI and the My Collections application. An alpha release is available for it. Just had a brief peak at it but it is already looking good with essential features being there and as far as I tried also running stable. The scraping also went fast as before.
Will update this paragraph with "NewGUI" progress made based on my own experiences using it.

What I am sure about that with Poster Movie Walls it is impossible to satisfy everybody. They all want to work it differently and have different features for: Displaying metadata, import/export metadata, interworking with servers, handling TV series collections, grouped merges, block changes etc etc. They are very quick to call a product shit or worse if it doesn't do certain thing as they like or worked on some other product they have. A Zidoo with HT4 has far more features here for sure and keep adding them.
I personally don't need or want all that and won't evaluate these features neither. They may be briefly tried and mentioned only.

Tried scraping in English and Spanish both giving results in matching languages.
Trial run using a 8 TByte HDD with in total 165 1:1 copies BD's on it:
- Completed in 2 minutes and 1 seconds (which is very fast)
- Found according the log 147 movies (152 files)
- 85 confirmed associations and 67 not confirmed associations
The overall scraping result was not too bad and most could be associated correctly manually.

I hoped the App would use the SD-Card added Internal Storage but did not find it. That is a real missed opportunity. This APP and SPMC/KODI are potentially the biggest benefitters of added Internal Storage. Did not try anything external like Emby, Roon, Plex or Yadis myself.
 
Chapter-5: Streaming Video services
The player comes with "featured APP's" for Netflix and Youtube. These can be installed hasslefree by just playing those installation Apps.

In fact a Dune with Android TV9 on it can run any Android TV APP's and Streaming Services perfectly in a technical sense. Companies like Dune lack the big multinational status plus their relations and many video streaming providers limit Audio-features/Picture-Quality for them on purpose (a kind of unspoken boycott).

So they all run but the biggies like Netflix, Disney+ and BBCplayer will lack some of the high end goodies. This actually may vary over time with each of them. Having a Powered by Android TV myself no problem for me as I can use my TV directly as an alternative to bypass this foul play.
YES for full support you may also get an NVidia Shield or Apple-TV as elephants do it with elephants here clearly.

Tried myself the following designed for Android TV APP's :
Netflix: Video up to HD and sound up to Atmos (No UHD/4K, No HDR/DV)
Apple TV+: Video up to 4K and sound up to Atmos (No HDR/DV)
Canal Digitaal: Video up to 1080P and sound up to DD5.1 (not imposed by any limits)

For now only practical use "Canal Digitaal" which is a supplementary streaming service for Dutch TV bundled with my satellite service. Works well using the standard remote with the Android TV version installed.
Frankly prefer Netflix on Dune (with Dolby Atmos) versus Netflix on my TV (with UHD/DV) as I like the better sound that way as both my TV and AMP don't have eARC. The sound quality difference is more relevant than the picture quality difference for me.

Using streaming services on a Smart Phone and next casting the display to the TV is to be considered but likely also runs into on purpose enforced audio/video restrictions.

Chapter-6: Music playback
My educated guess is that about 5% to 10% of the media player owners are using their player also for music playback. I expect this percentage to be growing now that both the software and hardware capabilities have improved a lot. My own view is that the price/performance ratio of the Vision series is actually excellent as a (HiFi) music player.

Warning: Keep in mind that the Real Vision front display is just 4 positions and that it will show HH:MM also during individual playback of music tracks. This is not a fault but done by design despite resulting pretty useless with this specific model as a result.  It got me confused for quite a while.
Seen the reactions I got from Dune this might change with a future FW update? But it won't get really useful anyhow as this display is simply too tiny to be read with most home setups from a typical listening position.

The standard Music Player has a real lean and mean design and will show only the essential Album, Artist and Title information with the Cover. These are read from title tags and/or a folder.jpg when present. There is not even a progress bar or any control buttons shown. The Dune Control App will show these conveniently though. The only way to get a title/track progress indication is using the info button which then will also show any other tagged information.

This is not necessarily a bad thing as it reserves resources to the maximum for the most important aspect of a music player which is perfect audio reproduction. This player does an excellent job here for all formats tried including High Definition Audio. No hiccups, distortions, crashes or other unexpected things of any kind during playback making the core player functionality outstanding.
Also MCH Music is supported fairly well including: BD Pure Audio , MCH SACD with DSD => PCM and DTS-CD all working as it should. Also the sound is good and compares well with the sound produced via HDMI using my OPPO.

Another smart move made by Dune was to integrate the music player with screensaver functionality. When kicking-in the display is reduced to a small window which next floats around. Using Dune Control with the TV kept off works excellent and is my preferred way of listening.
 
All audio formats claimed including SACD playback via DSD => PCM for MCH 24-bit at 178.4 kHz played flawless. In fact not only DSD64 but also DSD128, DSD256 and even DSD512 were all converted to PCM 24-bit at 178.4 kHz output via HDMI.

No format support wishes left then? Only 3 on my list being:
- DSD output in Native/DoP format via HDMI
- DVD-Audio support for lossless MLP audio playback
- Less relevant an option to quickly toggle MCH and 2CH modes (audio button) now only via setup.
Frankly must add that I don't know of any Android based media player supporting those but my OPPO supports them all nicely. Still can't retire that one as I would like to do.

On the feature side I have only 1 big one and that is gapless playback. Maybe not essential for an entry model like Real Vision but for Max Vision and worse Ultra Vision this is a huge omission. I understand the HiFi models include a gapless playback additional driver specifically for DAC analog output? 
Restricting the gapless playback feature to real albums with an 100% matching codec format used for all titles within the album is my reference. There is really no need for any type of recoding or frame-rate/sample-size matching for gapless playback. Personally I like the feature to be optional with the possibility to turn it on/off.
As a bypass one can use the excellent XRECODE3 Windows program as I do to create single tracks with a matching CUE sheet to play e.g. live albums.

For a fancier interface and more features the HibyMusic App is bundled. This is a special version modified to work with a standard remote under Android TV. It also is one of the few music APP's supporting output via an USB DAC. More about it in the next chapter.

Chapter-7: Custom installed Music Player and Music Streaming APP's
This chapter is 100% applicable to the total Vision series of players.
Is is essential to keep in mind that most Music Player Applications are in fact designed to run on Smartphones and Tablets rather than on a TV. Don't be surprised that many popular ones won't be found and/or can't be installed by using an APK running Android TV (see Appendix for the why).

Music Streaming APP's mostly are written in both standard Android and Android TV versions and can be found and installed straight from the Google Play Store. The player does not come with any Featured Apps for popular commercial Streaming Music services. There is the nice "Radio Time" Dune HD APP as mentioned before included for listening to free Internet music channels.

Obviously started with bundled HibyMusic first.

HiByMusic (Dune Android TV version)
To be found under Android applications. Select it to install it for free next. This version is specially adapted to work well under Android TV and can't be found on the Google Play Store or on HiByMusic's own pages. Can also be controlled using the BT pointer mouse.
For me it is still does not offer a user friendly interface[/color], but it all can be done. There is no support via Dune Control for this app which would have been great.

A stupid left over from the smartphone background is the option to enable artwork and lyrics lookup. This can be selected only to work via WiFi as the app confuses a wired-network with a mobile network. As my setup doesn't use WiFi these features remain unavailable.
 
It has extensive playback capabilities including all common HD PCM formats and all SACD DSD formats even including DST compressed DFF and ISO. It handles CUE Sheets, DTS-CD's (Stereo output only) and will play Gapless when selected.
The library capabilities with scraping the content is available and works for those liking it. My collection is simply too big and too diverse in content and structure to work well with it.

Thus far only used for testing.

Running straight into a few (nasty) problems with standard Android Music Player APP's installed via APK which shouldn't come as a real surprise seen the Android TV OS being used.
- Several applications partially (some panels) or fully show up in portrait mode. Not very convenient to turn my 55 inch TV 90 degrees for using these.
- The cursor buttons controlled standard mouse feature does not work for several APP's. A RF or BT pointer mouse is really needed here (tried both). This above all to perform scrolling. The BT mouse is the original Dune mouse included with the other Dune Vision series models.

USB Audio Player Pro FW 5.9.8 (standard Android version)
UAPP as it is often referred to needs to be installed by APK and isn't full Android TV compatible regarding remote control. The essential operations do work with the standard remote though.

UAPP will also work without an USB DAC being attached but it was designed specifically for that deployment.
- Paid the license (about € 7,-) via the Google Play Store and it got activated automatically.
- Support for almost all Stereo HD Audio sources including DSD/SACD formats makes this APP also special. Currently still missing support for DST compressed DFF files.
- It does not play DTS-CD's but supports CUE sheets for other formats!
- For some operations a mouse is required (the standard button controlled mouse works but a pointer mouse is far better) .
- All sources are played truly gapless which is essential for live recordings!

It has an active forum and ongoing software development.
http://www.extreamsd.com/index.php/products/usb-audio-player-pro

ONKYO HF Player (FW 2.7.0)
This is a real alternative player to be used with external USB DAC's. Can technically be installed but has many problems running under Android TV. Gave up on it using Dune.

For HQ playback the license is € 9,50 for SQ playback it is free (with minimal advertisements).
Also this APP is really designed for Smartphones and needs also to be controlled using a pointer-mouse, which works just fine with Android Leanback. Differences are:
- There is also the free version reducing playback to SR but still handling all albums including SACD DSF and DFF.
- Very smooth on the controls and actions. Playback is gapless.
- No support for SACD ISO directly just DSF and DFF (not being DST compressed).
- Can toggle USB DAC or HDMI outputs via setup which is nice.
- Can real-time convert PCM to DSD which I have never seen elsewhere!
There is still some marginal development for this player but no forum.

Others
Neutron Music Player seems to be another good player with the required HiFi features but was never tried by me.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2022, 10:24:26 AM by Nice Monkey »

Nice Monkey

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Re: "Dune HD Real Vision 4K" review (most for total Vision family)
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2021, 09:12:57 AM »
Chapter-8: Additions for using the Dune HD Max Vision model;
Had the opportunity to do a very quick hands-on for the Max Vision model.

The Max Vision is really well build and sized in standard 19"rack width. It builds on top of Pro Vision regarding SOC, Ports and Remote Controls. It additional has:
- A standard designed internal Linear PSU.
- A very big Noctua brand Fan at the bottom paired with vent openings at the bottom and right side.
- An internal DAC based on the Sabre ES8036 m2q chip with RCA/XLR connectors.
- An OLED graphical display of similar effective display size as the Pro Vision.
- At the back a 2.5/3.5. fixed mount HDD provision plus a quick loading bay at the front.

The cooling is very effective with this unit and also the noise reduction for the loading bay works well. Under normal Auto-Speed conditions tested with a single 3.5 inch HDD mounted via the front it was very silent. The fan starts to make audible noise when speeded up via settings manually only. Did not have time to test using the fixed mout at the back concurrently for which the screws for mounding are included both 2.5 and 3.5 HDD versions.

The DAC included is a bare-bone SABRE ES9038q2m design. When connected RCA to my Onkyo AMP it in fact produced a very similar sound as using HDMI. Please note that the sound via HDMI with Dune Vision models is really good as mentioned before. If you have an external Stereo AMP with no HDMI ports included it may suit well.

Last but not least is the OLED front panel. Don't be mistaken by the size of the window on the front as above all the left/right black bars are big making also space for the IR receiver. It is unlike similar OLED panels on other brands a monochrome light blue graphical display without touch control.
Using a none-documented 2sec press on the Info button on the remote the display can be used for basis file browsing using the remote control next. By default it shows the clock/time. Starting with a recent FW update during playback it can also optionally show a progress bar with progressed/remaining time for Video or a big font scrolling filename/title during Audio playback.
This way the relative simple display is in fact very nice during actual playback.

Chapter-9: Photo Viewer
It is good to see the online manual for the assignment of keys and options. It is easy to miss a few.
Standard features to be expected are all present. Setup for transitions and delay are to be found under Setup => Applications => Picture Show which may be not that convenient for all. The defaults are fine for me.

Seen the fact that the player defaults for the highest resolution there is no need to change this for Photo viewing.
Not obvious is the fact that the Music player can be put into the background pressing Home on the remote. You can next fire up the Picture player for a slideshow with your favorite music playing.
Info will show picture characteristics but no camera meta data. That is a pity.

Chapter-10: Dune HD Support
Writing reviews one gets above average attention for sure, but I can honestly conclude that Dune Support is responsive. As far as the HW allows problems seem to get fixed but some may take their  time as FW releases come at a low pace. Seen the complex nature of media players problems found are relative few.
Dune HD does not have it's own forum but there are various general forum places where sections are dedicated to their products.

A rather unique approach is using the included Dune Support APP. You may be asked to run that APP and make a dump just after your problem occurring. This will be uploaded automatically to Dune and a Dump-ID will be assigned. You need to communicate that one to tie it to your case.
The dump is actually a total live memory dump of your player giving very detailed information to the support engineers. For the security aware there is an implicit risk here as the memory may hold some privacy sensitive information too. If you want to eliminate this potential exposure then you need to do a factory reset prior to reproducing the problem and making the dump. A clean player is anyway a good start for reporting problems.

In contrary to some other brands installing Alpha versions is pretty safe and easy with Dune. Dune uses the term Alpha where others use Beta and going back is as easy as upgrading. If you don't like them then just reinstall any previous version! They are typically also very stable with hardly any faults for things that worked correctly before.
You might consider installing Alpha releases as the frequency of stable Dune FW releases is really low compared with most other brands.

Dune players don't have a Reset key/pin for emergency flashing. The boot process seems to be looking for it always. Just rename the firmware DFF file on the USB flash drive into "dune_firmware.dff" and put it in the root directory. See the Dune online manual for a detailed procedure.

The recent FW updates in fact synchronized all feature for the last 3 generations Dune Players since 2018 which I regards as excellent support including old(er) models.

Conclusions and my personal verdict
This is based on fact and findings for this player but next based on a long history and experience with a slew of media players.

The functionality and OS claims
This player is different in many aspects from many players used by me. The final conclusion from me in one sentence is: "It is a mean and lean machine with still all essential features being included for Video, Music and Picture playback".
This is valid for all media players/app's included. Combined with the OS choices made this results in a remarkable easy to operate, stable and predictable player with hardly any quirks and very few pending bugs.
With bundled original full Android TV 9 including the launcher/GUI it has full "Powered by Android Smart-TV" potential capabilities. In practice this is seriously flawed only by big streaming providers like Netflix which may not be willing to certify the HW despite being 100% compatible.

No it is definitely not the most feature rich player in any area but it may be the most stable one for exactly that same reason! If you value certain specific capabilities (specifically for Poster Movie Wall) then have a thorough check for those to avoid any disappointments. This review combined with the online manual should offer a good start. If a desired feature is not mentioned by either one it most likely isn't there.

The hardware and price
The various Dune HD Vision models are excellent value for money without any doubt above all looking at their functionalities. The Real Vision is a nice entry level portable player but keep in mind it was (port) stripped to the bare minimum. The Pro and Max models in steps offer more again at very reasonable prices.
The Dune Real player has a SD-Card slot and the 2nd OS supported being Android TV does allow to configure it as Internal Storage for that OS. In effect found myself no practical use for it.
Despite being double the price I would always consider getting the Pro Vision instead as HW provision wise it has it all.

Personal verdict
There is a lot of green, some orange and hardly any red which speaks for itself. Bottom-line I really like these players! Dune Vision could even become my favorite player including music with some improvements above all on Music Player supported formats and gapless playback. The sound of a Dune Vision model via HDMI is comparable with my OPPO which can only be explained by using a similar quality crystal oscillator/clock source.
Would love to sound check the Ultra Vision with HiFi Music comparing with my Zidoo Neo X as the essential rock solid basis seems to be there.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2022, 11:37:31 AM by Nice Monkey »

Nice Monkey

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Re: "Dune HD Real Vision 4K" review (most for total Vision family)
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2021, 09:13:24 AM »
Appendix A: The "newGUI alpha FW"
Gave also the "NewGUI update" and my problem list a new view.
Some early findings running "dune_firmware_tv175u_220630_0727_r20.dff"

I do like the PosterWall implementation realized. It concentrates on core "view" features which are starting to work very well. Stability and performance are looking good.
I do like the trailer options with auto play in Netflix view and individual trailer selection on demand.
It does not provide Icon details as some other do: Video/Audio track details, parental advice etc. Some will miss those for sure.

"My Problem list"
- Using the "HDMI Audio only" port with Pro Vision a pause will produce a drop in sound and a nasty tick in audio when coming back. Not the case using the HDMI Main port only. With some AMP's audio kicks in several seconds late on others it also produces a tick which can vary from mild to very loud.
Seems to occur only with HD Audio not standard DD.

"My Inconveniences list"
Which potentially can (easily) be fixed with FW. Some may be caused by HW or legal limitations?
- Going to the Main panel "Sources" all drive icons are shown. Pressing "Info" the "Eject/Unmount" option should be available here next to "Format".
- No external subtitles supported with 'Full BD menu". Maybe an OPPO style support can be included? That player supports only a single SRT having a fixed file name stored on a fixed location.
- Downloaded external subtitles are not saved in the standard place and format for external subtitles. As a consequence they can't be reused (using any media player) nor stored.
- HibyMusic confuses a Wired Network with Mobile Data services.
- No Gapless playback with Music Player. Bypass: Create a single file plus CUE sheet.
- No Native DSD SACD via HDMI (but the DSD 2CH and MCH => PCM conversion is not bad)
- No DVD-Audio MLP support which would make it a perfect MCH Music Player. If that ever comes? Bypass: There are APP's which can extract the MLP 2CH and MCH tracks to PCM.
- All models above Real come with a second HDMI Audio Only output port. Dune offers no choice for Audio on Main + on that 2nd Audio only port concurrently. Both my Egreat A11 and Zidoo UHD3000 do enable to choose dual audio output or on 2nd HDMI only (Auto is the default). This may be a practical limitation with some setups.

"NewGUI"
I am not a very demanding user here so my list is very modest and short.
- Some of the new features can be configured in "Setup / Appearance / Additional" menu which in fact may be called well hidden. At least "Additional" should be labeled "My Collection". Only found it going over the release notes.
- Would like to see the File Title displayed as an option as I tag those with relevant Video/Language details e.g. My Movie (DC DV EN, ES, NLsubs).

These points were shared with Dune support.

Comments are more than welcome.

Appendix B: About Android OS versions and their peculiarities:
This is highly relevant to understand the differences and problems encountered when installing APP's via either the Google Play Store or directly running installation APK's.

Many customers think there is only one Android existing and used universally for everything. As a consequence they expect all Android APP's to run on any platform which they for sure won't.

Android OS versions
There are 3 different Android versions playing a role here. Knowing with which version one is dealing is far from trivial.

Android (standard Android)
It is just called Android running on Smartphones and Tablets
This is the most used Android OS version and referred to by me as "standard Android". It is never used as-is on media players but expected it is often.

The appearance changes with each OS generation slightly adding new features but appearance will vary mostly due to manufacturers/brands mostly using their own overlay on top of it.

Android TV
This is labeled as such and indicated on selected platforms with the "Powered by Android" logo. Only that version is really designed by Google directly for big screens. Android TV or (ATV) must be licensed to be used and may not be altered or customized on a platform to get certified by Google. This warrants stability and compatibility in a high degree.
Using the Google Play Store one will get to see and next get access only to applications specifically designed for Android TV. Some applications exist in both standard Android and Android TV versions to run optimized on mentioned different platforms. Above all APPs for streaming video services are mostly made available in both versions which aren't interchangeable.

ATV comes with its own integral application Launcher/GUI which is really nice and easy to be recognized. Specifically the Launcher/Menu coming with ATV8 and above OS versions is very easy to recognize. it can also be controlled by voice command with remotes including a microphone. 

Android Leanback
But omitting Leanback to be mentioned anywhere causing a big confusing for users and applications to be the standard Android OS version.

This is a modified/patched standard Android kernel for Media Players. It is e.g. patched to be controlled by IR remotes, have HDD's attached via SATA or USB and use the Wired Ethernet. Also the screen aspect ratio is typically forced to use Landscape instead of configurable/automatic Portrait plus Landscape on standard Android.
Manufacturers using modified Leanback seem to be free to use the Android core without licences (remember that is originally a mere linux kernel).

The Android application menu will vary completely with each implementation and may include various options to customize it or not.

Android OS peculiarities
Almost all media players use Android Leanback but some come with Android TV. Using this Leanback Android OS stupid/strange things can happen: Dynamic contrast option for phones, getting settings for battery saving, Notification Bar peculiarities, GPS being expected, APP's insisting to use WiFi as they think a Wired is a Mobile Network, inconvenient keyboard pop-ups, problems with access to Google Application Services and/or the Google Play Store, SDHC optional Internal Storage formatting, limited/bad HDMI-CEC implementation etc etc. IR remote controls often work only partially with installed APP's which often can be improved adding a real pointer-mouse via RF or BT operation to simulate touch screen operations including swiping required by the APP's.

Using different brand media players one will see that the Leanback modification/patching is different with each implementation with varying results for what works or doesn't. Occasionally additional Custom Patching (facilitated by knowledgeable customers) improves standard Android compatibility for certain aspects.

The Android Leanback OS implementation typically comes with the SDK (Software Development Kit) of the SOC providers (AMlogic, Realtek, HiSilicon etc) not from the media player manufacturer. The Android OS upgrade policy hence also comes from the SOC manufacturer! Realtek thus far never upgraded their Leanback OS versions on any of their SOC's once being released (RTD1195=A4, RTD1295=A6, RTD1296=A7, RTD1395=A7, RTD1619=A9). An exception is Hisillicon which moved from A5 to A7 for e.g. Himedia and Egreat media players. It is not media player brand or any other SOC implementer deciding that! For integrated media player FW the Android OS version and generation hardly matters but for App's added manually it for sure makes a big difference.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2022, 04:13:16 PM by Nice Monkey »

OlivierQC

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Re: The "Dune HD Real Vision 4K" review (Vision family)
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2021, 08:45:38 PM »

We will follow this with interest
Sony OLED 77A9G, Pioneer Elite SC-LX704, Focal Dome 5.1.2, Zidoo Z9X

My facebook group dedicated to Zidoo devices and more
https://www.facebook.com/groups/4120686448051503/

See you soon

leonkoum

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Re: The "Dune HD Real Vision 4K" review (Vision family)
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2021, 09:38:00 AM »
Very well!!
Keep going

Nice Monkey

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Re: The Dune HD Real Vision 4K functional review (Vision family)
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2021, 09:18:09 AM »
The integrated players review part is complete now and highlights are marked accordingly.
Comments and corrections are highly welcome.

Coming is using custom installed Music Players and Streaming Services.
Experiences with Streaming Video/Music services are very welcome. Just share them as comments or via PM.

Possibly pictures will be added too. Just share with me which (of what) you would like to see?
« Last Edit: June 13, 2021, 09:25:14 AM by Nice Monkey »

leonkoum

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Re: The Dune HD Real Vision 4K functional review (Vision family)
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2021, 11:48:27 AM »

......... 
Playing without menus (Lite Menu) offers several more features including external subtitles with also a realtime download option for the default language.
Bad enough and qualified as a real shortcoming by me is the fact that external subtitles are not found when playing BD Folders and that neither pointing via the filebrowser to a custom subtitle file with any name is supported.
For sure it does not include many blows and whistles as included by some other brands. I would conclude saying about it "the essential set of features is available" with exception of mentioned external subtitle handling.
........
   

I agree 100% here...
Dune MUST take care of this!

Good job NiceMonkey and tnx for the great review.

futeko.com

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Re: The Dune HD Real Vision 4K functional review (Vision family)
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2021, 03:01:12 PM »
Excellent detailed review. Thanks for posting it here.

Phil181

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Re: The Dune HD Real Vision 4K detailed review (Vision family)
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2021, 12:19:30 PM »
This is a great read.  Thank you so much for your time and effort in providing a detailed review.
I do like the idea of twin HDMI outputs so my AVRKey can be retired!

Nice Monkey

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Re: The Dune HD Real Vision 4K detailed review (Vision family)
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2021, 02:12:56 PM »
I do like the idea of twin HDMI outputs so my AVRKey can be retired!
From Pro Vision model upwards only. Not the Real Vision being reviewed here.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 10:54:08 AM by Nice Monkey »

OlivierQC

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Re: The Dune HD Real Vision 4K detailed review (Vision family)
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2021, 11:53:05 AM »

Thank you for this Excellent detailed review.

I'm glad you did this review,

I see nothing to modify everything is detailed and gives an excellent idea of ​​the capacity of the box

It is a good idea to have removed the ''hdmi in'' completely useless in my opinion

For my part it is the video part that interests me including that of the bdmenu support with some movies (BDmenu Avatar) that interests me and it seems that everything is working correctly ?

you say that you will use it for the audio side, for the video part you prefer the other (competitor) ? or are they similar?

if I understood correctly (I am not good with English) it is a basic device which does its job very well associated with an excellent selling price.

Sony OLED 77A9G, Pioneer Elite SC-LX704, Focal Dome 5.1.2, Zidoo Z9X

My facebook group dedicated to Zidoo devices and more
https://www.facebook.com/groups/4120686448051503/

See you soon

Nice Monkey

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Re: The Dune HD Real Vision 4K detailed review (Vision family)
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2021, 12:18:38 PM »
For my part it is the video part that interests me including that of the bdmenu support with some movies (BDmenu Avatar) that interests me and it seems that everything is working correctly ?
Thus far they all worked for me including my reference Avatar BD

you say that you will use it for the audio side, for the video part you prefer the other (competitor) ? or are they similar?
Except subtitles they are similar for the essential features and PQ.
For Audio it is a real barebone player but without any quirks (haha after they solve my issues reported).

if I understood correctly (I am not good with English) it is a basic device which does its job very well associated with an excellent selling price.
Price/performance is on par with that other brand which is excellent too.
Specifically both have very sharp priced entry models.


The player is really different which should appeal to those appreciating its specific goodies.
As Futeko stated before there should be a market for each. I can only agree with Simon here.

« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 01:32:11 PM by Nice Monkey »

OlivierQC

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Re: The Dune HD Real Vision 4K detailed review (Vision family)
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2021, 03:16:07 PM »

thank you for your feedback

On the other hand my opinion differs with yours and Simon's for what are 2 different markets

I will follow your thread, this box is very interesting, just wait to see if Dune HD updates ''Mycollection''.
Sony OLED 77A9G, Pioneer Elite SC-LX704, Focal Dome 5.1.2, Zidoo Z9X

My facebook group dedicated to Zidoo devices and more
https://www.facebook.com/groups/4120686448051503/

See you soon

Nice Monkey

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Re: The Dune HD Real Vision 4K detailed review (Vision family)
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2021, 08:27:41 AM »
Got Dune subtitles sorted out. Even Dune Support put me on the wrong leg first. No need for index.srt at all after all.
The Vision in fact supports standard named subtitles in multiple languages the same way with ISO and BDMV Folders. The problem they must be in the same parent folder as the main movie BDMV folder resides. Works next identical for movies in ISO format or in BDMV folders which is excellent news.

Index.srt was an old Dune single subtitle implementation and won't come back.
It is replaced by the universal multiple subtitle support with ISO 2-pos and ISO 3-pos naming convention for language tagging. See example below with 1 subtile without a tag and 2 other subtitles with English and Spanish tags.

Example for Mymovies mainfolder with multiple movie BDMV folders starting with movie-1:
Mymovies/
Mymovies/movie-1
Mymovies/movie-1/BDMV
Mymovies/movie-1/CERTIFICATE
Mymovies/movie-1.srt
Mymovies/movie-1.EN.srt
Mymovies/movie-1.ES.srt


Adding them 1 level down to the movie-1 folder itself:
Mymovies/
Mymovies/movie-1
Mymovies/movie-1/BDMV
Mymovies/movie-1/CERTIFICATE
Mymovies/movie-1/movie-1.EN.srt
Does not work. This is what all other players use.

Dune confirmed they will support BDMV folders with subtitles within the folder with the coming  FW update.
Excellent news.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 10:27:37 AM by Nice Monkey »

 

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