By October 2, 2009

Hisense 1080p HD Media Player Review

The Hisense  HD Media Player is a simple proposition really, it lets you browse your media without needing a PC running in order to do so.

Hisense 1080p Media Player

Your media can be on USB keys/drives or on your network as this little box says it can handle them all – lets find out.


What’s in the box

  • Hisense Media Player
  • Remote control (with batteries)
  • Power cable
  • UK adapter
  • Composite AV cable
  • Component cable (according to manual, though not in our review box)


  • Flash memory: 16MB
  • SDRAM: DDR2 128MB
  • Video codec:
    -MPEG-2 up to 1080P
    -MPEG-4 (720P/1080i/1080P) ,Xvid
    -H.264 up to 1080P
    -WMV9/VC-1 up to 1080P
    -RealNetworks(RM/RMVB)8/9/10 up to 1920*720(720P)
    -Flash Video
  • Audio codec:
    -MPEG-1 Layers I,II and III and MPEG-2
    -DTS HD Master Audio,LBR
    -Dolby digital Plus,TrueHD
    -RA1/RA-cook/RA-lossless WMA/WMA Pro
  • Video/Audio output:
    -Video YPBPR / HDMI out
    -Audio RCA stereo out(L/R)
  • Network: RJ45 for Ethernet x 1
  • USB port: USB 2.0 x 2
  • Power supply: AC 100~240V / 50~60Hz, DC12V,2A
  • Dimension: 210 x 170 x 32mm
  • Weight: 315g



Tradition dictates that a quick tour around the outside is the first thing we should do.

Hisense 1080p Media Player front view 

Not much to report on the front view, just an led that lights up in the center. Red if the unit is off, green if the unit is on.

Hisense 1080p Media Player left view

On the left hand side we find two USB 2.0 ports. You can’t really tell from the picture above, but they are recessed slightly into the body of the casing. Not enough to make them completely inaccessible, more to make them ‘discrete’


Around the back is where we will find all the connections. From left to right – Component RGB, audio left + right, S/PDIF audio out, HDMI, RJ45 Network and power in.


There is nothing on the right hand side so we’ll skip that and show you the remote.


We’ll be discussing this further in a minute.



  • It happily handled most media that I threw at it
  • Up-scaling is very watchable



  • Remote
  • Interface



The first thing that struck me about the Hisense HD Media Player as I took it out of the box was its weight. It’s as light as the proverbial feather. I suspect the connections on the rear are the only thing making the box the size it is – at this weight there can’t be an awful lot in there. Not to say that the resulting package is large, it’s not – it’s footprint being just slightly larger than a DVD box.


Setup couldn’t really be any simpler – just connect the power and your choice of output cable – I went with HDMI as it saves messing with audio and video separately.

Whilst mentioning the setup, I must just say that the UK power adapter included in the box is the ugliest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Most devices these days have ‘clip-in’ pieces for the basic power adapter ‘lump’, allowing you to select the one applicable to your region. The Hisense HD Media Player does not, it comes with a fixed two prong adapter which you then connect into a UK convertor plug – it’s very like a black moulded version of a travel adapter and not very pretty at all.


Anyway, back to the functionality.

On first ‘boot’ you are greeted with the Hisense logo and then the main menu screen – all in Chinese. A quick press of the setup button on the remote and a fairly obvious guess let me quickly change everything to English. (Curiously the button is marked ‘Setup’ on the remote, yet it’s called ‘Settings’ within the menu itself). The manual enclosed in our review box was also Chinese.

Once everything was in a language I could understand, the settings menus, though fairly basic, seem to offer most of the things that the average user is going to want to control.

‘Audio’ settings are a choice of RAW or LPCM output.

‘Video’ settings has some more options on hand. You can change aspect ratio (also changeable on the fly with the remote), the brightness and contrast (and yes I was surprised to see these being changeable within the unit itself instead of having to change the TV itself), Digital Noise Reduction on or off, and finally, the selection of resolution that you want to output at – ranging from basic NTSC or PAL all the way up to 1080p.

‘Network’ settings allow you to set the IP of the box by connecting to a DHCP or else you can give it a fixed IP, entering the IP, Subnet and Default Gateway yourself – which is the only reason for the remote having number keys as far as I can tell.

‘System’ settings allows you to change the menu language, text encoding, update the firmware or do a reset to default settings.

The final sub-menu is ‘Other’ which is primarily used to change the settings for automated slideshows of images – timing can be set from Off up to 2 minutes, transitions can be set to a single personal choice or set to random, background music can be on or off. There are additional settings in here for Resume Play, Movie Preview and Screen Saver.


So once you’ve finished fiddling with all the settings you can get on with actually looking at your media.


The browser interface for media selection is best described as ‘functional’. It’s not all bells and whistles, it just does the job. The presentation is really just a list of files and folders, which you can limit to be just photos, just movies, just audio or all media that it recognises. Alongside the list is a preview frame, and guess what, that’s a preview of the media file currently selected – if Movie Preview is set to On in the settings, then it will actually start to play a movie file in there, otherwise it’s only actually used for images and to tell you the file size and encoding of the media in question.


Once you choose your media it will ‘play’. Images will behave as a slideshow as per your settings, music will play within the browser and movies will play fullscreen.

Not really much else to say on images – it handles large JPG’s just fine and that’s likely to be it’s main use (it doesn’t like RGBA PNG’s, displaying the alpha as either on or off instead of 256 levels). You can zoom and pan around the current image, but everything else is really controlled by the slideshow settings.

Audio playback is very basic, there are no visualisers or anything fancy, it just plays the file. Don’t think this is going to be a common use tho, more of an easy thing for the engineers to add as all the MP3 decoding is already in place for the movies.

So, onto the primary use for the box – video playback.

I tried DivX, XVid, MPEG and MOV files that I had to hand, ranging from low resolution all the way up to full 1080p HD and the Hisense HD Media Player handled them all easily. I was outputting at 1080p 60Hz with Digital Noise Reduction turned on and I never saw a glitch, all the sound was in-sync – just exactly what you’d expect the player to do really.

When a video is playing you can fast forward and fast rewind up to 32 times normal speed – though there is no slow-mo functionality which surprised me a little. I imagine that it’s something they could add with a firmware patch, but out of the box it’s not there. You can also skip to the previous or next video in the current folder with a single button press.

You can change the video ‘zoom’ settings with a press of the remote whilst playing as well, so if your videos include 4:3 and 16:9 you can always find a setting that best shows the video in question.

You can also change the audio output settings on the fly as well – not something most people are going to use, but it’s nice that it’s there as an option.

The only other real option during playback is an information bar that you can call up to see some basic information about the movie you are playing – how many minutes into the file you are and the number of files in the current directory. It doesn’t tell you how many remaining minutes, which is frustrating if you are used to that sort of functionality from other media players (as I am).

So that’s a quick rundown of how everything works, what did I actually think of the player.

First off, I’d like to say that the hardware in the player itself seems to be very capable of the job that it’s asked to do. Apart from RGBA PNG’s, everything else I tried worked just fine – and I was very happy with the upscaling and DNR in general.

I was able to play videos off USB keys and over the network without any real problems. The only time I saw anything not working was when I connected to a Buffalo drive over the network. It didn’t seem to be able to retrieve the file information, so it couldn’t tell me the file size and encoding as it did with other sources – but it would play them just fine. On the same drive it didn’t like me selecting the Buffalo ‘filing system’ instead of the raw folder structure, it just hung, but once I went back to the raw folders things were fine.

The remote is the first thing that lets  the player down. It’s a very basic thing, on first look it reminded me of a remote control for ceiling fans or those really cheap VOIP ‘phones’. The keys themselves feel nasty as they are obviously just buttons directly onto ‘switches’, there is no softness in the tactile experience. On top of that sometimes a button press selects a different option, so you can be watching a video and press a button to fast forward and it will pause or completely stop the playback – it’s not a bug that happens every single time, but it happens enough to become very annoying very quickly. The shape is also very boxy, nothing at all to make it nice to hold.

In general the remote feels cheap and as that is a large part of the user experience it’s going to taint your thoughts on the player itself.

Another important part of the experience is the user interface, and again this was disappointingly basic.

The settings menus are fine, but the browser where you are going to spend the majority of your time is about as basic as it comes – it literally is just a file and folder list, there are no thumbnail previews within that folder for example, you only see a preview of the currently selected item. A little more effort here would make a huge difference to the user experience. To be fair, in general you can indeed get to all your media but to navigate up and down through folder structures feels a little laboured and is certainly not helped by the remote itself. The actual selection of a file can take a moment, as whilst it let’s you browse up and down the list as fast as you wish, it insists on checking the file information before it will let you select play – which leads to more frustration if you as you want to get to your files.

All this is a shame really as the actual player itself is very capable of doing the playback.



I’ve used the Hisense HD Media Player for about a week now and I think it’s a shame that the unit is let down by it’s user experience.

When it’s actually playing the media it does the job in fine fashion, but the second you actually want to do something the interface and remote really start to get on your nerves.

The problems I’ve described above could be fixed with a new remote and a better thought out interface, but as it stands the player is a little frustrating to use.

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