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Xmas for the Movie Marathon Groupies: HD (4K) Media Players

November 14, 2016       Tech Buzz
Best Gift for Movie Marathon
Fans are HD (4K) Media Players

Portable gadget box you plug anywhere
for those "group study-movie marathon"
sleepovers

Barkada groups and student friends all have those nights when they hang out in a place and do their group study sessions--while running some movie marathon in the background.  In the old days, you'd bring along a whole collection of CDs or vinyl records plus video tapes or DVDs of your favorite movies as your "white noise" stuff while going through the motions of sharing study notes or finishing some class project.  These days most media files can be stored in a USB thumbdrive or a mobile device.  So going to any get-together for some downtime involves less clutter.

But you don't really need an expensive smartphone, tablet, or PC to watch or listen to HD media files anymore. A very nice gift this Xmas for movie marathon fans will be a portable ultra-HD (4k) media player that can plug into any TV monitor or computer monitor.  You just pull up a simple menu to play media files on any USB thumbdrive or SD storage card from your smartphone or camera.


TV is now going the route of "internet of things" streaming devices.  So you can actually download all of your favorite shows and watch them on your own time and be free to do your stuff the whole day, week or weekend.  Local free TV have started providing TV boxes for a monthly fee to get custom content from cable-only shows to old movies.



What can you do with a portable ultra-HD (4K) media player?  Ultra-HD (4K) media players are solid state electronic boxes you can tote anywhere to do almost everything, from setting up a slideshow or video presentation for your work or school project or just hanging out at a friend's place and hooking up to their TV set or speakers and chilling to music or checking out your lakwatsa pictures and selfies together. 

The device itself is stable enough to withstand normal handling while traveling, though those with an internal hard-drive should be given extra care but most of the new media players are all solid state devices with memory built in which includes solid state internal storage and a very good CPU processor.

An ultra-HD (4K) media player can be your cheap and portable home theater system that can scale your enjoyment from DVD quality analog color-TV viewing up to the state-of-the-art, ultra-HD (4K) movie experience, once you have the gear or go to a place set up with 4K (official tech definition of ultra-high definition movie viewing) capable video or computer monitors. 

Ultra-HD 4K video has a
pixel resolution of 4096x2160 (4,000 pixels, 8.8 megapixels, 17:9 aspect ratio) mainly for digital cinema, or of a resolution of 3840× 2160 (8.3 megapixels, 16:9 aspect ratio.  You can have a movie marathon anywhere or put together playlists of stuff you love from images to videos or music files.  Some media players are small computers themselves that can run some console games in 4K HD too!  Let's look at what's available out there.



MX-Q Kodi Wifi 4K HD Media Player

The MX-Q Kodi 4K HD media box is one of those low-cost brands that let you get a taste of HD 4K media playback and streaming for $36 or so. You can order online and receive your xmas gift in 3 days from most reputable sellers like Lazada and Banggood.  The MX-Q, TV BOX Android 4.4 Amlogic S805 Quad Core 1G/8GB Kodi (15.2), Wifi capable, 1080P, 4k Streaming Media Player is not bad for anyone who wants to make sure ultraHD 4K is up to snuff for what he wants to spend for the viewing experience. 



If you don't have 4K HD gear, the device is still decent for watching 1080p HD videos and all of your local content such as HD images and even audiobook and music files.  You don't need to put together an audiophile system or turn on your computer to enjoy all of your digital content.  Just insert your USB thumbdrive into the MX-Q HD player and watch your favorite home movie collection.  This device may currently by the cheapest option you can get online and may continue to drop in price.  As an entry level ultra-HD media box, you can check the MX-Q player out first if don't want to break your wallet. on high-end brand equipment.


Xiaomi Mi Box


Xiaomi is renowned for its Mi 2 smartphone as the best low cost yet fully featured iPhone alternative. The Chinese brand has also entered the ultra-high definition (4K) TV-box market with its Mi Box media player.  At $70, you get as good, high-end 4K media playback as pricier brands but get additional bundled features for online TV streaming sites.  The Xiaomi Mi Box even has 8 GB of internal storage but cannot handle HD games smoothly as a standalone console alternative for older video games that can be played back using an emulator within Android.



The bundled apps and content are come-ons for western buyers, but for ASEAN-based fans of ultra-HD media, you get a personal media player that you can use for viewing your own personal content libraries--from pictures, most video and audio file formats plus some bundled games. 

If you want a good brand that doesn't gouge your wallet but is almost as good as a Sony or Amazon Prime TV but cheaper than the gaming dedicated SHIELD TV box, you won't go wrong with Xiaomi's own Mi Box.  Check out the specs on their website and on tech gadget review sites.


WDTV

Western Digital is a respected name in external data storage and the brand also has niche products for media and entertainment that involve storing and playing back digital media files, from videos to music and images. 

The WD-TV Media player is actually a discontinued media player and it does not support 4K HD media files, yet it was so popular just a year or so back that people were hoarding the TV box and buying up to 3 units at a time.  There are still certified refurbished units that one can buy for under $100 from online resellers. 



The WD-TV may also be the only media player gadget that is increasing in price as a discontinued product, it so sought after because of its features and full compatibility to play back most media files except for 4K HD and it has reportedly been one of the best TV boxes for online streaming services.

You can purchase one from local online resellers from P3000 and up if you want a truly proven and tested product for Full HD media viewing and listening.  If you like what you see, you can get your 4K HD media player of choice once you get your home video up to snuff.



If you want a low cost gadget this holiday season or for any gift-giving occasion, you can't go wrong checking out all the brands available for both Full HD media players like the WD-TV or for ultra-HD 4K (four times the resolution of Full High Definition) media boxes.  The price may range from as low as Php 1600 up to Php 5,000 or so and this is still cheaper than the latest smartphone or a cheap tablet.

We know the ritual of handling each hardcopy disk of a media title can also be part of what makes movie or music marathons enjoyable but once you get a taste of having a movie/music  marathon of your personal media collection, you'll want a more convenient way of getting your fun without the hassle on those days or nights when you just want to sit back and put something on. 

This may also be one of the most useful gadgets in an off-grid location situation--all your media files are in a USB thumbdrive or any other external storage device and you can plug into any analog TV to enjoy some downtime anywhere.  Save up for one soon!


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