The Wyplay Wyplayer is a 500GB HD PVR (personal video recorder) and media streamer.
The Wyplay Wyplayer is a French product that has only just been introduced to the UK market - our test unit didn't yet have United Kingdom as an option when setting our location. Despite this it provided all the setup information we needed in flawless English and had no problem scanning for and promptly finding 38 terrestrial and free-to-air digital TV channels.
It comes in capacities of 500GB and 1TB, with a 2TB model on its way. The Wyplay Wyplayer supports 802.11n Wi-Fi, has an ethernet cable and is fully equipped with all the cables you need including a gold-plated HDMI cable. Component video and audio, ethernet, USB, S-Video and USB cables are all present and correct.
The Wyplayer is noticeably smaller and lighter than the Netgear Digital Entertainer, to which it is most closely akin. It has two digital TV tuners built in, so you can record one channel while watching a programme on another or playing a recording you'd scheduled earlier. The Wyplay Wyplayer is a proper PVR with an electronic programme guide, parental controls, live TV pausing and freeze-framing. You can schedule individual or series recordings and can ‘favourite' any item you choose.
The pared down, slim black remote control has a few more options than the Apple TV, but shares its reliance on an onscreen qwerty keyboard that you must negotiate using only a scrollwheel for company. Thankfully, once you've paired up the Wyplay Wyplayer and your network you won't need to go through the WEP key entry rigmarole again.
Locally attached or network attached storage drives can be recognised, content from them played back and items included in playlists you can create on the fly. You can add single or multiple items from an album or folder to a playlist and then save it to an external device or to the Wyplay Wyplayer's own hard drive. As well as being created on the fly from multiple sources, their playback order can be edited and stored.
YouTube and a range of other online media portals are supported - Wyplay is in the process of adding more - and if you sign in to your Wyplay Universe (a local and online account that lets you manage your media) you can also store files in an online archive and share them with friends - you just send them a link to your uploaded playlists, saved YouTube clips and photos.
Support for media playback formats is superb - everything from Ogg Vorbis and Flac to lossless AAC, H.264 Mpeg4 and Mpeg2 codecs to DiVx, xVid and the torrent-friendly MKV HD video formats can be played.
The Wyplay Wyplayer's attractive and bright menus are friendly without being too simplistic or cartoonish but tend towards the clunky. Album art didn't seem to be supported for the songs we played from our LaCie NAS drive, for example, while the TV listings displayed channel names as folder names and only let you scroll down and view programme synopses for a single channel at a time. We could view these details on the righthand side of the screen while a programme was playing. We also suspect Wyplay will quickly add a proper EPG to what is its headline product.
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