A.C.Ryan is one of the better respected media streamer manufacturers in the Europe and Asia Pacific markets. Unfortunately, their presence in the US has been restricted to a few resellers. Next month, they are planning to open a dedicated office in San Francisco. This should draw quite a bit of interest from potential partners.

It is a well known fact that the demand for media streamers in those markets is much more than the demand in the US market. The US market for media streamers is a completely different beast to tame. It comes with baggage in the form of necessity to support premium VOD services. Netflix is mandatory for any product which hopes to sell in volume to US consumers. The presence of online audio services like Pandora is almost taken for granted. Vudu and Amazon VOD are services actively courted by multiple media streamer manufacturers.

On the other hand, the movie studios are grumbling about Netflix, the middleman, taking away a bigger chunk of the pie than they had bargained for. Now, those studious want a piece of the action, but have no direct connection with the end consumers. This situation is ripe for a premium set top box to make an appearance. A secure, DRM protected set top box like the Roku may attract VOD service providers as well as studios wanting to create a direct channel between themselves and the users. The Boxee Box launched with such expectations, and Boxee hoped to make money by creating an avenue for premium video service providers to get the attention of the users. This year, A.C.Ryan is hoping to do the same with their  Intel CE4150 based premium set top box, the Fluxx.

The two previous models from A.C.Ryan used the Realtek chipset, and A.C.Ryan plans to use the next generation processors from Realtek for the second generation PlayOn! HD products. The Intel based model is geared towards a completely new market for premium functionality.

We will first take a look at the Fluxx and then analyze the Realtek based models.

A.C.Ryan Fluxx
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  • ganeshts - Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - link

    Much lower power consumption, for one...
  • rigamortis1594 - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    ive got a newer toshiba LED that is supposed to support streaming video through wifi, but even if i could play my media that i see, it doesn't support mk2v. Then i have the older WD media player that plays files when it feels like it, its weird, and only works with a certain hard drive, and only 720p. Then ive got a wii which i can connect to TVversity through but only on smaller lower res files. Then ive got a comcast box, i mean come on. Its getting ridiculous. I just want to have media on a pc or nas box that i can access through wireless to my TV and have the correct sound and video processed.

    With all these devices i still can't get what i want, its driving me nuts. True a playstation does consume more power, but i mean how much does a PS3 really consume, does it play mk2v? If it does, i can sell my blu ray (oh yeah forgot to mention) another internet enabled device that i have and get that.

    Makes a lot of sense. How about a cable box, with a blu ray, hard drive, and obviously a cable card, and maybe a wii mod of sorts. That would make it so i could sell 4 devices. i'll take that if its reliable, but unfortunately that is called a PC, and i can't rely on a PC to do all of that, suggestions?
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - link

    That's pretty much my opinion as well for my case. I just got a 1080p and see a PS3 in my future in the next year and while slightly more expensive (both cost and consumption) it does pretty much everything I need with games to boot.
  • 7Enigma - Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - link

    40" G25 Panasonic Plasma*
  • Etern205 - Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - link

    RLUXX sounds a lot like Rolex.
  • notanakin - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    As an unfortunate victim of one of AC Ryan's other media players (PlayonHD) I advise readers to take a look at the AC Ryan forums before they buy any device from them.

    Just take a look at the long list of complaints from users. It seems the company's policy is to shovel the hardware out and worry about the firmware/software later.
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - link

    To be frank, no media player is perfect.

    Of course, when the unit comes in for review, we will give feedback to AC Ryan (already sent them some samples from our test suite for them to fix before releasing the product). After that, it is just a matter of how responsive AC Ryan is and that is going to be reflected in the review :)
  • khimera2000 - Thursday, January 20, 2011 - link

    It looks nice, but I dont see it really taking off, not to mention that i never really looked at realtek as bleeding edge ( just how i see realtek. bad experiance).

    With the capability for nearly all modern day computers to plug into any descent TV, they really have to come out swinging, for me to even consider it I would want cablecard (or dish) support with the ability to navigate easily to what i want, and since these boxes are touting premium services i would need a way to find what im looking for across the board regardless of the service provider (netflix, Blockbuster Etc.) or location (local hard drive, cloud storage, phone... family dog ).

    If the access to premium and local content isint seamless, if the system lacks cable card support, and if the codecs suck (although they have a complete list dosent mean there any good) then this wount make any shopping list. It just dosent have a place to fit in... in short im not impresed, tivo alrady did the content provider thing, I have to see a more hands on and thorough review before i even consider this device.
  • AunyBravo - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

    In my oppinion, this is the world best media network player right now, I have yet to see a file format this cannot play plus it support DTS 5.1 and mkv, moreover you can play online media like hulu or bbc iplayer.
  • Wwhat - Sunday, February 6, 2011 - link

    A,C.Ryan used to have youtube in their media players, then youtube/google sent them a mail to remove it, since that time they did not manage to get youtube back it seems.
    So if they fail at even convincing youtube I don't see them having much future with the others who are generally regarded more protective
    I think google doesn't allow youtube in products from foreign countries or something? I'm not sure what they are doing in that area.

    This story also shows where google is going these days incidentally with their change to being like all the others with their hiding of torrentresults and this kind of thing.
    Actually I have the impression that being in the telecom business a while will make anybody an asshole, so maybe that's it.

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