Announced in November 2002, the Maestro DVX-1201 was a highly anticipated player.
It is the first product from start-up Neuston, a Singapore-based firm, and will
be among the first DivX/MPEG-4-compatible players available anywhere. With the
trend of computers being used in homes today, as a tool of entertainment, it comes
as no surprise that the all-encompassing standalone players have become more popular.
No longer satisfied with a 15 or 17 inch monitor, users have long called for standalones
that could play most file formats on their big screen televisions or projectors.
Thoroughly impressed during the official Neuston launch in Singapore, we finally
got a unit to test out. It is important that such standalone players be tested
thoroughly again and again before we launch our review. The DVX-1201 is a very
sleek unit. Note that being sleek does not mean it is small in size.
The DVX-1201 comes with a set of standard red,white,yellow RCA cables for Audio/Composite
Video, and a SCART cable. It was confusing at first since SCART is a european
standard, and most Asia players comes with S-Video cables instead. Unfortunately,
my only SCART capable monitor is not with me so I could not test the SCART output.
Comparatively, the DVX-1201 is not much bigger than a conventional DVD player.
With a blue front panel display on the silver case, the player looks modern
in design. One thing that caught my attention was the remote control. It is
amazingly light and slim, and yet possesses all the buttons needed for operation
of the unit.
For those of you who are unsure as to how the DVX-1201 works, just think of it this
way. It is like a computer that plays media files on your home’s big screen television. Yes,
I have heard of TV-Out cards that essentially behave like a standalone player.
But it is not the same. First off, connecting your television to a computer
is a pain. I know. I have done the same thing before. The wires coming out of
your computer and into the back of your television is really messy if you don’t
wire it up properly. Yes, and also the small thing of not being able to use
the computer while you are watching the movie, along with the very irritating
pop-ups you get when your MSN or ICQ is turned on.
The remote control
is spiffy for couch potatoes like me. However, the layout could have been slightly more organised. This can be easily achieved by designating different sections for different purposes (eg. common video controls could have been grouped together and less used buttons like numbers could have been put all the way at the bottom). Some standard visual graphics like the PLAY sign could have also been added to aid the user. Text tagged to certain buttons are noted to be a little too close to other buttons (eg. the REMOVE text and the STOP button), leading to a possible scenario where one might actually keep pressing the wrong buttons. Otherwise, like any other video player, you can’t live without the remote control as most options can only be executed via it.