Functionality and Firmware
So, the HD360W is advanced on the hardware side. Let’s now check out its firmware. I will be talking about Iconbit’s firmware but there is little difference between the various versions of this player, according to user reports. The latest version of the HD360W’s firmware is 188.8.131.52.163 whereas version 184.108.40.206.162 is considered the basic one (it is installed by default). The two versions differ but slightly, though. The available firmware doesn’t seem quite polished off yet. I don’t mean the player doesn’t work right. Everything is okay unless you begin to experiment. I noticed one thing about this player during my tests. It likes to hang up at any nonstandard event. For example, if the wireless connection is broken while you are playing video over Wi-Fi, the player just hangs up. It doesn’t have a reset button, so you have to unplug it from the mains. The HD360W is also somewhat sluggish at certain operations (not when playing video or audio). These problems persisted with the newer firmware version.
While the developers of the player (in all of its varieties) are in no hurry to correct the problems, enthusiasts have already got busy writing their own firmware. You can read long threads about that at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=763110 and http://www.hdd-player.de/phpBB2/index.php?board=7.0. There you can also find links to other websites and forums related to the HD360W. The third-party developers are working on transforming the HD360W into a kind of NAS with player functions. They are also trying to solve the problem of low Wi-Fi performance I will discuss later.
Now let’s see what you can do with the latest official firmware. Every setting and operation mode of the player is indicated on the display device the player is connected to at the moment. The user interface looks nice using a calm blue color scheme, informative icons, large fonts, and an intuitive menu structure. It is a real pleasure to use the HD360W’s interface. You don’t have to strain your eyes, the dialogs are not overloaded with information, the interface is legible on any display. The developer has provided for the user’s comfort.
After the player boots up, the file browser’s start page is shown on the screen. In the top right corner of each browser page there is an informational window of the player’s Jukebox feature that displays the music track being played.
The Jukebox allows you to build your own play-list out of compositions stored on any media attached to the HD360W.
In the bottom part of the main page you can see icons linked to file locations. The icons are bright when the corresponding locations are accessible and translucent if not. The first three icons refer to the standard folders with videos, audios and photos stored on the internal HDD. The next two icons refer to devices connected to the player’s USB ports. The last icon refers to the player’s network environment. You can read a brief comment on the selected icon in the center of the screen.
If you choose one of the active (highlighted) icons, you will see a window where you can navigate the list of files and folders. You can search for a file in the selected location or choose a new location in the top part of the screen (internal HDD, USB1, USB2, network). Below the list of locations, there is an address line that displays the full path to the necessary file. And lower yet, there is a list of all the supported files stored in the selected folder. The left column contains basic commands that help navigate and choose files.
You can enter the player’s setup menu by pressing the appropriate button on the remote control or on the player’s case. The settings are divided into five groups plus an Exit item. A tip on the navigation buttons is always displayed at the bottom of the screen. All the groups of settings are shown in the top part of the window as icons. I will describe these groups briefly.
The first group is about the player’s video signal. You can choose the video signal format, screen resolution, screen aspect ratio, etc.