Review: Zidoo NEO Alpha

Discussion in 'HDD Media player(RTD 1619DR)' started by Sledgehamma, Aug 3, 2022.

  1. Sledgehamma

    Sledgehamma Active Member

    native SDR:
    [​IMG]

    Zidoo:
    [​IMG]

    Philips:
    [​IMG]

    native HDR:
    [​IMG]

    Same as before: Both brighten the overall image a bit too much, but VS10 to a lesser extend.

    native SDR:
    [​IMG]

    Zidoo:
    [​IMG]

    Philips:
    [​IMG]

    native HDR:
    [​IMG]

    Philips makes the picture look a little bit warmer and brightens the overall image. However, the sun is not as bright as it should be.
    With VS10 the overall image is brighter as well, but only very little change in colour.

    native SDR:
    [​IMG]

    Zidoo:
    [​IMG]

    Philips:
    [​IMG]

    native HDR:
    [​IMG]


    Philips changes the colours compared to the HDR master, they are closer in line with the SDR master. VS10 on the other hand is pretty close to the HDR master.

    native SDR:
    [​IMG]

    Zidoo:
    [​IMG]

    Philips:
    [​IMG]

    native HDR:
    [​IMG]

    It can be seen that the VS10 processing does an excellent job in converting SDR to HDR (Dolby Vision) without altering the colours too much. It seems that VS10 also converts BT.709 to BT.2020 while Philips does not. The only aspect missing is an increased peak luminance of highlights such as the sun which the HDR master offers. Overall Dolby’s proprietary VS10 processing is the clear winner of the two.



    Upscaling:

    As this is not directly affected by Dolby VS10 a direct comparison with the Z9X hasn’t been made. Instead, please have a look at the Review of the Dune Pro 4K II for the SoC’s upscaling capabilities:
    https://www.avsforum.com/threads/review-dune-pro-4k-ii.3164510/#post-60013141
     
    serg fedorov likes this.
  2. Sledgehamma

    Sledgehamma Active Member

    Settings:

    You have the ability to sync the frame rate of the video to the display and there is also a “pure direct” mode in which the Zidoo sends the native resolution and frame rate to the display. This is especially useful in case you have a high end video processor, which does a better job than the Realtek SoC.
    [​IMG]

    In case you have one of the above options enabled you can set a fixed pause time before the video starts. This is practical in case you are a projector owner due to the extremely long HDMI sync times.
    [​IMG]

    The player remembers when you stopped a video:
    [​IMG]

    Default language setting for audio and subtitles:
    [​IMG]

    3D to 2D conversion as the latest displays no longer support 3D:
    [​IMG]
    For fast navigation while playback you can map several buttons to your specific needs. For example the number keys can be set to jump to 10% (press 1) or fast forward/rewind 15s:
    [​IMG]

    For the audio and subtitle keys you can choose between toggling through them or getting a list:
    [​IMG]

    Change which Information you want to be presented with during playback when pressing the info key:
    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]

    Repeat mode. Mostly useful for music or TV show playback:
    [​IMG]

    Settings for forced subtitles: “Follow default flag” and “first forced subtitle” are new:
    [​IMG]

    Setting the default region code for Blu-ray menu playback:
    [​IMG]

    Positive or negative audio offset:
    [​IMG]

    Downloaded subtitles can be saved directly next to the video:
    [​IMG]

    GUI resolution (note: set it to 23hz in case you have long HDMI sync times):
    [​IMG]

    Similar to Dune you are able to set specific chroma subsampling for specific resolutions/frame rates:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  3. Sledgehamma

    Sledgehamma Active Member

    Some compatibility settings in case you cant get full bit depth:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    For HDR to SDR conversion the gamma can be changed in order to get the best picture for your specific display. However, this applies only for Realtek HDR to SDR conversion and not to VS10.
    [​IMG]


    HDR settings. This allows you to specify how HDR is processed and sent to your display.
    [​IMG][​IMG]


    Auto sends everything at its native dynamic range. This means that SDR gets outputted as SDR and HDR will be sent in its native format: HDR10 as HDR10, HDR10+ as HDR10+ (if you have a compatible display otherwise HDR10 will be sent) and DV as DV. This basically is the “pure direct” option for HDR and should be used in case you want the least processed picture.
    If you have an HDR or DV display, select Auto, but in the case of an SDR display, VS10 for HDR, DV content is preferable

    Mapping HDR10
    All content (SDR/HDR) will be sent as HDR10 (HDR10+ is output as HDR10+).

    Highest SDR Rec.709
    Uses Realtek’s conversion and sends everything (SDR/HDR) as SDR

    Highest SDR Rec.2020
    Sends SDR Rec.709 as SDR Rec.709 and converts HDR to SDR inside Rec.2020

    Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For all content)
    Outputs everything using VS10 *

    Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For SDR content)
    Outputs only SDR content using VS10 *
    Everything else will revert to “auto”, e.g. HDR10 as HDR10, HDR10+ as HDR10+

    Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For HDR content)
    Outputs HDR10(+) content using VS10 *.
    Everything else will revert to “auto”


    Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For DV content)
    Outputs DV using VS10 * (In the case of DV display it just passes DV through)
    Everything else will revert to “auto”

    Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For SDR, HDR content)
    Outputs SDR and HDR10(+) using VS10 *
    Everything else will revert to “auto”

    Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For SDR, DV content)
    Outputs SDR and DV using VS10 *
    Everything else will revert to “auto”

    Dolby Vision VS10 Engine (For SDR, HDR, DV content)
    Same as above just added HDR10(+) to the mix.

    Dolby Vision Low Latency (LLDV, YUV422, 12bit etc)
    Only available if the display supports it, this mode outputs everything in LLDV (Low Latency Dolby / Player Led Dolby Vision).

    Please note that, as with all NEO models, because of a SoC limitation due to the front OLED display, this mode does not send LLDV from the GUI – the GUI is presented in SDR.

    If the EDID allows (certain Philips displays) LLDV modes can be set to RGB or YCbCr in 10 or 12-bit, however since LLDV is handled in 4:2:2 12-bit, this is the preferable mode.

    LLDV is the only supported DV mode used by older Sony TVs. In addition, some LG and Panasonic TVs support LLDV modes as well. The important aspect of this is that no matter how your TV supports Dolby Vision, the Zidoo is able to send a DV signal to it.

    * Output will depend on the display – VS10 will always choose the highest order of dynamic range processing available (SDR, HDR, DV in that order)

    The Zidoo transmits the correct HDR10 meta data to your display in case it relies on those values for its tone mapping (for example the 2020 generation of Philips OLEDs like the 805 can be set to use those values):
    [​IMG]

    Screen scale. Best to let it untouched at 100%:
    [​IMG]

    You can set the aspect ratio of the output to different formats and have the ability to choose between compression (the content of the image will be compressed t the new aspect ratio) or screen cover (the content of the image outside of the new aspect ratio will get cut off):
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Basic picture parameters and a preview of the changes. Its best to let this untouched as well as these settings should be set inside your display for calibration purposes only:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Customisable background:
    [​IMG]

    Different settings for the dual HDMI output.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  4. Sledgehamma

    Sledgehamma Active Member

    Audio settings, RAW means bitstream:
    [​IMG]

    S/PDIF audio settings:
    [​IMG]

    In case your TV/AVR doesn’t support HD audio you can down mix it:
    [​IMG]

    Change the sample rate of audio and you can also see your EDID regarding audio:
    [​IMG]

    USB audio settings with DSD support:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Another compatibility setting, this time for audio:
    [​IMG]

    Volume settings regarding the DAC:
    [​IMG]

    Setting the input for the DAC. This can also be toggled through via remote:
    [​IMG]

    Filter settings for PCM and DSD:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Setting the sample rate. This is important in case you want everything played back gapless:
    [​IMG]

    DAC volume:
    [​IMG]

    XLR polarity:
    [​IMG]

    The light of the ethernet port can be turned off:
    [​IMG]

    SMB server is available:
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Sledgehamma

    Sledgehamma Active Member

    You can also use the NEO Alpha as a WiFi access point:
    [​IMG]

    CEC can be highly customised:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Change behaviour when the Zidoo is connected to power:
    [​IMG]

    Define the timer after HDD goes into standby:
    [​IMG]

    Conclusion:

    The NEO Alpha certainly has a unique selling point with its DSD bitstream support when compared to other media players. The front OLED screen is perfect not only for scrolling through your music library bout also looks beautiful while playback of music. Its only downside is that it can’t be used during video playback.
    While Zidoo’s own Music Player and Home Theater already provide a great solution you are not limited by their offerings. Official integration of Tidal and Roon on the music front in addition to Plex (by Zidoo) and Jellyfin (by community) on the video front give you the opportunity to choose what best fits your needs and is another selling point in which Zidoo separates itself from competitors like Dune or Zappiti.
    While many aspects of this player focus on music, the Dolby Vision implementation has come a long way and is rock solid, so is other video playback. The only not so perfect aspect is the (UHD) BD menu implementation.
    With more than 20 Firmware updates since the first player based upon the RTD1619DR launched and an official forum you have very good chances that bugs you encounter will be fixed or new features get added along the way.
     
    bones7, serg fedorov, xskip and 4 others like this.
  6. Sledgehamma

    Sledgehamma Active Member

    Reserved for later.
     
  7. OlivierQC

    OlivierQC Well-Known Member

    Great work Sledge...
     
    Delfanboy and Sledgehamma like this.
  8. Markswift2003

    Markswift2003 Well-Known Member SUPER Administrator Beta test group Contributor

    Very well thought out and observed review - A lot of work in that my friend - Bravo!
     
    Sledgehamma likes this.
  9. leonkoum

    leonkoum Active Member Beta test group

    Great work, excellent review, my respects !! :)
     
  10. Sledgehamma

    Sledgehamma Active Member

    Thank you guys :)

    And thanks again Mark for helping me!
     
  11. mirak

    mirak Member

    As I already said on AVSforum ;)
    Impressive work

    Not surprised by the fact you didn’t notice any difference regarding the picture quality between Z9X and Neo alpha.

    It was already the case with the Neo X.

    And what about the HDMI sound ?
     
  12. Markswift2003

    Markswift2003 Well-Known Member SUPER Administrator Beta test group Contributor

    A tiny tiny bit!
     
    Sledgehamma likes this.
  13. rozel

    rozel Well-Known Member

    @Sledgehamma - a brilliant and first class review and one I'll read over again more slowly when I have a spare moment - on a sun terrace in Corfu, drinking a cooled Amstel hhehe! Thank you
     
    Sledgehamma likes this.
  14. Markswift2003

    Markswift2003 Well-Known Member SUPER Administrator Beta test group Contributor

    You paint a fantastic picture there!!
     
  15. Nice Monkey

    Nice Monkey Well-Known Member Beta test group

    This is a great review. My congratulations. :D
     
    Sledgehamma likes this.
  16. Temearoo

    Temearoo Active Member

    The icons in grey and the text in gold from the OLED display are a really nice combination and classier than the actual user interface IMHO. Really elegant. :)

    Zidoo should develop something like that for the rest of the user interface, instead of the blue highlight everywhere.

    Interesting review. Thanks for all the work behind. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
    Sledgehamma likes this.
  17. Armin Moesslacher

    Armin Moesslacher Active Member

    Very nice review, thx!!! but the price of the box gives me the creeps ....personally
     
    Sledgehamma likes this.
  18. Sledgehamma

    Sledgehamma Active Member

    Great idea!
     

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