Zinwell ZIN-5005HD 1080p Media Player/Streamer Review


1. Introduction

If you don’t necessarily need Netflix and you want to save some money, ZIN-5005HD is a good alternative to WD TV Live Plus for example (you can still stream Netflix via DLNA if you have PlayOn). I purchased a WD TV Live Plus for our bedroom and a Zinwell for the kitchen where we usually don’t linger long enough to watch full length movies, and our kitchen TV is not that large anyway. I purchased the Zinwell unit for about $69 during an Amazon Gold Box sale, at the time of writing this review, the price is still a very low $74 with free shipping and no taxes in most of the country. It plays media from your network shares, included USB ports or from a DLNA server.

As a side note, there seem to be a “review war” on Amazon’s product page between Brite-View BV-5005HD “CinemaTube” and Zinwell ZIN-5005HD. The products seem to be similar hardware wise, probably from the same contractor somewhere is Asia, and their method of differentiation is service and software customization. Most of the software is shared as well (GPL, so they have to make it public. You can download the Zinwell source code here). Of course, that means you’ll never see Netflix on either unit. Another product built on the same hardware/software platform is Viewsonic VMP70. The Viewsonic unit doesn’t offer torrent downloading though.

2. Unpacking

Zinwell ZIN-5005HD arrived in a small and flat box, not as appealing as the one WD TV Live Plus, but reasonable. Unlike WD TV Live Plus, it comes with HDMI and network cables, which is a plus. It’s good to find out that not everybody cuts corners to save a buck. No component cable included though, but for me that’s fine, since I converted to HDMI, I have some huge component cables lying around the house.

Firmware upgrading:

You can upgrade the firmware from a USB stick or from the Internet. I choose the second option:

 

3. Tech Specs

3.1 Codecs

Video Codecs/Containers

MPEG1 (AVI/MKV/TS/DAT/MPG/MPEG/VOB)
MPEG2 (MKV/DAT/MPG/MPEG/VOB/ISO/IFO/TS/TP) /M2TS
MPEG4 (AVI/MP4/MKV/MOV/WMV/ASF)
DivX 3/4/5/6、Xvid (AVI/MKV/MP4/MOV)
H.264/AVC (TS/AVI/MP4/MKV/MOV/FLV)/M2TS
VC-1 (TS/AVI/ASF/WMV)/M2TS
WMV9 (ASF/WMV)
Real Video 8/9/10 (RM/RMVB)

Subtitles – SRT, SMI, SUB, SSA, IDX+SUB

Audio Codecs – MP3, MPEG Audio, Dolby Digital, DTS, WMA, PCM, LPCM, ADPCM,

FLAC, WAV, AAC, RA, OGG, MKA

Photo – HD JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIF, TIFF

Playlist
Codec limitations: RMVB up to 720p, the rest up to 1080p

Network: 10/100Mbs (is using this chip set)

3.2 Ports

Zinwell includes all the outputs you can imagine, composite, component, HDMI, optical S/PDIF. Inputs include dual USB ports and Ethernet. If you order the wireless-ready option, one of the USB slots will be occupied by the WiFi adapter. As always, I recommend to use a wired network connection for HD streaming.

4. Details and Screenshots

4.1 Settings

4.2 Video

I never use the wireless network for HD Video Streaming since it usually provides a bad experience. I did not experience any hiccups or stuttering (my house is wired for Gigabit Ethernet) but your experience might differ. However, at least it is good to know that the Zinwell box in itself  doesn’t have any issues with playing everything I tried, provided you have enough bandwidth.

4.3 Audio

The unit supports all the popular audio codecs (MP3, MPEG Audio, Dolby Digital, DTS, WMA, PCM, LPCM, ADPCM,

FLAC, WAV, AAC, RA, OGG, MKA), so you’ll be covered.

4.4 Photo

You would be hard-pressed to find photos  this little box doesn’t play. Its photo codec support includes HD JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIF, TIFF.

5. Web Clients

Zinwell refers to internet streaming support as “Bonus Features” ;). Bonus or not, I am glad they are included. Just don’t forget to upgrade the unit’s firmware as soon as you get it, as some Web Clients are not included in the firmware version that ships by default.

5.1 Muzee Internet Radio and TV

A new software feature not included in the Brite-View or Viewsonic is the Muzee Internet Radio and TV. The radio/TV stations are categorized depending of popularity, genres, region, etc. The feature would be nice to have if Muzee service would work right. The radio stations tend to be OK, but the TV streaming is usually unreliable, with many TV stations down. When the unit has troubles connecting to a certain station, it tends to become unresponsive, so you might need to restart it. Something that can be fixed in a future firmware release.

5.2 Flickr

 

5.3 DLNA

Fortunatelly Zinwell includes a DLNA clients you can stream using PlayOn, PS3 Media Server, TVersity , etc. This way you can access Netflix, Hulu and youTube. The DLNA implementation is similar with WD TV Live Plus (they might share some code after all) and offers preview before you go to full screen.

5.4 Torrent download

I don’t use torrents so I have no clue if the feature works as advertised. You can play with it and let me know so I can update the review.

6. Remote

Zinwell ZIN-5005HD includes a full featured remote control, much better than the WD TV Live Plus one. As I mentioned, Zinwell will go in the kitchen, so no Harmony remote there. Works well and has decent range.

7. Conclusion

Zinwell ZD-5005HD is a nice and cheap($74 at time of writing) box if you don’t need Netflix native support. The codec list is extensive, the user interface is simple but clean and the included remote control is decent. The Muzee Internet Radio/TV is a nice addition, although not completely reliable.

7.1 Pros: Price, DLNA support, codecs, Muzee streaming

7.2 Cons: lack of native Netflix/YouTube support

8. Internals

9. Gallery

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  • I’am searching for the firmware 2111 for this device, on Zinnetusa, don’t can download, you konow a alternate location.

    I cant download online.

    Thanks a Great Review

  • HDMedia

    Been using it for about 3 months. Works decently well for the most part. Experience has been mostly positive. However, the wireless adapter barely work. It is able to connect to network but the speed reading shows ~1000kbs/s which is barely sufficient for any format. I had to get a switch to use the wired connection which fortunately works very well. Otherwise the other issue is that the Muzee Internet TV takes about 2-3 mins to connect for each step of the menu and 5+ mins to connect/load to watch the show.

  • Gus Hajat

    I have a Zinwell ZIN-5005HD “ZinTV” 3-in-1 Networking-Ready 1080p Full HD Multimedia Player/Streamer/Torrent .
    I hooked it up and downloaded the latest software version per installation process which went through successfully. But Any time I play a blu-ray movie, after 20 minutes into the movie, The sound starts cutting on and off and some times the movie freezes too. Any idea how to fix this problem.
    Thanks,
    Gus

  • Anonymous

    HELP
    I just got a ZIN-5005HD Mini Quick media multi player.(Fro Conrad .de item no:
    Connected to TV via HDMI and PC via LAN (Ethernet-cable) and switch box.
    PC is with Windows XP.
    All funcyions vell, BUT…..
    The absolut primary end target is, to show all my 12.000 pictures on TV.
    There is only acces is to the C-drive on my PC. All my pictures are stored on a separate hard box located as F-drive on my PC. (The F-drive box is located on a secured place in our house).
    By operating the remote control box there is only connection to the C-drive, and the read out is: /MY_Shortcuts/gml and /MS HOME/gml. (gml is my initials by using shared document).
    What should be done:
    On PC, the TV multimedia box or a new software to this.
    Best greetings form Denmark

  • maddyroger

    Hi i want to buy zinwell 5005HD set top box if i buy from china what will be the price can anyone help me please its urgent

  • Chris Fogarty

    I bought mine off Amazon about a year ago and it was 40 bucks. However my dog decided the Zinwell remote was better tasting than his usual socks and shoes. I have found no luck with a oem replacement search and have been through numerous all-in-ones under 15 bucks and still no luck. the Logitech harmony is really my last choice.

  • Chris Fogarty

    Is F: “shared” ? You can try and place shortcuts from F: to C:.