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Old 02-21-2008, 09:26 PM
DigitalAxis DigitalAxis is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 38
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Music:
Works very well, apart from an occasional burst of sound when switching between MP3 and Vorbis files. I'm a bit surprised that the ability to play Vorbis was not mentioned on the packaging considering that Vorbis is my deal-breaker, and I wouldn't have even considered the Pilot without Vorbis support. To be fair, the packaging doesn't mention WMA either.
I haven't had any problems playing any (non-empty) files and my collection contains:
* MP2 files (yes, MP2) at 32kbps,
* MP3 files (MPEG 1/2/2.5) with bitrates between 8 kbps and 320 kbps (It claimed a 384 kbps MP3 file I made was not recognized, but 320 kbps is the limit of the MP3 specifications),
* MP3 VBR files with average bitrates between 38 kbps and 271 kbps
with combinations of ID3V1, ID3V2.3 and ID3V2.4 tags,
* Vorbis files from pre-1.0 to the current 1.2 encoders, with bitrates between 8 kbps and 240 kbps
I've also played WMA (that came with the thing, and 160kbps radio recordings) and WAV files (44.1 khz/16-bit/stereo (1411kbps)) with no problems.
The Pilot seems to have trouble reading (at all) certain Vorbis tags on certain files; I haven't figured out which encoder they were made with. All my files have had their tags rewritten with Foobar2000 so it must be something else.
The Pilot prefers UTF-16 tags, rather than the UTF-8 encoding my Linux box prefers. I suspect Vorbis tags also use UTF-8, they show messed up characters just as a different artist by the same name.

Video:
Very nice, decently smooth. I watched a full-length movie on a plane flight and was impressed with how watchable it was given the tiny screen (stereo sound effects came out great!). It ended up out of synch once, but I seemed to fix it by manually fast-forwarding a tiny bit.
The Pilot saves your position in the video so you can resume a movie or TV show at a later date from where you left off, which is great (unless it resets itself). On the minus side, there are blocky MPEG compression artifacts in dark parts of movies, perhaps as a result of the screen's rather high gamma, or maybe the rounding due to the screen being 18-bit instead of 24-bit and thus able to do 4 times fewer shades of gray. That can probably be corrected with better video conversions.

FM radio:
Great, and has RDS (very nifty) so the player can tell you what you're listening to. It seemed to have better reception (using the headphones as an antenna) than many dedicated radios. Holding down the play button starts recording in 160 kbps WMA format, apparently independent of recording settings; I have my line-in set to .wav. Listening to the FM radio won't destroy your now-playing playlist.

Picture viewer:
Works well, though some pictures will make the player reset itself (and back to 'play all') if you attempt to open them directly. Opening another image and then hitting next to get to the picture seems to work in my case, though. You can even zoom in on pictures, and rotate them. Pictures look clean and crisp and rather small (inevitable, it IS only 2.4" after all) but it works pretty well. Pictures can be displayed at the same time as music playback. Of course, it only works with JPEG images thus far; no PNG, GIF, animated GIF or BMP available.

Text viewer:
Yes, there is one. Drop a small text file onto the Pilot and try to open it with the folder browser and you'll get a non-word-wrapped text viewer. It didn't seem to like this review though (too big?) Text can be displayed at the same time as music playback.

Playlists:
Necessary, given the crashing bug(s) and the way the 'now playing' list gets easily overwritten and can't be saved; yet useless.
It apparently requires very specific character encoding (ISO-8859-1, Windows-style CR/LF line breaks, paths relative to the root of the player using backslashes... please correct me if this is where I'm going wrong), and takes a very long time to update the player. Not “oh, I had to wait” long, but “I rode the subway home, and fixed dinner” long.
Once you open the playlist, the Pilot seems to forget all the names of everything and the only solution to this seems to be to turn the Pilot off and on again. And forget about selecting another playlist when everything is set as unknown; that reliably locks up the Pilot. (I had another list it didn't see all of on there; did nothing) And that's with one playlist, clearly one that's too large to handle.
I'm not sure how much of this is due to my using Ubuntu Linux exclusively. I did find a Windows machine to resave the m3u playlist with what should have been proper formatting, but I had no more luck.

Line-in recording:

Haven't tried it yet.

TV-out:

Haven't tried it yet.

Bluetooth:
Haven't tried it yet.

Two headphone jacks:

Sure enough, both of them work as expected.


Overall, I'm pretty happy with the Pilot, especially at the price I paid. My gripes can be summarized thusly (and in order)
* Stop resetting the player to “Play All” when you reconnect it to the computer (just remove a nonexistent file from the “now playing” list?)

* Playlists need serious work in terms of speed and not forgetting all the tag information when opened.
* The resetting bug needs to be fixed. It's frequent enough it should be trivial to reproduce on test equipment.
* UTF-8 support and a way to recognize a UTF-8 and UTF-16 encoded name as being the same.

Fortunately, from posts by Digitaldel, the Insignia people are working on at least some of those for the next firmware update. I will be looking forward to it.
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