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A.C. Ryan - PlayOn! Interview with Paula Stevenson


by Stuart Davidson - 23rd Jun 2010
Discuss Here
A.C. Ryan - Play On!
Paula Stevenson

HH: Hi, Can you give us a little background on A.C. Ryan and your position within the company. What does that role involve on a daily basis?
Paula: From our start in 1992, AC Ryan has grown to become a leading International IT and CE manufacturer with 7 international offices spread across Europe, Asia and the US. Our company HQ is based in the Netherlands, where the products are conceptualised and sold in over 30 countries. Our company ethos is to develop products that are innovative, have superior functionality and respond directly to consumers needs. AC Ryan stands for innovative, market leading products that enhance the digital lifestyle of today's society.

I am the PR & Marketing Director for AC Ryan Europe. When I decided to work with AC Ryan, I did so based on the fact that I wanted to work for a company that was unique, a global brand that had managed to retain the drive and passion that are the essential ingredients in the development of innovative, award winning products, products that consumers can't do without, and that is exactly what AC Ryan delivers. Within my role I am responsible for setting the marketing and brand direction/position for AC Ryan. I oversee a team of 8 and together we develop and implement marketing programmes across multiple channels including advertising, direct marketing, internet, digital marketing, events, public relations, sales support, and more.
HH: The Playon! products seem to be your main focus at the moment, can you give our readers a basic overview of Playon?
Paula: Our current product focus is on Full HD network media players and recorders, our multi award winning Playon! series integrate and express user content in a digital experience like no other, hence their tagline Engage Your Senses with Playon! Our ground breaking high definition media players and recorders were launched into the world spotlight in June 2009 with the Playon!HD, the world's first Full HD Realtek chipset based media player. The Playon!HD operates as a NAS (Network Attached Storage) when connected to user's local network, has Bittorent client for downloading directly to the internal HDD (available up to 2TB) and full support of Composite/Component/HDMI1.3 video output, as well as Composite/SPDIF Coaxial/Toslink/HDMI audio output. Launched earlier this year, the Playon!HD Mini is streamlined, compact and completely silent, equipped with the same specifications as the successful Playon!HD, the feature packed Mini automatically turns any attached USB storage device into a NAS device and offers more features than other media players in the same price bracket. The Playon! brand encapsulates the technology required to fully engage with today's digital lifestyle. Cutting edge, creative, superior functionality that enables users to engage with their favourite media content.
HH: What are the main differences between the HD and HDMini?
Paula: The Playon!HD, has a card reader and optional internal HDD up to 2TB, it is very appealing to the mass market looking for an all in one, plug and play solution.

Alternatively users can easily install any 3.5@ SATA/SATAII HDD inside the Playon!HD barebone.

The Playon!HD Mini is a pure media streamer and connects to external storage devices. The Mini has our unique passive cooling heatsink, for maximum heat dissipation and results in a completely silent operation of the player.

Consumers can network both devices around their home, store thousands of music, video and photos on the Playon!HD, designed to fit any home entertainment set-up and stream your media library to the Playon!HD Mini, compact and portable enough to fit any room of the house.
HH: What video and audio formats do the players support?
Paula:

Video formats supported:
AVI , MKV , TS, TP, TRP, M2TS, MPG, MP4, MOV, M4V, VOB, ISO, IFO, DAT, WMV, ASF, RM, RMVB, FLV resolution up to 720p, 1080i, 1080p, BluRay ISO

Video codecs supported:
MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 SP, ASP, AVC (H.264), XviD, DivX, WMV9 (VC-1), RealVideo 8/9/10 (up to 720P)

Audio codecs supported:
MP3, MP2, WMA, AAC, FLAC, WAV, OGG Vorbis, PCM, LPCM, MS-ADPCM, LC-AAC, HE-AAC, COOK, RA-Lossless

Audio formats supported:
Stereo
Dolby Digital AC3 5.1 (passthrough & downmix to stereo) Dolby Digital Plus (passthrough ) DTS (passthrough & downmix to stereo) DTS-HD Master Audio (passthrough core stream & downmix to stereo) FLAC 7.1 (passthrough & downmix to stereo)

Image formats supported:
JPEG, HD JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIF, PNG
HH: What is the main feature you have on the HD/HDMini which you feel makes the Playon! units more desirable than the competition, such as Western Digitals "TV Live"?
Paula: Best price performance ratio, more file format support than any other player on the market including BD ISO, DVD - ISO with menu support, RMVB and flash video, superior output quality and the most advanced, frequent firmware updates.
HH: What is AC Ryan's commitment to firmware/software updates? If a consumer buys the product now, how often would they expect an update and do you have a guarantee of how long these will be available? e.g. 12 months of updates guaranteed before the player becomes unsupported?
Paula: We have a strong, loyal community, the largest of all the media player manufactures, this is largely due to our interaction and responsiveness to our end users. AC Ryan releases on average monthly firmware updates including beta firmware so that the community can give their feedback and be involved in the development, in that sense we are consistently delivering functions that improve our users experience with their player.

The longevity of firmware updates, will depend on chipset SDK releases and when the chipset goes into EOL, but any features that are developed in-house by ourselves, for example YAMJ and ThumbGen, we will continue to support and improve given that it has no dependency on chipset SDK codes.
HH: What warranty do the players have and how can people get in contact with A.C. Ryan if they have any questions/issues?
Paula: We have a 2 year warranty. If customers have any questions or issues, we have a large product specialist team that are available via email, phone, forums, msn, facebook, twitter and a showroom connected to our head office in Rotterdam where customers can drop in and personally discuss any issues or questions they may have.
HH: Thanks for your time today. Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Paula: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. AC Ryan is currently the market leader in our focus regions for Full HD Media Players and Recorders, so watch this space as we include more essential products for today's digital lifestyle, products that create an unrivalled audio and visual experience.

Engage your senses - Playon!
A.C. Ryan
Discuss Here