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Axonix MediaMax

Spire_JeffSpire_Jeff Formerly Caffeinated ProgrammerPosts: 1,917
Has anyone had any experience with this product? I have a client that is convinced that this is the end all be all media server. Basically, the website says that the media server is better and cheaper than KScape and Max, but I am not easily finding the technical info that leads me to believe these claims. I'm looking for all the the catches and little upgrades to get everything they talk about.

Also, has anyone tried to integrated with these units?

Thanks,
Jeff

Comments

  • Spire_JeffSpire_Jeff Formerly Caffeinated Programmer Posts: 1,917
    Ok, here are a couple of things I have found out about this gem of a product. The players and servers are very obviously just standard PCs running Windows XP. The analog audio output is handled via 1/8" jack. You can only use one type of audio output, so if you use digital audio, that is all you get (unless you buy some 3rd party converter box). Same thing applies to the video output, so if you have the DVI connected to the theater projector, you cannot send any video to the touch panel.

    Another great thing (at least for my clients) is that in order to import your CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and HD-DVDs, you have to purchase a 3rd party ripping software and manually rip everything. I don't know about you, but some of our clients complain about placing a CD into the Escient Fireball (setup to record and eject) being too difficult.... I can just imagine the training school we would have to construct to teach them how to "acquire" their media for use on this server.

    After seeing the lovely Windows XP sticker on the back of the unit, I had to ask myself about virus protection. During my conversation with the companies sales guy, I inquired about virus protection. They don't employ ANY virus protection. There is only a small chance that someone will open a web browser on the unit and the rest of the time, the box only communicates with their servers for information (even tho they support internet radio streams, online weather data and who knows what other web data).

    So, in the end, my thoughts on this unit are: nothing more than a M$ media server with a lot of advertising.

    If anyone else has had any different experiences, I would appreciate the info. I'm not saying that this product doesn't function, but I really think they are overstating it's capabilities, ease of use and performance.

    Jeff

    P.S.
    I apologize if I seem like I am biased against this product without actually trying it, but I am. I have learned to live with this affliction of mine, and I hope you can look past this problem of mine and see the person behind this bias ;)
  • Neil CarrollNeil Carroll Junior Member Posts: 12
    I've worked with these before. They were a pain to get working properly. The project manager spent hours on the phone to their tech support.

    They were ok to use, but no where near as good as the KScape.

    The ripping is quite easy, and we had a ver 4 player in the lounge which could be used to rip DVDs to the server, which was in the garage, a word of warning though, we did have to make very sure all the correct options were set for the ripping, otherwise we would end up with an extra from the DVD rather than the movie.

    I don't know how easy they are to integrate with AMX as we were using C*******.
  • cyril.limcyril.lim Junior Member Posts: 13
    yea.. I just came from a job using Craptron (the C******* above) on it as well. Works ok. But I think Kaleidascape seems to be getting better reviews.
    One thing about the playback controls - it's IR. Don't think there are any controls for it (from the Craptron module that was provided) via LAN.
    The media player hangs quite a bit so you have to reboot it every once in a while.
  • Neil CarrollNeil Carroll Junior Member Posts: 12
    It does the transport controls over the ip, a bit like polycom codecs, you send a code that mimics pressing the button on the remote.
  • cyril.limcyril.lim Junior Member Posts: 13
    uh yeah.. which means you can't PAUSE and UNPAUSE discretely and neither can you power the darn thing ON and OFF discretely.

    I went into the job AFTER someone had already fiddled with it for 4 months so I just fixed what I could. Always a bummer to do.
  • trobertstroberts Member Posts: 226
    I too have used this on a Craptron system and was not impressed. KScape is 10x a better product. Axonix players lock up, there is no way to intuitively fast forward or rewind, there is no reliable 2-way IP protocol, every time there is a new version of their players, the protocol changes, I can go on. Axonix might evenually be a good product, but they have a very long way to go. I would never sell another one any time soon. KScape is awesome!!
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    Has anyone got any technical information or experience of these products intergrated with AMX - their website is pretty poor in this respect.
  • youstrayoustra Junior Member Posts: 135
    I've had good experience with earlier versions - need to tweak the modules but the API's pretty good. Two versions of API - one for remote emulation and another for 2-way server integration.

    I haven't dealt w/ their Mediadeck 3 and Mediadeck 4, but from what I've seen, the modules have improved.

    Aside from AMX integration, the units have easy DVD ripping and network shares. They scale up nicely with off-the-shelf drives.

    UI and modules are not as slick as Kaleidescape (by a long shot) but they get the job done for a more reasonable price.
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    Thought I'd share a bit more information on this product having just spent a few weeks testing this for a project.

    It is not anywhere close to the same league as Kaleidescape, however it does what it says on the tin and appears stable in use.

    The system I'm been working on consists of:
    AudioDeck, rebadged SlimDevices (now Logitech) unit, that ammusingly on first connection to the internet updated itself and now says Logitech in the OSD!!
    MediaDeck2 - custom firmware on a Pinnacle Showcentre200 platform.
    Mediadeck 3 & 4 which are XP boxes running SnapStream BeyondMedia software with an Axonix Plugin and Custom Skin, control is via HIP to emulate the keyboard shortcuts with Girder
    They require the purchase of AnyDVD for the ripping side, either on the Server or MD4 or both.

    All the XP boxes are well built with good components and the MD3/4 are nice and quiet apart from on bootup.

    The MediaDeck Interface is pretty easy to tweak as it is all xml, and HIP is also easy to customise to make the system more responsive.
    The actual user account is well locked down and shouldn't have any issues with third party data, the admin account is another matter and this has no protection, so while this account shouldn't be accessible to the end user it is there...

    One peculiar aspect was a line in the manual stating that only unmanaged network switches would work. managed switches would fail even if running in an unmanaged mode. Out of curiosity I tested this and found it to be completely true, if a little bizarre!! No explaination for this was available.

    I'll post some more info when I'm done with the AMX module...
  • youstrayoustra Junior Member Posts: 135
    Jim,
    What do you mean by "HIP is easy to customize" to boost response?

    Are you using MediaDeck2s or 3/4s? I'm curious how you're constructing your module. I've started one for MD2s but will have an MD4 project soon. I'm not well-versed on modules but have a small comm module and large UI module that handles all mediadecks and all TPs, KPs and RCs. I started with the OEM-supplied module (for MD2) which only goes to the server. One limitation I found is that you can't query indiv player via the API...so you can't do "now playing" other than by tracking what the user commanded on the TP/KP/RC. So you may know what playlist is running, but not which indiv song is up. You can obv use the video feed from the MD, but not all our TPs have vid.

    It's frustrating that I can't query the server the same way that the mediadeck does - do you see any way around this? Same thing with album art....I'd like to show natively on the TP, but there's no API method.

    There might be a way to do it for movies...the API allows finding the server filepath for the movie file...then maybe you could recalc the path to the jpg. But I'm not sure how to actually point to that known file from netlinx...via dynamic image?

    I'm curious what your experience/thoughts are as you proceed.
    -Bill
  • Jimweir192Jimweir192 Junior Member Posts: 502
    Hi Bill,

    HIP is the software interfacing utility on the MD3/4 that links the IR remote and http calls to the MD3/4 gui, there are a couple of times when the unit or network is busy that incomming commands get stacked and the user gets a slow response - the simple solution for this is to add additional commands into HIP for menu items that need multiple key strokes / commands - this avoids the queuing and common overshoot on the gui...

    I'm working with MD2,3 & 4 units - at the moment I'm still bogged down in the custom on-screen gui that this project requires for all units, so have not had much time yet to work up the module - I'll only be working on the MD4 as I don't need the MD2 on AMX - I believe the MD2's are being discontinued at some point anyway.

    The MD2 is basically viewing a webpage served from the MS, with each player creating it's own instance and the media is then streamed though this page, this does create the issue your experiencing, the only way around this I can think of is to intercept that instance before the MD2... tricky

    I'll post back as and when things progress...
  • nielsynielsy Junior Member Posts: 32
    Oke, anybody news about the mediadeck 4 ? ( bluray )
    I have used the module for amx ( 1.03 and 1.04 with overlay )

    The control part is working, but the coverart on my TP is not working, maybe I did something wrong,
    I already tryed to change the ip adr. in dymanic images.

    also change in the netlinx module, it still not working.

    Have somebody other experiance??
  • TworhythmsTworhythms Junior Member Posts: 51
    Can someone point me in the right direction to the AMX module? I have a new customer with one of these. Any further thoughts on operation?
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,159
    Tworhythms wrote: »
    Can someone point me in the right direction to the AMX module?
    The modules are located at the Axonix web site but you'll need a dealer login.

    http://axonix.com/support/downloads/products/mediamax/Remote-Control-Drivers/AMX/
  • RonenRonen Junior Member Posts: 55
    My Thoughts

    We just finished a project with 1 media-server and 2 MediaDeck 4. You can't really compare kScape to this product... KScape is a much better, stable, USER FRIENDLY product.

    About the B-Ray ability, it's pretty good with a decent rip time.
    BUT a few things that drove us crazy...
    1. You can't connect this device to a managed switch.
    2. Loading time (after reboot) is about 4-5 min.
    3. Sometimes after a reboot of both the MediaDrive4 and the MediaServer they won't connect to each other, so you need to turn first the MediaServer, wait a minute or two and only then turn on the MediaDeck?
    3. The device worked really smoothly at first but then it started to get stuck every 2-3 days...
    4. Although it is based on windows XP that has Unicode support it will not display it (tried Hebrew and Russian).
    5. If you try to put a DVD that is not English (like Hebrew at our place) and the language isn't installed on that windows the computer will hang. Imagine the costumer coming home with a with foreign language DVD...
    6. Renaming DVD's and cover art is a pain. you need to actually edit xml...

    this device works, but only if you know your way around computers.
  • u.w.staggeru.w.stagger Junior Member Posts: 23
    Ronen, did you try localize Axonix interface? I have read in manual that there is possibility. Did you ask support about unicode problem?
  • RonenRonen Junior Member Posts: 55
    No I haven't tried localizing the interface because the costumer mother language is English. Actually they have updated the device to now support Unicode in the axionix screen itself but not in the AMX module they are publishing. They still don't support right to left languages... I need to write Hebrew backward.

    Ronen
  • bcirrisibcirrisi Junior Member Posts: 148
    I have a video-phile that I do some work for, he has one and says that it is good. He updated some of the codecs and video cards and say that it is best media server he has seen as far a video quality goes.

    It was a landmark system so I used IR, and that worked fine.
  • belfegor3belfegor3 Senior Member Posts: 3
    Axonix MediaMax

    Well, I've scheduled a couple of times and is very stable, is very cumbersome the first time, but once configured and does not give problems. There is a module for AMX, but this must be provided by the manufacturer or dealer for the team and is a module returns you via IP including metadata (strings) and returns you to the cover arts of movies (covers)
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