Are you familiar with Xunlei ? Xunlei (Chinese: 迅雷; literally “fast thunder”) is a download manager developed by Thunder Networking Technologies (Chinese: 深圳市迅雷网络技术有限公司, formerly Sandai Technologies), supporting HTTP, FTP, EDonkey, BitTorrent protocols. As of 2010, it was the most commonly used BitTorrent client worldwide. So it is a company that produces a download manager.
Well here comes the fun part.. while the download manager seemed to be used for lots of piracy stuff … it has an online store that sells movies, variety shows, tv serials, software etc. Amazing ? Supposedly this is TOTALLY LEGAL in China as they have negotiated with the relevant companies for the copyright. To that end, it charges per movie you download or you can sign up for a monthly and even a yearly subscription. A Yearly Subscription costs about 200 China Yen or 40 SGD. For a full year of movies, variety shows, TV serials etc… wow… Now, that’s a part which you need to know. Movies downloaded from the web site comes with a file format known as xlmv. It cannot be played by your normal media player. You need either the software from Xunlei or you can use KM Player. Hence, you are stuck with watching the movies on your PC (KM Player does not even have a Mac version). So no need to think of downloading it and playing it on your XBMC Apple TV2 (but I think you can play it on your Windows version of XBMC since XBMC allows you to call a Windows program should you need).
Anyway, what’s the fun of watching on the PC screen right. The Xunlei movies are supposedly to be 720p, 1080p or even full BluRay version. Sure or not. I downloaded a 720p version and it is only about 1GB in size…. Now comes the best part…. since people obviously want to watch the movies on their HD TV (rather than a laptop or PC monitor)… ta ta…Xunlei also sells a media player (To be exact, it partners with an OEM media player manufacturer in China) that was built not just to do the normal Media Player stuff (think, play all kinds of movies like RMVB, MKV, DVI.. or play all kinds of music like FLAC, MP3.. or slideshow of photos or BT etc). It is also purposely built to play Xunlei Shop movie files ! Remember, the movie format is xlmv and no media player on the market (AC Ryan ? Xtreamer ? China made cheap media player ?) can actually play that format.
Presenting the Xunlei Media player:
Except for this amazing media player (HA HA). It can not only play the xlmv format.. it can access the whole Xunlei Store !! Yes, the whole store is programmed into the firmware of the media player and then you can even download the movies directly from the media player into a hard disk inside the media player. No downloading at your PC and then copy into a USB and then bring the USB to the media player and then copy the file into the media player. There is a front end Shop@Xunlei right at the media player.
Presenting the Xunlei Store:
The price ? 699 RMB or 140 SGD. That includes.. at this point of time, a free one year subscription (that one I mentioned above costing about 200 RMB), a HDMI cable (1.5 metres..) and a wifi dongle. The latter means you can use it to download without a network point. Having said that, the dongle also came in VERY USEFUL for me (even though I have a network point) and in fact, Singaporeans who want to buy this machine should be damn grateful for this wifi dongle. Why ? Cause it is needed (through a series of complicated steps that took me almost a whole day to solve) in order to activate the media player. Yes.. the Xunlei media player NEEDS TO BE ACTIVATED. What ??!! It is just like Windows software. Not only do you need to buy it but also after buying it, in order to use the Shop@Xunlei front end, you need to activate it. It needs to know you are in China so that you can use it. I am in Singapore ??!! It does not work for me to activate it.. I had to find a way.. and will share my way in the next blog post.
Here bets the question: Why buy a cheap (this is a cheap) media player to play movies that are “LOCKED” to a format (think of iTunes, think of Apple, think of Xunlei. ha). What’s the point when you can easily download the movies from other (FREE) sources and in OPEN SOURCE format (lack of a better word.. just means can be used with different players easily.. like DivX, MKV etc). The reason is because I am itch backside (that’s a good point) but also because you can look at this as a way of watching Chinese movies and actually surprisingly, it is not so easy to find high quality Chinese movies on the internet (We are not talking about those popular ones like IpMan, Infernal Affairs etc). There are many Chinese movies that you just want to watch and forget about them and the quality is important but not so important that you must keep a copy on your NAS.. Anywa to each his own, as this is just my love to play around with gadgets…
So sharing unboxing pictures:
The wifi dongle that comes in useful (very useful later…)
A hard disk is needed to store your downloads
And the Xunlei Yearly Subscription card (which contains the code you need to enter into the web site and give yourself the yearly free access
And will share how the interface looks like in the next blog post and then how to “activate” it in Singapore…