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New "Media player external hard drives": Any good?

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by RichKS, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. RichKS

    RichKS
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    OK, I'm not sure this is exactly the right place for this to be posted, but it's like an alternative to a HTPC.

    I've recently seen these gizmos appear on a bunch of sites:

    H&B MMAV-512

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Prod...roductID=198729

    And

    Freecom MediaPlayer-3

    http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?FRE-24963

    They're basically a USB2 HDD with a built in mediaplayer style gui and Component/RGB Scart & Stereo output. Play a whole bunch of formats like XviD, DivX, MP3, OGG etc. And for the price (~£150-£200), it's looking like it might actually be giving a modded XBox with XBMC a run for it's money. 40GB is enough for a decent MP3 collection and some video, plus they HAVE to be quiter than a bloomin' XBox! The freecom one comes in sizes up to 400 Gb. Both have remote controls.

    Only thing is, I can't find any reviews of the things. Anyone seen anything about these?
     
  2. Derek22

    Derek22
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    Hi,

    Just got one of the Freecom Media Players, early days yet but first impressions are good. I wanted a unit I could store video on and play back on my main lounge TV, which isnt the screen my computer is connected to. Also I wanted to get rid of the hassle of converting/burning either VCD or SVCD and getting poor quality playback with pixelation and sound dropping.

    Just need to copy the AVI files from my main computer to this unit via usb and then move it too the lounge and connect to the main TV. Connection is via composite which I have going in through a scart connection on the TV. Picture quality on a 32inch tv is surprisingly good, wouldnt have guessed its only composite.

    Use of the unit is extremly straight forward.

    For a review of an older firmware level check out, i am guessing this is the same unit rebadge by freecom and supplied with a disk.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/consumer/20050106/modix-01.html

    Unit also does music and photos, but if its just music you want, others have found units like the roku better.
     
  3. lisag

    lisag
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    Interesting - what's the picture quality like?

    It could do with a scart connector and an ethernet / wi fi connection before it becomes a serious contender don't you think?

    lisa
     
  4. Derek22

    Derek22
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    Hi,

    picture quality is impressive, you really need to see one in action to decide for yourself.

    Your right if it had ethernet or wifi and it could function like Network Attached Storage as well as a player then it would be better. Also another possability is I think I have seen some broadband routers coming out with NAS, in which case it would only need to be a player and have the ability to attach to the NAS, wouldnt need PC powered on which is something I am trying to stay away from as well.

    As this whole area is moving so quickly I am sure there will be many more solutions around soon, you just have to decide when to jump and bear in mind what you get has a limited useful lifespan before you will want the latest and greatest.
     
  5. diamond_joe

    diamond_joe
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    Heres my review which may help

    I bought one of 250GB models from Scan a couple of days ago and i must say im very impressed with it.

    If your looking for streaming or networkable device this isnt for you. If your looking for a portable external hard drive that can play most media formats on a telly then this is for you.

    Installation is very easy basically to connect it to the computer then its by USB connection 2000/XP or higher will automatically detect the device with no need to install a separate driver. From there it automatically assigns itself a free drive letter and acts as any other external HDD.

    On the device all ready there are three folders already set up providing locations for photos/videos/audios these can be used but u can of course create new locations within or external to this structure.

    Storage of the files can be done by simple drag and drop within Windows Explorer no separate software is required and no conversion process either.

    Once the files are on the drive u have to disconnect the device before the TV will recognise it. At present i havent worked out why u cant connect by USB to the PC and via SCART or cable to the TV.

    Playback can be done thru the clear on screen interface using the sturdy remote control selecting either photos/videos/audios from the RC or on screen will enter the file structure for you to select the appropriate file to play.

    The quality of playback is very impressive sitting here watching download episodes of the west wing the quality is almost as good as normal TV to my untrained eyes.

    Before starting to write this review i had had only one problem with playing a file which was an xvid file but other Xvid files have played. But whilst writing this a couple of west wing episodes havent played whilst the one im watching now has lipsync problems. Now these may be problems with the individual problems with the files not the device.

    One the whole i like the look of the device and am largely impressed with this. The problems im experiencing may be teething problems as i havent looked thru all the device options as yet to see if that resolves them.
     
  6. rdhir

    rdhir
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  7. mojonojo

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  8. Derek22

    Derek22
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    for anyone with freecom media player, there is a new version of the firmware available for download from their site, improvements below.

    Also the modix firmware works a treat available from the download section on the site below. It includes the ability to password protect folders and create differant background images for menus and mp3 playback etc. The MODIX MANAGER is a great tool to check the codecs and format of all your video files.

    http://www.dtsinfo.co.kr/en/

    -------------freecom firmware improvements---------
    Improved LCD to display special letters as ü,ä,ö
    - Support PLAYLIST display on LCD
    - Improved Polish subtitle display
    - Support *.jpg file's information on LCD display
    - Support file name scrolling function on Filelist and OSD mode
    - Corrected Subtitle's disappearing problem during move playback
    - Corrected to inactive GOTO key input during dvd file playback
    - Corrected not to see page number during Photo Slideshow if pressed SETUP key
    - Improved M3U playlist function
    .m3u must be generated by WINAMP
    - Fixed LCD fonts bug
    - Fixed ALL SELECT playback of PLAYLIST bug
    - Improved file name searching function [GOTO]
    move to next file name if there's no same alphabet
    - Improved dvd *.ifo file playback function
    - Added warning message of saving on playlist
    - Support "*.divx" file playback
    - Support graphic type *.sub subtitle.
    - Support *.txt subtitle
    - Improved file and directory loading speed
    - Added file name searching function on file select mode
    press [GOTO] key, you can easily find favorite file by alphabetical order
    - Fixed the mp3 playback problem started with "Mute" on playlist mode
    ---------------------------------------------------
     
  9. pjclark1

    pjclark1
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    I've just got the Liteon LDV 2010 netplayer with wireless 54g LAN connection.
    £85 delivered from SVP. Works very well playing media from any PC in the house (via my wireless router) I'm not sure there is much point in the USB HD route as you will have to keep moving it to PC and back to living room. As you can get a Netgear DG834GT wireless router (and a usb dongle) from Amazon for £50, the complete setup works out less than your gizmo. My 2010 can't do HD WMA files but will play almost anything else at 480p including DiVX & Xvid packed (and it will play all off its internal dvd/cd drive as well) and no need to transfer any files around.
     
  10. Derek22

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    never seen this one and looks a good unit, has the upper hand for use on a home network where the pc remains on storing the files and running the applet. Impressed that it supports wireless and has wired ethernet on as well.

    Would be very interested in your thoughts once youve been running it for a few weeks and thrown various material at it.

    freecom units main advantage is the fact it is standalone, the kids sometimes pinch it as it has quite a lot of episodes of various series they watch and when we travel away from home.
     
  11. Paul Shirley

    Paul Shirley
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    I looked at this a while back and it appeared to not support wireless encryption. Do you need to run your network open to use the 2010?
     
  12. pjclark1

    pjclark1
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    nope, I'm using WEP 64 bit encryption on my wireless system (it also allows WEP 128 and 152).
    The 310a dongle on the netplayer has no problems with this at all.

    You can also plug a LAN wire in the back of the 2010 if you prefer.
     
  13. Derek22

    Derek22
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  14. dontod

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    Yes.

    Picked one up this week and have put a 300GB hard drive in it. Busy now ripping DVDs to single ISO files which this unit will play with fulll menu navigation. It will also play over local network but for DVDs you'll need a good 100meg switch. At the moment you can only put files on it by USB connected to a PC, but rumour has it that a future firmware release will allow it to become a NAS device.

    Don.
     
  15. duckeyy2k

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    Would it be possible to steam www.watchfootball.tv through any of these devices using a microlink DLan.
     

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