Which Network Media player suits my needs best?

carefactornil

Standard Member
I'm trying to decide upon which network media player suits me best and am having a hard time. Done quite a bit of reading here and elsewhere.

The Helios are completely ruled out. I had a 3000 and had some major issues with it (see my separate threads), not least of which was NeoDigits support so that's gone back and I'm starting again.

I have a PC in one room and the rest of my AV kit in another and it has to stay that way. So the only connection from one room to another is wireless.

The 2 main things I want to do are play music and look at photos. I'm not a complete audiophile but I'm planning to rip my CD collection into flac files on my PC. I tried streaming these wirelessly with the Helios from my PC and ran into problems, the cause of which is still unknown.

What I'm looking at now is having a media box that either has the capability for an internal HDD (like the HD Mediabox MB100/200) or can have an attached NAS. I'll admit I don't know much about NAS/wireless etc so forgive any assumptions. Having another HDD (say 500Gb) next to my AV gear appeals as not only can it directly plug into the media box (solving any comms issues linking to the PC) but it can act as a backup for everything on the PC too, never a bad thing.

So what I'd like is to be able to wirelessly connect my PC to either the mediabox/NAS so I can do backups on a regular basis and transfer the ripped files onto the mediabox/NAS that way. I really don't want to be removing a HDD or running long cables every time I want to transfer some new music/photos. Having read everything I can I'm not sure this is possible wirelessly - is it, and if so which boxes would allow this? Is there any software people recommend for doing such backups?

Assuming I can, the mediabox needs to be able to play flacs and show jpegs. The photo browser on the Helios was one of its worst aspects so this part has to be pretty good. All my photos have been resized for my exact screen size (1280x768) so no scaling required. The Helios wouldn't let you change contrast, etc, so that's a must if the standard settings are no good. At the moment I've been using a 2Gb card in my Pioneer's media centre which naturally look brilliant.

I'd been under the impression that an HDMI output was essential for the network media box, but I read the following on www.mpcclub.com. "hdmi & dvi are overrated - component is just as good" in one of their reviews. Is this true/relevant to me? I notice not all these boxes have an HDMI out so this could be a factor.

I would like to be able to play video files too. This comes lower than photos & music so I'm not so worried if it doesn't play as many formats as some. Again, these would sit on the NAS/HDD.

Having a DVD player allowing for upscaling would be nice but not essential.

Tech Support / being an established product is important after my Helios experiences. I don't want to be a beta-tester!

I do like a good UI, simple, quick, flexible. I have noticed some people talking about SwissCentre - can this be used instead and if so with any media box? I'm not quite sure how that would work.

Finally, if I can see the product working somewhere to assess speed / UI that's a plus too, having been burned a bit with the Helios.

I'd been thinking about the Pinnacle showcenter, PixelMagic HD mediaboxes, Netgear EVA700, Snazio but more and more seem to be arriving.

Many thanks for any advice/info. :lease:
 

carefactornil

Standard Member
I thought that box only had component and DVI outputs - no HDMI. I don't think my Pioneer mediacentre box has a DVI input. This does bring me back to my original question - is HDMI worth having over component for this?
 

dan1979

Well-known Member
HDMI and DVI are the same thing, only difference is DVI doesn't carry audio.

Whether HDMI over component makes a difference depends on the display, they should look the same.
 

carefactornil

Standard Member
Thanks - I know DVI is HDMI minus audio, but the problem there is that the Snazzio has a DVI out but I don't think there's one in on my plamsa box?
After all the fuss about HDMI, I'm surprised to hear that component is as good or near enough for picture. I'm pretty fussy about picture quality, especially when displaying my photos!
 

mremulator

Active Member
Thanks - I know DVI is HDMI minus audio, but the problem there is that the Snazzio has a DVI out but I don't think there's one in on my plamsa box?
After all the fuss about HDMI, I'm surprised to hear that component is as good or near enough for picture. I'm pretty fussy about picture quality, especially when displaying my photos!

Get a DVI-HDMI adapter then ;)
 

dan1979

Well-known Member
Sorry that's what I meant, because they're the same thing you just need a cheap adapter/DVI>HDMI cable. Adapter is only about £12.

HDMI was invented for the purposes of copy protection, the digital signal can be encrypted to stop copies being made. All the hype around it is just to gloss over the real reason it exists.
 

carefactornil

Standard Member
Does anyone know if either the Snazzio or Showcenter 200 can play music and photos simultaneously?

It was one of the few things I liked about the Helios and I don't think the MB100 can.
 
S

stratagem

Guest
Finally, if I can see the product working somewhere to assess speed / UI that's a plus too, having been burned a bit with the Helios.

I don't really consider a full refund as being "burned", nethertheless you are wise to consider your next purchase carefully in that not all suppliers are fully accomodating.

I recommend you look for one which can adjust the video and photo contrasts separately, as you had no complaint on the video and when you change one, you change the other.

You may also investegate colour space as I mentioned early on, the effect you had to me, was much like appying the Adobe 1998 profile, and displaying on my calibrated monitor.
 

carefactornil

Standard Member
Hi Peter,

Thanks for your comments. Sorry if I suggested the "burning" had anything to do with you/BroadbandCarrier. I certainly appreciated the efforts (& refund) I had from you. :oops:

For clarity, what I meant was the experience with NeoDigits support was what really killed the idea of using a Helios for me. Amongst other things, they kept saying "you can change the contrast, etc for photos" and you currently can't - a huge flaw in my book.

To be honest, I never tried that much in changing the settings on video (apart from under their "step-by-step" advice) as I'm not that interested in video. They also claim that "when you change one, you change the other", i.e. changing video settings will have a knock-on effect of changing photo settings. This is definitely not true, tried it multiple times, pointed it out to Neodigits and they were either silent or said "it works here". :confused:

Regardless, it's definitely something I'll be watching out for and checking up on before I end up with an alternative!
 

carefactornil

Standard Member
OK - not quite sure why but I just found out about Netgear's EVA8000. I knew Netgear had a box due but somehow thought it was the EVA700 so I wasn't overly keen. Looking at the spec

ftp://downloads.netgear.com/files/EVA8000_UM_29Jan07.pdf

for the 8000 it seems to be ticking all my boxes and I'm very intrigued. Price is good too. Doesn't have a DVD player but hey. Can play music & show photos so that's a plus for me. Best of all the UI seems to be head and shoulders above all the competition. Is it too good to be true?

Has anyone any particular recommendations for attaching a storage device, e.g. external HDD or a NAS?
 
Y

Yeyinde

Guest
Quick question (and apologies for the thread hi-jacking).
Whats so bad about the EVA 700 that put you off?

I've been searching for a media streamer and I found the Netgear EVA700 and 8000. Having had a quick look they appear to be identical :|

(Incidentally, I aint got HD kit. Having just moved into my first house a lot of stuff was family based freebies. Standard connections etc etc. I just want to pull my anime episodes to the TV via my network so I can lounge about on the sofa and watch them :) . Would the EVA700 do the job for me?)
 
R

raynehamlee

Guest
I know this might not be relevant to the initial question but im also considering buying a hd mediabox, I currently play to my projector direct from my laptop but was wondering if one of the mediabox's particularly the pixel magic one would give a significant picture and sound improvement?
Thanks
 

carefactornil

Standard Member
Quick question (and apologies for the thread hi-jacking).
Whats so bad about the EVA 700 that put you off?

I've been searching for a media streamer and I found the Netgear EVA700 and 8000. Having had a quick look they appear to be identical :|

The honest answer is I don't really know what all the differences are between the 700 and 8000, but without doing a like-for-like comparision it looks like the UI for the 8000 is better, richer. There may be support for more file formats too, in the manuals, it doesn't mention that the 700 supports flac. The 8000 has access/support for things like youtube, bittorrent. The 8000 also allows simultaneous playing of files (e.g. photos + music) which I'm not sure the 700 can do and that's a big thing for me.

Maybe someone else can point us at a more comprehensive breakdown?
 

jagdeepp

Banned
Sorry that's what I meant, because they're the same thing you just need a cheap adapter/DVI>HDMI cable. Adapter is only about £12.

HDMI was invented for the purposes of copy protection, the digital signal can be encrypted to stop copies being made. All the hype around it is just to gloss over the real reason it exists.


I've got a Snazio. My hdmi cable does not connect to the snazio even via a hdmi to dvi connector. Snazios all behave a little wierd. Couldnt get mine working. nothing to do with the cable, thats fine..
 
Y

Yeyinde

Guest
Post-posting yesterday I went searching for reviews on the 700 and 8000.

Both seem to get a fairly mixed bag of yays and nays.
Not seen hide nor hair of pictures of the UI of either though (I'm probably not looking hard enough ;) )

I'm going to have another dig around this afternoon (assuming that work stays quiet) to see if I can find any more info on them.
 

carefactornil

Standard Member
EVA8000 reviews are certainly thin on the ground. I've seen a couple of brief ones, but nothing in depth. It is very new though.
Whilst the EVA8000 manual doesn't give you much appreciation of the screens, it does describe the functionality offered in depth.
The Netgear forums are quite useful for finding out some specifics, what the current bugs are, etc.
http://forum1.netgear.com/forumdisplay.php?f=85
From there, it at least seems that Netgear are answering questions regularly - they answered one of mine about photos the same day.
 
Y

Yeyinde

Guest
Another very "it does the job, mostly...but it's bloody irritating" set of user reviews over at Toms hardware for the EVA700 with some shots of the UI.
User reviews

Site review


The EVA8000 on the other hand is getting fairly solid reviews here


The only thing that really beats me is why Netgear would bring out these new boxes with G wireless in them, when the Pre-N kit they bought out last year rocks (and consistently connects at around 210Mb/s at home, which if I'm understanding properly would allow very good video streams.)
 
S

stratagem

Guest
The only thing that really beats me is why Netgear would bring out these new boxes with G wireless in them, when the Pre-N kit they bought out last year rocks (and consistently connects at around 210Mb/s at home, which if I'm understanding properly would allow very good video streams.)

Perhaps because the N standard is not yet ratified meaning it would only be guaranteed to work with a Netgear wireless router. this may be seen as a tad limiting.
 

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