Much like in our other Media Player reviews I want to answer the most essential question that some of you MIGHT have; what in fact is a media TV player? Well, this is a self-contained unit with some dedicated hardware that has a focus on dedicated functions.
In the case of the HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 series that is content playback of photos, music, but most of all video content. The last topic is where the HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 specializes.
Typically when we build a HTPC (Home Theater PC) we tend to put down significant money for a motherboard, processor, memory, power supply, storage and the chassis. And if the unit does not have a graphics subsystem, we often add a dedicated graphics card as well to be able to enjoy full 1080P content. A simple HTPC starts at 250~300 EUR realistically, whereas Media Players as powerful as today's tested one, starts at 100 EUR.
This is what the HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 series do best, play back high-definition content, the units are based on a 500 MHz Realtek 1185 IC, specialized in media capabilities. The HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 supports JPEG HD, BMP, GIF, TIFF and PNG picture formats, while audio support covers MP2/3, OGG, WMA, WAV, AAC, COOK and FLAC, Dolby Digital or DTS pass-through and stereo down-mixing.
When we look purely at the video side of things we notice that the box can play back anything you can think of, including HD MPEG 2/4, H.264, WMV9/VC-1 and RM/RMVB (up to 720p) codecs in AVI, ASF, DAT, FLV, MKV, M2TS, MP4, MOV, M4V, RM, TS, TP, TRP, VOB/ISO/IFO, WMV, and xVid/DivX containers with SRT, SMI, SSA, IDX and SUB subtitles and full menu video previews. And yes, there's even proper support for 1080p 24.
In this article we review the 2TB HDD version of the HDD TV Media Player MD-272. These boxes offer HDMI 1.3a, proper component and composite video outputs, USB connectors and even Gigabit Ethernet.
You'll see in the product gallery that Wireless-N Wi-Fi is an option as well, for roughly 24 EUR you can pop in a wireless dongle and go WiFi with fully configurable settings from within the HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 boxes.
As if things were not enough features wise, you'll also get analogue stereo and digital optical audio out as well, so that means that all the basics are very well-covered. Audio wise all foreseeable formats are supported. We obviously recommend you output HDMI to a proper AV receiver, have that decode sound (pass-through) and then head onwards towards the preferably full HD (1080P) telly.
Anyway, talk is cheap... let's have a look at the product gallery.
Sitecom 500 Mbps homeplug Ethernet review The Sitecom Powerline Ethernet adapters allow you to use your mains electricity circuit to transfer data, this way you can extend your network to wherever you have a free plug socket. The product we test today comes from Sitecom, their 500 Mbps plus Homeplug. The kit provides a connection of up to 500Mbits/sec. Divide that by 8 bits and you'd in theory would be able to see transfer speeds of 62.5 Megabyte per second. In practice, however we tested the maximum net data rate is much MUCH lower, 60~100 Mbits/sec - still that is faster than Wi-Fi and sufficient fenough or streaming high-definition video from say your PC with network shares to, for instance, your HTPC.
Sitecom Media Player 2TB MD-272 review So the new Sitecom Media Player comes standard with a new improved GUI, but also hardware wise harbor the latest Realtek 1185 chipset, and that changes a thing or two as pretty much any of the performance issues we had noticed in 1080P content playback (with very high bit-rate) on the previous chipset now are a thing of the past. That Realtek 1185 chipset has an increased clock frequency, 500 MHz coming from 400 MHz on the original version. And as little as it sounds, it makes a serious difference. The HDD TV Media Player 2TB allows you to play digital films, music and photos directly on your TV with High Definition quality (1080p).
Sitecom 300N X4 WLR-4000 Wireless router review Sitecom introduces a series of standard routers but with a twist. They tagged their mainstream range from X1, X2, X3 and a more enthusiast range from X4, X5 and X6. They are all Gigabit models, but obviously the higher the number the better the feature set. all models now come with cloud security, and that's the new feature we'll discuss later on. We test the X4 WLR-4000 model.
Sitecom MD-500 Digital Media Set review One of the kits Sitecom recently introduced consists out of a Gigabit router for your intra and local area network connectivity, a storage unit which Sitecom calls 'Home Storage center' will function as NAS server for all your multi-media content like photo's, music and movies. And then a small all-in-one HTPC or TV media player as we like to call it these days. To top things off they throw in a Logitech Harmony 650 universal remote control. Aren't you just eager to see how this HTPC network platform will perform ?