Sitecom's new HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 feels like a mature Media Player than easily handles all major content. It does resemble media players like AC Ryan offers very well as internally nothing much is different. Realtek also delivers the base GUI and the vendors simply tweak that to their style and preferences.
The overall 1080P content playback is really good and stutter free. You really do not need to tweak anything at all, aside form your HDTV settings of course. Audio playback is easy as well, you probably want to set your Audio output to RAW so you create an SPDIF pass trough towards your receiver, allowing all popular Dolby and DTS formats to be played back.
The HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 is not a perfect product, the menu layout is good, but could be more intuitive with a less intrusive background. Also when I browse through a directory of movies, I like to see more movies listed on one page, easily fixed by using a smaller font. And sure, being a media-player, menu navigation is nowhere near the same speed as a nice HTPC.
But gear like shown today is all about simplicity, an HTPC needs an OS, proper drivers on the graphics side, player installation, CODECs, audio configurations and though that might be fun for a lot of us, obviously the majority of end-users like the non-BS approach, plug and play. That's where the HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 is pretty good.
NAS performance over Ethernet then, well let me just say what it is, it's nothing really impressive. Copying content, and especially multiple GB content files these days will be a scrupulous process as performance is jumpy, expect on average 5~6MB/sec which is good enough for MP3 files and small stuff, but not so much for large content. As such we do advise to simply stream content over the network from your PC or SOHO NAS unit. This is not a Sitecom issues though, all Realtek based Media Players show this 'bottleneck in file storage performance.
So besides a tweak or two on your own television the default output is pretty far fetched. We added a hint of contrast and increased image sharpening a tiny bit (which is a feature I really like to see in the HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272), but other than that you are good to go including the default color palette.
Content wise everything is well supported, whether that is AVI, WMV, XVID, DIVX or Matroska x.264, the HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 seems to swallow it all without any issue. And that really is what it is all about, sure it has web applications, music playback and a some low level NAS features as well.
The reality remains that this box is intended for video content playback, and that's what it's good at. Now, its not perfect, I'll be the first to admit it as it still has menu bugs and a couple of features missing. One last hint for Sitecom, fast forwarding through a movie needs to be improved, my advise for SiteCom is to look how AC Ryan implemented and improved that feature. Stuff like that brings added value to a player like this.
But hey, for 95 EUR for the HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 Portable (no HDD) or 200 EUR for the HDD TV Media Player 2TB MD-272 with 2TB HDD you really get a media-player that can compete with a HTPC in price and output quality.
The Realtek based Media Players with that newer Realtek 1185 chipset do their job really well. As such we can recommended Sitecom's offering, but it would be nice to see that GUI tweaked a little here and there. Other than that, thumbs up.
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 ?