Mvix MV-5000U Review

mvix mv 5000u main Mvix MV 5000U Review

Stepping out of the PMP and portable MP3 player realm, I wanted to explore some home based devices. This was mainly for my own need of viewing my media in my living room. There are quite a few ways to get your media to your home theater. I wanted to be able to take full advantage of My HDTV, so PMPs like the Zen Vision:M with VGA output were not going to cut it. I also looked at other media center solutions, but they were either cost prohibitive or lacking in playable formats.

I settled on the Mvix MV-5000U. It has its pros and cons, but overall it took care of everything I needed to view my media on my HDTV. This device covers all of the major video codecs including: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVI, DivX XVID, DVD files (IFO,VOB), VCD files, and what really sold me on the device, DVD ISOs. All of these can be up converted to 1920 X 1080i. Additionally, it covers most major audio types and JPEG images.

So continue reading for a full rundown of all the features and see if it matches your home theater media needs.


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Accessories

Standard USB cable, remote, stand, batteries, RCA A/V cables, power adapter, carrying case, and the device itself, ready for a 3.5” hard drive. Mvix has provided everything you need to get started- sans a hard drive. The carrying case is an especially nice addition for taking your media on-the-go.

An optional Mvix car pack is available for an extra $30. This includes an auto AC adapter, RCA cables, cassette adapter, and IR remote sensor. I do not have this to test but I could imagine it to make a nice car media center.

Setup

The Mvix comes without a hard drive, so you will have to add your own. The hard drive installation is very straight forward: unlock the cover, slide it off, plug in IDE cable, plug in power cable, replace the cover and you are ready to roll.

Transferring Media

Since the Mvix is just a hard drive enclosure on the basic level, it is only a matter of plugging the USB cable into your computer and moving files to the hard drive. The device is a standard UMS device, meaning that it will work with almost any operating system, including Windows, Linux, or Mac. Plug and play, drag and drop- it doesn’t get much easier that that.

Interface

Navigation is handled mainly by the included remote control, although you can also use the buttons on the front of the unit. If you have used a computer or a set top box within the last ten years you will not have problems with this. The majority of the navigation is simple file and folder navigation just like your computer. Overall the menu system is a very intuitive interface.

I have no major complains about the interface, but on the remote on the other hand could be improved. The button placement for some heavily used key functions like “page up”, “page down”, and “up directory” are executed by buttons at the very bottom of the remote. These controls would have been better suited near the main directional controls.

FM Transmitter

The MV-5000U has a built in FM transmitter that can broadcast your media to any radio. When I tested the transmitter it worked ok when it was several feet away from the receiving radio, but it failed to broadcast to the next room.

I don’t find this to be a fault of the Mvix media player; it is a fault of FM transmitting technology. It just doesn’t work in any device. I have yet to come across an FM transmitter that sounds acceptable. This feature works; just don’t expect much from it.

Audio

The Mvix supports AC3, MP2, MP3, DTS pass through, WMA, OGG, and M3U playlists. There are not too many options when it comes to playing audio files. There are not a lot of frills like album art or ID3 browsing, but everything is easy and straightforward. Select a file, it plays, and when it is done the next file plays. If you want to mix it up a bit, the player does support M3U playlist for your late night cocktail party or kegger. To sum it up, audio playback is no frills, but simple.

Video

There are quite a few video options to match your setup. For starters, you can send your video to your TV by composite S-Video, composite RCA, or component Y-Pb-Pr. Additionally, you can select from digital audio coaxial, optical, or analogue RCA. Video can be set up for various ratio settings, including 16:9, 4:3, Letter Box, and Pan Scan. It will also output resolutions of 1920 X 1080i, 1280 X 720p, and standard TV 640 X 480. Finally, this player will do PAL or NTSC.

Testing: To test the Mvix I used a 37” LCD HDTV with 1366 x 768 resolution and support for up to 1080i. Component out and RCA audio was used.

Every video file I played scaled nicely to the HD resolution. The best way I could describe the quality is that it looks just as it would playing back on your computer screen. The quality of the video playback is only limited by the quality of the encoded file and your TV resolution.

DVD ISO Playback

What really attracted me to this player was the ability to play back DVD ISOs. Call me lazy, but I wanted to have instant access to all of my full uncompressed movies without having to get up and change discs. DVD ISOs will take up from 5 to 6 GB of space so you will only be able to get 90 to 100 DVDs on a 500GB hard drive, but this is more than enough for me. The beauty of having DVD ISOs is that all of the menu options are still intact, just as if you pop a DVD in the player.

I blindly tested the ISO playback quality by sw
itching between the Mvix and my Samsung upconverting DVD player. I could not tell the difference. The Mvix upconverted the picture just as well as the Samsung DVD player did.

Photo

Photo viewing is basic- select the photo file and it will show up full screen. You can then flip though them with the directional buttons. Under photo viewing you also have the ability to rotate, zoom, and move the photo. Overall photo viewing is very straight forward and very easy.

Conclusion

Despite the Mvix MV500U’s weak FM transmitter and awkward remote control, it is a very easy way to get media to your living room. You will not find too many bells and whistles on the Mvix, but it does an exceptional job at playing back your media. The unit handles all the major audio and video codecs, but the real seller for me was the Mvix’s ability to play DVD ISOs. Video looks very nice, especially ISOs upscaled to HD resolutions, just as you would expect from dedicated upscaling DVD player. Overall the Mvix MV-5000U is definitely worth checking out if you are in need of an easy living room entertainment solution.

Purchase

You can purchase both versions of the Mvix players from Amazon.

Pros

  • Good Codec Support
  • Plays DVD ISO
  • Intuitive Interface
  • UMS Hard Drive
  • Nice Set of Accessories
  • HD Upscaling
  • Upgradeable Storage

Cons

  • No HDMI
  • Weak FM Transmitter
  • Awkward Remote Buttons
  • No ID3 Browsing
  • No Album Art

15 Comments

Chahk on June 28, 2006 1:28 PM

All this thing needs is DVD loader and I’d throw away my I-O Data LinkPlayer2 in a heartbeat.

LetDo It on July 7, 2006 2:00 PM

yup, add DVD loader and ability to rip DVD onto the hard drive and burn DVDs…. mannnnn wouldn’t that be the ultimate player..Then I’ll throw away everything… just this, an lcd, and an amp..I’ll pay $500 to $600 for it!!

random on July 12, 2006 3:17 PM

Thanks for the review – I’d like to see more reviews of these home theater-type systems. I’m in the market for one, but I’d want it to have a DVD drive and an ethernet interface so it could get to my NAS.

NeoGeo on August 4, 2006 12:15 AM

looks ok, but what about the ui on the tv? I built a xbox running xbox media player w/ 500gb haarddrive for the same price. this also will upconvert to hdtv resolutions, i think xbmc is the better value and much more polished than this product. can u display cover art for ur dvd iso’s? xbmc can, as well as mp3 w/ visualations, photos, internet rss feeds, weather etc. look into xbmc as a possibility…

Sriram on August 21, 2006 9:33 AM

I second NeoGeo, an Xbox will do that and much more for the cost of the Mvix, which hasn’t been mentioned…You’ll put a big hard drive(which u had to do here anyway).You’ve got the remote and XBMC which simply rocks…

Cam on October 7, 2006 12:47 AM

No network? c’mon, who wants to lug this thing back and forth between the PC and the TV.At first I thought it was the Mediagate MG350 in a new package, but this is actually a step back from that, not even having a NIC.When is someone going to make a nice embedded media player/NAS device?Maybe I should look into this xbox thing … ?-Cam.

Chris on November 29, 2006 11:50 PM

Just to address the XMBC vs any standalone device, a NAS/embedded media device would be preferable for the energy consumption and reliability. NAS would suggest the device is designed to run 24/7 like a router, where as an Xbox is not.My Xbox XBMC setup is AWESOME, but I’m constantly wishing for the nirvana that is a low power, low guilt, low price with replaceable HD, wired/wireless NAS, possibilty with media playback functionality. (to eliminate the need for my Xbox altogether) The fact I could centralize my music collection for my wife would be nice. (without me having to fire up my computer or Xbox)Apparently MX-760HD does wireless, so that improves on the NAS aspect, though I would prefer wired. The supposed HD 1080p support sounds nice, but its only got component and DVI. You tell me with all the people going NUTS with the Xbox 360 and 1080p over VGA or component, that a company with 1% the R&D is going to be able to support the few supposed non-HDMI 1080p TVs out there? (WBTW I’ve got a 360, its awesome, and it killed PC gaming for me, except for RTS’, of which I’m only waiting for CC3, which will also be in the 360)Looks like a cool device though, I’m just being a critical thinker here. Enjoy.

Justin on December 1, 2006 5:20 AM

One thing the MV-5000 cannot do – and who knows if it will – is auto bookmark where stop and AVI or hit pause. Then if you go back to the AVI it resumes where you left off. I see this as a basic function and MVIX haven’t introduced it. When I enquired by email they said it will never happen as the main chip is EM8511, which doesn’t allow it. Not sure why it couldn’t be done through the firmware. Anyway, I really like the player except for this big negative.

Justin on December 1, 2006 5:21 AM

Oh, and also, the MX-760HD does wireless but only WEP – I mean, who uses WEP anymore? If it doesn’t have WPA it doesn’t have wireless in my house.

Bill Johnson on December 21, 2006 3:03 PM

I have a friend who wants to display the title and artist of a cd or mp3 based source, to an external display (led or otherwise) at his comercial location so that a customer at the counter can see who and what is playing.Mp3 might be the best source, since no web access is required to obtain the title if it is recorded properly.Any ideas? He wants to play the music over his high end stereo system. I’ve explained the copyright implications, but that is his concern.

Abel Sweeney on December 28, 2006 5:36 AM

Microsoft Xbox 360 Console Cost Reduction Delayed – Rumour…

Mietus on February 15, 2007 6:06 PM

Ask and you shall receive. Upgrade to support WPA. http://www.mvixusa.com/prstory.php?id=132

Mietus on April 11, 2007 9:20 PM

I got the Mivx 4000U, as the FM Transmitter and display didn’t seem worth the money. I was going to use this for all media but, it really can’t support MP3s. It doesn’t recognize more than 1,000 or so files so if you have all your files in one directory you’re out of luck. So why would they all be in one directory you ask. Because it won’t support playlists in sub directories. On top of that there is no DRM support for WMAs. I does play ISOs (DVD Image file for burning) which is nice. Although you need DVD Shrink and occasionally DVD Decrypt to create files. Bottom line if your just looking to avoid getting up to pop in a DVD it’s fine I wouldn’t recommend it for any other media.

Dr.Musique on August 11, 2007 6:09 PM

Mvix Wireless HD Media Center (MX-760HD) This will play almost any media formats. Will connect to a wired or wireless LAN and play backup DVD’s, VCD’s and almost any audio, video or picture format.

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