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.
Standard USB cable, remote, stand, batteries, RCA A/V cables, power adapter, carrying case, and the device itself, ready for a 3.5â 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.
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.
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 doesnât get much easier that that.
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 âpage upâ, âpage downâ, and âup directoryâ are executed by buttons at the very bottom of the remote. These controls would have been better suited near the main directional controls.
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 donât find this to be a fault of the Mvix media player; it is a fault of FM transmitting technology. It just doesnât work in any device. I have yet to come across an FM transmitter that sounds acceptable. This feature works; just donât expect much from it.
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.
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 37â 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 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.
Despite the Mvix MV500Uâs 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 Mvixâs 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.
You can purchase both versions of the Mvix players from Amazon.
- Good Codec Support
- Plays DVD ISO
- Intuitive Interface
- UMS Hard Drive
- Nice Set of Accessories
- HD Upscaling
- Upgradeable Storage
- No HDMI
- Weak FM Transmitter
- Awkward Remote Buttons
- No ID3 Browsing
- No Album Art