Mvix MX-780HD Review

mvix 780HD main Mvix MX 780HD Review

One of my favorite gadgets was the Mvix 5000U- it was one of Mvix’s first media boxes released a few years ago. The only time it was disconnected was so it could be filled with more media. The interface was crude but it really handled playback well especially the DVD ISO I kept ripping to the internal hard drive. The pain of it was I had to keep running it back and from my living room to my office to keep it hard drive filled with my latest videos.

The MX-760HD came along with network support solving my one major complaint. But the 5000U was still running strong so I felt no need to upgrade. Now enter the MX-780HD. I spotted the newest member of the family at CES 2008- it added HDMI and best of all it was black so it matched the rest of my entertainment center (Trivial, to some, but I know there are some of you that understand). I recently got a new TV with more HDMI ports so I decided it is time for an upgrade.

  • Quick Look
  • Video Formats: DivX, XviD, DVD (ISO/VOB/IFO), MPEG, VCD(DAT), WMV(WMV-9), ASF(WMV-9), TP, TS, TRP
  • Audio Formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, PMC, AC3, M4A, DTS decoding (down-mixing / Pass though)
  • Image Formats: BMP, JPG, PNG
  • Subtitle Support: SMO, SRT, SUB
  • Video Out: HDMI, Composite, S-Video, Component
  • Audio Out: RCA, Digital Coaxial, Optical
  • TV System: NTSC, PAL, Auto
  • HD Support: 720p, 1080i, 1080p
  • Networking: 802.11b/g (WEP/WPA), 10/100 Ethernet, NDAS
  • Internal Disk: 3.5” IDE or SATA
  • USB: Slave (for connecting to computer) and Host (for additional storage)
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Inside The Box

In the box comes with everything you need to get started: the media player with detachable antennae, remote, userguide, NDAS configuration disc, power adapter, standard usb cable, RCA AV cables, SATA cable, and finally a power cable for the SATA drive. I was disappointed that there was no IDE cable included. Granted SATAs are more common, but most of us are more likely to have a spare IDE drive hanging around. I salvaged a short IDE cable from a USB hard drive case.

Set Up / Installation

Hard Drive

Installing the hard drive could not be any easier. As you can see from the video it takes just a minute or two. Tech savvy people would be able to do this with their eyes closed, but it is even easy enough for tech noobs to simply watch this video once or twice.


Firmware Update

Once you get the hard drive up and running you may want to go to the Mvix website and grab the latest firmware. The firmware has been stable for me and only experience one lock up in the initial firmware. But you will want to keep checking for firmware updates since Mvix will be adding more features, functionality, and fixes.

Back at CES I reported that the 780HD was going to get a Bittorrent client. Right now it only exists in the labs at Mvix; they do plan on releasing but want to make sure its rock solid before it is release. It may be some time yet, so don’t bank on this feature. Treat is as a possible bonus feature for the future.

Network

Setting up the wireless and wired network was a matter of going to the set up menu and selecting auto config. You are also able to inter IP address, netmask, gateway, and DNS manually for more complicated networks. For wireless it is equally straightforward and does support WEP/WPA encryption.

When my network was configured, shared drives on all my networks immediately showed up. Even Windows Home Sever publicly shared folders showed up.

NDAS (Network Direct Attached Storage)

I thought this was going to be complicated but to my surprise it took but 10 min. The steps are basically this: Install NDAS software included with the Mvix, start NDAS on the setup menu, select configure NDAS by clicking on the trey icon on your desktop, then finally enter the key that is found on the inside of your Mvix. The wizard on the desktop will also automatically mount the drive for you showing right there under “My Computer”. That is pretty much the only manual you need.

Overall set up and installation was an absolute breeze. Do keep in mind however, that networks are not always the easiest things to work with, so you may need some patience depending on how complicated or how old your gear is.

User Interface

The UI is fairly crude but no worse than what you would find on your cable box. Menus and navigation are simple in a familiar file folder browsing type interface. It is a really easy “pick up and use” interface which I find easier to use than my Comcast cable box. The only real learning curve is the remote. But, I tossed the remote to the side and programmed my Logitech Harmony remote to control the Mvix; working it seamlessly into my home theatre.

I would also like to mention that transition of menus to and from video is very smooth. There is absolutely no scr
een flicker or jumpy video when transitioning in and out of video. It is a smooth fade in and out.

I think the biggest disappointment to me is that the UI does not take advantage of HD resolutions. The menus could be much more user friendly with the ability to sow so much more information. I’m not sure what the GUI’s resolution is but it looks to be less than even 720×480. But also, it does not take advantage of 16:9 screens. It is full screen but the navigation is confined to the 4:3 area.


Playback Methods

Hard Drive / USB

The most straightforward way to play media is through the internal hard drive. You can load it one of two ways: plugged into your computer over USB or over the network connected as a NDAS drive. Additionally, you can plug in two additional flash drives or hard drives into the back of the Mvix. They show up automatically in the media browser and can be navigated just as the main hard drive would.

Network

There was a little bit of latency differences of maybe a second or two over wireless, but not enough to deter the use of the wireless option. Over wireless all media content played back great with the exception of DVD ISOs. If you are planning on creating a DVD ISO library and connecting to you network wirelessly, you should use the internal hard drive or external USB drive.

Streaming / Internet Radio

Hard drive, external USB, and network all work similarly playing your own media. With the Mvix you can also tap into internet radio. I really like this feature and use it the most for background music for around my whole house.

Music

There is not a whole lot to discuss with music playback since features aver limited to the very basics. Navigating music is like every other menu as a simple file folder structure. Music is played by selecting the file and once done it moves on to the next in the list ordered alphabetically. There is simple play list where you simply press “add” on the remote, adding to the queue. Additionally, there is support for M3U playlists.

I understand that the Mvix is primarily a video player, but I would have been nice to see a little bit more attention to music playback. Sure it works fine as it is, but things like a simple now playing type screen or the ability to add and edit multiple playlists would have been nice. I could however see the Mvix working well at a party with this basic browsing and simple playlist paired with the photo slide show.

Photo

Like music basic features are at your disposal, but basic features are common with photo viewing on media players- really that is all you need. Navigation is familiar to the other media, with a simple playlist to create a slide show and it does have the ability to play music at the same time. Slide show intervals can be set to various increments in the options.

Video

The Mvix is built around a Sigma Designs EM8620L family of processors, a chip commonly found in set top boxes where video quality is important. While the main menu screens look like something from the C64, video playback is fantastic. Its smooth, crisp, and many times better looking that what is coming out of your cable box (of course this depends on your source media). I compared a Toshiba DVD upconverter and an Xbox 360 to a DVD ISO on the Mvix all over HDMI. There was absolutely no difference between the Mvix and the upconverted DVD player. The Xbox 360 fell short of both with a little more jaggedness in the video.

One of the best ways to use the 780HD is as a DVD jukebox by ripping you entire collection to ISOs. Granted you don’t get album art like the more expensive systems, but the upconversion quality is a perfect stopgap until the price of Blueray hardware and discs drop to a reasonable price- $30 per disc is a little hard to swallow when DVDs are half the price or less.

All of my media that fell within the specs of the Mvix played without problems. Content that is ripped and converted with 5.1 audio channels work including DivX encoded 5.1. Video playback is really the Mvix’s forte; it does it very well and it is owed to the solid Sigma Designs EM8620L platform.

Note that I am using a Samsung 46” 1080p full HD (1920×1080) TV to test. It can reveal a lot about the video source.

Conclusion

Even though the 780 is a big improvement over the 5000 it is still rough around the edges in terms of the UI and media management. I really wish the UI would take advantage of my HDTV 16:9 screen width. It is on the other hand a very easy to use interface that anyone would be able to pick up an use. Also on the downside the Mvix is missing more robust playlist features, something very important when you can potentially connect to a collective terabyte over the network. On the flipside, the 780HD does a fantastic job with video playback many times doing a better job than your set top box. The wireless and the networking gave me no troubles at all. I had instant access to all shared folders on my desktop, laptop, and Windows Home Server- so storage space is not confined to a single hard drive but will span your shared network space. Overall, it is a welcome improvement over the old 5000 Mvix and definitely worth the upgrade.

Pros

  • Many Media Source Options
  • Smooth Video Playback
  • Simple and easy to use interface
  • DVD ISO playback matches quality of a DVD upconverter

Cons

  • Lack of H.264 and MVK Support
  • UI doesn’t take advantage of 16:9 output.
  • IDE cable not included
  • Limited Playlist functions

Purchase

You can purchase the Mvix 780HD directly from MvixUSA or from Amazon.




22 Comments

aaa on March 26, 2008 8:07 PM

Hey, can you review the PopcornHour A-100 next?

habanero on March 27, 2008 7:32 AM

Very nice review. I wish you had done it sooner. I am happy with mine, but rumor has it there will be an 800HD with FLAC, H.264 and MVK Support.Mine came with an IDE cable as well as the SATA. Installing a SATA drive is a bit frustrating because of squeezing the power adapter in.The latest firmware fixed the problem with favorites disappearing after shut off and added “Internet” TV beta.

arcy on March 29, 2008 2:52 PM

Does it play MP2 audio files (e.g. from MPEG-2 radio/TV broadcast sources)? The spec lists MPEG Layer II (i.e. MP2) among the audio decoding capabilities; however, under audio formats, it lists MP3 but not MP2. This rather suggests that it can play *.MP2 files but only if you rename them *.MP3. Which would be a disappointment.

cleanroom on March 31, 2008 1:11 PM

Just make a MythTV. It can do all this plus much more.

Darahan on April 4, 2008 6:41 AM

Is it capable of NTFS formatting?

Vinoth on April 4, 2008 9:53 AM

Hi,It’s very nice review about this mini cinema theater device. I would liek to know about the power supply. Is it universal supply compatible like 110-240v 50Hz/60Hz.Please suggest me which make of HD Drive is good for this device.i liek to go for 1 TB 3.5″ SATA HDDThanksVinoth

Ed on April 11, 2008 5:53 AM

I’m so glad I found your post. I’m new to the ripped DVD library adventure and I’m completely frustrated with my Linksys DMA2100 because it won’t support VOB files. Now if you tell me the 780 supports the MCE I’ve got running already it’ll be perfect. Does anyone know?

Boaz on April 24, 2008 8:33 AM

I don’t understand what was the point of releasing a 780 without MKV H264 support, which is by far the downside of this otherwise great looking product.I orignially ordered the MVIX 760 and after reading about it and seeing that it lacks the 264 support, I returned it and got the TVIX 4100 instead. HDMI + MKV support.For anyone who is looking for a media player with HD capabilities, to play movies, u should definately do what I did. It’s the best toy I own.

Zonk on May 26, 2008 10:23 PM

You say it supports WEP/WPA, but I look at the manual and it only shows WEP.Are you sure it supports WPA?How about WPA/2?

Tim Barnes on June 5, 2008 9:32 AM

Hi There,The author of this review mentions “One of the best ways to use the 780HD is as a DVD jukebox by ripping you entire collection to ISOs. Granted you don’t get album art like the more expensive systems.” Does anyone know what units he is referring too, as i’m interested, to compare them to the 780HD.RegardsTim

Ali Raza on September 22, 2008 1:03 PM

Hi,I am using this product for the last 4 months. And i know all about electronics and these media players and hi definiation video and all that.I would recommend everyone to stay away from this product. It wont play your HD files, its not an Hi Definition player, keep that in mind. It will not play MKV files and all the HD movies available these days are in MKV. This is a stupid product…DONT BUY IT or you’ll regret your $300…

Ali Raza on September 22, 2008 1:12 PM

Also this does not connect to your HDTV…with HDMI ..keep that in mind too. It has HDMI output but does not work on any TVs that are even 2 yrs old models. All new TVs have HDMI 1.3 and this stupid product has HDMI 1.2 which does not work with any new LCDs.Also you’ll have to connect thgouth component and quality is NOWHERE near HD even if you convert your MKV files to WMV or whatever it accepts. This product will disappoint you big time.This stupid product also does not connect to many WI-FI rounters. You might get lucky if you have LINKSYS routers…all others give you problems or would not connect at all.Also remote control is pathetic, its very slow. And this stupid product HALTs if you move around in menus too much. Also it HALTs if you play radio and want to change the channel. It HALTs if you press 3-4 buttons quickly…This is the worst purchase i have ever done for my home theatre.Dont be fooled by its POSITIVE REVIEWS, they are all PAID REVIEWS and do not tell you the turth.

Roger on December 15, 2008 7:55 PM

I was curious if anyone had tried hdwmv files of a large size (11GB or larger). Seems like a 10/100 card could not keep up with that kind of sustained transfer needed to play. My Xbox pauses every so often on Cat 5 cable. I’m upgrading my house to Cat 6 with gigabit switches, but seems silly to have a 100Mb server. Why wouldn’t the build it with 10/100/1000?? Anyone have any better recommendations?

jan samuelsson on January 7, 2009 1:05 PM

when can i strem internet to my Mvix 780HD and see it on the TV.

antaurean Davis on January 10, 2009 8:00 AM

The new MVIX 780HD is a piece of crap. My 4000u is a better model plays, more file and upgrade easier. If you want to waste your money buy this product. I will never again waste my money on anything MVIX put out. I have bought 3 4000u and one 780 hd. I feel really cheated that they would put out such bullshit product. I wish they could of just made 4000u sata ready. I bought this product in a week it burnt out. They sent me a replacement and it doesn’t play most of my formats. Which its said it do. Please like someone said before me if you want to waste your money by this product. If you need a mvix player the 4000u is the better product.

Don Johnson on April 29, 2009 10:26 AM

Hey guys. Don’t ever buy an MVIX. I bought the smaller mv2500u. After taking it back 3 times due to HDD failure, I got my money back and bought an sony dvd player which costs 1/2 the price and plays more…

Mike9958 on May 9, 2009 9:38 AM

Dude ome’on – I love my Mvix 780. I store all my ripped DVDs there, my music, and video camera, and jpegs. It’s easy and convenient. The 780 does have its warts. The interface wireless is crappy – even though I have good signal from two close routers. And the user interface leaves something to be desired. But all in all it does work well and its simple.

koos mulder on July 9, 2009 12:22 AM

My mvix 780hd is a disaster as I have a unit so many hard resets (remove power plug) as this media player, it stucks up during slide shows, any file it does not recognize and does not react anymore on any command from rmt cntrl just removal power connector. Its a so called HDMI machine but it is very bad in downscaling pictures, never seen such a bad quality pictures on my full HD screen but when you reduce the pixels of your pictures the quality increases i noticed but i keep my pictures there as a back up so I am not downscaling all my pictures.Internet radio only works when I use lan cable through wireless the unit stucks up while connection looks ok.hope you have better experiences with this unit.rgds. koos mulder

crapmvix on October 12, 2009 6:56 PM

Its peace of junkSupport, Customer service is hopeless.DON”T WASTE YOUR MONEY

Knightlord on October 14, 2009 9:07 PM

Very Good one …http://slickdeals.net/forums/showpost.php?s=1eb462db16cd1f3f8a18c742eae2c9af&p=23181529&postcount=11INMO Mvix sucks… I had two of their players (MX-760 and MX-780). One broke (my brother’s), we RMAd it and they sent a defective refurb… Sent it back again… The other (mine) has all sorts of problems reading from network (wireless). Do yourself a favor… Get a WDTV (I have one with hacked firmware) or a Popcorn (I am considering one now)…Well, you can use your Mvix Ultio as a paperweight!

Digit on January 23, 2010 9:48 AM

MVix is offering very poor to no support at all. Their last firmware 2.0.6 was revoked because it contains to many bugs. Ever since, we’re stuck on 2.0.4. there are no firmware upgrades anymore.The user interface is really bad. It’s not user friendly and it lacks the simple MP3 player functionalities such as fast forward or backward inside a song, no automatic playback of an entire folder unless you use the jukebox functionality, which is a big joke.This jukebox functionality may sound nice, it’s actually just a patch for the missing functionality. Even my DVD player does a better job.Don’t buy MVix for audio, and forget about displaying photos.The only thing it does well is play video.Even there the lack of keeping track where you stopped a move to resume playback afterwards is disturbing. This works for MP4, but not for ISO files.

Gary on April 5, 2010 3:14 PM

Hi…I’m having a problem playing back MP4 files on my Mvix 780HD. I get audio, but no picture. However, my AVI files play back fine. Anyone out there with any solutions, fixes, suggestions…? I’m using it with an HDMI connection to a Samsung Series 7 LCD.

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