The time where home theatre computers and expensive media boxes were the only ways of getting content onto your TV is over, and the market is filled with cheap solutions that will let you play music, photos and videos on your TV. One of the cheapest and most popular such device is the Western Digital TV HD player which retails at around $80 these days. But is it any good?
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Not quite the typical “portable media center” you see here at abi>>, but more of a compact version of the Mvix MX-780HD I recently reviewed. This condensed media player handles all the same codecs of the larger 780 including MPEG 1-4, XviD/DivX, and my favorite DVD ISOs (with 1080i upscaling).
The small unit houses a 2.5” hard drive and sports component outs for HD video along with digital optical out for 5.1 audio. It is on sale now for $150 sans hard drive. If you would like to get a better feel for this unit, please check out the 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.
This is one of those little know devices that I am a huge fan of. I own and did a review on one of the first Mvix media centers a while ago, the MV-5000U. Aside from its crude interface, I thought it was a fantastic device being able to play many different formats along with DVD ISOs turning it to a true DVD jukebox. It is still one of my most used devices to this day. So you can see why I am excited to see this third gen Mvix.
The newest version, the Mvix MX-780, adds HDMI out for resolutions of to 1080p (in addition to other outputs, see after the jump). There are many different ways you can play media on the box: stream it from your computer (Wi-Fi or Ethernet), transfer it via USB as a standard MSC drive, connect an MSC drive to the USB host on the back, set it up as a NDAS network drive and drop files on, and of course add an internal IDE or SATA drive. Additionally, you are able to tune into free internet radio for music content.