Acme MP-01 Media Player delivers Oscar-winning performance

Multimedia Players are the next evolutionary step in the home entertainment arena that started decades ago with the humble video player. The Acme MP-01 Portable Media Player is by all accounts an external hard drive that boosts 1TB capacity. By plugging the MP-01 into any compatible TV, you can play both films, programmes and video clips. Not only that, but it lives up to its multimedia billing allowing you to store photographs and songs as well, eliminating the need for a whole host of different devices for each.

Acme-Media-Player

Coming wrapped inside a smart-looking metallic silver box, the MP-01 is fully 1080p HD compliant, and boosts Dolby Surround sound for home cinema set ups. Small and slim-line in size, it measures 142.5(L) x 85(W) x 23(H) mm, and is light enough to carry around with you, which allows you to easily transfer it between your PC and TV.

No matter what format your movie comes in, you can be pretty safe in the knowledge the MO-001 will play it with every popular format supported. It couldn’t be easier to use – you simply plug it into your TV and scroll through the menu using the remote control, select the video or song that you wish to access, and away you go.

If you are looking for an all-in-one multimedia solution, then the £99 MP-01 makes for fantastic value for money. Sure, compared to some of its (far more expensive) competitors, it doesn’t come with Wi-Fi support or internet capability, but then for this price you cannot complain. It does exactly what it says on the tin, and if you are looking for an all-in-one device that will save you space and is convenient to use, then the MP-01 deserves to be high on your shopping list.

For more information visit: www.interactiveideas.com

Watch  those Christmas flicks on Acme’s Digital Media Centre

The Christmas holiday season is something we all love and loathe. On the one hand, the traditional movies and festive songs seem so familiar and welcoming and then on the other after a couple of days you’ve had quite enough of that thank you very much.

Acme-Digital-Media-Player

Here’s a nifty gadget for making those long festive hours in front of the telly a little more bearable. If it all gets too much and you really can’t stand the thought of watching another Christmas special, why not watch your own movie selection thanks to a multi media wi-fi player that can broadcast live internet, movies, photos and music to your TV via HDMI.

The Digital Media Centre from Acme in conjunction with north London distributors Interactive Ideas, will support just about every video format playback in 1080p including AVI, MPG, DAT, VOB, DIV, MOV, MKV, MPEG, TS, MTS, M2TS, RM, RMVB, ISO, IFO, WMV, and ASF loaded through an external hard drive via two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 sockets or an SD memory card. The supported audio formats are equally expansive with MP3, WMA, RA, RM and OGG. Whilst the built in wifi and LAN can connect to the Internet from your home router so you can watch You Tube or catch up with the latest news and blogs or just listen to internet radio stations.

Ok so there may be another remote control you’ll have to put up with, but at least it’s a small price to pay to save you from endless Christmas television hell. The best part? The Acme Digital Media Centre is small enough that it might just be a good size stocking filler too.

http://www.interactiveideas.com £207.99

Prestigio Emporio ION 330 nettop review

You may remember that we went to visit Prestigio a while back (you have been paying attention, haven’t you?) and saw some of their range of brand “lifestyle” goods, targeting men aged 30-50. Although some of this range was simply leather USB keys and mice emblazoned with Ferrari logos (I’m under 30 so am blind to the charms of these items) other more interesting products included a wireless HDMI bridge and the Emporio ION 330 – an HTPC/net top.

Emporio ION 330

Like all net top PCs the Emporio ION 330 is small, but unlike most net tops, the Emporio has a really slick looking design – it looking design – it’s unobtrusive on the average home theatre shelf and looks great. And if you really don’t like the look of it you can hide it behind your flatscreen using the included mounting bracket.

The curved design is pretty slim, but you can beef it out with an optical media drive if you so desire. There is a optional USB-connected DVD drive (which in 2010 you probably don’t need all that much) or a Blu Ray player, so you can have a fairly modern home theatre set up in a diminutive package (it doesn’t have 3D blu ray support but unless you are really keen on cloudy with a chance of Meatballs then this is not really an issue).

The onboard NVIDIA® ION™ with Intel® Atom™ processor means you can coax the unit into stutter free 1080p playback and 2—4Gb memory onboard makes most tasks that one would do from the sofa chug along nicely.

The unit ships with Windows 7 Home Premium or Prestigio Suite 2010 on Kubuntu Linux. The skinned Prestigio Linux distro is customised for couch surfing (adjust your TV for overscan to ensure the screen stays on the edges) and Prestigio score multiple bonus points for including XBMC preinstalled. XBMC or XBox Media Centre is a open source project that represents the best of what the open source community can do when it puts its mind to it. Originally a hack for the original XBox to playback music and video file, it quickly became the defining media organising experience – something that none of the professional companies with DLNA-capable devices such as Sony, Samsung or LG have come close to touching. XBMC is possibly the best thing I’ve ever touched. Still. So that was amazing inclusion.

However I did come across some audio issues with HDMI audio. If you are used to Linux, then you will be no strainer to the subsequent Googling, forum posts, and Terminal commands that are need to fix this. If the thought of using the command line in this day and age horrifies you, then you are probably better off installing Win 7. Or you could try wiping the whole thing and installing an XBMC live CD.

The Prestigio Emporio ION 330 is out now.

Acer Aspire RevoView Networked HD Media Player – Digital media content viewed simply

Although it was announced way back in May, Acer have only just released the new RevoView Networked HD Media Player, conveniently in time for the Christmas shopping market we can assume. The RevoView is being marketed as being the ‘best TV companion’ for its abilities to playback media content from all DLNA certified devices, so that users can share and enjoy digital media content simply and effectively.

Acer-Aspire-RevoView

In short, Acer’s new device is a DLNA certified media player, which, with its network capability and full HD 1080p playback via the built-in HDMI interface, enables watching digital content on a high definition TV easy and intuitive.

It is the simplicity of how the Acer Aspire RevoView allows digital content to be viewed and enjoyed on a TV that gives Acer’s latest gadget greater appeal over other media players. In just ‘four simple steps’ consumers of the RevoView can effortlessly glide through video, photo collections and music.

Users just simply save content onto a USB device or memory card, plug in the device or card into the Aspire RevoView, connect the machine to a TV and sit back, relax and enjoy digital media collections in HD on a television.

An Ethernet port provides direct access to the internet, enabling users to watch YouTube videos in HD on their own TV or casually browse through Picasa or Flickr photo slide-shows in the comfort of their own living room.
For even greater comfort, user friendliness and to avoid having to wearily walk over to the machine itself to control digital media libraries, the Acer Aspire RevoView comes equipped with a 26-key remote control with ‘hotkeys’, enabling users to navigate favourite functions with greater ease, accuracy and swiftness.

Another plus of the RevoView, which is definitely worth mentioning, is that it can be used as an external USB hard drive, to help ease congestion of rapidly mounting digital libraries.

Being neatly and compactly designed, the Acer Aspire RevoView, with its high storage capacity, seamless playback functionalities and reserved £119.99 price tag, could well be a good companion for a Christmas stocking as well as a TV.

Sony N100: Another heavyweight enters networked media player ring

Sony have become the latest tech giants to jump into the burgeoning market of internet media players. Their new N100 Network Media box combines streaming client, Wi-Fi and BRAVIA Internet Video in one sleek little package.

Sony-n100

The player looks lovely enough, with a cool monolithic design that matches Sony’s state-of-the-art Bravia TVs. Its ultra-compact size is also a boon for minimalist fans, not least because the awkward, sticky-out bits usually featured on such players are built into the design or tucked away inside, to keep things as neat as possible.

So, all things considered, the device is definitely a winner in the style stakes, but what exactly can you do with it? Well, it’s more a case of what can’t you do?

The basis of the Network Media Player is the Bravia internet function that Sony uses on its top-edge digital TVs and has now adapted it into this standalone unit. The player makes big use of catch-up TV services, allowing easy access to BBC iPlayer and Demand Five. It also puts Hollywood blockbusters (or arty offerings, if that’s more your thing) at users’ fingertips by allowing them to order films from Lovefilm or the Qriocity-powered on-demand film service, giving instant access to an array of titles in HD or standard definition.

As for the technical stuff, the unit has 080P video output on HDMI and compatibility with the latest HD audio codecs, including dts 2.0+Digital Out and Dolby Digital Plus. It can play almost all film formats and audio tracks as well as content including DivXHD, MKV and AVCHD files locally via a front-panel USB socket. And there’s also functions allowing content to be streamed from network storage, in addition to IP Content Noise Reduction to clean up streamed video and free iPhone/iPod Touch/Android control apps.

In short, it sounds like a media-lover’s dream (and a Luddite’s worst nightmare). The unit is being touted by Sony as a simple, one-stop entertainment station that provides consumers with a full home cinema experience. With a huge array of functions and such an enticing design, it’s difficult to spot any obvious flaws with the product. The big test will be how it squares up against its rivals in such a highly competitive marketplace.

There’s no word on price yet, but the Sony N100 Network Media Player will be available to buy from October.

Veebeam: Wireless USB set-top media magic

Veebeam have come up with a novel idea to play content from your computer on your television. Instead of streaming individual files over your local area network (like almost every other media set-top box in the world), it simply sends your entire desktop.

That’s right – rather than worrying about codecs and file formats, Veebeam decided to skip the complex bit. Instead, it just take your computer’s video and sound output and send them via Wireless USB to a set top box, plugged into your home media set-up. And it’ll do it in 1080p HD, too.

veebeam

This means that it’ll be the most compatible set-top box in the world. It’ll play BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and all your illegal movie streaming sites, as well as downloaded video and personal photos. Anything your computer can display will be faithfully reproduced on the TV.

The software features two modes, “Screencasting'”, for sharing websites or photos, and “Play-To” mode, which should allow you to send video to the Veebeam while still being able to use the computer for more sensible, less-media interested purposes.

While this sounds like an extremely promising proposition, the problem is with Wireless USB. The technology, with a maximum bandwidth of 480Mbit/s at three metres, hasn’t really lived up to its billing in consumer appliances.

With that kind of bandwidth, it should be able to send up to 30 HD video streams at the same time. As Engadget has shown, however, previous Wireless USB devices have struggled at pushing 720p across a living room.

We’d wait for a review before purchase, although prices start at an almost-worth-the-gamble £99.

Packard Bell Studio ST – media hard drive

Packard Bell has been hard at work trying to keep pace with the storage solution rat race, and the result is the Packard Bell Studio ST, a HD ready media hard drive.

Studio-ST

At a glance, it’s a black box, finished in high gloss, but there are questions marks regarding the its capabilities – we are unable to confirm which file formats it supports and the press release state it plays “most common file formats” which is a bit shady, but with a HDMI connector, Dolby Digital decoding and 1080p support, we are just crossing our fingers that it can play the Holy Grail MKV file format.

The ST will work in conjunction with Packard Bell’s software suite for automatic, scheduled continuous backup, data synchronisation and system archiving. In the box you can expect to see all-digital cables including composite A/V, YPbPr, HDMI and USB 2,0. It also comes with a remote control and has a USB port for sharing or playing files stored on other USB devices.

They’re touting eco-friendly features too, featuring power saving technology, which reduces power consumption by 60% when the drive is inactive. It also has been designed for fan-less silent operation, which is more than welcomed. Storage wise the ST starts at 500GB, going up to 2TB, which more than enough space for all your media. But the lack of DNLA and DIVX does seem a major oversight and most of its competitors are already implementing network streaming through these devices.

So if your looking for a simple easy to use storage device the Packard Bell might well by the device for you. But with some major features missing you might want to look at alternatives like the Iomega ScreenPlay Director HD media player or the Western Digital WD TV. They share many of the same features and can play all your favourite codec’s as well access to Youtube and Flickr. And with DLNA certification you can stream content from your computer over Wi-Fi straight to the box – so there’s no need to transfer files.