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Freecom MediaPlayer II 500GB review

Kat Orphanides
23 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
162
inc VAT

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Freecom's MediaPlayer II is one of only two streamers here with a hard disk.

The hardware doesn't look too bad but its garish, dated-looking onscreen interface didn't make a good first impression. We were frustrated by slow, unresponsive menus and a design that's reminiscent of pages from Ceefax.

Browsing shared folders was a hit-and-miss affair over both wired and wireless connections. Other machines on the network appeared and disappeared from the list for no apparent reason, and at times we were unable to browse the network at all.

Most of the MediaPlayer's features are easy to set up, but to connect it to your wireless network you'll need a USB WiFi adaptor. Freecom's 802.11b/g adaptor costs £40 but its slow transfer speeds led to jerky video. Once you've connected to a network, you'll have to restart the streamer before you can view your network shares from the main menu.

At the back of the MediaPlayer are USB type B and type A ports. The former is for connecting the MediaPlayer to your PC to transfer files and, if you don't want to use a WiFi adaptor, the latter can be used for storage. The MediaPlayer has all the usual inputs and outputs. Sadly, its video format support is poor. It liked our 720p DivX AVI files but couldn't play any of our other HD test files. It can't handle H.264 and supports neither WMV nor WMV-HD formats.

The MediaPlayer II looks good on paper, with a big hard disk and integrated BitTorrent client, but the client is a major challenge to set up. While future firmware updates may improve matters, the device is crippled by an awful interface and poor HD video support. Our advice is to buy Syabas's Popcorn Hour and fit a hard disk.

Basic Specifications

Rating*
Media Streamer typehard disk streaming multimedia receiver

Audio Compatibility

Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackNo
Audio AAC playbackNo
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackYes
Audio WAV playbackYes
Audio Audible playbackNo
Other audio formatsnone
Internet radio stream compatibnone

Video Compatibility

Video MPEG-1 playbackYes
Video MPEG-2 playbackYes
Video MPEG-2 VOB playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 AVI playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD supportYes
Video H.264 supportNo
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio supportYes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio supportYes
Video WMV playbackNo
Video WMV-HD supportNo
Other video formatsIFO, Transport Steam (TS)
Internet video stream compatibnone

Image Compatibility

Image BMP supportNo
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportNo

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports10/100
Wireless networking supportNo
128-bit WEPNo
256-bit WEPNo
WPANo
WPA2No

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs0
Minijack headphone outputs0
Stereo phono outputs1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs1
Optical S/PDIF outputs0
Total SCART sockets0
HDMI outputs1
Component outputs1
S-video output0
Composite outputs1
Other connectorsUSB

Physical

Size46x160x203mm
Antennas0
Internal/external antennasN/A
Upgradeable antennaNo
Power consumption standby5W
Power consumption on11W

Server Compatibility

Software includednone
UPnPNo
iTunesNo
SlimServerNo
SMBYes

Buying Information

Price£162
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop
Detailswww.freecom.com

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