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Eminent hdMEDIA RT EM7080 review

Kat Orphanides
6 Jan 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
125
inc VAT

The EM7080 has a better interface than most, but we were irritated by problems such as poor YouTube support for users who don't install a hard disk.

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Eminent's hdMEDIA RT EM7080 looks like a glossy black version of the old Apple TV. On the back, it has the usual HDMI, optical S/PDIF out, composite video, component video and stereo phono outputs. There's also a USB B port for connecting it to your PC as an external storage device, plus two standard USB ports and an eSATA port for connecting external storage devices. The EM7080 also has room for a 3.5in SATA hard disk, which you can then use to turn your streamer into a NAS.

Eminent hdMEDIA RT EM7080 ports

Fitting a disk is a bit fiddly and the instructions aren't illustrated, but it didn't take us too long to work out. However, the case provides no insulation, which means that both disk and fan are clearly audible. If you install a hard disk, you can format it from the Setup menu, but configuring the EM7080's SMB server, BitTorrent and Usenet NZB clients requires you to log into its web interface via a browser.

Eminent hdMEDIA RT EM7080 Remote

The streamer has a surprisingly well laid out remote control with responsive and clearly labelled buttons. The main interface has a clean and simple column of text buttons running down the right hand side of the screen, with a large icon to illustrate each function on the left. Options include Movies, Music and Photo, each of which then allows you to browse internal storage, USB, NFS, Samba, UPnP or external DVD devices for appropriate content.

A Web Services menu provides access to YouTube, Shoutcast internet radio and video Metafeeds including video podcast directory MiroGuide, along with photos from Picasa and Flickr. The YouTube and Picasa apps don't currently allow you to log in to your own account. A more serious YouTube issue means that, unless you have a hard disk installed or use Linux command line options to create a swap partition on a USB drive, videos are jerky at best. At worst, they wouldn't play at all due to a lack of free memory to load them into, even after we installed a firmware designed to correct this known issue.

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