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Eminent HDMedia DVB-T EM7195 review

Kat Orphanides
27 Aug 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
240
inc VAT

Eminent's EM7195 is expensive, and its clumsy interface makes it hard to justify its high price

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Although Eminent's media streamers aren't as glossy as Apple's TV or D-Link's Boxee Box, we've often been impressed by their capabilities. Like previous models, the EM7195 has outstanding format support, playing everything from MKV files with full surround sound audio tracks to DVD and Blu-ray disc images.

The EM7195 has an integrated dual DVB-T tuner which you can use to watch and record digital terrestrial television simultaneously. Recordings are stored on its 1TB hard disk, which you can also use to save BitTorrent and Usenet NZB downloads – you can’t access these clients through your TV, unfortunately, instead having to configure downloads over your network via a web interface. The EM7195 can also share the contents of its hard disk across your network, so you can play recorded TV shows on other devices.

Eminent HDMedia DVB-T EM7195 rear ports

We were pleasantly surprised to see USB3 here, allowing for quick file transfers from other devices

The player has plenty of connectivity options, with component, composite and HDMI outputs, stereo phono analogue audio out and both optical and coaxial S/PDIF for digital audio. Two USB ports can be used to connect external storage drives or even an optical drive - although Blu-ray ISO disc images are supported, we had no luck playing physical discs when we connected a USB external BD-ROM drive. There's also an SD card reader and a USB3 port that you can use to connect the EM7195 directly to a PC for easy access to content stored on its hard disk or to copy content across.

The current version of Eminent's user interface bears a close resemblance to the PlayStation 3's XMB interface. It's easy to navigate, with dedicated sections for Setup, Documents and Internet as well as different types of media files on both the device and your local network.

Eminent HDMedia DVB-T EM7195 side

You can access the internal hard disk via this door

If you want to view online content, you'll find it in the Internet Media Service sub-menu of the Internet tab, where you'll be presented with a range of streaming video services, starting with YouTube. You can't log into your YouTube account and searching through videos is a clumsy affair involving an on-screen keyboard, but you can connect a USB keyboard to make typing easier. You can also look through the usual generic lists of recently added and top rated videos. Unfortunately, the interface isn’t well designed and we had enormous trouble simply getting anything to play.

Other internet media content was restricted by country, such as Ziggo streams, only available if you have an internet connection from Dutch ISP Ziggo. We were unable to connect to Flickr and unable to play video content from CNN, but at least Google's Picasa worked well and allowed us to log into our account. There's also a web browser, but it's virtually impossible to use without connecting a keyboard and mouse.

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