Good at playing locally stored media, but the MovieHome V8's streaming services are poor
This MovieHome V8 NAS is an attractive media streamer and network storage device with coaxial and optical digital and analogue RCA audio outputs, HDMI, component and composite video, a Gigabit Ethernet port and two USB ports – one for USB storage devices and one to plug the streamer into your PC. Its understated design means it won’t look out of place near your living room TV, and it also feels reassuringly tough and heavy.
Setting it up is easy. You simply plug a hard disk in to a caddy hidden behind a panel at the front, hook the MovieHome V8 up to your TV and switch it on. The MovieHome V8’s user interface is easy to use, too, so you’ll soon become familiar with the media streamer’s functions and you won’t need to read the horribly translated user manual. We’re fans of the MovieHome V8’s screensaver, which is an impossibly cute kitten sleeping.
The MovieHome V8 automatically scans attached disks for media content and aggregates it within the Movie, Music and Photo categories, but you can locate specific files using the File Manager tool. The MovieHome V8 played all our test audio and video files from local storage without a hitch, but that, sadly, is where the positives end.
The streamer quickly forgets USB storage devices attached to it, which means you constantly have to reinsert them to make it recognise your disks. The media aggregation seems like a great idea until you realise there’s no search function. Trawling through hundreds of music files to find the one track you want to enjoy is not a fun activity, and once you’ve listened to that track the MovieHome V8 automatically plays the next track in the list whether you want it to or not.
We also didn’t have much luck playing files over a network. When we tried to start the UPnP service on the MovieHome V8, it just kept popping up an error message, no matter what we did. We could browse and play files from SMB shares, but the interface is several cuts below the average NAS.
You access internet services through the nTV category on the MovieHome V8’s Home screen. There are information services such as BBC News, CNN and Financial Times, but when you select them all you get is white text on a black screen with no images. To make matters worse, the news stories are peppered with detritus from the story’s web page, such as photo captions, and the icons representing the services look nothing like their official icons. The YouTube and BBC News icons, for example, wouldn’t look out of place on the opening credits of a 1960s Sinbad epic.
The MovieHome V8 does provide internet video, TV and radio services, but we weren’t happy with these, either. We could access a range of BBC channels, but no other popular stations, such as Magic, Kiss or Smooth FM. Curiously, the station listed as 1Xtra was in fact Radio 2. Other than that, there’s just a large collection of obscure foreign stations. Worse still, when you choose a radio station the MovieHome V8’s interface reverts to Chinese.
We also had trouble viewing internet TV stations and, once again, we couldn’t find any channels that UK users would want to watch, such as iPlayer or 4oD. The services included such family favourites as BBC Arabic and G4ME. It is possible to access foreign internet TV channels, but these aren’t always available.
The MovieHome V8 is a good opportunity missed. It’s great if you already have lots of music and videos and simply need a pretty box in which to store them, but it’s no good if you want to experience high quality media streaming from services such as iPlayer and 4oD. It’s also expensive, especially if you don’t have a hard disk to spare. If you want a decent media player, you’re better off with the Western Digital WD TV Live Hub or Western Digital WD TV Live.
|Media Streamer type||hard disk streaming multimedia device|
|Audio MP3 playback||Yes|
|Audio WMA playback||Yes|
|Audio WMA-DRM playback||No|
|Audio AAC playback||Yes|
|Audio Protected AAC playback||No|
|Audio OGG playback||Yes|
|Audio WAV playback||Yes|
|Audio Audible playback||No|
|Other audio formats||APE, FLAC|
|Other video formats||MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, XVID, RM, RMVB, VC-1, H.264|
|Image BMP support||Yes|
|Image JPEG support||Yes|
|Image TIFF support||Yes|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||No|
|Minijack line outputs||0|
|Minijack headphone outputs||0|
|Stereo phono outputs||1|
|Coaxial S/PDIF outputs||1|
|Optical S/PDIF outputs||1|
|Total SCART sockets||0|
|Other connectors||USB3 type-B, USB2 type-A|
|Power consumption standby||1W|
|Power consumption on||11W|