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What do you look for in a desktop media player?


In this day and age, the term “media player” can be defined only as ambiguous. Where once, a media player meant the VHS player that sat beside your television set, today a media player has been limited to a feature in almost any piece of portable technology rather than the hardware itself.

A couple of weeks ago, the PR agency of Mede8er sent me one of their media players. I’ve never owned one of these or one from their competitors (e.g. Popcorn Player, ASUS, Western Digital) as all of my media comes straight from my computer or my three portable hard drives. Truth is, I never really found a dire need for one and the thought to buying one only crosses my mind when I tend to run out of HD space. At least with one of these I’d only store movies and free up space for everything else.

If I did have a viewing philosophy, I’d consider myself one of those who deletes movies after watching so the sentimental value for movies isn’t that huge — and partly why I never had one. But, as I’m soon going to be starting married life in a few months it really doesn’t hurt to have a base for all things sentimental. Add to that the complete collection of Dora the Explorer and other related choice films for child rearing.

Now for my current setup: I own a PS3 which I use for Blu-ray movies and my output is a Full HD Samsung 40″ SMART TV. I initially thought the PR group would lend me the Mede8er to try out but apparently they told me to keep it. Need to disclose that. They also sent me a 1TB hard drive and — call me a geek — I had more fun installing it than watching movies with it.

The Mede8er player comes with the following configuration:

a. two USB 2.0 ports
b. one dedicated USB data port (printer hole) for connection to TV / monitor
c. RCA port (cables included)
d. HDMI port (cable included)
e. RJ 45 LAN port (cable not included)

Note that the player does not come with a hard drive out of the box. I attached a 1TB drive. The Mede8er supports up to 3TB of disk space. You may be wondering if the player supports torrents — yes it does. Out of the box, downloading torrents is not an advertised feature but the company does show you how to do this using the BT Transmission app.

Nota bene: When putting on a drive, make sure that you’re formatted to NTFS to take full advantage of HD movies as some drives may be formatted to FAT 32 (those that are usually used with Macs) and will have limited storage capacity per file. If you didn’t understand anything in this paragraph, it simply means that when you buy a drive, ask the salesman if it is NTFS. 99% of the time it is.

Bottomline
There are so many desktop media players available in the market today. Which one will you choose? It’s tough! Mede8er’s player may not be the most affordable but it’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking to customize your storage experience. Have an extra HD lying around? Attach it. Remember this hardware isn’t plug and play so if you’re planning to give this to a luddite, I’d suggest installing everything first.

So far, it plays everything I throw at it. Estimated retail for around PHP 8,000.00. Then again, I’d like to ask you, what HD-based media players do you own at home?

Pros
Easy to navigate UI
RJ45 LAN port for network streaming
Reads everything. So far.

Cons
WiFi attachment sold separately
Definitely not plug and play
Price point

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

4 replies on “What do you look for in a desktop media player?”

Yah, it is expensive (unless if the price already includes the HDD).

Add 1k more to the price and you’d get the WD TV Live Hub. You’ll be limited to 1GB HDD, but at least you get WiFi.

I use an XTreamer at home. I rarely use the PS3 as a media player since DLNA server do not index MKV files and PS3 can’t play them.

I do have an Xtreamer Pro as well and so far it has served me well. The reason I picked it (I did a comparison of all available media players in the country) is because of the relatively active community that create mods that extends the player beyond what you get out of the box.

I own a WD TV Live hooked to 32″ Lcd Tv (1080p) and 5.1 JBL surround. Got it bcoz it plays MKV movies right out of the box. Love it 😀

Got this for P5,999 at Yugadeals. Good thing about it is that it can double as a NAS(provided there’s a HDD installed) via GigaBit LAN or wifi.Besides, it also has a torrent client, a full web browser, and a USB 3.0 Slave port. Bang for the buck, isn’t it?

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