Router Charts

Router Charts

Router Ranker

Router Ranker

Router Chooser

Router Chooser

NAS Charts

NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

NAS Ranker

More Tools

More Tools

Multimedia & VoIP Reviews

Introduction

LinkTheater A&G

At a Glance
Product Buffalo LinkTheater Wireless A&G Network Media Player (PC-P4LWAG)
Summary Network Multimedia player with Wireless 802.11a & g support
Pros • Inexpensive
• UPnP Compatible
• Viiv Compatible
Cons • Limited video codec support
• No HDMI port
• Dull user interface
• Buggy

When I reviewed the Buffalo LinkTheater mini last year (which has since been discontinued), it was the first network multimedia device I'd seen in the sub $100 range. But even though the mini was cheap, I judged it missed the mark by making too many concessions to get the price down. In this review, I'll check out a new entry in the LinkTheater line. The Buffalo A&G Network Media Player can be found for around $210 and has the same form-factor as the mini, but it adds support for wireless networking, additional video codecs, 720p HD capabilities and optical audio.

Setup

Figure 1 shows the back panel of the LinkTheater. From left to right, you can see a 10/100 Ethernet port, TOSLINK (optical) digital audio port, right and left analog RCA audio connectors, a composite video port, an S-Video port, and a D4 connector for component HD video (cable included). Also present are two 802.11a/g antennas. But nowhere to be found is an HDMI port, which seems to be a continuing theme for Buffalo media players.

Back panel

Figure 1: LinkTheater A&G back panel

Supporting 802.11a is an interesting choice by Buffalo, since it's not often used these days. But perhaps Buffalo chose 802.11a to give users the option of a utilizing a less-crowded wireless spectrum, since the range used by 802.11g is getting pretty crowded.

Although wireless use is a major feature of this unit, for my initial checkout I hooked it up with Ethernet. When you can use it, Ethernet is always preferred for moving large video files around. In this mode, the device booted up and automatically acquired an address via DHCP.

I wanted to check out the HD capabilities of the device, but the initial setup has to be accomplished via the analog standard-def output. Once the device is booted up, the configuration screen can be used to change the default output to the HD port (Figure 2).

Changing the output resolution

Figure 2: Changing the output resolution

When running, the product drew about 7 watts of power, and when idle it drew about 6, so it is an efficient little unit. The LinkTheater can get media in several ways. If you have a Buffalo Network Attached Storage (NAS) device such as the LinkStation or a TeraStation on your LAN, the LinkTheater can acquire the data using a Buffalo-unique protocol. The device can also acquire its data using any DLNA server on your LAN.

If you want to bypass the LAN altogether, it can get data from a FAT32 USB drive plugged into a front USB port. Finally, if you have an Intel Viiv certified PC, the LinkTheater can get its data that way. For my initial test, I turned to the included Windows-only CD for software installation. Figure 3 shows the first menu from the installation.

Software installation

Figure 3: Software installation

More Stuff

Win This!

D-Link DIR-880L & DAP-1520

 

You could win a D-Link DIR-880L AC1900 router and DAP-1520 AC750 Wireless Extender

Learn How!

Top Performing Routers

AC3200
AC2350
AC1900
AC1750
AC1200

Top Performing NASes

NoRAID
RAID1
RAID5

Over In The Forums

I'm new with AsusWRT-Merlin, a few days ago bought a RT-AC87U and today i a have installed this firmware 3.0.0.4.378.51_0. It's great, but i have a qu...
Anyone know a way around this? Web Gui won't take strong password, but I can log in through telnet.
Hi everyone Asuswrt-Merlin 378.51 is now available for download. The highlights of this release are: Support added for the RT-AC3200. End of suppo...
I am thinking about trying to run 5GHz 802.11n only on my Cisco WAP321. I would need a 5GHz adapter for my old laptop which only has 2.4GHz built-in....
Hi all, I recently installed an Asus RTAC68U router which is loaded with the latest version of Merlin (378.51). I’m kind new to some of this but thi...

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3