Playback - Continued
Figure 14: What it looks like on your TV
How good does the video look? The video quality is acceptable (Figure 14), but what looks good on a computer screen may not look so good on a TV screen. Or to put it another way, If the video looks bad on your computer, it will look very bad on the TV. The player also stretches the video to fit the whole TV screen, which furthers degrades the quality.
Figure 15: Setting a bookmark
One nice feature is the ability to bookmark a video (Figure 15) and come back to that exact point later. This really helps for longer videos.
The player had a little problem playing WMV files that contain still video. We played back a video of an Saturday Night Live Skit done by Robert de Niro called "Funny Terrorist Names". While playing the video, we noticed flashing whenever a static picture was shown as part of the video. The video continues playing but the flashing can be distracting. Play@TV has been informed of this problem and they are working to solve it with a software patch.
Wireless playback was very slow, to the point of being painful. The player took upwards of a minute to initialize and buffering videos took 30-60 seconds. Often the player gave up trying to play the video and threw up an error box saying, "The network is not smooth." We hope that a 802.11G version will speed things up.