|At a Glance|
|Product||Mvix Ultio 1080p Media Center (MX-800HD)|
|Summary||BYOD High-Def Media streaming device|
•Wide media formats supported
•Nice Photo slide show capabilities
|Cons||•Disappointing HD format support
• IR remote code overlap
•UPnP server interaction problems
Network media players continue to be a popular addition to the home network for those who want to view their movies or photos or listen to their digital music in the family room. And since disk drives continue to drop in price while increasing in size, it's feasible to have hundreds and hundreds of
In this review I'll check out a new
Figure 1 shows the back of the Ultio where you can see the various I/O connectors.
Figure 1: Back Panel
HD video can come in either via component or HDMI and
The USB host ports can also be used for connecting an external drive that is NTFS, FAT32 or EXT3 formatted. And if you want to move content directly to an internal drive that you have the option of installing, you can use the USB "slave" port to directly connect the Ultio to your computer where it will be recognized as an external drive.
I tried this out on my MacBook. But the internal drive that Mvix had pre-installed in my review unit was in NTFS format. And since the Mac has
The sides of the Ultio are vented for the internal fan, which I found to be quite loud when the unit was powered up. I measured power consumption with an internal drive at 15 W. The remote for the Ultio, as seen in the photo up above, is
And speaking of remote issues, I had a conflict between my Westinghouse LCD TV and the Ultio where some IR commands overlapped between the two. For example, using my Westinghouse remote to issue a Mute command was also received by the Ultio as a Menu command. (Shouldn't there be some common registry so manufacturers don't overlap with each other?) So while doing this review, I had to tape a piece of paper over the TV's IR port, but that's obviously not a permanent solution.
The Ultio comes in either a diskless BYOD model or with a 1TB 3.5" SATA drive pre-installed. If you're going to add your own drive, the case opens up easily so you can pop a drive in. Once you've got everything connected up and the box is powered on, you'll be greeted with the attractive
Figure 2: Main Menu
The first two list items select either the internal drive or an attached USB drive as a content source. But we'll first explore the last Setup menu (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Setup Menu
Under the System settings you'll find basics such as menu language,
The Video and Audio sub-menus allows adjusting the output in various ways such as picture resolution, digital audio type, etc. The Photo
Once you've got everything configured the way you want it, you'll want to dig into playback. First I'll check out the UPnP capabilities since if you already have a server on your network, the Ultio requires no setup at all. Figure 4 shows the UPnP selection menu where you can see three servers that I have running on my LAN.
Figure 4: Server Selection
The Ultio itself doesn't come bundled with a UPnP AV server, but there are a number of free servers available for you to install yourself. If you use a NAS device on your LAN, it may also have a UPnP AV server.
Figure 5 shows the
Figure 5: UPnP Top Menu
This a typical menu when dealing with UPnP AV servers. Content is typically divided into Music, Photos and Videos. But after that, the menus will vary depending on the capabilities of your server how it is configured. Some will provide access to Internet Radio stations and others will even provide access to commercial services such as Netfilx
Figure 6 shows the display when I dug down into one of my music
Figure 6: Music Display
It's a bit hard to see on this screen capture, but there's a "No ID3 Tag" error indicating that the Ultio didn't recognize the ID3 tag on the file (more on this later) even though my ID3 editor had filled it out. Some of my files did show tag info, but there doesn't seem to be any support for display of
The Ultio supports around a dozen or so formats for music including standards including MP3, AAC, WAV, WMA, and OGG. Of course, you won't be able to play back any files restricted with DRM, but fortunately, DRM seems to be going out of style (at least for audio).
For the complete list of supported formats see Mvix's format document. I appreciated the support for a wide rang of formats. But in general, I found the music playback capabilities of the Ultio to be very basic.