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Feature Tour

To get going with the M400, the first item I checked out was the system setup menu to see what options were available. Figure 5 shows the Setup menu.

setup

Figure 5: uebo M400 Setup

There are a lot of options available in these menus and I won't cover them all, but I'll touch on a few significant ones. As expected, you have the ability to set up the standard network parameters, configure the menu language, format the internal drive, set a drive spin-down time, etc.

The M400 has a very nice screensaver that can be configured in the setup menu. Where most of these products just resort to bouncing around a logo (and that's the default for the M400 too), uebo gives you the ability to select a photo directory for random playback with cross-fade between photos along with a zooming Ken Burns Effect. If you're not satisfied with the look of the background image seen in the images above, you can also use the setup menus to select your own image.

These menus are also where you'll configure the wireless capabilities if you don't have Ethernet handy in your entertainment center. I found setting this straightforward as well. Figure 6 shows the result of a wireless site survey the M400 performed during setup.

Wireless Site Survey

Figure 6: uebo M400 Wireless Site Survey

After the M400 performed the site survey, I selected my access point, entered my password, let the box verify it and I was online. The only painful part of the process was using the remote to enter my password via an on-screen keyboard display. The M400's 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz band only) radio supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 wireless security as well as Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS).

A few other interesting configuration items in the menus include turning on a FTP server, a Windows file server, and a UPnP A/V server so you can serve content to other devices on your network.

I played with the file-serving capabilities a bit just to move content over to the M400. It worked well enough from my Mac and a test Windows box. I could mount and copy files to both the internal drive and a USB drive I had plugged in. But you probably won't use the M400 as a full-time network file server because when you hit the power button on the remote, you'll be taking the file server down too.

The FTP server worked as expected for moving files around, although it seemed to require having an internal drive installed and not just a USB drive. I also played a bit with the UPnP A/V server by using my Android Cell phone as a client. Figure 7 shows a screen-dump while I was streaming music from the M400 to my phone.

UPNP Client

Figure 7: uebo M400 UPNP Client on Android Phone

This worked well enough, but much of the experience will be dependent on the capabilities of your UPnP client. My Son's PS3 was compatible with the server on the M400. It automatically found the device on the network and he was able to view movies that it was serving up.

If you're starting to get the idea that this little box has a lot of features, you're right. I haven't even left the setup menu yet!

Music

In general, the way the M400 works is that upon startup, all available drives are scanned and cataloged for music, movie and photo files. Figure 8 shows the Music submenu after it has cataloged a handful of music files that I put on the system.

Music Menu

Figure 8: uebo M400 Music Menu

As you can see, recognition of album artwork (and the rest of the music info such as artists, album etc) related to songs is spotty. On my Mac where these files originated, everything shows up with artwork and metadata. As far as support for music, a wide range of file formats are advertised: MP3, OGG, WMA, WAV, AAC, and FLAC. In my case, I tested MP3 and AAC and had no playback issues. Figure 9 shows the display while music is being played.

Music Playback Menu

Figure 9: uebo M400 Music Playback Menu

Of course, no files with DRM restrictions will be playable.

Photos

Photo Selection

Figure 10: uebo M400 Photo Selection

Photo support is basic and done well with various slide-show options including time to display, transition style, and background music to play while the slideshow is in progress. Formats of JPG, BMP, GIF, TIF, PNG are supported.

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