Technology companies have been trying for years to develop the ultimate portable media center – a product that can finally bridge the gap between the computer and the TV. I’ve always felt that whoever could develop this product would have a strangle hold on the living room for many years to come.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to test out a product called the TVIX HD M-5000A distributed by MLC MediaLink Communications Inc. that will give the big guys some serious competition. Just by taking one look at the back of the unit, your jaw will drop at the vast array of gold plated outputs available. Output connections include RCA, S-Video, Optical, DVI, USB and HDMI. It’s safe to say that this product will connect to anything. It’s also one of the only products that can output at 1080p, in addition to 1080i, 720i/p and 480i/p.
The TVIX easily plugs into your home network using the Ethernet port on the back. Simply configure the network settings to either DHCP or static IP on the unit, and you’re ready to begin transferring files to the internal hard disk, or streaming them wirelessly over the network, with the help of a wireless hub. Using an FTP client or the included NetShare software, your entire media catalog is now available for viewing on your TV.
By using the feature-laden included remote, you can browse the screen and select the videos you want to watch. Whether it’s video formats such as Windows Media 9, Divx, XVid, MPEG1 or 2, audio formats such as MP3, AAC, PCM, OGG or WMAM or any image format, the TVIX displays them with no trouble at all.
Take it anywhere
What I really liked about the TVIX is its portability. You can take this thing anywhere. Because it uses a hard drive, which can be easily upgraded at any time, the TVIX can store all your media and is easily transportable. Its unique cylinder design and easy-to-read LED screen, adds to the overall look and feel of your home entertainment system.
It’s easy to overlook some of the missing features, considering what this product already includes. However, we really wished that the product included built-in wireless, to truly create the ultimate media center. It’s hard to imagine that with all the outputs already included, wireless was left out. We think it’s because the current technologies at the time were just not fast enough to stream large HDTV file formats, but with the upcoming 802.11n specification, we’re sure they are already working on a wireless model. If so, Apple and Microsoft better watch it.
Priced competitively at under CAD$400 for the base model, and with an upgradeable hard drive, it’s kind of difficult to figure out what could really be better than this. With the price of hard drives falling, you could have a fully loaded, portable media center for under CAD$500. Visit http://www.tvixcanada.com or http://www.tvixamerica.com to get one. You better hurry up, because these things will be the hot item this holiday season.
|Mvix 760HD||Tvix 5000|
|Ease of Use||3.5/5||3.5/5|
|Wireless||Yes||No (Requires USB Wireless Adapter)|
|FTP Support||No (Coming Soon)||Yes|
|Hard Drive Support||Yes||Yes|
We reviewed two very similar products that compete for space in your living room. We found both products to have very strong offerings for a media centre, however, we felt that the TVix just slightly beat out the Mvix, although it may really come down to personal preference. While the Mvix 760HD has built in wireless support, if your house is already networked with Ethernet wires, this feature won’t matter as much. Furthermore, streaming video is much quicker through Ethernet than through a wireless setup.
Another feature that we felt was helpful was the FTP server feature, currently only available on the Tvix unit. If you use a Windows based PC, this feature is not as important for you then if you have a Macintosh computer, since the software for streaming only runs on PCs. With the FTP support, a Mac user could upload their media files directly to the unit.
The lack of an HDMI output on the Mvix is another feature that really depends on your personal preference. You can still get an HD signal through the composite outputs.
Nevertheless, adding either of these units to your home theatre is a must. Find one that fits your personal needs for features and design, as we found both units adequately did the job they were advertising.