Iomega ScreenPlay HD
A speedy storage drive with limited media playback capability
- Great storage capacity, HDMI output
- No advanced file support, crappy menu structure
As a storage device, the ScreenPlay HD excels — it’s fast and has plenty of storage space. Its media playback abilities leave plenty to be desired, however, with limited format support and an uninspiring interface.
Price$ 249.95 (AUD)
Iomega is a company best known for its storage solutions — capacious, speedy devices with plenty of connectivity. The ScreenPlay HD stays true to this ethos, but doesn’t back it up with much in the way of media playback support.
Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect the world from the ScreenPlay HD. The device is exceedingly simple: an externally powered hard drive case with a 500GB desktop hard drive inside and a set of A/V connectors on the back. We have seen a few systems that work well despite similar physical limitations — the most recent being Emprex’s ME1.
There are plenty of connections on the rear of the enclosure, making it easy to connect to any television from the past decade. Composite, component, SCART and HDMI connectors handle video while analog RCA and coaxial S/PDIF make audio output possible. With this repertoire the ScreenPlay HD sits ahead of its competitors, particularly thanks to the HDMI connection. This is something we’ve wanted to see on a media centre enclosure for some time, for the sheer convenience offered by a single cable.
Also of pivotal importance is the device’s USB port. At full USB 2.0 speeds it’s more than fast enough for transferring video and audio files from a PC, while the 7200RPM speed of the hard drive is able to happily keep up. We clocked the ScreenPlay HD at a transfer rate of around 40 MB/s consistently — a solid performance.
Set up is exceedingly easy — after plugging in power we opted for the HDMI connector — but the experience tumbles downhill from there.
Upon powering the device on, we were greeted with a pleasant blue screen and the ScreenPlay HD’s splash logo. We waited a few seconds, expecting the blue screen to be replaced with a flashy user interface. Instead, the blue screen remained. Instead of the slick menus we were expecting, the ScreenPlay HD makes do with a simple file-and-folder list manager. File names run off the edge screen rather than scrolling or using several lines, so if your media files have a complicated naming format you might be in a spot of bother.
Browsing through folders is okay once you master the remote control system, which has a single glaring flaw. The button in the centre of the navigation pad is “Play” rather than “OK” — so hitting it to enter a folder (which we tended to do by instinct) starts files playing.
Picture quality isn’t spectacular. The up-scaling is quite poor; videos at less than DVD quality looked blurred and washed-out at any resolution. High-definition videos displayed happily, although we couldn’t find any option to set the resolution higher than 1080i.
File support is decent but not brilliant. In terms of video, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and DivX are supported, but there’s a glaring lack of support for enthusiast formats like H.264. This is quite an omission, since the majority of downloadable content is now offered in next-generation formats rather than DivX or raw MPEG.
Photo viewing and music playback is also supported, but again is restricted to more traditional formats. JPEG, MP3, WMA and WAV are the only file types on offer here and while this should be enough for casual users, enthusiasts will be disappointed.
The ScreenPlay HD is great for storing data and the addition of limited playback support might be useful for some users. However, the price tag hike compared to a standard enclosure is difficult to justify considering the capabilities of the device.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 3 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 4 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Plex Cloud is now open to all paid users
- YouTube launches streaming TV service with 40 channels and unlimited cloud DVR storage
- Up next for Apple TV: 4K streaming reportedly in the works
- Apple’s original TV shows are almost ready for prime time
- Apple snags Amazon Fire TV exec to lead Apple TV efforts
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)ACT
- FTFinance Analyst with Accounting background | $71 phVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst - Qld Health - Short term contractQLD
- FTIT ArchitectNSW
- FTReporting DeveloperSA
- FTPayroll Systems AnalystQLD
- FTSAP Fiori Technical SpecialistsACT
- CCTechnical Consutlant - Entry Level - HPSMNSW
- FTFirewall EngineerNSW
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)VIC
- FTLevel 2/ 3 Systems AdministratorVIC
- TPBI AnalystQLD
- CCOracle CCB DesignerVIC
- CCTechnical Consutlant - Entry Level - HPSMWA
- TPSenior Test AnalystQLD
- FTTechnical ConsultantACT
- CCSAP CRM Functional AnalystACT
- FTSenior Data ConsultantWA
- FTSalesforce Project LeadQLD
- FTSnr Technical Salesforce Consultant Global IT Managed Services - SydneyNSW
- FTSenior Project Manager - Infrastructure / LogisticsNSW
- CCIT SAS Visual Analytics DeveloperVIC
- CCNetwork Design SpecialistNSW
- CCInteraction DesignerNSW
- CCProject Communications and Engagement SpecialistNSW