- Easy to set up and use
- Documentation idiosyncrasies
It's a decent solution if you want a way to take your movies with you, providing your destination has a TV.
Price$ 190.00 (AUD)
The $190 Mediagate portable MPEG-4 player is a clever device that allows you to play multiple media types, including DivX and MPEG-4 formats, by attaching it to a TV and/or receiver. So unlike the more expensive options, you don't get a built-in screen, which means you won't be using it to keep the kids quiet in the back of the car on long journeys.
The Mediagate is essentially a USB 2.0, 2.5" hard drive enclosure that comes with built-in software for playing media files, a collection of cables for connecting it to TV and receiver, and a remote control to operate it. What it doesn't come with is a hard drive--you must purchase a 2.5" notebook hard drive yourself and install it in the enclosure. You'll need to make sure you've preformatted the hard drive, but other than that, installation is straightforward: pop the lid on the player, unscrew the circuit board, push the hard drive into the slot, screw the board back into the enclosure and you're away. Plug it into a USB port on a Windows XP PC and it shows up as a removable drive (you'll need to connect its AC adapter too, naturally).
With the drive connected to a PC, you simply copy your files over. Since it's a high-speed USB 2.0 device, copying large files is painless as long as you've plugged it into a high-speed USB port on the PC. To view or play them, you connect the Mediagate to a TV set and/or receiver using the supplied cables, of which you get quite an assortment. The device has S-Video, composite or component connections for video, and stereo or 5.1 sound.
The Mediagate supports all manner of standard video formats, including MP3 and MPEG-4, and will display still images too. It even supports 5.1-channel sound.
A simple menu interface displayed on the TV lets you navigate through options using the unit's remote control. It's not a fancy setup, but it gets the job done. You also get drivers for using it with Windows 98/SE (XP doesn't require any drivers).
Apart from some idiosyncratic English in the instructions, the device is simple to set up and use, and does a reasonable job. The quality of your video will depend on the media files you are using--garbage in, garbage out, as it were. But when I tried high-quality MPEGs ripped from DVDs--saved at their original resolution and complete with their 5.1-channel soundtrack--the result was quite respectable.
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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.
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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.
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