Budget wireless A/V: Z400

A video-capable wireless media adap­ter, the Z400 appears to have the proper credentials. It offers wireless and wired network connections (802.11g and 10/100Mbps Ethernet) and a comprehensive set of audio/video connectors at the rear.

It's equipped with Sigma Design's EM8475 chipset, which enables it to decode MPEG-4 video files like DivX and XviD (unless they use compression routines like Qpel and GMC), along with the majority of audio and still image formats currently in circulation. However, only QuickTime MP4 files are playable (not MOV), and Microsoft's WMV video format isn't supported at all - though this is not uncommon.

Setting up the Z400 is relatively straightforward, though you have to key-in values using the infrared remote control. Despite being an 802.11g wireless device, there's no support for WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), so you may find yourself "dumbing down" the security settings on the entire network to get it running.

What lets this product down most, however, is the media server software that comes with it. You can't organise files or create playlists with it, and there's no file conversion tool. As the Z400 doesn't automatically play subsequent files, you may find it rather irritating having to create a playlist for every album or video collection you want to play in sequence.

In brief: Zensonic Z400

Three out of five stars.

With better software and common­sense operation, the Z400 would be easy to recommend. As it stands, it's the low-cost option for budget buyers.

Price: $369 Vendor: PC Range Phone: 1800 201 202 URL: www.pcrange.com.au

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