So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Noontec GV3732 media streamer
This hard drive media player has everything you need to watch movies from your PC on your television
- Good quality AV input, dual USB host ports, card reader
- Average interface, uninspiring looks, mediocre remote
If you’re looking for a budget networked media player with a hard drive for storage and media recording, Noontec’s GV3732 is a good choice. It packs plenty of features into a small chassis.
Price$ 229.00 (AUD)
The Noontec GV3732 media streamer packs a 3.5in hard drive bay, a card reader, network connectivity and plenty of audio-visual processing into a small and unobtrusive body.
The case housing the Noontec GV3732 feels well built. It uses thick plastic and aluminium, and has a satin black finish. Silver accents break up the monotony to some extent, but overall the package isn’t as visually impressive as some other hard drive media players like the Panasonic DMR-BW850 or the DVICO TViX R-3300. The multi-function card slot accepts five different card types including CompactFlash. If you’re an avid photographer you may find this useful; we enjoyed the convenience of displaying a recently captured photograph on a screen larger than 3in.
The Noontec GV3732 has HDMI, composite and component video outputs, allowing most recent TVs to be hooked up. It also has a network port and two USB host ports. You can use the Ethernet port to stream media files from computers connected to your home network.
A composite video input lets you record video at either 480p or 576p. If you want to store any data on this player you’ll need to install a 3.5in desktop hard drive. A 1TB maximum allows for plenty of data to be stored. The unit’s remote is a let-down; it feels cheap and generic and the labels are hard to read.
Upon booting you’re presented with a somewhat boring black-on-white interface. There are occasional splashes of colour, but the Noontec GV3732 sticks to a simple Arial font and largely monochrome GUI to get the job done. The user interface is pretty self-explanatory, but we would have preferred dedicated sections to view photos, video and music rather than a folder-based system.
Where the Noontec GV3732 proves itself is in file format and codec support. MP3, WAV, WMA and OGG files are decoded without issue; there’s no support for AAC or FLAC files. XviD and MPEG 1/2/4 support means the majority of digital video files will be playable, although MKV high-definition formats are not supported.
The composite AV input allows the Noontec GV3732 to record anything with a video output. Uses for this are limited, but we think it would be a reasonable system for recording television directly from your TV or set-top box in a pinch. Picture quality was as good as we expected — a maximum resolution of 480p at 30 frames per second is roughly DVD quality.
Noontec’s GV3732 is a competent media player for digital video, music and picture files. It’s somewhat utilitarian in its design and interface, but if you’re looking for a low-cost device to play files from your PC on your TV, then consider it.
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