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Media hubs and streamers

Seven media hubs and streamers put to the test in the CHOICE labs.
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01.Introduction

movie files on a TV

If you don’t have a smart TV with DLNA functionality, a media hub or streamer will be a simple way to get what you want to watch from your computer to your TV.

There are seven hubs or streamers in this test, but some Blu-ray or DVD players, games consoles such as Sony PS3 or Xbox 360, Apple TV, Fetch box or even an up-to-date AV receiver with DLNA can do the job.

Our assessment is mainly based on how easy they are to set up and use.

The comparison table has our scores and details on the common file types they support, connections and the pros and cons for each product.

On the Apps available page we’ve listed all the apps each product supported at the time of testing.

Brands / models tested

  • Dune HD TV-3030D
  • DXtreme DX-480
  • kaiser baas Smart MediaPlayer for Android
  • Mede8er MED1000X3D
  • Panasonic DMR-BWT835
  • Popcorn Hour A-400 Networked Media Jukebox
  • WD TV Live Streaming Media Player

How we test

Our tester, James Thomson, assesses the set-up and help documentation supplied with the product and checks to see if all the cables and connectors needed to get started are supplied. He also checks which audio visual connections are supported.

James then connects the device to a TV and installs a hard drive where required. He checks for the latest firmware and upgrades the device where necessary; taking note of how difficult this is to do for all the products on test.

He scores each device for the following actions: initial configuration, networking, navigation of the user interface, changing configuration settings, setting up DLNA and network connection and security for both cable and Wi-Fi connections.

He also checks the remote control for the shape, spacing and grouping of keys, the prominence of often used keys and clarity of the labelling. He also checks to see if the hand piece is well balanced and easy-to-use with one hand.

We measure the power consumption of each device both in use and on standby and calculate an annual running cost based on an average use scenario of five hours per day active use and 19 hours per day standby. Cost is calculated at 26c per kiloWatt-hour (kWh).

For more reviews like this or information on other networking accessories for the internet, see the Computers and online section.

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