In multicultural Australia, the opportunity for home cooks to expand their culinary horizons is too tempting to resist.
Dvico TViX HD M5000A
- Attractive design, Abundant connection options, Supports wide array of file formats.
- Price, No Quicktime support.
The cylindrical DViCO TViX HD M5000A looks sexy and performs impeccably, but all this comes at a cost.
Price$ 649.00 (AUD)
With High Definition video and television booming as we move into the HD era, video file sizes are growing exponentially. As such, storing the plethora of video, music and images that quickly clog valuable hard drive space becomes a problem. The DViCO TViX HD M5000A aims to solve these problems as an all encompassing playback and storage device that sits stylishly with your lounge room AV set up and television. It supports a wide range of file formats, caters for most connections types and playback quality is quite good. Unfortunately, the price is a little excessive especially when you consider that it does not come with a hard drive.
The M5000A is only compatible with pre-formatted IDE hard drives and has no size restrictions. The process requires no screws or tools and once installed the device is ready to use. Hooking up your television to the device is simple as it can output on a wide range of connection types. The TiVX HD supports component, DVI, S-Video and composite for connecting to a television, with an accompanying RCA stereo or optical connection to transmit audio. USB 2.0 and 10/100Mbps Ethernet are also offered for PC streaming and file transfers.
We tested the unit with a wide range of video files including low resolution and high definition video files and it handled them all well without any problems. The accompanying documentation claims the unit only recognises AVI, MPG, VOB, CAT and M2P files but we discovered that it also played back WMV and Divx file extensions as well. The TiVX uses the latest EM8621 video processor which also supports WMV9 and WMV HD providing no DRM is instituted and MPEG 1, 2 & 4, DivX and XVID video codecs. We also found that it supported Divx HD as well without any flaws. Unfortunately Quicktime and Quicktime HD formats are not supported. We spoke with DViCo and they informed us that there are no plans to offer Quicktime support in future firmware upgrades.
Videos can be displayed in a variety of resolutions including 480i. 480p, 720p and 1080i although a recent firmware upgrade has added 1080p support as well. However, the resolution is not automatically chosen by the device. The user must set the resolution in the setup menu and videos are scaled when required to the preset resolution. Thankfully, the interpolation is handled quite well, except for extreme cases where source files have a resolution of 320x240 and below which is understandable. We suggest that you set the resolution at the native resolution of your television to avoid unnecessary interpolation.
Audio and Image Playback
The M5000A can play MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, PCM, M4A audio formats but has no support for lossless formats like FLAC. The audio quality is excellent though dependant more on the quality of your speaker array or television speakers than the device itself. Files can be sorted by album name or alphabetically but advanced sorting features, like artist, album and genre are not available. ID3 Tags are supported but these are only used as a source of information via the "info" button on the remote control, rather than sorting data. We would have liked to see more advanced sorting options as people who use this device will most likely put their entire music collection on the hard drive and sorting through hundreds of folders could quickly become tedious. Lyrics are also supported, though only in .lrc format. If the title of the .lrc file and the music file are the same, lyrics will be displayed on the screen automatically.
Images can be displayed either individually, or in a slideshow with fade transitions however, only JPEG files are supported. We were disappointed that we couldn't easily play back a music file while watching a slideshow. This is achievable but it needs to be planned, with the audio files being stored with the images in a specifically named "slideshow" folder on the root directory. Even then, only MP3 files are supported for slideshows.
Connecting to a PC
We were quite impressed with how easy it was to connect to a PC via USB 2.0 as the TiVX HD was found by windows as a mass storage device with no drivers required. However, the connection via Ethernet is rather complicated and even the step-by-step instructions in the manual may be too difficult for the average user. The device needs to be configured as part of the network and given a static IP address. Once this is done, the files you wish to access from the PC have to be shared within windows and placed in a specific folder labeled "tvixhd1". The only other complaint we have about this process is that only one folder can be shared. We would have liked the freedom to explore the folder tree of our PC across multiple hard drives if needs be.
Finally, we found the on screen menu easy to use and intuitive and while the remote control isn't the most attractive or functional device we have seen, it does the job well enough. The design of the device is incredibly cool though and a departure from the box-like media streamers on the market. The cylindrical shape, the attractive LED screen and the sturdy, textured aluminium casing all make for a sexy and stylish device that will look great as part of your AV set up. Our biggest complaint with this unit is probably the price as it doesn't come with a hard drive and once you factor in the additional cost you will incur, its value for money becomes limited.
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