Why virtualise your NAS environment?
Iomega ScreenPlay TV Link
Miniature USB media playback device.
- Simple, convenient for multimedia playback
- No eSATA, Firewire or card reading; inconvenient USB port location
If you do not know how to hook up a PC to your television, the ScreenPlay TV Link offers a convenient way to play multimedia content.
Price$ 149.95 (AUD)
If you want more content than is available on Blu-ray and DVDs and from over-the-air broadcasts, you will need to find some way to let your TV access some other form of storage, either locally or over a network. The ScreenPlay TV Link does away with any complicated networking and focuses upon simple USB playback. It works well and is simple to use, but we would have liked more versatility.
The ScreenPlay TV Link's main focus is on flash drives and USB external hard drives. From these mass storage devices the ScreenPlay TV Link can access a variety of file types. Video support is acceptable: it offers MPEG 1, 2 and 4 decoding, including DivX and XviD. There is no support for more advanced codecs, though, with our test device unable to play H.264 video successfully. In addition the ScreenPlay TV Link can view JPEG picture files and decode MP3, OGG, WMA, WAV and AC3 audio.
All of this is able to come off any USB drive that has a FAT32 or NTFS file system — the two Windows standards — as long as the drive has a capacity greater than 512MB. We used a variety of flash drives from 1GB all the way to 64GB and did not have any issues. A range of external Seagate hard drives also worked flawlessly. Conveniently, the ScreenPlay TV Link is fully plug-and-play with no need to mount or "eject" a drive.
One shortcoming is a lack of a card reader or more advanced connections like eSATA or FireWire. This would have increased the appeal of the device, especially for those looking to connect a digital camera to their television easily.
It is a small device, roughly the size of a pack of Post-it notes. Composite and component break-out cables are included in the packaging, but the obvious winner is the device's HDMI connector. The device will up-scale content to 720p for playback, making it a good candidate for pairing with a newer LCD or plasma television. With power, USB, HDMI and analog audio (using the composite break-out cable) simultaneously connected, the back of the small device does become cluttered — if you change USB devices regularly an extension cable may be useful.
The on-screen interface is easy to use and has all the appropriate settings for video and audio, which makes initial set up a simple process. We were impressed with the up-scaling and video quality; 720p content on our test Samsung Series 8 (LA52A850) was bright and sharp with no significant flaws.
For the PC-illiterate or the downright lazy, the ScreenPlay TV Link offers a simple and convenient way to access mass storage devices.
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