Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Flexible, inexpensive
- Requires technical knowledge to configure
Modix is trailblazing with the HD-3510B. It will primarily appeal to geeks and the techno-savvy; a little polish is required before it's ready for the mainstream.
Price$ 359.00 (AUD)
Korean company DTS Infocom has taken the clever step of integrating an external USB hard disk enclosure with an HDTV-compatible media player. The Modix HD-3510B is designed to live between a computer and lounge room, storing files or serving up movies and songs on demand.
The machine is sold without a hard disk, so you'll need to factor in the cost of this when you're shopping around. It takes a standard 3.5" desktop ATA drive, which is easy to find at computer shops, markets or online retailers, but it requires a little technical skill to fit it. The enclosure is capable of housing a hard disk with a capacity anywhere from 40GB to a whopping (and as-yet unavailable) 2TB, so there's no danger of running low on storage space!
The front panel is crammed with buttons, LEDs and a 1.2" backlit display that shows information on what's playing, while the back offers composite, component, S-Video, and optical outputs.
The Modix ships with a massive range of accessories, including a carry bag so you can take it on the road with you. In fact, at just 350g (sans hard disk), is ideal if you're frequently stuck in hotels or often visit friends, as you can take a selection of movies with you.
The Modix registers as an additional hard disk when plugged in via USB 2.0 to a Mac or Windows PC, so you can use it to archive files as well as store media. After copying movies and songs to the drive, you can fire up the device through a TV and use the remote control to navigate the menu system. It's easy to use and works well, though the menus can be a little unresponsive at times (and some of the English is a little offbeat).
Just about every common video format is supported, including AVI, MPEG1-4, XviD and DivX 3.0 to 5.0, along with audio formats MP3, MP2, MP1, OGG and WMA. The Modix HD-3510B and worked well, with the displayed image appearing clear on all tested TVs. We encountered a couple of slight playback glitches during testing, but they weren't enough to crash the machine, and it was always when playing back large HDTV files downloaded from the Net.
The Modix HD-3510B is relatively inexpensive and its one-year replacement warranty is adequate, but the machine would appeal primarily to those comfortable with fitting a hard disk into a computer.
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