|ICUBE Play@TV NMP-4000|
|Summary||Media player handling video, audio and still files in Ethernet and Ethernet+802.11b wireless versions. Requires WinXP or 2000|
|Pros||• Supports wide range of analog and video connections|
|Cons||• Optional 802.11b wireless not adequate for video streaming
• Win XP and 2000 only
• Requires TV for user interface
Our computers are drowning in multimedia. MP3s, Divx videos and JPG pictures are some examples of the media files that people have stored on their PCs. Is there a way to play all those wonderful files on your TV, without lugging your computer into the living room? iCube hopes to answer that question with their Play@TV NMP-4000 network media player.
Can it play all your favorite music, videos and pictures? Is the performance fast enough? In this review, THG answers those questions and much more.
What is a network media player?
A network media player sits between your computer and your television. It translates the computer-based audio, video and picture formats into a format that the television can understand.
The included Media Organizer software must be installed on the PC(s) that contain media files. The software catalogs all the media and presents it to the player. You can think of the software as making a gigantic shared folder for the player to stream off of. Unfortunately, the Media Organizer shares the limitation of many other media players in that it requires that you use a Windows XP or 2000 system to run it on.
The player connects to your pc via either a Ethernet cable or your wireless network with a wireless PCMCIA card. If you choose the wired route, the player can either hook directly to your PC with the included cross-over cable or to your network hub/switch/router with the included straight-through cable.
Audio and video connections are made via the same types of jacks that you'll find on your normal audio and video components. On that end, at least, hooking up a media adapter is similar to connecting up a DVD player.
Note that the Play@TV unit cannot record audio, video or still picture content. It is an output-only device.