Under the TV/Video menu there were two options: "Recorded Video" and "YouTube video".
The "Recorded Video" option allows you to browse through videos you've created yourself or downloaded from the Internet. The system has the ability to control a video-capture card on your PC, but I didn't have the hardware to check this feature out. Figure 4 shows a list of my videos in the menu.
Figure 4: Movie Selection
I played a bit with the YouTube feature and it worked well, although video quality was pretty low and browsing through the available videos was a bit awkward using a remote instead of a mouse, as you would on your computer. And don't expect the fast-forward and reverse buttons on the remote to work with these videos, either. Occasionally, I had some video stutter, but it's hard to tell if that was due to the box, my Internet connection, or slowness from the YouTube server. In general, however, this was a fun feature and a great time-waster.
As mentioned earlier, the EVA8000 supports a wide range of video formats. I successfully played a number of my AVI, WMV, and MPEG- 1, 2 and 4 files, including XviD, DivX, and even H.264 codecs. But as with all of these boxes, there were files that could not be played. I had a number of Quicktime videos (.mov extension) that would cause the box to crash and go into a minute-long reboot. A stress test of a 1080i mpeg2, 16Mbit stream showed that the video would play for a while, but then begin to pause and stutter.
The "fast-forward" and "reverse" buttons on the remote were also a bit problematic. With some videos they would work fairly well, but with others they wouldn't. This is fairly common with these types of devices. It's a tough issue when streaming content across the network, so just don't expect to jump around a video like you would in a DVD.
Speaking of DVDs, I was able to play VOB files that were decrypted and ripped from my DVDs. The files would play, but there was no menu interaction as you would normally see in a DVD. And while checking out my DVDs, I came up with another annoyance. The EVA8000 is evidently trying to "help" you by collapsing deep directory structures into something more manageable by a remote-control.
But in my case, I have a large collection of my ripped DVDs arranged in a deep directory tree named by year, episode, etc. with a deepest directory of "VIDEO_TS" as found in the original DVD. But when the EVA8000 menu was presented to me, my entire directory structure was collapsed into a single VIDEO_TS option. Inside this menu I had 130 VOB files with many, many identical names and no indication of what DVD they originally came from (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Buggy Menu
This "feature" was useless. One of the things I liked about the EVA700 was its ability to use an alternate media server that understood DVD structures, enabling it to re-create the functionality from the original DVD menu. The EVA8000 doesn't seem to share this feature. This capability is somewhat of a gray area as far as what manufacturers are licensed to do, but at least one company has won a DVD copying lawsuit with the DVD Copy Control Association, so maybe it will become more of a standard feature in the future.
The EVA8000 also has the capability to view Windows Media DRM-restricted video files when serving content from a Windows system running Windows Media Connect, but I didn't have any restricted content to test this with.