Review Price £119.99
Media players are becoming ever more common as the market for them keeps growing. Many tech-savvy video enthusiasts back up their DVD and Blu-ray collections digitally, or buy films in digital format through the Internet. For playing these back, a media player can be a cheap and flexible alternative to a dedicated Home Theater PC (HTPC), especially as the quality and functionality of these devices continues to improve. So today we're looking at another model, this time from Eminent - the EM7075-DTS hdMedia Stream.
This media player makes a good first impression thanks to a comprehensive bundle of extras in the box. You get a remote with batteries, HDMI cable, composite cable, optical digital audio cable (by no means a common inclusion), and even an Ethernet cable. The power cable for the media player itself is very unusual, in that it includes a handy power switch integrated halfway between the device and power brick. This allows you to tuck the box out of the way while still easily powering it off if you don’t like to leave devices in standby.
The EM7075-DTS is larger than the Western Digital WDTV Live with which it shares very similar capabilities. While by no means as cumbersome as the huge A.C.Ryan ACR-PV73100 Playon!HD due to the lack of an internal hard drive, it’s roughly comparable to Asus’ O!Play HDP-R1 in both size and looks. It sports a glossy piano-black finish that scratches easily and shows dust off to best advantage, though with a little care this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Build quality leaves no room for complaint though, as there wasn’t a hint of flex or creak. Also, as it doesn’t contain any moving parts the unit is completely silent in operation. At the player’s front is a blue power LED that changes to red when in standby, and there are separate indicators for USB and LAN activity.
Connectivity is the first area where this player lags a little behind the competition. For example, it only offers a single USB input where the WDTV offers two and the O!Play features a dedicated USB plus combined USB/eSATA connection. It also lacks the component video output of Western Digital’s device, though this is only a concern for those who own older high definition televisions without HDMI or DVI.
However, for the remainder there’s little to complain about. It might lack wireless capabilities, but an Ethernet port is provided for hooking the hdMedia Stream up to a network. A separate digital audio output is provided along with composite video and stereo audio connectors, and the HDMI output is version 1.3. On connectivity alone the ACR-PV73100 Playon!HD still trumps all its competitors, but one unique feature of the Eminent is a 3.5mm jack for hooking up an IR extender. It’s a handy feature though the required extension is not included in the box.