Everything worked without a hitch, and the hdMedia Stream smoothly played back all supported files we tested. File formats it doesn’t support simply don’t appear in its file structure, which can be a bit confusing and indeed annoying but is a failure shared by most of these media players. Video can be fast forwarded or rewound at up to 16x while the Sigma 8655 allows for basic upscaling, so even standard definition material looked good.
Last but not least we come to the Eminent’s network functionality. Obviously this includes basics like streaming content from a NAS box, but other than that functionality is somewhat mixed. Where the WDTV Live offers YouTube, Flickr and Pandora (for online videos, photos and radio respectively), the hdMedia Stream has no Internet streaming services. However, it does offer DLNA, UPnP and SAMBA, with bittorrent and nzb download support thrown in for good measure. There is the possibility that more functionality will be added through future firmware updates, as there’s no reason these two players cannot match each other feature for feature when it comes to software. For now, you have to choose which feature set appeals the most, though again the Playon!HD offers the best of both worlds.
Overall then, we have a very capable and functional media player but one that is not without its faults and doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It offers a great selection of features and looks good doing it in terms of both the physical unit and its interface. Ultimately, what will make or break the Eminent is price. With the WDTV Live available for just under £100, for most consumers there might seem little reason to pay the extra £20 Amazon demands for the Eminent player – especially as Western Digital’s device offers an extra USB input, component video out and is smaller too.
However, Eminent does provide a class-leading five-year warranty, so for those who value peace of mind it’s pretty attractive. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the Eminent might soon be sold through other UK retailers and once availability increases its price should go down to at least match the WDTV Live. Finally, if you want the fullest feature set for the least money, the Asus O!Play HDP-R1 is still the media player to rule them all, and you can look forward to our review of Asus’ latest model, the O!Play HDP-R1 Air, coming soon.
Despite coming late to the media player game, Eminent has produced a singularly impressive media player in the EM7075-DTS hdMedia Stream. With its current UK pricing, however, it’s not a great value proposition compared to the competition, though a five-year warranty does compensate for this somewhat.