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Emtec Movie Cube S800 - Emtec Movie Cube S800
Setup can be as easy as plugging in just the aerial and an HDMI connection to your TV. However, if you want the most out of the S800, you'll need to either connect an Ethernet network cable or use the optional Emtec Wi200 Wi-Fi USB adapter to connect to your wireless network.
Once powered up, a small LCD screen embedded in the front lights up. This lets you control the Movie Cube without having it connected to any other display, which could be useful if you just want to playback some music and aren't otherwise using the TV. Unfortunately it doesn't really go far enough as it's so small and the viewing angles are so poor that it's next to useless unless you're sat two feet in front of it. On top of this, despite being a mini full-colour display, it can't be used to view any video or photos. Most damaging, though, is that you can't even access the main setup menu. Having experienced the situation where we plugged in an external display only to find that the S800 didn't work because it was set to the wrong output mode, we know that this would be a useful addition. Ultimately, if Emtec is not going to go the whole hog, a simple Hi-Fi-like monotone segmented (or even fully pixellated) LED display would've been a much better option.
The disappointment continues when you get a proper screen attached as the clunky menus are rather ugly compared to the stylish examples we're used to seeing nowadays. What makes this more disappointing is that the menus are rather slow, so you often get that annoying situation where you overshoot the menu option you were aiming for.
Starting with the leftmost option, the TV, you can tune into either a digital or analogue broadcast and record them at the touch of a button. We managed to pick up a healthy selection of channels on both tuners and found the picture and sound quality to be at least passable. However, you can't use the two tuners together to, say, record one while watching the other. Also, there's a timeshift option (that constantly records allowing you to pause and rewind 'live' TV) which can be turned on/off from the remote but we found it temperamental at best so just turned it on permanently, using the onscreen menu.