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Neuros OSD Video Station and Media Centre - Neuros OSD
On one side of the device you'll find all the cable inputs, including LAN and S-Video in, while the other side features a small green LED that can be difficult to see, but by the same note is quite unobtrusive. There's a single powered USB port, meaning you can connect 2.5in external hard drives without a power supply or charge devices like your iPhone while streaming video from or to it. I'm just slightly disappointed that Neuros hasn't seen fit to include a second one, for copying between USB storage devices if nothing else. It does somewhat make up for that by supporting a prolific selection of memory cards: CF, MicroDrive, MMC, MemoryStick Pro/DUO and - though both the manual and the box only display SD Card compatibility and the site specifically states you need a separate adapter - it worked fine with a 16GB Kingston SDHC card.
In a thoughtful touch, the included black remote control is actually a universal model that you can also use to control other devices like your TV or DVD-player. Unfortunately, unless your other devices use bricks teleported over from the 1980s for remotes, you really won't want to. Okay, so that might be exaggerating a little; the remote is workable. But it's also slightly uncomfortable to hold, with cheap, clunky buttons and not the best layout. However, it's no less of a great idea to include a universal remote with a device like this, especially since it's a given that most people who get it will already own a few. And a bit of ergonomic discomfort is probably not too high a price to pay for the convenience of having everything in one, despite limited operating range being another of the remote's weak points.
A quick word about power usage: there is no way of switching the Neuros OSD off. Neuros claims "there really is no downside to leaving it on ALL the time. The OSD draws little to no power when it is not being used and the heat generated by the OSD is negligible", but it would help if Neuros mentioned what this 'negligible' amount of electricity actually is. So of course we measured it, and the OSD posted a minimum usage of 3.3W while idle. Not the end of the world, but hardly negligible in today's environment of stringent energy saving, so you might want to get a switched plug extender.
But let's get to what is the most interesting thing about the OSD; its 'open source', programmable software and interface. I can see why Neuros doesn't recommend turning the device off, since it takes just over a minute to boot up. If you do leave it always on though, this obviously isn't a problem. After a quick date/time settings screen on first use, you're greeted by the main menu, which is actually rather bland. Grey text - which becomes white when highlighted - against a default black background hardly makes for a visual feast. Things improve once you hook up an active recording source, as the Neuros OSD will display that content as its background.