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Philips Streamium MCi500H review



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Philips' Streamium system has lead the charge in low cost network music players in the last couple of years. Products like the WACS7500 are incredibly easy to setup, offer a comprehensive list of features, and sound okay as well. However, the WACS7500's all-in-one design inherently limited how loud it could go and how convincing its sound stage could be.

Enter then, the Philips Streamium MCi500H. This is the big brother to the WACS7500, offering essentially the same feature set but using a traditional micro Hi-Fi system arrangement with separate speakers.

As with other products in the Streamium range the MCi500H does well on the aesthetics front with the amplifier cum player's metal body finished in an eggshell black paint that is complemented by a glossy black plastic front and some silver plastic trimming. It's not going to rival nor indeed sit well with the brushed aluminium sleekness of high-end Hi-Fi equipment but in isolation it looks and feels classy and understated.

The black and silver theme is continued with the speakers except the primary material of choice is now black laminated chipboard. Cheap as that may sound, they actually look just as good as the main unit, whether you have the fabric coverings on or not. They're also reassuringly weighty, which is always a good sign in a piece of audio equipment. We also like that the speaker cables are good and long and reasonably thick (the copper inside, not just the casing) and terminated in proper connectors rather than bare wire. That said, we're less keen on them being hard wired into the back of the speakers as this limits your wiring options and makes it more difficult to replace the cables if they get damaged.

On the surface the MCi500H could easily be mistaken for any other micro Hi-Fi system sporting as it does a CD drive and FM tuner. However, it's the hard drive hidden inside and the network connections round the back that really tell the story of what this device can do.

Feed a CD into the drive and you can not only choose to play it normally but also rip it to the hard drive as you play or at higher speed without playing at the same time. Artist, Album, and Track information are looked up from the downloaded Gracenote database and once you're done you can browse your mp3 collection as you might on any other system.

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Hamish Campbell

February 27, 2009, 1:47 pm

OK people help me out...

There is a laptop with lots of music. There is a stereo with good amp and good speakers.

I want to play the music on the stereo. I don't want to plug the computer in.

Where is the simple, music over wifi to auxilery input device?

I've found apple express that can do it with itunes, though this is not really that cheap (i.e. more expensive than a decent more fully featured router...to be precise 700DKK which is something like 70 quid), and a lynksys product that isn't sold in europe.

Any suggestions?


February 27, 2009, 2:21 pm

Well the quick answer is there isn't anything. If the 𧶀 odd that the entry level squeezebox costs is too much then I don't know of anything else that would do the job. There are a few desktop radios that have the functionality built in but having one of these - http://www.trustedreviews.com/... - permanently plugged into your radio would hardly be a neat solution.


February 27, 2009, 6:01 pm

Hi Guys,

Keeping things Streamium, would this help Haim out?



February 27, 2009, 6:26 pm

Of course, I completely forgot about that. It's still over 𧴜 but it fits the bill perfectly.


February 27, 2009, 8:26 pm

Internet Radios used to be a cheap way to stream music from computers to wherever you want as many come with a upnp client/media player built-in in addition to the Internet Radio functionality. If you get one with some form of audio out you can pipe it through a hifi.

Unfortunately the days of these going for 50 quid in Dixons appear to be long gone. You can also do it with plugplayer on an iPhone but that's also not a cheap option.

Hamish Campbell

February 28, 2009, 12:17 pm


The friend i'm setting it up for doesn't have a wireless router yet so I think I'll kill two birds with one apple airport express, she uses itunes anyway.

The stremium could be an option for me though, i like the digital out and that one can select from the unit what to play, would be perfect for my kitchen...although I'd have to be convinced that it was easy enough to find the tracks to play and select them. Will do a little google on it to see how it goes with itunes stored music as I saw the review pointed out it was easy with windows media player. But could be real cool if/when I move to network stored music.


March 19, 2009, 1:13 pm

I bought a Philips MCi500H a couple of days ago. Setting it up was pretty simple, although the instructions don't remind you to switch off MAC filtering on your router to allow an IP to be assigned and the MAC to be displayed on the router's control panel! Fortunately I remembered this from a previous WLAN device set-up and now have the MCi500H also added as an approved wireless client.

I use the 'aux in' to improve my TV sound; the speakers were too big to fit where I wanted them, so a pair of Wharfedales were pressed back into service.

Yesterday I had no problems with Internet radio and saved a few 'Favourites'. But today most won't play and display 'Radio station cannot be reached. Please try again later'... This is very disappointing; I can listen to the stations using Windows Media Player 11 on my PC, but some don't seem to be available on the Philips MCi500H.

Why this should be, I do not know. But I cannot recommend this system if Internet radio connectivity is as flaky as this!


March 19, 2009, 7:43 pm

On the 'StreamiumCafe' web forum, another owner suggested that I shut the unit completely down using the 'Eco' button, then re-boot it.


It seems to be fine now, but I will be keeping a close eye on it.......


April 22, 2009, 3:10 am

A month later and I'm still getting to grips with the MCi500H. My only real gripes are that the User Manual is abysmally inadequate and that Internet radio streams are less reliable than through www.reciva.com, it seems.

And the unit, though quite pretty, is a real dust magnet!

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