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Philips Streamium MCi500H - Philips Streamium MCi500H

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


Initially, we also found fault in the way you control the MCi500H. For instance, the 'OK' button, found in the centre of the D-pad that sits on the main unit and is repeated on the remote, looks like it should be used to select (i.e. open) items as you browse your music collection, much like the way the central button on an iPod's scroll wheel works. Instead it doubles up as the play button so pressing it while highlighting an artist will start the MCi500H playing all the songs by that artist.

To browse your music you actually use the right and left buttons to delve deeper into a folder tree or work your way back out, respectively. Because of this the left and right buttons don't double up for skipping forward and back through tracks, either. Instead there are separate buttons for this.

In essence we found a few operations less than intuitive but once we'd got the hang of its idiosyncrasies we found the MCi500H quick and easy to use.

However, what we couldn't come to terms with, no matter how long we persisted, was the sound quality. Despite the move to a proper Hi-Fi setup, the MCi500H just doesn't have the fidelity to rival even a basic conventional Hi-Fi. There's oodles of volume and the sound stage is certainly more expansive and involving than the all-in-one boxes but, while there's plenty of it, bass sounds boomy and uncontrolled yet lacks any real punch. Likewise the muted top-end limits any real sense of involvement in the music you're listening to. Put simply, you can spend quite a bit less and get significantly better sound quality from a conventional micro system.

The MCi500H is designed to be coupled with smaller all-in-one receivers like this WAS7500

Of course, what Philps has striven for with the MCi500H and the Streamium range in general is to offer a lower cost alternative to high-end network music systems, like the Logitech Squeezebox and Sonos ranges, that packs in plenty of features, is easy to use, and doesn't compromise on sound quality too much and for the most part it has succeeded. Certainly we can think of no quicker or cheaper entry into the world of networked music. However, if you're tempted by the MCi500H as a standalone unit to just play your mp3 collection we'd recommend you just buy a decent micro system and an iPod dock instead.


If you plan to use the Philips Streamium MCi500H as the hub to a low cost network music system then it's definitely worth considering but as a standalone mp3 compatible micro system it doesn't quite cut it.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 6
  • Usability 9
  • Features 8

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.c... - 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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