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Sony SMP-N100 - Multimedia flexibility
On the audio side, you can output sound using either a simple RCA stereo audio output - again useful for old TVs - or use a digital audio output for connecting to an AV receiver.
Having established that the N100 can work with even the most antique of TVs, our next job is to detail exactly what your TV dinosaurs will get from Sony’s box of tricks.
There are essentially two threads to what it offers: multimedia file playback from DLNA PCs, or USB sticks, and playback of the online services offered by Sony’s Bravia Internet Video platform.
Starting with the multimedia playback, the codecs supported are extensive if not entirely exhaustive. Confirmed are DivX, MPEG-1/2, MPEG-4 AVC, WMV9, AVCHD, and MKV for video; JPEG for photos; and MP3, AAC, LPCM/WAV and WMA9 Standard for audio. It’s worth adding that the N100 can play files on an NTFS drive, relieving you of the 4GB limit you would have been faced with if the N100 only supported Fat32.
From this it follows that you can use USB HDD drives as well as USB flash memory drives, or can hook up HDD camcorders or digital cameras directly. With this in mind it’s good to find the USB port mounted on the unit’s fascia for ease of access - though a second port on the rear might have been appreciated for people wanting to attach a potentially permanent USB source.
Unlike some (usually more expensive) streaming devices, the N100 doesn’t carry any internal memory. But while this might be an issue for people just wanting to share pictures and videos directly from a digital camera or camcorder and cut out any PC interaction, for the vast majority of people these days their laptop or desktop computer will be providing all the storage space they’ll need.
Communicating with such DLNA PCs can be done via either Ethernet cable or, more handily, wirelessly, courtesy of the N100’s integrated 802.1b/g/n wi-fi system.
While the N100 is middling to good as a streamer, though, for us its main attraction is actually its Bravia Internet Video offering. As regular readers will know, Bravia Internet Video remains currently our favourite among the online content systems developed by many brands for access via their new Smart TVs. And the reason we like it so much is that it’s so focussed on video content: the sort of stuff, in other words, that fits best with what most people actually want to watch on a TV.