But it’s the video streaming that’s really important, and here the Link Theater proved to be a mixed bag. When I first tried streaming some DivX content the video played back smoothly for about ten minutes, then stopped to buffer, then played again for a few minutes then stopped to buffer etc. The biggest problem with this is that after each buffering instance, the video shot forward at high speed for a while before returning to normal, meaning that you missed vital elements of the story.
I tried flashing a new firmware into the Link Theater to solve the streaming problem, but incredibly it actually made things worse. Whereas the video was buffering every ten minutes or so before the firmware flash, afterwards the buffering was pretty much continual! Having done a little trawling around the Internet, I’ve found that I’m not the only person to have this problem and most users have gone back to the earlier firmware. To be fair, streaming performance could be better in a less hostile WiFi environment, but here in the UK many houses are like mine with thick, solid walls.
If you do find that you are having problems streaming video wirelessly, you could always burn your video to a CD or DVD. Having tried this method also, I found that the Buffalo is partial to high quality media. While the Link Theater had no problems playing back MPEG4 video from a Verbatim disc, when I used generic “no brand” media I found my video freezing and refusing to play. But burning video to disc, even RW discs, can be a pain and thankfully, once again Buffalo has this covered.
Nestling at the far right of the front fascia is a USB port. Here you can plug in a USB flash memory key and stream video directly from it. This worked flawlessly and I tried about five different USB devices, all of which were more than happy to work with the Link Theater. Using this method you don’t have to worry about buffering over wireless, or burning data to discs, you simply drag and drop your content to a memory key, plug it in and away you go!