But there are, alas, more problems. Next up is the remote which just doesn’t seem to have enough power. I thought the device had crashed a couple of times, until I pointed the remote directly at it and it worked. It may sound innocuous, but trust me, it becomes very, very annoying after a few days of pressing buttons once, then twice after you realise your first attempt hasn’t registered.
Another irritation is that this Freecom doesn’t support UPnP so if you want to be able to use it as a NAS box and media server on your network you have to install Freecom’s own NDAS client software. This is unnecessarily fiddly to set up too, requiring you to enter the device id as well as all usual shenanigans involved in network setup. It’s not particularly user friendly once everything is in place either – you have to ‘mount’ the device every time you start up your computer in order to read from or write to it.
And anyone who plans to use it as an audio server might want to think again too, as file format support is weak. You can playback MP3, WMA and Ogg Vorbis files, but not AAC or FLAC, both of which are big misses. And this is before you get to the software provided for track browsing and playlist manipulation, which is extremely clunky – the main moan being that you can’t browse tracks while they’re playing back.
There’s no denying for £215, you’re getting a lot of kit for your money with the Freecom MediaPlayer. A 500GB NAS box on its own would set you back at least £100 without wireless connectivity or the media streaming capabilities. That means you’re getting similar functionality as the Netgear EVA8000 for a piffling £115 and that has to be good news.
But there’s no getting past the issues with video playback performance, weak audio file support and poor music playback interface. It may be full of features, but its performance isn’t good enough to warrant any kind of recommendation, even if you are a big fan of convergence.
Score in detail