Such comprehensive format support is hardly unique, but it is good to see nothing important missing. There shouldn’t be any problems in finding a suitable output connection either. The ScreenPlay Director sports the obligatory HDMI port, which is accompanied by Component and Composite video outputs and, using an adaptor, an RGB SCART connector. An optical S/PDIF audio port rounds out the array nicely.
Since the ScreenPlay Director is a media streaming device, it’s hardly surprising to see it equipped with an Ethernet port. Strangely, this is only a 100/10Mbit interface, so if you happen to have any files with a greater than 12.5MB/s bit-rate (including audio, remember), you’ll find playback just a bit jittery. Still, if streaming doesn’t work there are three USB ports to connect an external drive to. One of the USB ports can be used with an optional 802.11n or 802.11b/g adaptor if you fancy adding Wi-Fi streaming to the player’s list of abilities.
The menu system is as uncomplicated as you could want, with large, easy to read text and helpful graphics aiding navigation. It’s simple and effective, providing access to all the functions you might need without making you jump through hoops to find them.
The remote control’s layout is well-considered with logically laid out buttons and quick shortcuts to the menus you’re likely to be visiting frequently. There are a number of controls on the device itself, too.
Similarly positive is playback quality. Standard definition content isn’t ever going to look spectacular on a large HD television, but the ScreenPlay Director does an admirable job of upscaling it – it’s not as good as a PS3, but that’s a much more expensive proposition. YouTube videos look expectedly naff, but that’s hardly Iomega’s fault.
High definition playback leaves nothing wanting. Predictably, output quality is dependant on the quality of the input source. A 2GB 1080p video is hardly going to match up to a Blu-ray, but feed in a decent bit-rate source and I’d defy most viewers to notice the difference between the original and compressed encodes without really looking for it.
The Iomega ScreenPlay Director comes equipped with a decent amount of storage space for your HD content and couples it with comprehensive format support without taking liberties with the pricing. You can’t say fairer than that.
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