I've been looking into getting one of the above but I'm really struggling to
make a decision!
Should I stick with wired ethernet or will wireless be fast enough?
My most basic requirement is that it will play .mp4 files at 1080p (I think
these are H.264 compliant though I'm not really sure what H.264 means).
I don't think I need a hard drive as I have an NAS already or could leave an
old PC on to serve it.
I've read comments from some who say just to get a media player and use a
usb drive but I quite fancy being able to access the internet on my tele.
Any thoughts and/or suggestions?
I have a Western Digital Live Media Player which I think is great. It
has wifi/wired capability but TBH as I have an ethernet port near the TV
I've never bothered with the wifi other than out of interest when I
first got it - seemed OK. Can't comment on the HD aspect as I'm not
Bear in mind that just being able to hook up to your network doesn't
necessarily mean you'll get full net access on the telly. With some
maybe you will, but with mine you get a short predefined list of sites
you can access eg Youtube, Flickr. For me the benefit is being able to
access downloaded video on the PC, together with every digital photo and
music CD that I've ever had.
Depends how fussy you are about quality. Blu-ray runs at 40Mbps which
would push a Wi-Fi link very hard, if it managed to work reliably in
the first place. SD DVD is 10Mbps. SD iPlayer 2Mbps for the "high
You might get away with 10Mbps over a Wi-Fi link provided there isn't
much local interference from neighbours Wi-Fi and the wireless
network isn't doing much else (ie kid(s) on their Wi-Fi
laptop(s)/Smartphone(s) watching Youtube or downloading music etc).
Wired works and gives you ample bandwidth if the server can serve...
MP4, it's the encoding used. Bit rate varies from 64kbps for tiddly
image sizes to just under 1Gbps (4096x2048 @ 30fps).
I would suggest that for 1080p files, unless you have a good solid
wired network (i.e. cat5e from the hard disk where the movies are
stored to the media player which will decode / display them) then you
are likely to be disappointed with the transfer over the network.
Homeplugs / powerline adaptors probably sit in between wifi and
ethernet for guarantees of speed and susceptibility to dropping the
For content delivered over the internet, unless you have an abnormally
fast internet connection (e.g. genuine 24Mbps ADSL2+ that actually
works at that speed) then transfer from your router to your media
player over wifi will usually be sufficient as the limiting factor is
more likely to be your internet download speed than the transfer speed
across your wifi LAN.
So the best of all worlds would probably to be get a networked media
player that has a hard disk built in. You can then watch 1080p movies
directly from the hard disk in the machine (which by design will be
fast enough to do that) and also watch internet content such as
iPlayer / internet radio etc from a convenient box designed for the
Whilst this isn't a product that I can recommend at the moment (its a
touch unstable and needs some bugs ironing out) I have a 3view high
def freeview PVR, which also handles iPlayer, shoutcast radio, and
streaming of media from either its own hard disk or from other hard
disks on PCs or devices in my home. In principle I think that does
most of what you want, though I admit I have no 1080p movies in my
collection so couldn't say whether it would handle those. It does
upscale DivX movies very well, and streams those perfectly well across
my homeplugs network from my NAS.
Hope this helps some!
a wired network, so it can also access the internet. There aren't
many formats that is doesn't handle, as well as video I also use it
for music and bore relatives with picture shows of all my photos!
I've got the original basic version, with an internal 500Gb drive, but
they do more sophisticated options now, take a look at the web site.
There's also a good user forum, with lots of people developing all
sorts of addons.
Very good value for money. Check here for good prices from UK
Check out the Popcorn Hour C200.
It will play most HD formats, including Blu-Ray ISOs.
It's one of a crop of new-generation devices designed for HD and Blu-Ray.
Be aware that most of these new generation media players are pretty
buggy, and that new firmwares come out which fix some things and break
The Popcorn Hour seems to be a good player, but I've held off because
I've felt it's not mature enough for prime time yet. There seem to be
network 'issues' for some people.
Read the forum for a taste: