First thing that I’ll try is to reformat USB drives from scratch, and I’ll try to change the file system type to NTFS. What’s worth to mention is that the only USB devices that I had problems with were TDK Trans-IT USB sticks. Afterwards I’ve connected various USB stick from several other manufacturers and capacities, and they all have work without a single problem.
Last connector form the front side of MediaStation easy is slot for connecting SD/SDHC/MMC/MS cards. If you connect data cards and USB devices at the same time, in the setup screen of MediaStation you’ll have to choose which device is going to be the source.
Now from the backside of the device, there is A/V out legacy connector so you can connect MediaStation to older TV-sets. Next in line from the backside is HDMI 1.1 connector. I haven’t noticed any real difference between connecting A/V or HDMI connector. I have tested on my LCD TV LG LH5500 model and again I was unable to notice any difference.
Last connector from the backside is DC-input connector which is mandatory for powering this device.
This is everything about the device, so just wanted to add something about the quality of this product. I’ve noticed that this device can get quite hot while it works for an hour or two. But in these hot summer times, that shouldn’t represent any problem, since this device does not contain any moving or magnetic parts inside. And as I’ve mentioned before, the case is made of aluminum which is very well known material for heat dissipation. And don’t forget that this unit is covered with 2 year warranty period from takeMS, so it’s an important thing to know about this product.
Anyway this is my first review of some product which I simply cannot benchmark and compare to any other similar product. So what has left me to finish is to explain the main setup of this product and how it work with the applications.
When you turn on the MediaStation there are 6 menu items on the screen:
Setup, device, photo, music, video and file
SETUP – or to be exact the main setup menu lets you choose general behavior of this device. From language to main settings of video, audio and photo parameters. There isn’t much sense to explain them in detail, as they are pretty simple to figure out and all of the functions are explained in user manuals.
DEVICE – this menu lets you to choose from which device you’re going to use to play content to MediaStation. It’s either USB port or some SD/MMC/MS cards. It’s pretty simple and you must choose from which source you are going to play your content.
PHOTO – With this option active, MediaStation looks for jpg and jpeg pictures on media source. This part of MediaStation works flawlessly, and in setup you can choose how long the pictures are going to be displayed, and also transition effects while pictures are displaying on screen.
MUSIC – This part is also working great. MP3 or other raw (WMA) audio support is properly reproduced on MediaStation. The great thing is that you can have several directories and subdirectories on USB stick, but MediaStation automatically scans music files on root tree, and also scans all other subdirectories for music. It does it very fast, so in 2-3 seconds it generates list of MP3 files which are going to be played. So you won’t waste your time doing playlists and other scheduled tasks. The only negative thing here (in my opinion)is that MediaStation is missing Shuffle mode for playing music. So that you could leave MediaStation to play the music randomly. Perhaps some software or firmware upgrade could resolve this in the future?
VIDEO – I thought this part is going to be trickiest and with lots of bugs. But it seems I was very much wrong. MediaStation played all of the video files I could imagine. It has easily played mpeg, avi, xvid and vob files that I could find! Without any hiccups or problems. I thought that perhaps some exotic multimedia codec or format could confuse MediaStation, but I was very much wrong. Not to mention that MediaStation can replace standard dvd player because of great multimedia support. Not to mention that xvid or avi containers which have subtitles can be easily played and even changed during playback on the MediaStation. One notice here, if you play for example German movies on MediaStation, you have to change on setup screen default language to German. It’s necessary to do so if you want German special characters from their grammar.
Subtitles have to be with the same name as the movie and in the same directory, so that MediaStation could display them properly. One last notice about subtitles is the fact that you can’t resize font size. They can be somewhat small if you watch it on your widescreen TV from a few meters of distance. Hopefully that could be also changed with some software update.
FILE – This menu is used so you can browse content on your USB stick and play movies, music or photos – whatever you choose first to do.
To conclude the story on this MediaStation, it was one of the best (and also the smallest) device that has impressed me the most. It’s cheap, easy to use and it can replace lots of larger multimedia/video devices in your home. And with it’s small dimensions it’s easy to carry around and it’s almost unnoticeable in your living room.
With the price around 40 Euros, I think it cannot be better then this. In the future things will only be better, since takeMS is working on MediaStation with HD support, so you can play High-Definition movies and other multimedia containers (like Matroska) on this new device. Not to mention LAN support and several other things. I can only say that I cannot wait for this new product to be introduced to the market.
At the end, I would like to thank nice people from Feniks-kompjutori and takeMS company for making this review possible.