A few weeks ago we reported the impending UK release of the Xtreamer device – which is a small device used for playing back digital content and also streaming digital content and earlier in the week we got our hands on one and showed you the unboxing.
Well we have been playing with it for a few days now and figured it was time to post a review, but this time we are going to do something different. Rather than try and describe the interface or how it works, we figured that along with the normal specifications and pictures that we would actually show you what it looked like in a couple of videos. So let us know if you like the video idea and we will do more of them.
So let’s just remind ourselves what the Xtreamer is and what it does.
The Xtreamer player will play and stream HD (MKV H.264) movies or user-generated videos, listen to high-quality digital music and show high-resolution slideshows of your family photos on your TV.
Simply put, this tiny box, approximately the size of a small book, or a 3.5″ Hard Disk, will play back almost all Media Files, up to 1080 HD !
- Play back of Network stored files, ie from a Windows Home Server or NAS
- Playback of local Hard Disk files (the unit can hold a 2.5″ Hard Disk)
- Playback of local files from USB sticks
- Serving of local files to other players (it’s a server too)
- Internet file experience (ie Youtube, weather, themed sites, ie cooking)
- Simple to connect to HDMI or SCART TV
- Wired or wireless operation (WiFi network and active antenna required)
- Simple operation
In the small box comes the Xtreamer unit itself, a power supply and UK adaptor (yeah, not impressed here but I will come on to that in a minute), a quick guide, some cables, a stand for the Xtreamer and a remote. If you have ordered it earlier enough you will also get the WiFi USB adaptor for free, otherwise you will need to buy that seperately.
This is taken directly from the manual:
USING THE XTREAMER AND THE VIDEO
Connecting up the Xtreamer to my HD TV was a breeze, just a couple of moments to plug in a few cables. One of the things I really liked was the inclusion of an HDMI port for both digital video and audio through a single cable. No more additional cables for audio thank you very much. There are lots of different connections available to suit everyone’s needs.
Powering the Xtreamer on takes a few seconds, and the main menu will appear. Its a very simple affair with just 4 menu options, so it’s not going to take long to find what you want.
Setting up the wireless network only took a few moments as well.
Setting up the Xtreamer on my HD TV was a little different – on one HD TV I plugged it in and it was perfect, crystal clear images and no problems at all, on another HD TV (which I have to admit isn’t “full” HD) the picture was a little blurry and the menu items were not that clear. No problems though as a few seconds changing the picture settings cured this.
There is also a setting for the fan speed – it is set to MEDIUM by default and to be honest, this is pretty noisy, you would certainly notice it! Changing it down to LOW to be honest didn’t warrant any real difference to my ears (there probably is, but when it’s hard to tell does it make a difference)? Setting it to OFF made it quiet, however is it really a good idea to have it switched off, even without the hard drive plugged in? Also, personally I wasn’t very impressed with the fan being on the underside of the unit, but that’s just me!
You can watch content from a USB device, an internal hard drive if you have fitted one, from your network or even over the Internet. Results do vary but that is based on your individual home setups, including whether you are wired or wireless and what your wireless kit is. You can even stream content directly from your Windows Home Server, which is nice 🙂
Rather than trying to explain any more, lets take a look at the videos. There are two due to the length of them. Are you sitting comfortably?
FINAL THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSIONS
Frankly for £99 this is a steal and I cannot recommend it enough. Ok, its not whisper quiet (but it is certainly quieter than an Xbox 360) and the menu is a big fiddly and frankly a little unimpressive but so what? The simple fact of the matter is that it works, and it works well. Most of the time! I found a rather annoying thing that kept happening to me with the menus. Sometimes if I was doing multiple presses of say the down button, and then I pressed the up button, it would sometimes continuing going down. It was almost as though it got locked into an action and the only way to ensure changing the action was to wait a second or two before doing something different.
Watching digital content from either a connected hard drive or USB device was simple and had no problems at all. So if you want to carry your content around rather than streaming it you can, and its just a few seconds to plug it in.
Wired streaming was no problem either and worked great.
Wireless was a little hit and miss, however I should point out in all fairness that I don’t think this was the fault of the Xtreamer and more to do with my wireless setup at home, not to mention the location of the Xtreamer at the time. Sometimes it worked perfectly and other times not so much, so you really should give it the benefit of the doubt on this one. Again, for £99 what have you got to lose!
The Xtreamer ships with a 1.02 bios which should be upgradable to 1.03 in the next week or so according to the Xtreamer forums.
My biggest problem, if you can call it that, with the Xtreamer is the power supply. It’s not a UK power supply so it needs an adaptor plug (which fortunately is provided) but when connected it makes the whole plug huge! This may cause some problems for people with a limited number of power sockets because the plug is at an angle with means anything to left or right (depending on how you plugged it in) is blocked.
Anyway, that aside, this device is fantastic. It is small, cheap, and portable – you could take it with you and connect it anywhere. And as I keep saying, for £99 you cannot go wrong, it is a steal.
Go get yours now! To order one, click here. And for anyone who is interested, the Xtreamer is sold in the UK by Tranquil who have a very good reputation!