Small Set-Top Boxes that promise to provide all your media experience are scattered on the shelfs in most big stores and sometimes its hard to know which one to buy. While most can play, in some format or another media files you own, how they get this media and which formats they play is varied to say the least. I wanted to take a look at only a handful of devices to show you that not everything is created equal and might point you in the right direction of your needs.
While I already have a gigabit network running, there is not enough ports to allow all the computers to connect via gigabit which means some are locked to 100mbit and the rest are on wireless (a mixture of Wireless N and Wireless G speeds). Converting your network to gigabit gives you a boost in speed and the cost is very low these days as you will see. A Quick recap on what I already have – I am on 50mbit / 5mbit Cable Internet via Virgin Media which is connected to a D-Link 615 Router (Supplied by Virgin media as part of the install) which features Wireless N Speed but only 4 ports at 100mbit. I have a 5 Port Netgear gigabit Switch which is a bit dodgy on the 5th port – this means I can only have 4 computers (or NAS Boxes) max that is on Gigabit.
I bought one of these devices a long time back and what it does out of the box is basically play just about anything your chuck at it and play it at full HD (1080p). It works by means of plugging in your external HD with movies, music and photographs and you plug it into your TV via HDMI. This works well enough but it means your limited to the of the hard drive you plug in. They did bring out a new model called the WDTV Live which has wired / wireless (by means of a adaptor I guess) but I did not fancy buying yet another device – so what about modding this and making it wireless and accessing my NAS box?
As time moves forward, so does technology and with it the need to store data on something that may last. I only just read about floppies finally dying (though I still have a USB Model and a box full of blanks) and I thought I would pass my thoughts on the media that I use today and why I feel that CD-R and DVD-R may as well be dead too.