The HD media player market is saturated by a number of brands and products. These products have always been about offering very simple solutions for those who purchase high-definition TVs, but don’t have the content easily available. AVerMedia, a company that’s known in the past for its TV tuner cards and recently for a bunch of other products, has also been selling HD media players. Their new AVerLife HD Theater is one of their latest products to hit the market.
Design and Build Quality
The AVerMedia AVerLife HD Studio is a compact little device. It’s compact – roughly the size of a WD TV media player. The entire product is made of plastic and the top surface has a brushed metal look to it. There’s also a full HD 1080p badge on the right-top of the player. The bottom surface has large vents for cooling and some on the either sides as well. All the connectors are present at the rear of the player. Only the power button is present at the front, besides the IR receiver and activity indicator. Overall, it feels sturdy, but it could have been more stylish, in our opinion.
Simple, plain surface and a pretty compact device
The bundled remote is flat in design and is made of plastic. It doesn’t feel and look like a remote control for a television or a media device. The directional buttons could've been closer though, and the volume switches, more prominent. These are minor issues, though.
The AVerMedia AVerLife doesn’t come across as a much different player than most of the others in the market. The player has two USB 2.0 ports – one on the side and the other at the rear. There’s also a memory card reader on side that supports SD/MMC/MS cards. The rear also has an Ethernet port which can be used to playback media over the network. While the player supports Wi-Fi, you’ll have to purchase a separate USB Wi-Fi adaptor, which means you only get to use one storage device at once. There’s a single HDMI port at the rear to connect the player to a TV as well as a composite out for older televisions.
Memory card reader on one side
Format support is great, too – it supports everything from the traditional AVI container with DivX/Xvid codecs to the latest MKV containers with media stored using H.264 codecs. Support for Flickr, Picasa, radio stations are present, but the interface doesn't look upto the mark. Media streaming over the network is done using uPNP, which is something that needs to be enabled on Windows.
Somewhat flimsy and light-weight remote
Power it up and it shows up a simple, straightforward interface with large icons for different kinds of media supported. The interface is not very stylish, but it isn’t really bad, either. The icons are self-explanatory as well. The interface is smooth and each of the features load quickly. The Settings menu is detailed and there’s everything from firmware upgrades to customizing the interface for the different media playback sections.
The player takes no more than 8 seconds to power up from a total power-off state. Loading of files is quick and images show up thumbnails. Movies do not show as thumbnails, and a few, basic details of the movie are available. Video playback itself is smooth and there are no signs of stuttering across all formats of all resolutions.
Basic connectivity features at the rear
Our standard 60fps 1920×1080 video ran perfectly fine without any stuttering. Image transition effects are smooth as well and there are really no complaints as far as performance of the player is concerned. Text file support is present and it works fine, too. We’re not sure how practical reading long pages of text will be on a TV, though.
The AVerLife HD Studio – an affordable network-capable media player
The AVerMedia AVerLife HD Studio sells for Rs.5,000 (MRP Rs.7,475) in India, which makes it fairly affordable for a device that plays all media formats. We would like a slightly more refined product and more Internet features. But, for a player meant to stream media from an external hard drive, it's a great value-for-money product. If you have a HDTV and want to play HD content on it, this is one of the cheapest options available.
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Oct 24, 2016