"Much Better Than I Expected!"4.0 starson by PPHaley
Pros: + Solid, well built and has a host of connections on the back
+ Setup was simple and took a few minutes
+ Menu system is alright
+ Image viewer works fine
+ USB media playback
+ Works with any TV
Cons: - Lack of ITVs on demand service and 4oD
- Navigating Youtube is difficult with the annoying input system used
Summary: Out the box it feels solid, well built and has a host of connections on the back. This is connected via HDMI to my TV for best quality and least wires. Its also connected via ethernet to get the top speeds from my internet.
Setup was simple and took a few minutes, setting up the screen resolution etc and then activating advanced features such as LoveFilm accounts was a doddle too.
The menu system is alright, is the typical Sony scroll bar menu they use on all their entertainment equipment, like the PS3 bar and PSP bar. I don't love it and don't hate it. Its easy to navigate and fast and response enough to enjoy.
I have to avoid the music section because i haven't and won't use it, im a LastFM man on my Xbox so this bit means nothing to me.
The image viewer works fine, rigged up to an external drive via the front USB port, loaded all my images with ease, although the viewing features are limited to just swapping picture in a slideshow format, no zoom or anything. Which is fine because realy i wanted this box purely for the Internet TV side of things.
Now the good bit, the video section. The first thing i tested was BBC iPlayer and the all important Eastenders episode i missed!. So you head into the iPlayer menu, its pretty fast and easy to navigate, much like the website based player. Selected the episode i wanted and i was away. Now im on the edge of Hull and the connection here is 5MBs compared to the 15MBs in the city, so streaming has been an issue the odd time. But using this it wasn't at all. The episode started within 20 seconds and i was away, no lag, no buffering nothing. It played perfectly all the way through. So by this time i was happy!
Next big test was LoveFilm, now online i have had bad lag issues using this service to watch movies which are included in my rent package cost. So this was important to me as i want the most out of LoveFilm. First movie to test was Planet of the Apes, original. Took about 30 to 50 seconds to buffer and then it was off. Watched the full movie with no buffering or stalls and it looked great. So far ive watched 5 movies and had 1 buffering encounter but i think that was my fault, other than that its worked great.
The reason i have not given this 5 stars is the lack of ITVs on demand service and 4oD which i absolutely love. Also navigating Youtube is difficult with the annoying input system used. So if these change in the future i will change this to 5 stars without doubt.
If you want a great internet on demand tv setup for your TV, get this, its awesome!
But before you're will buy it, I suggest you have to check for best deal before you decide at: Streamingplayerdeals.blogspot.com/2012/02/smp-n100.html
Hope this helps.