In addition to basic media browsing, the M400 offers plenty of Internet-based functionality, including YouTube, Picasa, and Flickr support as well as Internet radio, and RSS feeds. There's also a Web browser built-in as well. The M400 can use the Play On media service (which requires a subscription) that opens up the door to ESPN, Hulu, and Netflix on-demand content. This requires a PC to run the Play On software as well, so just know the source PC must be on at all times for access.
The included remote control is an improvement over the M200's. The confusing center button and its arrow icon are gone and replaced by an OK button. Things still get a little cluttered as we make our way down the remote, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. Alas, we still really wish QWERTY functionality was implemented in some capacity here. We also were very confused by the center button and its arrow icon.
Like most of the same products in this category, the M400 can also access devices on the same network and then stream them to your HDTV. Even though the M400 boasts a Wi-Fi connection, we're still believers in wired connections for products like these and only recommend going wireless if it's an absolute necessity. Like almost every other product before it, we found that a wired connection provided overall higher quality and a quicker overall experience.
The M400 can also act conversely, making itself the server. In addition, the device comes loaded with a Web-based interface easily accessible from any browser on a home network. The M400 can also act as an FTP or SAMBA server.
Making its return is also a built-in BitTorrent client. However, the use of it relies solely on having an internal hard drive installed. Unfortunately, it does not seem that you can load a torrent file onto a thumbdrive and download from that. You'll need to load the torrent file on the internal drive, and only then can you actually download. While it's certainly an unexpected yet welcome feature, we really wish it was accessible through other connected devices (like an external mass-storage hard drive). If you don't plan on purchasing an internal 3.5-inch SATA drive, this feature is useless.
It's tough to put into words the sheer amount of functionality the M400 packs inside. Even though we spent two weeks with the device, we feel like there are plenty of hours we can still spend searching through content and experimenting. While this will surely whet the appetites of savvy DIYers, it's probably a bit intimidating for more novice users. For this reason, we'd refer that demographic to a product like the . Pound for pound we think its interface is a little less confusing, and it comes with a built-in 1TB drive. Even though the two products are similarly priced, the TV Hub does appear to be the better overall deal, especially for the beginner user.
If you need more advice on choosing the right digital media streamer, check out our guide that'll recommend the best device for your individual taste and situation.
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