When you look at the spec list for the Crystal Acoustics PicoHD5.1 media player you certainly wouldn't believe that it's no bigger than an SD card reader. Or, indeed, smaller than its own remote control.
However, "pico" means small*, and that's exactly what it is. Tiny, in fact.
Indeed, there's just enough space on the device for a few inputs and outputs, including digital audio, HDMI, SD/MMC card slot and an USB port, and it is through this last one that you attach an external source as there's (clearly) no internal storage on board.
The PicoHD5.1 is compatible with all types of USB memory sticks and FAT, FAT32 or NTFS formatted external HDD drives. It can play a myriad of file types, including MKV, DivX, MP3, FLAC, JPG and BMP, and as it is recognises NTFS, files can be above 4GB in size (essential for 1080p MKVs, for example).
Its 5.1 suffix illustrates that, again seemingly in contradiction to its diminutive size, it can play full surround sound audio. But if you want to use it solely with a flatscreen TV, rather than AV amplifier, it is also capable of downmixing Dolby Digital and DTS audio soundtracks to a stereo mix.
The PicoHD5.1 costs £49.99 and is available now.
*It also means "penis" in Chilean slang, but we'll give Crystal Acoustics the benefit of the doubt.