Movie Cube -R multimedia player

With media coming in all shapes and sizes there is now a plethora of options for getting your content on your shiny LCD television. Emtec International thinks it has the answer with the Movie Cube, but does it? We get watching to find out.

It might be called the Movie Cube, but curiously it's not cube shaped. It is in a grey boring looking rectangle with plenty of blue lights on the front and a stack of connections on the rear.

The idea behind the box is, according to the company "a portable entertainment box with MPEG4 playback and recording function". What this means in practice, is that you get up to a 500GB hard drive, video-in and video-out functionality and the chance to connect further hard drives, your computer or even an SD card to share your images.

Connections around the back include component, Composite, Coaxial, and Optical although no HDMI for that true HD playback experience. On the computer side there are two USB sockets, and an Ethernet port so you can connect it to a network.

Overall you've got most of what you need, although the lack of HDMI, S-Video, Firewire, Optical Out and Wi-Fi do mean that connectivity for some might be an issue.

Beside direct connections on the back you can also access and transfer data via an SD card thanks to the memory card reader at the front or simply by connecting a USB hard drive via one of the USB sockets on the back to watch, listen or view your music, pictures and movies.

Once all connected you can also treat the Movie Cube as a PVR and you can record content directly to the box to watch back later from anything with a scart or phono out socket.

The interface is basic with little attention to making this a consumer product, and where this doesn't beat the competition is the lack of Freeview built-in. If that wasn't bad enough, you can't get video you've recorded from the television off the box, a bit of a missed opportunity if you ask us.

Recordings can be done in a variety of different quality's although SP is good enough for watching soaps etc and the large hard drive means you can store up to 400 films, 300,000 photos or 200,000 MP3 tracks. Formats supported include MP3, WMA, OGG / Video MPEG2 & 4, AVI, VOB, DAT, MP4, DIVX; XVID / JPG, JPEG and BMP.

Verdict

The Movie Cube is basically a large hard drive with an interface that is going up against more advanced devices with better feature sets from the likes of D-Link, Apple, Linksys et al.

The interface isn't the most straight forward we've seen, nor are the features anything that will stand out from the crowd.

Basically there are too many times where the Movie Cube falls short for us to recommend.