Mediagate MG-350HD: Multi-talented but multi-buggy
Mike Baggaley started out liking Mediagate\'s combo HD media adapter/NAS. But in the end decided it wasn\'t worth the hassle.
Did Mike have the latest firmware applied to the unit?
Although this isn't the original manufacturing company (so far as I can tell), they do list 1.0.8 as a firmware release on 2006-09-25.Quote:
[MG-350HD] v1.0.8 Firmware
The improvement of 1.0.8 firmware is as follows.
- Cannot recognize 'Maxtor 300G' HDD ==> Solved.
- MP3 VBR's displayed 'total play time' does not match actual 'total play time'. ==> Solved.
- After about 30 minutes of AVI time search, A/V sync does not match. ==> Solved.
- When you press the 'TV out' key, you no longer need to press over 20 times now, because, the cycle mode has been simplified.
(Composite - Component -DVI- S-Video....)
- USB external HDD detection error ==> Improved.
- Play list, bookmark, firmware file and shared directory icons ==> Changed.
- Caption language selection ==> Added.
- Caption selection popup ==> Improved.
- Ability to change from 16:9 to full screen display ==> Improved.
- Audio problem in mpeg+ac3 files ==> Solved.
- Audio problem in ts+ac3 files ==> Solved.
- Digital output problem in *.m4a, *.aac files ==> Solved.
- Audio problem in files recorded via specific PVR ==> Solved.
- Availability to set & save 'Screen size (Display)' separately in each of TV Out's output mode. ==> Improved.
- Finer tuning/adjustments for display size (Very large, Large, Small, Very small, etc.) ==> Improved.
- Noise problem while starting certain ts files ==> Solved.
- Problems running 'time search' and getting time info for certain tp files ==> Solved.
- Availability to save display size and location ==> Added.
It would be interesting to see if Mike's problems clear up after applying this update.
Quote:Did Mike have the latest firmware applied to the unit?
I actually did the testing for the MG-350HD before the release date of the firmware that you mentioned. (The article was delayed slightly due to the problems that we were having with the wireless connection.)
I'll try to find out which version of the firmware I was running on the MG-350HD at the time of testing and I'll post it as soon as I know.
I will admit, I am a fan of the MG-35. This is the version without wireless or the network storage server. I have found it to be extremely useful in the configuration in which I have it deployed, a simple media player.
No Hard Drive.
No file serving!
I have setup a linux server, employing samba as a windows/smb server, with massive storage, 2TB in a remote room. I upload all the media which I want to use into a network shares and access them through the MG-35 via its network interface.
I have found the boxes to reproduce extremely high quality audio and video and has performed much better than first generation dvd players.
The HD-35 players are available for $150 w/o HD. I actually have 4 of the boxes and can use them simultaneously, 2 on a single network segement.
I play mpg, some avi and unencryped dvd/vob as well as wav.
This device is almost useless for playing audio do to the lack of an interactive playlist; nevertheless, I have used it in that role.
MY media distrubution system:
Download fedora core
set up the shares
connect HD-35(s) through the a network.
While you're at it download myth tv and get hauppauge pvr 150(s) and record off of the air!
Cost old PIII or early p4 for linux server $0
cost of linux, myth-tv $0
pvr 150 $80
time 8 hours if linux guru.
I don't see why you would need a HTPC, UPNP or any marketing driven, wallet empting, power consuming goods. Yes I know the linux server with its storage consumes a lot (350W continuous) of power!
Quote:I will admit, I am a fan of the MG-35.
Thanks for your insight videx. It's nice to hear a different perspective from someone who uses a similar device on a regular basis. Perhaps the fault of the MG-350HD is that it is trying to wear too many hats. It sounds like your simple media player setup is working well for you. I'm probably spoiled by the speed of my HTPCs, but I still can't get past that long wait when trying to access my network shared folders though. (I hate waiting.)
You might want to look at Galaxy Media Gear's IPTV-DMG. It is a standalone w/o HDD Digital Media Gateway. It has the ability to be turned into a wireless access capable device in the future but the kit for it is not available yet and I wouldn't personally use it anyway.
I have had it for 6 weeks now and it is superb. Boots in about 10 seconds, setup was extremely easy I never referred to any manual. It even has a tab to do flash updates from the setup screen.
It is also capable of web browsing and imports your favorites from IE or Firefox, althought the browsing is more Text oriented if you get my meaning.
You can, if you have a decent broadband connection, watch IP TV, Rhapsody and other streaming video/audio without any computer being on.
The navigation once setup gives a Video, Music, Photo and Premium Services option. Navigation within these menus is as fast as you can click the remote. Playback starts immediately once you hit play.
IPTV-DMG connected to DSL Modem/Gateway/Router.
All Music Videos, DVDs, etc converted to DivX, XviD, etc (plays a very wide variety of file types.)
BeyondTV4 and Hauppauge PVR-150 recording Movies/TV Shows and then converting to DivX.
Media library is at about 318GBs so far and I've never ran across one hiccup, reset, etc with the IPTV-DMG.
The price on these have come down and can be had for under 200 now. If you ever get a chance to test one of these out, you'll be happy.
Quote:You might want to look at Galaxy Media Gear's IPTV-DMG.
Thanks for the heads up Alex. Here's a link to Galaxy Media Gear's IPTV-DMG product site.
I have one of these, it works very well for what I use it for.
I have a media server running DVB-t capture software capturing standard definition transport streams of MPEG2 video and MPG audio. I have to run them through ProjectX and do a TS to TS conversion first to create a single program table transport stream but that is all and is very quick. For more info on this see the following post:
Just for reference I have timed some of the the tasks:
From fully off to animated spash screen is 15 seconds then aother 8 seconds before the interface shows, that makes it from fully off to usable is 23 seconds.
To scan the network for machines to show takes 6 seconds in my wired 100Mbit network with 4 machines.
To show available shares on my media server using the wired 100Mbit link takes 2 seconds.
To connect to a shared dir on the media server takes 10 seconds.
For the device to shut down takes 4 seconds.
This means that from fully off to playing a captured TV show from my media server takes 39 seconds give or take.
I am not sure comparing this sort of device to a PC is a good idea, a HTPC and this device are different can can not be directly compared.
I have V1.0.8 installed on the box and yes it does take a little bit of time from boot up to the splash screen the main screen just shows up no problem.
Accessing the wired and wireless shares on the pc from the Mediagate only takes a few seconds now and navigating into and down through the various folder levels and back up again takes no time at all where as i had experienced the delays mentioned in the earlier firmwares.
Also i have noticed that you cant play an ISO or VOBs through the wireless as yet due to the high bitrate that they have but standard Avis etc are fine. The manufacturer is working on this and hopefully it will be fully functional in a later firmware.
The ISOs and VOBs play fine via the wired network (i have tested various DVD rips) as do the supported video types too
As a previous user of the MG-35 and now the MG-350HD i can honestly say i use the box nearly every day to watch all the TV shows movies and other things downloaded from the net.
So i highly recommend it...
I was considering getting something like this. I think a little access time is reasonable compared to booting up a pc; at least that is how I look at it. The thing that keeps turning me off of devices like this is that they only have set formats that they support. If there was one that supported MKV I would consider getting it, most of my media files are MKV. What I would like to see is an RF transmitter for HDTV. I have been using my PC with a RF transmitter for a while. But that does not support surround sound and high resolutions. I have considered running wires too, but I would prefer not to there is about 50feet to cover routing them around my basement. I could also get another PC I already have a couple older ones lying around the house but if I could find a device around 250 I would prefer it but I can not find any device at any price range that supports MKV, 250 is about how much I would need to spend to convert my older PCs to a HTPC. I also have a hard time justifying the extra power use. I also considered purchasing parts to make a green PC but that would be one of the most costly solutions.
Looking at all my choices I have though of I am thinking running wires is the best solution. I will have medial format flexibility as well the least power consumption possible. I just don’t like the idea of having all those wires tucked under the carpet.