Alright, we admit it, we're more obsessed with media streamers than is strictly healthy. But can you really blame us? We went for years without any decent way of watching our downloaded video on our lovely TVs and then all of a sudden, the market is awash with great products. The latest of which is the DVICO TViX HD M-6500A, which might not be a cool name, but it is a very cool product.
Don't be fooled by our photo -- the TViX is very compact. Smaller than a cat, but larger than a kitten, if that helps. Like thewe recently , the 6500 can accept a hard drive. The main difference is that the 6500 accepts SATA drives, whereas the A-100 only took IDE. We're not going to debate the merits of each standard, but there are advantages to both. The 6500 is available with or without the drive, although you'll get better value if you install your own -- it's really simple and will take about 5 minutes at most.
Out-of-the-box codec support for the M-6500 is very impressive. In terms of video it's similar to the Popcorn Hour, with support for H.264/MPEG-4. The MKV file container is supported too -- MKV offers plenty of cool options for menu systems and subtitles, and is a much more modern container than the ageing AVI system. You can also play DVD files in the ISO format, which is handy if you have a big collection of DVDs backed up to a home media centre. Interestingly, there's also AVCHD support included, which means HD camcorder footage will play without any conversion. For audio it slightly outshines the Popcorn Hour, offering FLAC, OGG and AAC, which will impress purists.
The 6500 will play video up to 1080p and there's even audio support for Dolby TrueHD, which opens up possibilities for HD material in the future. There's no built-in wireless, but there is an option to add this via an adaptor. You can also add Freeview support with an external reciever, which might appeal to those who want to build an AV system around this little box of tricks.
The 6500 costs £300 without a hard drive, £480 for the 500GB version and there's a 1TB variant for £500. You can get them online direct from the UK distributor KJ Global or from other retailers such as Amazon. Click through for more pics and details. -Ian Morris
Update: Read our full.
Around the back there are all the connections you'd expect. You get HDMI -- which is the 1.3 variant, for deep colour support -- component, two USB host sockets for memory cards, S-Video and composite outputs. You also get Ethernet and a USB socket for connecting the 6500 directly to your computer or an external hard drive. It's good to see both types of digital audio out, too.
The remote control is small, light and fully featured. We've used it, and it does change things, which is perfect.
Unlike products such as, and even the , the 6500 offers a display, which gives you feedback about what's happening with the machine.
To fit a hard drive, you remove the cover on the side of the machine, attach your SATA drive to a supplied metal bracket, slide it in and attach the cables. This is really simple, but you can buy the 6500 with a supplied hard drive too, if you don't fancy it.
The interface is rather lovely. It's minimal in design, but the graphics are attractive and the machine responds quickly to remote control button presses.