The Toshiba StorE TV+ is like a delusional contestant on Britain's Got Talent. It thinks it can sing, dance and entertain the masses, but, in reality, it has trouble just holding a tune.
We'd hoped this multimedia hard-drive streamer might bring a savvy consumer-electronics sensibility to what has often seemed a parochial product category -- after all, it's a Toshiba device. But it doesn't. What we actually have here is a PC peripheral with a bad sense of direction.
Our 1TB model costs around £110, but 500GB, 1.5TB and 2TB drives are also available.
The StorE TV+ makes a great first impression. The glossy black box is small, and sports an appealing high-res LCD display. The small size of the device has been achieved by using an external, 12V power brick.
Having any form of display is a novelty in this category. Toshiba uses it to offer a simple status update as to where the device is looking -- the local hard drive, a USB stick, a memory card and so on.
Connectivity is also good. There's an HDMI output, phono AV, Ethernet jack, digital coaxial output, three USB ports, and a three-in-one card reader, compatible with SD, MultiMediaCard and Memory Stick media. You can hook an external CD/DVD drive up to a USB port, and discs will automatically play through the StorE TV+ when inserted.
Getting online is easy. The StorE TV+ comes with a Wi-Fi dongle in the box.
The user interface initially impresses and navigation is intuitive. High-resolution graphics represent the local hard drive, any connected USB devices or memory cards, any external DVD drive, and your networks. Once on our LAN, the StorE TV+ effortlessly located an assortment of network-attached storage devices and PCs.
There are several ways of moving content to and from the device. You can stream across a network, or simply use the host USB connection and drag your sound and vision files directly to either the music or video folders on the device.