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MediaGate MG-450HD: Media streamer with expandable storage

The MediaGate MG-450HD streams your digital photos, movies, and music from your PC to your living room--and lets you add your own hard drive as well.

MediaGate MG-450HD
The MediaGate MG-450HD lets you add your own hard drive.

The problem: You've got a ton of digital music, photos, and video on your computer's hard drive, but you want to enjoy all that media on the big TV and stereo system in your living room--not hunched over the laptop screen. If you've got a network connection and one of the latest game consoles (an Xbox 360, a PlayStation 3, or--when paired with the free Orb software--even a Nintendo Wii), you may not need any new hardware--each of them can stream a wide variety of audio, video, and photo formats from your PC to your TV over your home network. However, if you're not a gamer, or you need a more robust solution--more file support, for instance--there are alternatives, such as the MediaGate MG-450HD.

The MG-450HD is a triple threat: it can stream digital media from the hard drive of a networked computer; from an attached USB device (camera or flash drive); or from its optional internal hard drive (just drop in your own SATA hard disk if you want multigigabytes of on-board storage). The unit boasts the same full range of AV outputs you would see on a top-tier DVD player--HDMI, component, S-Video, composite, analog stereo, plus digital optical and coaxial. Network access is via wired Ethernet or 802.11g wireless--that's a bit of a disappointment, compared with the faster 802.11n found on the Apple TV. No word yet on the exact file support, but you can assume it's at least as good as its predecessor, the MG-350HD.

The MG-450HD should be available soon in North America for $250, but it's already been reviewed at PC World Australia. If the capability to add your own internal hard drive is appealing, also check out the very similar Mvix MX760HD.