Hauppauge Wireless MediaMVP review: Hauppauge Wireless MediaMVP

MSRP: $149.99

The Good The Hauppauge Wireless MediaMVP is an affordable network media device that streams audio, video, and image files from a networked PC and plays Internet radio. It includes built-in 802.11g wireless networking and is compatible with DivX video.

The Bad Unlike many rival--albeit more expensive--network media devices, the Hauppauge Wireless MediaMVP doesn't have component video or HDMI jacks, it doesn't stream HD video, and it supports neither Rhapsody nor DRM-protected WMA files downloaded from Internet music stores. Nonprotected WMA files stream sluggishly, and wireless performance is spotty. File navigation is limited to folders instead of the artist, title, album, and genre options found on competing devices.

The Bottom Line The Hauppauge Wireless MediaMVP falls short of competing wireless network media players, even when you consider its bargain price.

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4.8 Overall
  • Design 5
  • Features 6
  • Performance 3

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Long Island, New York-based Hauppauge first entered the digital media receiver category in 2003 with its MediaMVP, which streams audio, video, and image files over a wired Ethernet connection from your PC to your TV and stereo system. The company recently expanded the product line with an 802.11g wireless version of the device, appropriately dubbed the Wireless MediaMVP.

Measuring approximately 1 by 6.5 by 5.5 inches (HWD), the diminutive Wireless MediaMVP is devoid of front-panel controls and buttons, and it doesn't have an integrated display, which means you'll have to rely on the remote and a connected TV to interface with the unit. The front panel is punctuated by only a swiveling Wi-Fi antenna and a status-indicator light that shines through the translucent plastic. Around back, you'll find an Ethernet jack for wired networks, composite-video and S-Video outputs, and analog stereo (red and white) RCA jacks, as well as a coaxial digital audio output. The unit doesn't have component-video or HDMI jacks. That's because, unlike the HD-capable D-Link DSM-520, the Hauppauge is strictly limited to standard-definition video streaming.

The Wireless MediaMVP's main menu is spartan but easy to navigate. Click one of the five big onscreen buttons--videos, pictures, music, radio, and settings--and you'll get appropriate submenus where you can navigate the respective media files, Internet radio stations, or system settings. You access media files through the directories and subdirectories in which they're stored on your networked PC. Although that's standard practice for video and still-image files, it's a shame that the unit doesn't let you more conveniently navigate music by ID3-based categories, such as artist, title, genre, and album.

The full-size, 43-button remote control includes a four-way keypad. It's used in conjunction with the center-mounted select button and the Back button to intuitively navigate lists and menu levels. The remote also has videos, music, radio, and pictures buttons that shortcut directly to the main navigation screens. Play, pause, track skip, track scan, and stop buttons provide DVD-player-like control of video.

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