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Freecom MediaPlayer II 500GB review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £162
inc VAT

Freecom’s MediaPlayer II is one of only two streamers here with a hard disk.

The hardware doesn’t look too bad but its garish, dated-looking onscreen interface didn’t make a good first impression. We were frustrated by slow, unresponsive menus and a design that’s reminiscent of pages from Ceefax.

Browsing shared folders was a hit-and-miss affair over both wired and wireless connections. Other machines on the network appeared and disappeared from the list for no apparent reason, and at times we were unable to browse the network at all.

Most of the MediaPlayer’s features are easy to set up, but to connect it to your wireless network you’ll need a USB WiFi adaptor. Freecom’s 802.11b/g adaptor costs £40 but its slow transfer speeds led to jerky video. Once you’ve connected to a network, you’ll have to restart the streamer before you can view your network shares from the main menu.

At the back of the MediaPlayer are USB type B and type A ports. The former is for connecting the MediaPlayer to your PC to transfer files and, if you don’t want to use a WiFi adaptor, the latter can be used for storage. The MediaPlayer has all the usual inputs and outputs. Sadly, its video format support is poor. It liked our 720p DivX AVI files but couldn’t play any of our other HD test files. It can’t handle H.264 and supports neither WMV nor WMV-HD formats.

The MediaPlayer II looks good on paper, with a big hard disk and integrated BitTorrent client, but the client is a major challenge to set up. While future firmware updates may improve matters, the device is crippled by an awful interface and poor HD video support. Our advice is to buy Syabas’s Popcorn Hour and fit a hard disk.

Basic Specifications

Rating *
Media Streamer type hard disk streaming multimedia receiver

Audio Compatibility

Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback No
Audio AAC playback No
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback Yes
Audio WAV playback Yes
Audio Audible playback No
Other audio formats none
Internet radio stream compatib none

Video Compatibility

Video MPEG-1 playback Yes
Video MPEG-2 playback Yes
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support Yes
Video H.264 support No
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support Yes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support Yes
Video WMV playback No
Video WMV-HD support No
Other video formats IFO, Transport Steam (TS)
Internet video stream compatib none

Image Compatibility

Image BMP support No
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support No

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports 10/100
Wireless networking support No
128-bit WEP No
256-bit WEP No

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs 0
Minijack headphone outputs 0
Stereo phono outputs 1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs 1
Optical S/PDIF outputs 0
Total SCART sockets 0
HDMI outputs 1
Component outputs 1
S-video output 0
Composite outputs 1
Other connectors USB


Size 46x160x203mm
Antennas 0
Internal/external antennas N/A
Upgradeable antenna No
Power consumption standby 5W
Power consumption on 11W

Server Compatibility

Software included none
iTunes No
SlimServer No

Buying Information

Price £162
Warranty one year RTB

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