Media Servers

DViCO TViX HD M6500A Media Streamer

ARTICLE INDEX

The unit supports a wide variety of ways to control the movie. The one I most rarely use is the trickplay option that lets you fast forward or rewind the movie. Using that option always reminds me of an old VCR or one of those PVRs or DVRs that had the 30 second jump option disabled on them to refrain from aggravating the commercial sponsors too much. Rewind does not work on every type of content, transport streams (MPEG-2 or H264) are linear files that were originally intended to only play forward and so are not indexed backwards. Streamers always have problems supporting these, but DViCO gave up on it and concentrated on the other features.

Up and Down buttons will jump 15 seconds forward or backwards, respectively, and are much more useful if you missed something and want to repeat a particular sequence. The Goto feature is much more useful, in my mind, than any trickplay feature, as you can jump to any area in the movie you want instead of waiting for it to show up while playing ultrafast Charlie Chaplin style.

If you stop a movie while playing, pressing the bookmarks option will give you a list of the last few titles you play and lets you resume from the point they were stopped. This works very well on almost all types of content regardless of whether they played over the network or on the local drive. Resuming playback on DVD content (ISO or regular VOB) occurs automatically, pressing play on a title will play it back from the last point you stopped, even if you didn't ask for it. One nice additional feature for DVD is when you have a VIDEO_TS directory – the system automatically detects this and plays the DVD files directly, including menus and everything, without having to select or do anything special.

On the computer side, you can either use Netshare to share your content (up to four separate directories in total can be set up on a particular computer, or several PCs). Third party NFS programs like Allegro reportedly work, but I have not tried them. Note that VISTA users will need to do some extra work to get everything to work, but I did manage to get things running after reading the unit's online PDF manual thoroughly.

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The remote is identical to that of the TVIX 4100. It is thin, comfortable and nicely designed. Some of the features of the unit should have gotten more buttons, and upscaling the unit's finish should have gone into upgrading the remote, but this is just nitpicking on my part – the remote is fine as it is.

Conclusions

I found both video and audio quality of the TViX M6500A to be exceptional, and over the last few months, some of the firmware updates have already made this unit significantly more stable and better than its previous versions. Given that DViCO has been quite adamant in providing support for existing products and continually improving them, I have no doubt they will succeed in turning this unit into an ever more powerful item over the upcoming months.