- Written by Chris Eberle
- Published on 16 May 2011
The Fusion HD is a small box, about the size of three stacked paperback books, made of shiny black plastic. If you use the WiFi connection as I did, a small antenna sticks up the back. Being that it is far smaller than typical components, it cannot be stacked. You must set on a shelf or on another device. The front has a small LED to indicate power on or off. An additional LED flashes in response to remote commands. Front inputs include eSATA and two USB ports. The rear panel has an RJ-45 Ethernet port, another USB input, digital optical and coax jacks, a 3.5mm jack for composite video and stereo audio (adaptor included) and an HDMI output. The rear USB port is used for the WiFi antenna.
Codec and format support is fairly complete with most all popular file types in evidence. I won’t regurgitate the specs here. There were no gaps in video support that I could see. It would appear that every way video can be stored digitally can be played back by the Fusion HD. Audio support is almost as complete. I say almost because Windows Media Lossless is missing from the list. This surprised me a little since WMA Lossless can be played by the majority of streaming devices I’ve used. And of course, I have some music stored in that format. I could see the files on my computer but the Fusion HD refused to play them. Perhaps a future firmware update will add this format. The list of audio codecs is complete as well. Lossless formats like Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio are passed through as bitstreams or, in the case of DTS-HD, you can downmix to PCM.
The non-backlit remote is quite comprehensive, almost to the point of being too complicated; but every important control is at your fingertips. In addition to the usual transport and menu navigation keys, there are many buttons that directly access the features of the Fusion HD. You can change the video output from digital to analog on the fly. There is direct access to the setup menu. Hotkeys are even provided for some of the file management functions. All of these features can be accessed in the menu system but the inclusion of hotkeys is a real plus. It took me a bit of getting used to since I am more accustomed to the simplicity of a universal handset. Programming the Nixeus into a Harmony system for example would require many special keys to cover everything this box can do. I also found the buttons a bit small with even smaller icons indicating their function. It did however become intuitive the more I used it.