- Written by Chris Eberle
- Published on 16 May 2011
The first thing I had to do after unpacking everything was to install a hard disk. The Fusion HD does not include one, which is not surprising given its $199 price tag. Any 3.5-inch SATA drive of up to 2 terabytes will work. Nixeus provided me an 80-gig unit pre-loaded with several HD movies and some music and photos. I had to take the cover off the box to put in the disk drive with a set of included screws. Once this was done, I connected an HDMI cable to run the player through my Integra prepro, a USB WiFi antenna, an Ethernet cable and of course power.
I tried both wired and wireless network connections with the Fusion HD. Hard-wiring is recommended when streaming hi-def video and this advice is not to be taken lightly. Streaming HD over a WiFi connection showed unacceptable stuttering and frame drops. It’s suitable only for streaming music or standard-def fare. While I had little difficulty with the computer-speak setup menu, those less fluent might have trouble. Everything you need is there and works as advertised. I just found the terminology a little less intuitive than it could have been. Fortunately, this kind of thing can easily be fixed with firmware updates. This has become a fact of life as our traditional receivers and disc players slowly morph into full-blown computers. While it’s nice to think a product should work flawlessly from the outset, updates not only allow bugs to be squashed; they allow features to be added. A device like the Fusion HD has, in theory, almost limitless potential because it’s not as firmly tied to its hardware as something like a Blu-ray player.
After downloading the latest firmware, which took all of five minutes, I ran through the setup menus. Everything you need for network connection is there. Some of the terminology was unfamiliar but I quickly figured things out. For instance, the wireless password item is called Key Value instead of the more obvious, Password. These were minor quibbles though. I had the unit connected and running within 15 minutes or so. Video and audio options are similar to a disc player with a few picture settings and controls for audio formats, screen aspect and the like. One thing I had to check right away was the output refresh rate. Fortunately, there is an Auto Sync setting which will change from 60Hz to 24Hz for appropriate content.
Another thing you’ll want to attach to the Fusion HD is a keyboard. Typing with the remote is quite annoying and I tired of it quickly. Any standard PC keyboard, wired or wireless, will work. I plugged one in and it was recognized instantly. You can also connect a mouse but you’ll use up both USB ports if your keyboard doesn’t have one. Fortunately, many do. Obviously, a wireless keyboard and mouse with a single USB dongle is the ideal setup.