LTECHi Mini Media Inverness

The Mini Media is an easy way of carrying around a huge video library that can be played back almost anywhere. It's easy to control with its remote, and, apart from the Scart plug, uses standard connectors.

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LTECHi Mini Media

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The Mini Media is a good idea: an external hard disk that can plug directly into your TV and output any movies, MP3s or pictures stored on it, without the need for a computer. The model we reviewed had a capacity of 120GB, though if you don't mind getting your screwdriver out it can be upgraded with a standard laptop hard disk up to 250GB.

The Mini Media supports many common video formats, including DivX, and will play DVD video files that you copy onto it. There's no support for RealPlayer, though, nor WMV video files.

The unit is small and almost silent in use, but it's well-equipped: six buttons on the front can be used to control playback, while the back sports a mini-USB port for connecting to a computer, composite TV and audio sockets and a proprietary socket for connecting the box via Scart. The supplied Scart cable is only about two feet long, so using it might mean hiding the box round the back of the TV, where it'll be out of range of the remote control.

Setting up the Mini Media was an unnerving experience. The poorly written manual warns that powering it off while a movie is playing 'will cause data loss or a serious system hang-up'. If that's true, it's poor engineering. We also found the driver CD didn't contain the right drivers - not that our PC asked for any.

When plugged into a TV, the Mini Media had no problem playing our test movies, and we found it easy to access display options (such as 4:3 or letterbox format), navigate menus and skip around within videos. Switching between movies wasn't so easy, though, as the selection screen showed several black boxes instead of film titles. Luckily, you can use a file browser mode instead. The music selector isn't much smarter: it lists the filenames of your tracks, but playlists aren't supported. Your only options are to repeat one track forever or play all the songs in alphabetical order.

The Mini Media is an easy way of carrying around a huge video library that can be played back almost anywhere. It's easy to control with its remote, and, apart from the Scart plug, uses standard connectors. But since an external 120GB hard disc can be had for £60, you're paying a premium for something that feels very cheaply made.Connections: Mini-USB, composite video, 3.5mm audio, proprietary plug to Scart cable (included)

Formats supported: MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, DivX 3-5, MP3, JPEG, BMP, GIF

Dimensions: 125 x 76 x 21 mm

Weight: 216g

Part code: MM01

Carry your digital media to your living room. A neat idea, and it does what it promises, but it's overpriced and under-polished.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

LTECHi Mini Media