Jun 28
the MediaMVP sittin’ on top of the TV

We’ve been playing with the Media MVP for a few months, and now I’ve finally decided to write about it. What is it? hrm… well, it streams media files (like music, images and video) from your computer to your TV over a home network. How cool is that?

Here’s a peek at the main screen.

I’ll tell you up front that I’m a huge fan of this device. The Hauppauge Media MVP is just plain awesome. It has a feature set of a product several times it’s price. Also, there is great development still going on with it. Hauppauge has provided software upgrades and other tools to extend the featureset. Woo!

Innanutshell: The MVP is a small device that connects to the back of your tv and your home network. You load some software onto your computer. Within minutes, you can stream mp3’s, internet radio, video and view images.

Package Deal: When you open the box, you get the receiver, a stand for the receiver, a remote control, some cables, software cd, some cables and instructions.

Price: When I bought mine, I paid about 50 bonez from Circuit City. Retail price is somewhere around 90, but if you look, you too will be able to find it on sale.

Size: Pretty small. It’s about the size of a portable cd player. Here it is compared to my universal standard of measurement, PEZ. For those who need a better comparison,
here is a standard-sized CD.

Listening to music: Yep,

it does that
. I have tried many different mp3’s recorded at different settings, and I haven’t hit a snag yet. MVP will also play playlists and can also play full directories too.

Streaming Radio: This one is pretty nice. I’ve just started playing with this (new feature), but it seems to work okay. There are tons of streaming internet radio stations. I haven’t gotten past loading NPR. Well, I guess that’s really about the only station that I listen to anyway.

Video: Oh, my… but this does indeed works nicely. It’s great for me, because I used to burn lots of stuff to DVD just to watch ’em. Now, I can skip the DVD step. I can view avi, mpg, wmv, divx and xvid encoded videos. The quality of the video is dependent on several different factors. The quality of the original file, the speed of your connection between the computer and the mvp and stuff like this will all affect the play. Some videos wouldn’t play full screen, but those are rare. Your best bet is to stick with a standard format.

Viewing Images: No real problems here either. You can view images in a
thumbnail mode, or full screen. And yes, there is a slideshow mode as well.

Fun for normal people: Yes. It’s easy to set up, and it just works.

Fun for geeks: Um….yeah. First off, it’s pretty hard to break this machine. The receiver runs a flavor of linux called busybox. The entire file structure is loaded from the host (or the fileserver) every time that the device is restarted. Not only is this smart, but it makes it pretty indestructable. If you mess it up, you just unplug it, and reload a safe version of the binaries.

Not that geeky? How about this… The display for the MVP is based heavily on HTML pages with Javascript for the heavy lifting. This makes the MVP pretty skinnable. I am not a wizard, but I managed to fully reskin my MVP in about two hours. The new look for the MVP is very simple and easy on the eyes.

Small Print: The small print stuff. If you don’t have a fast computer to fileserve from, fuggetaboutit. When you are serving files, you are also going to eat up a fair amount of your home network’s bandwidth. That’s really all the small print stuff that I can think of.

Linkage: Want to learn more? I first heard about this from the linux-hacker.net bulletin board. Of course, this toy has a forum of it’s own now. Check out the official product page for all of the specifications. On the right is the obligatory Amazon link.

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