Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Mediagate MG-35 heaven?
I bought myself another new toy (!!). This time it's called a Freecom MG-35 but in reality it's a re-badged Mediagate MG-35 from a Korean source. Why did I buy this? Well it's a networked media player which means it can play the media I have stored on my NAS, my Linkstation. So, put simply, I can watch video or listen to MP3s while my PC is saving electricity being switched to standby or off.
There are plenty of networked media players out there (I actually use an Xbox with XboxMediaCenter installed) so why this one? Well I have looked at many in recent days and will advise you if considering one to Google them extensively. Ebay is a source of NMPs but the ones I saw listed almost all seemed to have buggy firmware (according to net reports). The MG35 also has it's bugs but the clincher here (apart from price!!) was that there is an established hacking community on Yahoo Groups. The group have modified firmware to add a few features like AC3 playback (always handy for those Xvid/AC3 dvdrips) and to improve the interface with better looking "skins".
So, I plugged the thing in and it found my network straight away. I set up the interface as I wanted and then navigated to my AVIs and played them without any issues. Superb. Next to upgrade the firmware to a modded one, simply browse the network to the latest stock firmware, select the file and the box knows that it's a firmware file and flashes it for you. Next flash the modded firmware and you are done. There is also a wireless MG-35 for those who like freedom from network cables.
One final comment. The MG35 supports playback from a locally fitted hard disk (IDE) or via network. I am a silence-freak so don't want to listen to whining hard disks. With no hard disk and no fan, the MG-35 is totally silent and therefore ideal for bedroom use. Pity mine is downstairs now!