In my quest for the perfect video device, I chanced upon the Klegg MediaShare Mega device at Fry's. It appeared to be a fairly interesting device; It plays 'HD' video and has the range of composite, s-video, component and DVI output (use a cable to convert to HDMI). For audio it has optical and coaxial digital outputs as well as 5.1 discrete RCA connections. For networking it has a 10/100Mbps RJ45 connection and a wireless 802.11g integrated.
The system is designed to use a 3.5" SATA drive internally for local storage or to allow shared storage via 'NDAS' (which appears to be a dumbed-down version of iSCSI for a desktop system). It can also connect to Windows shares to stream music, video or images. There are two USB ports on the back of the device which be attached to USB drives to expand the storage capacity of the unit.
There are a plethora of accessories included; component cables, composite video + L/R audio cables, USB cable, power cables, an IR remote, 2xAA batteries, user manual and NDAS CD. The whole package looks pretty good- but sadly looks do not account for much in this situation...
The menu system is decent, albeit basic. From the menu you can set TV format & resolution, configure the network settings, perform firmware upgrades, etc. The menu is navigated by buttons on front of the unit or via the IR remote; 1st Rant- the included remote is pitiful! The buttons are 'mushy' with no tactile feedback so I often pressed a button 2-3 times before getting a response. The IR receiver must me almost perpendicular to the remote- more than 30 degrees off-side makes the remote useless. I did not have a chance to 'learn' these into my Logitech Harmony to see if it is a problem with the remote or the sensor as the unit is being boxed up to go back to Fry's- and I didn't want to waste time testing this out further.
Uber-cheap remote aside, the codec support is abysmal; the PS3 or xBox 360 has much better codec support (at least these devices can play DiVX!). The Klegg web site states the unit can support:
- AVI: MS-MPEG4v3/XviD/WMV9 (Does not support XviD with the GMC option applied)
- WMV 9
- DAT - MPEG 1
- VOB - MPEG 2
- MPG/MPEG - MPEG 1 / MPEG 2
- TP/TS/TRP - HD-MPEG 2 / SD-MPEG 2
From my research DiVX is very similar to the XviD codec but with the GMC option- so this kills my ability to play about 1/3 of the movies on my system that are encoded in DiVX! WMV9 does not include WMV-HD, so there goes another chunk of my video files. I gave up on TS files a long time ago in favor of MKV files, so my video options were fairly limited before all was done (just some pure XviD, some old MPEG and MPEG2 files). A PS3 wit the latest firmware runs circles around this device for video playback ability.
I tried to playback some VOB/IFO files (DVD) but I have most of my network shares set to require authentication- and this information cannot be entered into the MediaShare (shares must be granted access to 'everyone').
I went to the Klegg support page to see if there were any firmware updates and found their site to be devoid of any useful information. There is an email link to contact support, but no downloads to be found. A little research on the web turned up that the Klegg MediaShare is a rebranded Eureka LX-350HD/LX-351HD so I went questing to find this firmware. Eureka is a Korean company and their entire web site is in Korean- as are the firmware downloads from the site. I finally found an English v220.127.116.11 firmware update for the Eureka and applied it to the MediaShare; there was no change save for the main screen now showing the Eureka logo.
After being thoroughly disappointed with the device I decided to remove the 250GB SATA drive I installed in it and box it up for return. The SATA drive was so hot that I could not hold it in my had upon removal- I had to leave it on my desk to let it cool off! The MediaShare has a very small (15mm?) and VERY loud fan on the back with the intention of keeping the unit from overheating- I am very surprised the unit didn't shut down to to a thermal even during my testing!
As I mentioned before, the NDAS appears to be a form of iSCSI. To use you must first install a driver on the system (iSCSI initator is my guess) and after a reboot you can connect to a NDAS device by entering a 24 character identifier (located inconveniently on the bottom of the unit) and a six digit write enable code. Windows indicates that a SCSI disk device was installed and adds the drive located in the MediaShare a a local disk drive. In spite of this being attached as a local drive I was unable to format the 250GB drive- it kept preparing to format but never started.
So, in review of the Klegg MediaShare Mega:
|Small Form Factor |
Multiple audio + video output options
Easy to use menu
Integrated LAN + WAN
Can access SMB shares
Additional storage via USB drives
Can use LX-650HD firmware updates
|Very Limited codec support |
No HDMI output (DVI)
Cannot access secured network shares
Cheap remote/IR setup
LAN only 10/100Mbps (no 1Gbs)
Internal HD gets VERY hot
VERY loud cooling fan
No direct support from Klegg's web site
Personally for me the lack of codec support is the deal-breaker; if you are starting of a new video library and you choose to encode all of your videos in straight XviD or MPEG2 then this may be a viable device (unless you plan to have it in the same room as your TV as the fan sound is unbearable). This guy is going back to Fry's and I will start researching the DVICO TViX M6500A that I saw mentioned on the AVS Forums...