It may not be pretty, but Eminent’s EM7285 network media player is certainly advanced. Built around the Realtek RT1185 chipset, it’s compatible with a huge array of files and formats. The player ships sans hard drive, but one is easily loaded into the side if you want to store content locally; large files can be quickly moved onto it via a high-speed USB 3.0 connection. Rear-facing connections include HDMI and component with digital optical and coaxial audio outputs. There are also legacy phonos if you want to slum it. Gigabit Ethernet is the recommended network connection but there’s also integrated Wi-Fi.

The UI offers themed library access to movies, music and images on the HDD or across a LAN. Alternatively you can scour YouTube, watch ‘net TV or listen to online radio. The UI is also where you can browse your network for connected devices or rummage around the hard drive. Also onboard is the BitTorrent downloader, Transmission.

Pros 

MKV, AVCHD, H.264, DivX, XviD, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 – you name it, this non-judgemental box will play it. It’ll also embrace Blu-ray and DVD ISOs (with support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA).

The EM725 doubles as a Smart Hub of sorts. One innovative idea is the user-generated Apps Centre.

This allows you to customise your player with apps made by other users (currently the most popular appears to be a porn viewer...).

Cons

The rudimentary UI makes navigating content a bit of a trial. The thumbnail folder view doesn’t display the full title name of a file– frustrating, particularly if you’re trying to find a single episode in a complete TV season.


HCC VERDICT

Eminent EM7285 
Price:
£165 Approx

Overall: 4/5