Many of us now store photos, music and video on our PCs to stream to our TVs over a network. But doing so does have its flaws. Using a PC as a media server means coping with operating noise, power consumption and susceptibility to malware. A far better proposition is to copy content to a NAS with inbuilt media server, such as this inexpensive Verbatim MediaShare. The PC can then be turned off, until it’s needed again.
The MediaShare is unobtrusive and quiet – thanks to its fanless design. An automatic sleep mode will spin down the internal 1TB HDD when it’s not being used, increasing lifespan and reducing power consumption. It’s fast and responsive in use, too.
The embedded DLNA-compliant media server is the proven TwonkyMedia, which will reliably serve up a variety of content. I successfully tried a number of different networked players, ranging from an archaic Pinnacle ShowCenter to recent TVs from Sony and Samsung.
An ‘Easy Transfer’ button allows files to be quickly transferred to the MediaShare’s HDD via USB. There’s also an eSATA port for auto mirroring with an external HDD, or adding capacity. Backups of key documents from computers on your network can be automated. As a precaution, you can also backup the MediaShare’s own drive.
No Wi-Fi, meaning that an unsightly Ethernet cable needs to be run from your router.
A fair number of the cleverer features – such as mobile phone access – are optional. After a 30-day trial, you have to pay for them.
Price: £130 Approx
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