FreshArrival » Blog Archive » Mediagate MG-350.

Mediagate MG-350.

by Richard

I’ve been using the MG-350 from Mediagate lately to watch video on my TV, and it’s been working out brilliantly so far. It’s a relatively small device that I think would be very reasonable alternative to an Apple TV if you’re into videos that have a more open format (read Divx & Xvid) than say, Apple’s DRM’ed up movies and you’d like to watch them in your living room. It is capable of high-def output up to 1080i, so it will work with that new flat panel TV you’ve just bought. For those of you who are just a little geeky and have no problems installing a hard drive (in this case, you unscrew 4 screws, connect 2 cables, then put the 4 screws back in), you’ll have no problem adding an IDE hard drive of whatever capacity you’d like. If you would never attempt something like that, it can also stream video from another computer on your network, or even play videos/show pictures from an external hard drive/flash drive via a USB port.

It mostly seems to be a video player, as it has virtually no image transitions for the slideshows and a fairly barebones music feature. Those features definitely are very workable, just not the main focus of this box. The MG-350 supports the following video formats: MPEG-2, MPEG-4, ISMA MPEG-4, MPEG4 and WMV9 over MPEG-2 transport and WMV9 streaming, as well as JPG images for the slideshow feature. It’s also got an amazing array of outputs, including S-Video, composite, R/L audio out, component video & DVI-out, as well as 10/100Mbps Ethernet and 802.11g wireless. It gets regular feature upgrades and bug fixes in the form of firmware updates as well.

In my testing, it was pretty simple to use: You turn it on, it automatically detects the available sources for video/audio/pictures and lights the appropriate icons up. Then, you browse through the files with your remote and select the one you’d like to view or play. Pretty simple, and the quality is amazing, even over composite, the lowest-quality output that it offers.

Also, it’s $50 cheaper than the Apple TV. Nice!

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Stories like this make me smile. :)

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